back to article IBM wants to get youngsters hooked on Power

IBM's Power server evolution will continue through hipness and experimentation. Many customers out there think of IBM as a stodgy venerable computing powerhouse. The notion that "no one ever got fired for buying IBM" plays well in the corporate data centers that most Power processor-based servers call home. It plays less well …


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  1. Francis Fish

    Hmmm ... Websphere

    Never had to work with it. NONE of the people I know who have would do so again if they had a choice.

    Maybe the first thing they need to do is make their stuff fit on to less than 10 DVD's and actually be usable?

    Just a thought

  2. Simon Casey

    Hip? Try Hip replacement...

    It's not the 'hipness' of the platform I think, I think it's the opportunity younger people get to work on the platforms are literally nil. Nada. Zilch.

    I have been lucky in the fact that I've come into a big IBM shop at a young age, hell, the average age demograph of iSeries or zSeries users is 45+. In my team I am the youngest member by a good 20 years.. hell I'm probably one of the youngest working on Power systems.

    Most zSeries people are now 50-55+ and looking for retirement. The iSeries/Power stuff a little younger. Most are now looking for retirement or contracting so people younger are few and far between. And eventually when all the permenant employees of most mainframe/midrange shops retire then contracts will be in big $$$ and businesses will be scrambling for ways to get cheaper people (hmm... any in india or china yet?)

    Not many shops would take the risk or the apprenticeship costs to get young people on the z/i/p platforms. Mainframes generally run big systems and you do anything that'll fubar it then you're out the door. Once one employee does that normally the business is very loath to allow un-experienced people on again, even dev/qat environments where there is big pressure to have very high levels of stability and availability.

    Big platforms don't have as much flexibility as the distributed platforms for learning. Vendors and big shops don't invest money in ways that could allow younger people more opportunities to get their foot in the door.

  3. Brett Brennan

    An Easy Way To Win The Hip Crowd

    Back to the Future!

    All IBM has to do to get the great WEB 2.0 mass following is go back to Steve Jobs, offer some cash to do co-branding, and - VIOLA! - the Mac Power Classic Server is born! Again!

    As silly as an Apple-IBM axis might sound, it could be an interesting partnership to really clobber the MS-Intel krew. Imagine what amazing stuff a Power/Cell server backended by AIX and running OSX as a service could do?

    Shit, I just gave away THE business concept of the year: thin-client Apple utility servers for the kidz at home! Throw away those old Windows PCs, sign up for Apple ease from your local AT&T network. No more Vista Voodoo - just plug in your way cool iCloud terminal and Bob's your uncle!

    Seriously though, IBM's play into this space is really targeted at this type of thinking. And I really don't think that anyone - even IBM - realizes how powerful something like the Power/Cell platform really is or what it can provide in the mass entertainment market as a "cloud" computing resource. And with IBM to help handle the IP licensing for users, this could be a major break into the Google-Microhoo! dominated marketplace.

    (Sorry, Ashley: I read the article but I'm caffeine-challenged right now...)

  4. Henry Cobb

    Low cost mini-laptops

    When will they get into the mini-laptop game?

    After all their chips don't have to pay anything in hardware for X86 emulation so they can be smaller, less power consuming and cheaper, no?


  5. amanfromMars Silver badge

    AIR on an Entangling String ..... Playing your Cards Right.


    IT brings a whole new lease of Life to ye Ole Medicine Man doing the Rain Dance for the Brave Spirits of Future Harvesting ...... Apache Cloud Control ProgramMIng Software Development 4Power2Systems.

    It would leave all those drabs grey suits behind in ITs Wake too, for what would they be able to Offer apart from gaudy baubles and beads and monopoly money to ensure they can sit around the camp-fire Pow-Wowing at Peace with One and All, QuITe Naturally. Offer enough though,and they might be definitely given a Free Ride.

    In IT, 42 Cruise on Top of the Cloud and In Control, it is not who you know that is important.... for there is no ESPecial Relativity in that, it is what you know and who knows IT for such Powerful EMPathy that Creates Wave Generating Currency.

    Little Bits and Bytes of Info/IntelAIgents Nuggets that would do Midas Proud.

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Francis Fish

    Actually, WebSphere on hp-ux is pretty good, IMO. I've run it in a few bizz crit environments without any problems to mention and I wouldn't flinch at using it again. My experience of it is limited to hp-ux so maybe your friends were on a different platform?

