Reader Feedback On Power8 Processing Power And What Matters
May 19, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
I have been accused of a lot of things, and liking hardware is certainly one of them. And, as one avid reader of The Four Hundred points out, maybe this is not the only thing that people care about. I think we do a pretty good job providing balanced coverage of software and hardware as well as management and other issues, but everyone is entitled to their say here in the IBM i community.
So, let’s give Paul Harkins a chance to clear his chest in response to a few stories that have run recently.
To IT Jungle executive staff, and to IBM Executive management,
Thanks for your significant attempts over the years to support the IBM ecosystem and salvage the shrinking IBM company.
I have met Timothy personally and have the highest respect for his intelligence and perseverance and his efforts, but I simply must articulate my thoughts that in fact Timothy is not just IT Jungle‘s hardware man, as in Dan Burger’s column on IBM i 7.2, but is fact IT Jungle‘s “Mad Man” relating to the future of IBM and the importance of yet another 1,000 TIMES more computing power and 96 multi-threaded CPUs on the head of a pin.
The IBM ecosystem is collapsing before our eyes, with tens of thousands of IBM i (AS/400) companies dumping their IBM computers and their IT staffs as their IT staffs die, retire, or otherwise are terminated and their store of crucial applications developed decades ago age, as companies move off of their ancient and very costly IBM systems and applications to the cloud of other solutions.
This while the new Power8 is effectively perhaps 10,000 TIMES faster and more powerful that the systems installed by the HUGE and successful IBM AS/400 installed base of a decade or more ago, and IBM has done virtually NOTHING to effectively support, develop, retain and expand the crucial factors needed to even survive for long.
In short, IBM is rapidly eating its vast store of installed customer assets while anticipating the “cognitive” solution, with failed steps along the way such as EGL, and far off possible solutions such as in Steve Kilmer’s recent article in IT Jungle “Executing RPG” an excuse for utter failure and hopelessness.
In 1961, I was a Drexel University cooperative student working for IBM and wiring IBM Unit Record Accounting machine control panels (IBM 402 and 407) for major customers including Gulf Oil, and Esso (now Exxon). I watched as a single new IBM 1401 computer with tape and 4 K (Thousand) positions of core storage at Gulf Oil replace dozens of IBM 407 accounting machines and more than 100 IT staff in less than six months. The displaced unit record operators mostly went back to driving oil trucks.
That is what is happening now some 60 years later to the IBM System i ecosystem, and it is certainly IBM’s direct fault, assisted by the media (for whatever reasons).
IBM is today still providing NO application solutions (as in the previous IBM IUPs which I authored while at IBM, NO global applications such as the Microsoft Dynamics, SAP and other sophisticated Cloud applications, and even worse (if possible) providing ancient and deficient development and support tools to its customers. These IBM tools including the IBM i programming languages are not productive, and I believe not only deficient but defective in that they do not support real-time Program Auditing and other critical functions including native GUI, and in fact make the IBM i customer personnel very expensive and not competitive with competitive solutions.
I have solved some of these key decencies in the IBM offerings with my patented Real-Time Program Audit (RTPA) software, but IBM has ignored my offers to help them become relevant again. IT Jungle could at least be honest enough to identify the obvious truths and focused enough to help identify the obvious solutions.
Perhaps a great start would be for Timothy to provide a simple graph showing the time line on the bottom starting with 1973 and graphs of the number of IBM customer installations by year and type, IBM revenue and profit by year, IBM USA employees per year, with key events by year (stopping IBM application development and support in 1983, firing IBM branch employees starting in 1983, becoming the low cost high volume hardware producer (if you can program we do not want you) 1983.
Graphs of the revenue and profits of IBM competitors by year such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Google, etc. would be illuminating. Graphs of relative hardware performances and cost, and personnel costs, starting with 1973 would also be illuminating.
–Paul H. Harkins
Thanks, Paul. I know and respect you as well, and I know that I can always count on an honest piece of your mind. I will take your ideas under advisement and do what I can. I agree that the IBM we ended up with is not the IBM we might have had, and I saw all of the same changes you did. Well, not all of them, but certainly for the past 25 years. Forgive my youth. It makes me reckless sometimes, I suppose. <Grin>