IBM will ship new G5 mainframes before the end of September, installing top-end 125Mips Turbo Y engines into smaller seven, eight and nine-way machines.
IBM sources confirmed the plan and said: "We haven't announced anything yet but we will announce additional models, probably around 1 September."
Phil Payne, analyst and managing director of Isham Research, expects new models in September. "But there may be some overlap between these seven, eight and nine-ways and the lower performance G5 X engines announced in May.
"G5 X systems are available now on the Early Support Programme (ESP) with general availability in the second week of August and lots of quantity in September,? said Payne. ?The Y Turbos will be on ESP from mid-August with general availability in the third or fourth week of September."
The IBM insider acknowledged there may be an overlap between the G5 X and Y models. "It provides additional granularity and smaller steps between different models. It means that customers don't buy unwanted, extra capacity."
Payne said: "If a customer knows he needs the higher performance Y engine by February next year, he can buy now, but he'll take a financial hit by carrying extra capacity. If he buys an X now and upgrades to the Y in February, it involves extra costs and 11 or 12 hours downtime to perform the upgrade. That's a long time for users running 24 hour operations. It's more convenient to enter the Y ladder with the new systems. It makes a lot of sense."
Payne suggested that IBM might announce the new systems in mid-August at the annual Share Guide user meeting: "We expect IBM to announce the new version of OS/390 on 18 August at Share, and it may announce the new mainframes during the conference."
On IBM's mainframe software pricing, Payne remains highly critical. He said: "IBM still forces users to pay high charges. We know of one user who wanted to front-end a huge DB2 installation with Lotus Domino, but the extra 200Mips to run Domino pushed up the DB2 licence into the next band. It was too expensive."
He said Amdahl's recently announced Multiple Server Facility on the Millennium 700 is the ideal solution, allowing users to run Domino on two engines and DB2 on the remaining six, with no effect on DB2 licences. ?But I fear that any software pricing initiative announced at Share won't be constructive. The people dealing with this haven't impressed me in their understanding of the problem, never mind providing a solution."
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