Timothy Prickett Morgan
Timothy Prickett Morgan is President of Guild Companies Inc and Editor in Chief of The Four Hundred. He has been keeping a keen eye on the midrange system and server markets for three decades, and was one of the founding editors of The Four Hundred, the industry's first subscription-based monthly newsletter devoted exclusively to the IBM AS/400 minicomputer, established in 1989. He is also currently co-editor and founder of The Next Platform, a publication dedicated to systems and facilities used by supercomputing centers, hyperscalers, cloud builders, and large enterprises. Previously, Prickett Morgan was editor in chief of EnterpriseTech, and he was also the midrange industry analyst for Midrange Computing (now defunct), and its editor for Monday Morning iSeries Update, a weekly IBM midrange newsletter, and for Wednesday Windows Update, a weekly Windows enterprise server newsletter. Prickett Morgan has also performed in-depth market and technical studies on behalf of computer hardware and software vendors that helped them bring their products to the AS/400 market or move them beyond the IBM midrange into the computer market at large. Prickett Morgan was also the editor of Unigram.X, published by British publisher Datamonitor, which licenses IT Jungle's editorial for that newsletter as well as for its ComputerWire daily news feed and for its Computer Business Review monthly magazine. He is currently Principal Analyst, Server Platforms & Architectures, for Datamonitor's research unit, and he regularly does consulting work on behalf of Datamonitor's AskComputerWire consulting services unit. Prickett Morgan began working for ComputerWire as a stringer for Computergram International in 1989. Prickett Morgan has been a contributing editor to many industry magazines over the years, including BusinessWeek Newsletter for Information Executives, Infoperspectives, Business Strategy International, Computer Systems News, IBM System User, Midrange Computing, and Midrange Technology Showcase, among others. Prickett Morgan studied aerospace engineering, American literature, and technical writing at the Pennsylvania State University and has a BA in English. He is not always as serious as his picture might lead you to believe.
April 24, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Thirteen weeks ago, when IBM reported its financial results for its final quarter of 2016, we said that the Power Systems business would decline in every quarter ahead of the Power9 launch, and while this is not a hard thing to predict, it has certainly turned out to be true in the first quarter of 2017. Both IBM’s Power Systems and Systems z machines and their related operating systems were hit by gut-wrenching declines.
The good news, as we have pointed out time and again, is that IBM’s true systems business is distinct from and is a superset that …Read more
April 17, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Sometimes I just have to laugh. One of the best things about the IBM i platform, and the thing that truly separates it aside from its sophisticated single memory storage architecture is the fact that it is an integrated system that is easy to deploy and even easier to administer. So many functions of the system are automated that companies that don’t want to hire database experts can do a very good job of coding applications and running their business with far fewer techies than other platforms require.
The same has never been said of AIX, and it certainly cannot …Read more
April 17, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In some ways, we miss the days when OS/400 and IBM i gear was more expensive than it is today. Thanks to considerably larger customer and reseller bases and because hardware was so expensive and, costing something on the order of a few mansions per month to rent or lease or finance, there was a vibrant market in second-hand AS/400 and iSeries equipment.
But as the base got smaller and systems got cheaper thanks to Moore’s Law improvements on all hardware components except the tin wrapping around them, the market for used equipment became thinner and less orderly. And, perhaps …Read more
April 10, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It looks like AIX shops got a better Valentine’s Day card than IBM i customers did.
One of the things that was supposed to happen when the iSeries and pSeries product lines were merged back in 2000 was that a unified Power Systems organization was going to run both the OS/400 (now IBM i) and AIX software platforms on a single, unified hardware platform with a single and equal hardware price. This was something we had been demanding from IBM so long that we were blue in the face, so to speak, and to its credit, IBM stuck to the …Read more
April 3, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
On one of the problems with cloud computing, from the point of view of the people building the clouds, is that they can provide per-user or per-hour utility style pricing to their customers for hardware and system software, but they have to pay for perpetual licenses to software and buy the hardware to provide that service. They have to get a lot of capital and shell it out before they can even begin to take in the first dollar.
Over the past several years, IBM has offered managed service providers – really more hosting companies than true cloud capacity vendors …Read more
March 27, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In last Monday’s issue of The Four Hundred, I rounded up the feeds, speeds, and pricing of the new Power S812 Mini system that Big Blue started selling in the middle of March to IBM i shops with modest computing needs. We are talking one core running at just over 3 GHz and providing an aggregate of 9,880 units of performance on the Commercial Processing Workload (CPW) online transaction processing benchmark test used to gauge the oomph of Power Systems and their predecessors.
This ain’t a lot of computing in 2017, people. Just pointing that out. And I will …Read more
March 27, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It happens every couple of years or so, and in fact, it has not happened in a couple of years so it looks like we were about due. We are talking about maintenance price hikes on a slew of IBM hardware, price hikes that are aimed mostly at stemming the gradual decline in maintenance revenues that IBM’s Global Services unit is seeing as its base of hardware contracts. In theory, such a price increase boosts the profits of its services arm, but it also helps cover some of the inflationary costs associated with providing hardware support and housing parts of …Read more
March 22, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The backwards compatibility of RPG and COBOL applications on new hardware and new operating systems in the IBM midrange is unheralded in the IT sector, and perhaps is only rivalled by the longevity of applications running in Big Blue’s System z mainframes. Somewhere out there in the world are applications running on IBM i platforms that could be running code that stretches all the way back to 1969 with the System/3.
Change is measured in the IBM i base, and with good reason. Small and medium businesses are conservative by nature because they don’t want to run any unnecessary risks, …Read more
March 20, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Back on Valentine’s Day, IBM rolled out geared down variant of the entry Power S812 single-socket Power8 system for its IBM i and AIX customer bases, giving some of the low-cost love that it has heretofore reserved for its growing base of Linux customers on Power iron. The new machines are welcome, and we are told that they are about 20 percent lower cost than equivalently configured Power S822 and Power S824 machines.
We are setting about to try to see if this is true, and as a first step, we have been hunting around for weeks to get configured …Read more
March 13, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Without change, nothing new happens. But change is always difficult, so there is always this push and pull between the way we have always done it and the way we might improve it, and there is also a kind of gravity associated with capital investments in hardware, software, people, and processes that impedes change – and often for the best. Otherwise, we would be changing everything all the time and no one would know what state anything is in.
The very stability of the IBM i platform, as measured in the way it runs and supports the applications on it …Read more