HP gets personal in new IBM mainframe bash

HP - the vendor formerly more formerly known as Hewlett-Packard - has upped the tempo of its campaign to prise enterprise workloads away from IBM mainframes on to its own server platforms such as Superdome, with accusations that Big Blue is reverting to old fear tactics to defend  its corner.

HP has been buoyed by a recent decline in zSeries sales, which fell 27 per cent in Q4/2009 compared with the same period in the previous year. HP attributes this in large part to a factor of growing prominence which, ironically, IBM can do little about - the ageing and impending retirement of people with increasingly scarce mainframe related skills, such as programming in COBOL and even Assembler language.

HP alleges the sharp downturn in zSeries fortunes has led IBM to make misleading claims about the risks of migrating from mainframes for their customers. IBM dismisses these claims, insisting that many existing customers are increasing their mainframe capacity, and that last year’s sales decline was a temporary blip caused by the global recession.

Certainly the decline in zSeries sales came after several years of sustained and strong growth, so it will take another few quarters before we can start to write off the mainframe yet again.

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