Mainframes by their nature require large staffs and big budgets. It's easy to slip a big IBM services contract in! There are few installations but lots of needs; let's call this a "vertical" market. In spite of the Microsoft hypocrisy, vaporware, and lies, enterprise-size PC networks also require large staffs and big budgets. There are zillions of PC consultants because of the ease of entry into the PC world: hardware, software, and education are cheap. There's an IBM services opportunity here too; this is a "horizontal" market. The iSeries is a do-it-yourself box. It's scalable and reliable. It steals from both the mainframe and the PC sides of the market. Based on my own experience, I'd suspect the iSeries is an "efficient" (in terms of cost and other resources) box. IBM's problem is they've made the iSeries too good and too easy to use for a wide segment of the IT environment. There's an albino 800-pound gorilla out there, and it presents a dilemma for IBM because it's sitting in a very profitable part of the IT expanse. Doesn't it seem like the big consulting/services gigs are usually PC or mainframe? There are a couple of observations worth making. The iSeries user base makes Mac bigots look like slackers on roofies. The announcement of a Linux-only mainframe signals IBM's corporate commitment to Linux; the mainframe prices are much higher and represent a substantial revenue opportunity. It makes sense to expect a Linux-only iSeries; I suspect quite a lot of the attraction of the iSeries would be lost with such an announcement (I guess work management, security, and database could exist as closed applications). The iSeries is really a Cinderella system suffering at the hands of her ugly sisters. But the clock's striking midnight...
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