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 12, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
We have been waiting to see what impact on performance the Spectre and Meltdown speculative execution patches, which plug some security vulnerability holes that search engine giant Google discovered last summer and made public in early January, would have on Power Systems iron running the IBM i operating system.
Now that Big Blue has published the first edition of the Power Systems Performance Report that includes the new “ZZ” Power 9-based systems, we not only get a sense of the relative performance of the “Nimbus” Power9 chip for entry servers. We also can figure out the performance impact of the …Read more
March 5, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
There are a lot of changes that come with any new Power Systems platform. But perhaps the biggest change – and one that will in some ways make the Power9 platform more competitive with X86 and ARM servers and in others less competitive – is the way IBM is shifting from buffered DDR3 and DDR4 main memory used in Power8 iron to plain vanilla registered DDR4 memory that is commonly used in all servers these days.
Buffered memory had its heyday on high-end NUMA systems, and was necessary to try to balance the needs of memory bandwidth against ever-increasing compute …Read more
March 5, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As 2017 came to an end, X86 server shipments and revenues surged, and IBM’s System z14 mainframes came to market and Big Blue got a much-needed injection of revenues and profits in its Cognitive Systems hardware business.
While IBM did start shipping some initial Power9 iron as the year came to an end, shipments are not going to start in earnest until March, when the “ZZ” entry Power Systems machines announced in February start shipping. In the quarter, and more or less consistent with what IBM said recently in its own financial reports, IDC believes that Big Blue had $2.69 …Read more
February 26, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It is hard to say for sure, but the two most popular Power9 machines that IBM will sell in the current and coming years will probably be the single-socket Power S914 or the two-socket Power S924. A lot depends on performance, which we don’t have metrics for yet, but one of these machines is going to be the volume leader – unless they are neck and neck.
We flipped a coin to decide which machine to cover first, and heads was the Power S914 and tails was the Power S924, and the quarter showed the American eagle and not George …Read more
February 19, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In last Wednesday’s issue of The Four Hundred, we gave you a high-level overview of the six new Power9 entry servers, code-named “ZZ” by IBM, as well as an initial pass on the changes that came with the latest Technology Refreshes for IBM i 7.2 and 7.3. If you haven’t read these, please do, because they give you information on IBM’s strategy with regard to the Power9 iron and the IBM i platform.
In this issue, we are going to drill down into the six new Power9 systems, taking particular care with the single-socket Power S914 and dual-socket Power …Read more
February 14, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The most important part of the Power9 rollout for the vast majority of IBM i customers has finally happened: Big Blue has lifted the veil on the Power9-based “ZZ” systems that we have been hearing about for a few months now and that are being delivered in the Power S914, Power S922, and Power S924 servers.
These are three of the six machines based on the ZZ design, and they are the only ones that can IBM i without any restrictions. Two other machines, which are called the Power H922 and Power H924, were created explicitly to run SAP’s HANA …Read more
February 12, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In last Monday’s issue of The Four Hundred, I told you that the market was getting restless for the rollout of the mainstream servers based on the Power9 processor, and Jenny Thomas, our publisher, commented on our @ITJungleNews Twitter feed that it was also me that was getting restless. Indeed, I am. My iron level is getting low, I suppose.
Well, the good news for both you and me is that the “ZZ” variants of the Power Systems platforms, which we talked about last week based on the chatter we have been hearing, are coming sooner rather than later. …Read more
February 5, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The natives are getting restless, as my parents used to say when we were getting hungry. And the IBM i and AIX bases are definitely getting restless to know what Power9 iron that will be able to run Big Blue’s own operating systems in conjunction with the PowerVM server virtualization hypervisor. They also want to know if IBM is going to give customers a big improvement in price/performance compared to Power7+ and Power8 machines that are still widely available in the channel.
In short, they want to plan their future, and after four years of waiting, it is time.
IBM …Read more
February 5, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Talking about switching platforms is one thing, and it is relatively easy if you are talking about moving from Unix infrastructure servers based on RISC servers to machines that are going to run essentially the same workloads on Linux systems based on X86 processors. Leaving the IBM i fold, particularly for customers who have created their own applications, is another matter entirely.
That, in a nutshell, is one of the main reasons why the IBM i platform, in its many different incarnations in the past 30 years, has persisted. The database is the stickiest piece of software in the datacenter, …Read more
January 29, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It is amazing to me that IBM stops selling specific Power Systems and features in such a gradual and what looks like a haphazard fashion. It seems to take forever to kill off older product lines. It may be more a function of what supplies Big Blue has in the barn than with some kind of orderly, sensible withdrawal from marketing of prior generations of gear.
The upshot is that it is very hard to figure out what IBM is and is not selling, and when it will stop selling particular features. And because IBM does not usually provide the …Read more