IBM’s Monster T-Rex Deal

Beating out several rivals, IBM on Friday announced a four-year mainframe deal with German financial IT services provider Sparkassen Informatik (SI).

The hardware, software and services agreement is worth “hundreds of millions dollars,” officials said, and extends the Armonk, N.Y., company’s current relationship with the European outfit.

An IBM spokesperson said its mainframe contract was selected from competing bids by Hewlett-Packard , Sun Microsystems and EMC Corp. .

SI will swap out its existing 36 zSeries 900s for 20 zSeries 990 machines, dubbed T-Rex. SI officials expect to get nearly twice the processing capability with the new mainframes in place. The zSeries 990 is a major upgrade from the 900, featuring 32 processors instead of 16 and capable of performing 100,000 million instructions per second (MIPS) or 450 million transactions per day.

The T-Rex was first unleashed in May 2003.

Officials at the German company expect to make considerable return on its investment in short order, expecting to achieve cost savings of $251 million by early 2005.

“Our mission is to be come a standard solution for the retail banking business,” said Fridolin Neumann, SI CEO, in a statement. “This means we need a platform with the potential to enable us to provide continual performance/cost benefits to our customers as well as to be able to meet the market demand for production performance.”

The deal is certainly a victory for IBM and its mainframe named after an dinosaur; competitors were quick to lampoon the mainframe and predict a similar
fate
to the dinosaur with less-expensive Unix-flavored mainframes on the market.

Analysts say the major systems vendors have all been looking for ways to compete in an extremely competitive market. One of them is infrastructure simplification — putting disparate computing functions, normally spread around six or seven servers throughout the company network — and IBM has been offering deep discounts to customers who buy into the theory.

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