    On the whole SaaS pitch, didn't we suffer this ten years ago as "datawarehousing", which died a pretty quick death? Whilst I like the whole Utility (Computing) idea of just buying the computing power you need and letting someone else worry about running the kit, that's little more than hosted services provide today, and I don't see masses of SMBs rushing to buy hosted environments, they mostly seem to like doing it themselves (usually on Wintel boxes, not Power). Me thinks Big Blue is desperate to keep all those Global Services guys and gals busy!

  7. Joe Montana

    Cost is the concern...

    Currently, Power processors are out of reach of the mass market...

    X86 systems are far cheaper and more widely available, with a wider range of third party peripheral support.

    IBM need to come out with a lower end set of power-based systems, that people can buy cheaply. If their price/performance ratio is comparable to or better than x86 then enthusiasts and businesses will consider them for linux deployments at least.

    It's obviously possible to produce the chips at an affordable price point, all the major games consoles run power derived processors these days.

    Otherwise, very few people ever get the chance to try power, third party apps never get ported to / tested on them, howto guides never consider them etc... IA64 is in the same boat, too expensive for enthusiasts to try.

    If PPC systems were price/performance competitive with x86, my next linux system would probably be PPC.

  8. Herby Silver badge

    Memo to IBM

    Make up a nice form factor compatible motherboard with PCI slots that uses the nice ATX power input connector. Include a reasonable BIOS that will boot a Linux DVD/CD. Sell for prices that are on a par with current x86 stuff.

    I'll probably BUY it.

    Lots of the 1U servers and desktop towers can be put together with a motherboard like that, if it has all the spigots that normally come with a normal PeeCee motherboard. I'd assume it has a couple of USBs, and a nice VGA port with a built in sound card. Nice additions would be some of those very usable "legacy" ports DE-9 serial and DB-25 parallel. Add in a network port (100BaseT) and you are good to go.

    Nice marketing ploy: Include the Linux DVD.

    Where do I sign up?

  9. Daniel B.

    Oh yes please...

    I am sick and tired of this stupid x86 trend that seems to have killed non-Intel innovation. Google ain't helping too, with the cloud computing concept being interpreted as "I can build a supercomputer with crap hardware".

    Its time for real big irons to come back to the server market, maybe if they succeed well enough they might push non-Intel desktop machines or workstations!

  10. Ishkandar

    @Henry Cobb

    They flogged that bit of business to Lenovo years ago !! In fact, all they had to do was to get rid of their corporate arrogance and they would have a ready-made market. Now, they have to(re-)create that market from scratch and the heavy iron mentality is still there !!

    They still have this locking-in one-stop (IBM)shop attitude !! They still don't realise that people now want choices in what they want to run. This same arrogance has/had infected Microsoft and they will have similar problems !!

  11. Henry Cobb

    Lenovo no no

    What Big Blue sold to Lenovo was their Personal Computer business.

    So don't make a PC.

    How about an Android Gphone or a wireless chat device or a portable digital video recorder?

    Just break into somebody else's locked down market with an open device and let the users come up with new apps.

    Imagine a hand-held that can be plugged into a keyboard and monitor for instant desktop.

    (Yes, I bought a trackpoint keyboard for my Dell laptop, because the Thinkpads have gotten hyperexpensive under Lenovo...)

  12. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    IBM arrogant? naw, you *have* to be kidding!

    Having spent time in the belly of the beast also known as the blue pig, I can tell you that IBM has to do a lot more than just "change their image". They need to rethink their corporate culture and well, remove the dead weight who don't care about their customer, only doing whatever they can do to keep themselves employed until they retire.

    Sorry to my friends who are still employed by the blue pig, but their good work is getting wasted by those who don't get IT. ;-)

    Why Paris Hilton?

    Because she's cuter than Steve Mills and probably has a better grasp on today's 20 something crowd.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Cost is the concern

    "Currently, Power processors are out of reach of the mass market..."

    Well, actually this is not entirely true. A bottom of the range p505 costs around $3.7K, which =~ £1.9K. Thats pretty cheap really.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Websphere

    IMO websphere is a bag of spanners!

    Every single client we have that uses it has problems, wheras those using tomcat or resin seem to run just fine!

