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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Vendor Loyalty?

Do you recall the old saying "No one got fired for recommending IBM"?  More importantly are you old enough to remember when it was a true statement.  Today I wonder how long IBM will be in the computer hardware business...

I grew up with IBM.  I did recommend IBM because back in the day you could trust them to provide solutions (expensive solutions) that met the needs of your business enterprise.  I remember when IBM told us to move to COBOL.  I remember when the told us to use CICS for this new "On-Line" processing...  I joined the throng when in 1997 IBM embraced Java and introduced WebSphere.  I used to laugh that I was one of the first kids on my planet to embrace Java via WebSphere.  I spent over $3000 per developer for IBM's RAD based development toolset.

I adopted other IBM technologies and bought into SOA when it was being promoted as the latest architecture of the future.  Over the years I have been responsible for recommending and encouraging the companies that I have worked for to spend millions on IBM technologies, including IBM hardware which we dependent on for high performance and reliability.  I recalled when everyone laughed at Microsoft based systems and joked about the three fingered salute (Control, Alt, Delete) as the three most used keystrokes...  

Today, the world has changed.  First of all the hardware has matured.  You can buy a $200 no-name clone computer most likely built in China where you can swap out disk drives while the machine is running without it missing a beat.  You can build incredibly powerful and reliable clusters of computers that not only replicate data, but applications throughout a data center and across data centers, often at many locations world wide.

The fantastic thing about today's world is you need only buy the hardware, cabling, networking technology, and facility to put the equipment.

The software is free and open source!  I'm working with a company that is using Redhat Linux, Jboss, along with several other open source technologies to implement robust distributed systems in their own private "cloud" environment.  Note that data is replicated to another site and the system is available 24 x 7 with no outages.

Interestingly enough, IBM is releasing new high performance technology, but losing market share and revenue with a drop of nearly 50% of its server market share between 2013 and 2014 according to Gartner.  That is significant as Gartner most definitely favors IBM in all of its reports, but can no longer cover IBM's decline as a major provider of server technology.

While IBM still sells its WebSphere line of application servers it has dropped to less than 1% marketshare in the Application Server market place.

SOA has been replaced with REST and the world is moving towards cloud based technology.

The world is changing!  Change with it, but so so in a sensible manner.