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.
The move is part of IBM's regeneration of its mainframe business. The next generation of the S/390, called Generation 5, was rechristened the Enterprise Server in May.
But a source inside the company acknowledged that there may be some overlap between the expected new seven, eight and nine-ways and the lower performance G5 X engines announced in May. "The Y models provide additional granularity and smaller steps between different models," said the source. "It means that customers don't buy unwanted, extra capacity."
Phil Payne, analyst and managing director of Isham Research, 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 also suggested that IBM might announce a new version of OS/390 in mid-August at its annual Share Guide user meeting.
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