IBM's Rebranding Reflects E-Business Strategy

IBM formally announced last week the rebranding of its entire server line in hopes of positioning itself to take better advantage of opportunities in the mushrooming e-business world.

The rebranding reflects a shift in Internet commerce, according to IBM officials. As a result of this shift, users need superior processing and comprehensive e-business infrastructure to uniformly deploy different workloads and applications across architectures.

"The Internet is moving to an era where users need an integrated e-business infrastructure that must work flawlessly, regardless of the volumes and very different work loads it must support. This is what is driving our new [hardware] server strategy," said Irving Wldawsky-Berger, IBM's vice president of technology and strategy.

IBM's panoramic strategic view and its positioning of the rebranded hardware won praise from some customers.

"The renaming does get rid of that alphabet soup they had with the AS/400 and RS/6000, but more importantly I have a better sense of where the company is going with both its hardware and server for e-business," said John Henderson, a systems analyst at a large Chicago-based bank.

To evaluate the specific sort of e-business infrastructure that users need and want the most, IBM formed the Institute of High Performance Web Computing. The Institute studied 500 e-businesses, ranging from Fortune 1000 companies to those born on the Web.

"We concluded that we had to redesign our [server] offerings to accommodate the types of workloads and buyers who characterize the New Economy," said Bill Zeitler, senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Server Group, in Somers, N.Y.

IBM also recast its server line in light of the growing open-source movement.

"It is clear open-source technologies will fundamentally change the way people build more transportable applications across platforms," Zeitler said.

To that end, IBM plans to aggressively deliver common sets of technologies across its hardware platforms that will better tie the systems together.

"It won't be just common chips but common middleware, interconnectivity, management consoles, and operator navigational capabilities," Zeitler said. "There is a whole set of hardware and software commonality that takes it to the next level," he said.

The IBM eServer line includes IBM's S/390, now named the Z series; RS/6000, now called the P series; AS/400, now the I series; and Netfinity servers, now called the X series.

This week's IBM news prompted Technauts, a Cary, N.C. ISV, to claim ownership of the eServer brand name.

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