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.
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
March 6, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Back in the early days of the AS/400 midrange system, the processor, memory, networking, and disk and tape storage hardware embodied in the system was by far the most costly part of that system, far outweighing the cost of the systems software that ran atop it. We don’t have the precise numbers at hand, but it was something like 85 percent hardware cost and 15 percent software cost.
Fast-forward a few decades, and the Moore’s Law improvements in every component in the hardware means that hardware is far less costly. But software doesn’t have a Moore’s Law scaling; in fact, …Read more
March 6, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As the first building block of any system is the server, and watching how these are acquired, managed, and disposed of tells you a lot about what is going on with applications in the datacenter and who is making money off of them. It has been a long time since the Power Systems division at IBM has been an economic powerhouse in the server space, but now even the X86 platform, long dominated by Intel, is starting to show some signs of losing its luster.
It stands to reason. In the final quarter of this year, X86-based machines accounted for …Read more
February 20, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As expected, IBM rolled out a Valentine’s Day surprise for its IBM i and AIX customer bases with a new pair of machines aimed at giving a low powered, lower cost option for the customers running its legacy applications instead of Linux, which is the darling of the Power Systems business these days even though it does not come even close to representing the majority of the Power Systems revenue stream.
The Power Mini or IBMini, as I have been calling the machine affectionately, turns out to be a variant of the existing single-socket Power S812 system that IBM has …Read more
February 13, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Back in the day, when IBM wanted to get customers to move ahead to new iron and the Moore’s Law increases in processing capacity meant that it needed to gear down boxes to bring customers forward, IBM actually did something about it and offered a cut-down machines with lower – and competitive – prices.
Remember the AS/400 Model 150 machines launched two decades ago, and then the breakthrough “Invader” AS/400 Model 170 machines, using the “Apache” and then “Northstar” PowerPC processors that followed them in 1998 and 1999? These systems, in a very real sense, saved the AS/400 business. Back …Read more
February 8, 2017 Doug Bidwell
For the past nineteen years now, Doug Bidwell, the PTF slinger who owns IBM midrange business partner DLB Systems Associates, has been putting together a guide to help OS/400, i5/OS, and IBM i shops figure out what to patch in their operating systems for midrange gear every week.
For as long as we can remember — and that is not long as we are getting a bit gray or white, depending — we have been publishing Bidwell’s IBM i PTF Guide, and we are thrilled to be getting it back on press and to be incorporating it into the …Read more