IBM, Oracle in Mainframe Collaboration

The software maker will bring a host of applications to IBM's System z platform.

IBMs announced partnership with Oracle encompassing the mainframe, Linux and business applications is only the latest in what will be a series of such collaborations with major software vendors, according to the head of IBMs System z business.

Oracle and IBM announced Oct. 24 at the software makers OpenWorld show in San Francisco that they have entered a marketing and business partnership that will result in the bulk of Oracles enterprise applications becoming available on IBMs mainframe systems running Linux.

It also will offer customers help from both vendors in migrating their workloads onto Linux running on the System z servers.

"What youve got here are two very powerful, very strong, very enterprise-focused companies saying that they are going to help customers do a couple of things," Stallings said.

Not only are more Oracle applications going to be available on System z servers and a joint effort made to help customers migrate their applications, but IBM also is offering a rebate to customers who buy Oracle software and put it on a new or upgraded mainframe, he said.

The Oracle announcement comes on the heels of a similar one IBM made in August, when officials said they were going to invest $40 million over the next five years to test and support applications from SAP on the mainframe. In addition, IBM also is offering rebates in connection with this partnership.

The Armonk, N.Y., technology giant is looking at similar collaborations, Stallings said.

"Our strategy going forward is to partner with application providers and ISVs," he said. "Youre going to see a steady stream of announcements like this."

At a time when sales of smaller x86 servers is growing rapid, IBMs mainframe business continues to expand, and IBM is aggressively pushing the platform.

The company announced Oct. 4 that it will spend $100 million over the next five years to make the mainframe more accessible and easier to use.

In April, IBM rolled out the System z9 Business Class mainframe targeted at the midrange.

The company also has upgraded the operating system with the new z/OS V1.8 that includes enhanced monitoring capabilities and has rolled out a number of specialty engines that make it easier to run Linux and Java applications.

For IBM, the results of those and other moves have been continued growth. In the third quarter 2006, the company saw System z revenues jump 25 percent and the delivery of MIPS (millions of instructions per second) increase 16 percent.

Adding greater Oracle capabilities on Linux will continue IBMs push to make the mainframe more accessible, Stallings said.

System z servers currently can support Oracle database technology, he said. Over the next couple of years, Oracle, of Redwood Shores, Calif., will engineer a wider range of applications—such as those in its E-Business Suite, as well as those acquired through its purchases of such companies as PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems—for use on the mainframe.

The mainframe collaboration news dovetails with other Linux-based announcements Oracle made at OpenWorld.

It also came at the same show in which Oracle announced a partnership with Hewlett-Packard and Intel aimed at helping customers modernize their mainframe applications to enable them to migrate off the platform.

Still, having a greater Oracle application presence on the System z platform is good news for the vendors and end users, Stallings said.

"All of these applications eventually are going to run on Linux, and now I can administer and service all of those applications on the mainframe," he said.

The solutions will run on the System z9 Enterprise Class and z9 Business Class mainframes.

In addition, about 300 employees from both IBM and Oracle in three global customer centers will work with customers to help them bring their Oracle applications onto the mainframe.

The rebates for customers can run up to $250,000, Stallings said.


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