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back to article EC launches formal probes into IBM's mainframe biz

Antitrust authorities at the European Commission have been listening to clone mainframe seller T3 Technologies' cries after IBM ate and killed clone mainframe maker Platform Solutions a few years back. Complaints from TurboHercules, a supplier of a mainframe hardware emulator for x64 servers that IBM refuses to license software …

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Was a bout time

Why pay for an over price power pc chip!

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WTF?

Apples and Oranges

So how is IBM tying z/OS licenses to IBM hardware any different from Apple tying MacOS licenses to Apple hardware?

And as long as the customer purchases a legit license, isn't talk of intellectual property rights irrelevant? Even if the clone-makers need to know the secret herbs and spices to support the OS, doesn't competition law allow the OS vendor to demand a "fair and non-discriminatory" license and NDA?

IANAL, obviously...

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WTF?

WTF ? Ever Heard Of The Term "Free Enterprise" ?

IBM does have the right to make product pricing and licensing decisions as they see fit. Apple exercises exactly the same right by requesting you to run MacOS only on Apple PCs.

Running it inside VMWare is illegal, though technically possible, as I verified personally.

IBM is totally correct in saying that they spent huge sums into the whole system and according to the commonly accepted rules of the Western World it is completely their property, so they have the right to determine how this property is used by other parties.

The Hercules people are just economic parasites who want to exploit the particular structure of IBMs pricing scheme. IBM has the legal and ethical right to deny this, as they employ thousands of highly skilled and paid people to develop the Marvel that is OS/390 and the S/390 system (I hate the meaningless a/b/c/z/i/k/mOS labels). Hercules only created an S/390 CPU emulator and now they want to use IBM software on that, which is vastly more expensive to develop.

The only exception to this rule would kick in if IBM were in a market-dominating position, which they are clearly not. Nobody is forced to buy a S/390 system - HP (e.g. a Superdome server), Oracle, Unisys, Teradata, Fujitsu, Groupe Bull, NEC and others provide very credible alternatives to IBM products.

Others like Google have proved that, given the right software architecture, one does not need a mainframe at all. Just a large set of cheap PCs can handle enormous workloads (say all of Europe's flight reservations) as reliable as a mainframe at 1/10th of cost. It does not matter that PCs have a much higher failure rate.

The basic idea is to split up a large problem and "map" the individual slices to the PCs. For example, each PC would handle just five aircrafts and the system would automatically route users to the correct PCs to make reservations. Harddisks would be mirrored with something like the Google File System and another PC would automatically take over and use on of the three mirror disks to continue operations. The GFS would also run on a PC cluster. All of those PCs are networked using standard 1GBit Ethernet switches and routers.

For a moderately sized mainframe, you can buy more than 500 High-End PCs, including all networking and run a much larger workload, assuming your software supports this system model.

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very eloquent.

You, sir, have very much more eloquently pointed out what I intended to say. Thank You.

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doesn't it

all depend on whether these boxes actually constitute a different market to those that you mentioned. Is superdome a mainframe - or just a big server - or is there a real difference?

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Stop

Superdome is a Mainframe

I do think an HP Superdome can be considered a mainframe, as you can run large databases from Oracle or IBM, have virtualization and a lot of management tools.

An S/390 system might have even better reliability/availability statistics, but if you use all available tools like HP Serviceguard and Fiber-attached disks, you have an excellent alternative to S/390. HP has a "mainframe alternative program" for a very long time now and Serviceguard/DASD-like disks is also an old (and probably rocksolid) product now.

I have never worked as an S/390 or as a Superdome admin, though.

I am sure Oracle, Fujtsu and NEC can come up with something similar.

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Its theirs.

It is their fucking software, so they fucking decide how to sell it.

Let Turbo Hercules write their own OS if they want to sell mainframes - doing only half the job and then sueing for the OS is pansy. Next time some morons come around and want iphoneOS4 on their androids, or whatever runs on a blackberry on an iphone-emulation running on a netbook.

Maybe solaris on an xSeries or Proliant? oh, wait...

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Good that the European Commission is looking into this -

in the end, it is always the consumer/user who pays for the anti-competitive practices so beloved of both software and hardware vendors. Those who think markets will regulate themselves have neither read their Adam Smith nor learnt from recent experience....

Henri

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