Pure Systems Customer Count Breaks 2,300 While Power Takeouts Continue
January 28, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Anything that makes Power Systems–and now PureSystems–stronger makes the IBM i platform that more viable for that more time because IBM’s interesting in any technology is precisely proportional to the amount of profits it can consistently extract from that technology.
And so it was good news to the IBM i platform when Mark Loughridge, chief financial officer, during his conference call last week with Wall Street analysts going over the fourth quarter and full year financial results, dropped a statistic that Big Blue now had more than 2,300 PureSystems in over 70 countries who had bought its PureSystems modular, converged boxes before 2012 came to a close.
I presume that Loughridge was counting unique customers of the PureSystems machines, as it has been doing in the past. In early November, IBM was bragging that it has busted through 1,000 unique customers, so if this is the number of customers that were added in the seven weeks or so before 2012 came to an end, that is one hell of a ramp. IBM sold to 1,000 customers in a little more than five months, as best I can figure, and selling to another 1,300 customers in seven weeks would be a tripling of the rate customer accounts.
And, as I explained last year, PureSystems was already ramping faster than Cisco Systems “California” Unified Computing System, which set the pace for converged infrastructure four years ago when it launched. I will try to nail down how many PureSystems customers and machines have been sold, but IBM is selective about the numbers it releases and not exactly forthcoming when it doesn’t want to toss a number around in a press release or presentation to brag a bit.
IBM has also not said how many of the PureSystems have Power7 or Power7+ motors and how many have Xeon E5 motors from Intel. I would like to see a higher Power penetration here, obviously, as would the rest of us.
As usual, IBM was more precise about the take out deals it does, removing Unix and proprietary gear from Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and Fujitsu. IBM said that it did 350 competitive replacements in the fourth quarter, which drove more than $335 million in sales of servers, storage, switching, software, and services. (That’s a lot of Ss.) For all of 2012, IBM did 1,200 competitive take outs that drove over $1 billion in business. The average deal size has been slipping over the past couple of years, incidentally. It used to be about $1 million a deal on average.
IBM never talks about how many IBM i accounts it lost in any quarter, or how many it preserved against competitive attack. Boy, I would sure like to see those numbers. And I would sure like for IBM i reps and resellers to be compensated not just for selling something, but for keeping a competitor from selling into an IBM i account. But that would probably be a fantasy beyond economic possibility. That said, IBM used to have 275,000 AS/400 shops and now we have 150,000 IBM i shops, and someone didn’t protect the most loyal customers that Big Blue ever had from being taken out by someone else. Maybe IBM could have been a little less generous to the warrior/hunters who range wide and leave the farms unprotected and a little more generous to the farmers who tend the fields.