Speaking Monday to investment analysts, following the release of the company's second-quarter financial results, IBM CFO Mark Loughridge blamed the weak second-quarter performance of IBM's mainframe business on the impending launch. The company's revenue from mainframe sales during the period declined 24% year-over-year "as we approach the end of what has been a long product cycle," Loughridge said. The CFO said the newest member of the IBM zSeries line would be announced next week and available in mid-September. The formal launch is expected to come next Tuesday at an event in New York City.
Loughridge said the zSeries' "unique security, integration, and workload-management capabilities will be extended" in the new product line. An IBM spokesman declined to provide further details.
Next week's launch will center on an upgrade to the company's high-end zSeries 990 machine, predicts Gartner analyst Mike Chuba. The new system will likely feature more than 32 processors, which is the maximum capacity of the current 990, and he also expects it will feature enhanced memory and input/output capabilities. "When you improve the machine, you have to improve those things that feed the machine," Chuba says. All told, Chuba expects the system will yield a 30% to 40% overall performance improvement over its predecessor.
Chuba believes the new system will appeal mostly to high-end users in financial institutions and businesses with similar intensive computing needs. Says Chuba, "This is more about keeping their existing mainframe customers on mainframes than it is about attracting new mainframe customers."