IBM has announced a four-year, $200 million investment to make it more
cost effective and easier for companies to manage data on IBM S/390 enterprise
servers. They will attempt to compete more effectively with Computer Associates
(which acquired Platinum Technology and Sterling Software), BMC, and Oracle
in the lucrative database tools market. These types of tools are indispensable
to database administrators and system administrators to ensure that performance
and uptime are maximized.
to the vendor, IBM's database toolset, "available at half the price of
competitive offerings in most cases, provides customers with maintenance
capabilities that improve the functionality of e-business applications."
Perna, general manager, IBM Data Management Solutions, said "The industry
as a whole is facing escalating costs in systems deployment and a shortage
of skills. IBM's data management tools address this concern by helping
database administrators improve productivity and enhance system performance
and resource utilization."
has stated that it will deliver more than 35 tools for DB2 and Information
Management Systems for OS/390 environments to help customers manage large
volumes of data inherent to any e-business. The four areas of focus include:
and replication management (the ability to provide 24x7 support)
management (the ability to craft application connections to the database)
Given that Computer Associates has purchased Platinum Technology and Sterling
Software, and has therefore "collapsed" the market for database tools,
leaving only BMC and Compuware as major competitors in the space, this
area should be ripe for IBM. They have the necessary research and development
muscle, especially when it is concentrated on its own mainframe platforms.
believe that IBM will be successful in this initiative, considering their
extensive customer base, huge sales force, and their ability to cut deals
on pricing with their larger customers. However, a four-year timeline
will make it difficult for them to execute with a proper time-to-market.
Most of the products they are competing with have been in use for many
years, so dislodging the other vendor's products from the current customers
will take a lot of effort.
Most firms with S/390 systems most likely already have database and systems
management software in place already. Customers should evaluate carefully
whether IBM is bringing any new distinctive competency to the table, even
if pricing is favorable. It should be remembered that the database and
system administrators of the mainframe will have to be retrained on the
new software, existing purchase and maintenance agreements may have to
be abandoned at the customer's cost, and many features may not be available
until much later in the four-year timeline outlined by IBM. If chosen,
the contract should be carefully crafted to ensure that required features
are supplied in the necessary timeline for the company.