    If you have any involvement in choosing your app container then choose tomcat, it 'just works' with very little faffing.

    Anonymous because IBM are one of our clients :o

  15. Joe Cooper
    Thumb Up

    @Joe Montana & @MemotoIBM

    I second these notions.

    $3.7k for a p505 is cheap in some contexts, but if they want to build a big, hipster-scale developer base, they gotta make these things cheap enough for experimenting geeks to buy.

    I would LOVE to get a Power motherboard and chip and roll my own system.

    Maybe not just a Linux DVD, but also a personal usage license of AIX. Sun is doing this. I'm not saying AIX has to go open source, but if I could get a Power system and a copy of AIX for free, I would learn to use it just for the sake of doing it. So would a lot of others. If they do it right they could build quite a developer community around it.

    Some people are like me and they like exploring these things. Lots of people are. People would buy it just to learn what Power is like, and they'd true AIX too if they could get it. Trying a new platform is always fun.

    Sun is doing this with their Solaris, because they realize one big advantage of Linux is that all the hipsters can get it and learn it and so there's tons of people who understand it, and that automatically makes Linux more cost effective for any business.

  16. amanfromMars Silver badge

    GCHEESE ....... Seventh Heaven HQ?

    "Google ain't helping too, with the cloud computing concept being interpreted as "I can build a supercomputer with crap hardware"...... By Daniel B. Posted Monday 14th April 2008 17:54 GMT

    A Misinterpretation, Daniel, as the concept has no Physical Hardware, only Beta Virtual Software.

    If Google are building such AI SuperComputers, they are certainly keeping it very Quiet, which would suggest that they aren't, whenever QuITe clearly they could and/or Beta Virtual Software ProgramMIng suggests that they should. ITs Resources then would be Infinite and therefore ITs Server Orientated Architecture ProgramMIng Unlimited and Bounded by Imagination.

    That would have them Creating and Servering to AI Quantum Operating System which Provides for All Operating Systems via Virtuous Virtual Means/Better Beta MetaData Analytical Algorithms 42 Provide Immaculate Original Source for Global Distribution/Tangential Working/Structured Application.

    Be careful what you wish for ...... because Nowadays with ZerodDay Trades, you can get IT with XXXXPertEase. And AI QuITe Alien Service 42 Market with Opportunity and Endeavours for Enterprise in IT Hedges and Futures in Mutually Beneficial Derivatives and Tangents for Moribund Earthed Legacy Stock/Bankrupt Shares?

    You can bet your Sweet Assets, IT is. And something to Shake your Booty at rather than take a Hit from a Big Stick..... and all Plausibly Deniable too, for the Transparent Strength of Steganographic Stealth for Ye Olde Faithful, They'll-never-know-what-hit-them-until-after-it-has-hit-them Ploy/Great Games Plays.

  17. Anton Ivanov

    Why make FPGA power compatible? It already is in the next spec

    AFAIK AMD and IBM agreed to share socket, interconnect semantics and a few other bits for the next generation of chips.

    So most FPGA designs done for the Opteron market will slot into future Power systems without any problems. From there on it is a matter of having the OS support and the relevant software available.

    Frankly I do not understand why the sudden decision to provide this with the older Power. While there is a considerable installed base covering all MB and OS designs out there on the market will be a total nightmare. Why not rush out the new socket instead?

  18. Karl Swelling

    @ Simon

    I am 34, and three years ago I started using AIX on POWER5 after I had been using Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris for years, and before this I had never dealt with IBM before. I can tell you that these POWER boxes are slick, and AIX and VIOS are even slicker. Combine that with the AIX account advocate program, where you get a very technical person/team at IBM to answer all your support questions, and I am now sold on using IBM for years. And soon I will be running RHEL on POWER LPARs on the same hardware as AIX, enabling us to use a common hardware platform for all AIX and Linux.

  19. stizzleswick
    Thumb Up

    @Joe Cooper

    "I would LOVE to get a Power motherboard and chip and roll my own system."

    Actually, there are at least two companies that offer off-the-rack CHRP POWERed desktop boxes for halfway reasonable prices. Probably won't come with AIX, though.

    Or the even more generic way, get a Sony PS3 and install YDL or Ubuntu on it, and you've got yourself a Cell-powered PC... Terrasoft even delivers them pre-installed.

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