IBM S/390 General Manager

Letter from my desk...

July, 1997

A New Chapter for S/390

At S/390, we've just finished one of the most significant chapters in IBM history: the total makeover of the mainframe.

On June 9, we introduced the S/390 G4, our fourth-generation CMOS large enterprise server. Business Week called it "the hippest mainframe yet." In delivering G4, we've fulfilled a promise we made to you when we started our transformation in 1993: to deliver a CMOS processor as powerful as our last bipolar one.

And at every step of the way, our customers have told us what you need to succeed.

Since we began our transformation in 1993, we've changed our chip technology; we've invented the Parallel Sysplex clustering architecture; we've combined some 70 separate software features and functions within OS/390, and we've become UNIX 95 certified, thereby attracting a long list of new applications.

The next step is making sure that power is applied to new workload. That's the chapter we're writing now.

We're targeting four kinds of workload for S/390: Networked applications, or e-business; enterprise integration; business intelligence, including data mining; and more packaged applications.

Let's look at those one at a time.

First, electronic commerce. In today's increasingly networked world, customers are going beyond posting information on Web sites. You're getting into interactive applications that make massive amounts of data available over the network. Some of you are using these applications to tie together your entire enterprises, including your customers and suppliers.

As you do that, you need more powerful servers: servers that can handle the kinds of 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week, 365-day-a-year applications you've depended on S/390 to handle for decades.

Second, enterprise integration, including consolidation of multiple department servers. Many of you are using S/390 this way, both to lower costs and to improve manageability and control.

Another increasingly popular area that plays to S/390's classic strengths is business intelligence, including data mining. We know you are awash in data these days; so are we. The challenge is to get at that data, and leverage it for the greatest possible benefit. Again, that takes a server with horsepower to spare.

And finally, new applications. Over the last two years, S/390 has attracted more than 1700 new applications, including many developed for UNIX and NT. We'll continue to go after more.

We've fulfilled the promises we made in 1993. In this new chapter of our history, we're making three new commitments.

First, we'll help you meet the demands of new workload through ongoing technical development, by continuing to optimize microprocessor performance, I/O bandwidth, and memory so you can get the most out of your systems.

Second, we'll continue to build on Parallel Sysplex, offering performance improvements measured in orders of magnitude.

And third, we'll help you leverage your existing investments in data and applications by making it easier and easier for you to develop new applications.

Our goal is to make it possible for you to handle information without limits – whether you're scaling up traditional S/390 workloads, or adding new workload.

We're excited about this next chapter of the S/390 story. And we hope all of you will help us write it.

Linda Sanford

Copyright 1997