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 18, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Despite the fact that Moore’s Law increases in performance in CPUs have been slowing for years, for many customers, the growth in the throughput performance of processors as more cores and threads are added to a Power9 chip have outstripped the capacity growth requirements for many IBM i shops. For many of these customers, a single core Power7, Power7+, or even Power8 processor did the trick just fine, and is better suited to their needs than an entry Power9 machine with just one core running IBM i.
We would argue – and have argued many times – that what IBM …Read more
March 18, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
We spend a lot of time here at The Four Hundred thinking about the vintage of the hardware, operating systems, and applications running on the IBM i platform and its forbears. But we are also concerned, as you know, with the vintage of the people who are running and programming the systems out there in the IBM midrange installed base.
It is hard to get any quantifiable data on the people out there running the platforms – and we thank you, as loyal readers of this publication for several decades now for being in this market for even more decades …Read more
March 11, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
For many enterprises, the current generations of processors that come from IBM, Intel, AMD, and the Arm collective are plenty good enough – and available at reasonable price/performance relative to each other and to their predecessors – that the end of 2018 was a perfectly reasonable time to buy what is on the truck. But hyperscalers and public cloud builders, who live and die by the total cost of ownership of their systems as gauged by raw compute power, space required, and power consumed, have to take a longer view. So with new processors coming from Intel and AMD on …Read more
March 4, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
A system product line does not always come out finished and complete, all at once, and its retirement from the sales catalog and the field is not always a simple and smooth thing, either. After a certain amount of criticism from its largest customers, Big Blue last year decided that it would get a little bit more orderly about the latter, as machines are withdrawn from marketing and eventually support. As for the former, well, there are always some nips and tucks that are done here and there as parts of the system are tweaked to meet specific customer demands. …Read more
February 25, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Any model takes refinement, whether it is something a human spreadsheet jockey puts together or it is a distributed neural network that is trained with machine learning techniques to do some kind of identification and manipulation of data. So it is with the Power Systems revenue model I put together a month ago in the wake of IBM reporting its financial results for the fourth quarter.
I did not really mean to get into it at the time. I was just going to assemble a short table of the constant currency growth rates of the Power Systems business and …Read more
February 18, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Well, that took quite a long time. After what seems like eons of nudging and cajoling and pushing, IBM is making the IBM i operating system and its integrated database management system, as well as the application development tools and other systems software, available on its self-branded IBM Cloud public cloud.
Big Blue previewed its plans to bring both IBM i and AIX to the IBM Cloud at its annual Think conference in Las Vegas, on scale out machines aimed at small and medium businesses as well as to customers who want to run clusters of machines, and on scale …Read more
February 11, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If nothing else, the IBM i platform has exhibited extraordinary longevity. One might even say legendary longevity, if you want to take its history all the way back to the System/3 minicomputer from 1969. This is the real starting point in the AS/400 family tree and this is when Big Blue, for very sound legal and technical and marketing reasons, decided to fork its products to address the unique needs of large enterprises (with the System/360 mainframe and its follow-ons) and small and medium businesses (starting with the System/3 and moving on through the System/34, System/32, System/38, and System/36 in …Read more
February 4, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
There are many things that one could constructively criticize IBM about when it comes to the Power Systems platform running the IBM i operating system. But, in recent years at least, one of those things would not be – and could not be – that the company has not done enough to embrace the most important elements of the modern programming toolbox.
In fact, the company has done and increasingly good job of embracing and extending the compilers, interpreters, frameworks, and models of the programming languages that have gone mainstream since Java first took the stage at the beginning of …Read more
January 28, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It is incredibly difficult to try to get a handle on how IBM’s overall systems business and then its Power Systems portion of that business is doing, something that I voiced frustration about last summer when talking about Big Blue’s financial results for the second quarter of 2018. At the time, I told you I would take a whack at trying to build a model of Power Systems sales to give us a sense of how the hardware platform is doing, and I took the first stab at this in the wake of IBM announcing its financial results for the …Read more
January 28, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The Power Systems line, buoyed by the deliver of high-end Power E980 systems for big AIX and IBM i jobs, a steady stream of IBM i system upgrades, and some traction in Power-based Linux clusters for HPC and data analytics workloads, turned in a pretty good final quarter for 2018, and capped three prior quarters of growth during 2018 to turn in a full year of growth.
You can’t tell how much growth, of course, but in the lead story of this issue of The Four Hundred, I took my best stab at modeling the quarterly revenue stream of …Read more