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1/20/2011
03:29 PM
Bob Evans
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Global CIO: IBM Zings Oracle And HP Over Limited Vision

Calling Oracle "a one-trick pony" and saying HP's failed to invest wisely, IBM's hardware chief says IBM's surging hardware revenue is a sign of things to come.

Fresh off posting its largest increase in hardware revenue in more than a decade, IBM expects to beat both Oracle and HP in the systems business through relentless investments in workload optimization, service management, and diverse delivery models, according to IBM senior VP Rod Adkins.

Stressing that IBM's recent jump in hardware revenue—up 22% year over year—is the result of years of comprehensive investments in everything from chip technology to infrastructure to software optimization to integration and cloud-computing technologies, Adkins said IBM's refreshed hardware lineup posted significant revenue growth "across the board."

"We've completely refreshed our hardware offerings in all categories," Adkins said in a phone interview Wednesday, "and we saw that in the growth numbers for our different product lines: mainframes up 72%, x86 offerings up 18%, Microelectronics up 32%, and Power systems up 3%."

While 3% growth for Power systems isn't terribly impressive on the surface, Adkins said, the high end of that product line recorded a blowout quarter, with revenue from high-end Power systems up 200% over the previous quarter.

"Innovation and R&D investments do matter, and this business has become a whole lot more than just leveraging commodity parts or driving supply-chain execution," said Adkins in a direct dig at HP, which in the past 18 months has pegged much of its success to expertise in those two areas.

"Sure, you have to have that expertise, but it's not by any means the only thing," said Adkins, breaking out IBM's systems strategy into three key components: workload optimization, service management, and delivery models. Here's how he outlined the significance behind each of those pieces:

Workload optimization: "Systems should be composed and constructed to provide the best workload-based performance, and that also suggests diversity in the various architectures to drive leadership for various workload categories, whether analytics or security or whatever," Adkins said. "And that's exactly whey we make investments at all levels of the stack: hardware, integration, and software."

Service management: "Today's dialogue in the data center is all around improving the economics: how to drive cost out of the infrastructure. So that's been driving our investments in tools to help customers automate and more efficiently manage those data centers, stripping out costs that just aren't providing much if any return."

Delivery models: Adkins said IBM will lean hard on its cloud platforms:

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