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April 4, 1989

IBM AFFIRMS BELIEF IN MAINFRAMES WITH 3090-380S; 9370S

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM responded to a very bearish piece right on the front page of yesterday’s New York Times forecasting the stead decline of the mainframe by rushing out the announcement of a new 3090 model, which reached the US media on Monday night (with John Akers on the board of the Times, IBM is in a position to know what’s going into tomorrow’s paper). The new topend machine is the 3090-380S, a variant of the three-processor 3090300S that can be partitioned. The $7.99m mainframe consists of two frames, one with two processors and the other with one; by comparison a 3090 300S with the same processing power is $7.035m, so you pay a lot more for the second frame and extra flexibility. The 54 MIPS machine will be generally available in November. At the same time, IBM said it will no longer require customers to install balanced 3090 mainframes. Formerly, IBM insisted that both sides of its paired multi-processor systems (for instance, the four processor 3090-400S or six-processor 600S) have the same amount of expanded memory and the same number of channels. From May, customers can write their own tickets on the 250S, 280S, 400S, 500S and 600S only: if the peculiarities of a user’s workload require an asymmetrical system, IBM will support that configuration. This change of policy will be viewed as a move toward new 3090 clusters. Eventually, IBM will support groups of processors that use a common pool of peripherals; as with DEC’s VAXcluster system, these processors will not have to be the same size, and may not even necessarily be of the same model group. IBM’s initial experience supporting 3090S machines that can be tailored to users’ perceived needs will help the manufacturer determine just how practical the multiple-mainframe scheme is in the field. Also now available is the delayed system-managed storage function in MVS/Data Facility Product 3.1 so that MVS/ESA JES2 users can now apply all the capabilities of the new system managed Data Facility Stor-age Management Subsystem. There is a new release of DPPX/370, and, anticipating DEC’s forthcoming higher performance VAX 6000s and the price-performance claims it would like to have made next Monday (CI No 1,147), IBM also replaced the bottom-end 9373-20 with a $26,250 Model rated at up to 1.5 times the 20 – implying about 0.75 MIPS; it will be available in May – UKP50,000 fully configured in the UK. It also enhanced performance of the 9375-50 by 26%, making it about 1.5 MIPS, at $60,900 in a base configuration – no UK price but existing Model 50 users can have the upgrade free – also from May. At the same time, IBM has officially withdrawn two of the 9370s, the Models 20 and 40, with effect from July.

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