IBM will adopt "Smarter Systems for a Smarter Planet" as its data center marketing moniker, putting distance between today's "dynamic infrastructure" and the me-too catch phrases used by competitors.

Alexander Wolfe, Contributor

March 8, 2010

3 Min Read

Simplifying stuff down to the PowerPoint level is probably viable when you're doing presentations for the CEO, but it doesn't cut it when the buyer is analyzing architectures.

The whole thing is such a challenge, I believe nobody has yet come up with an easy answer. Indeed, I believe the inherent complexity of data center solutions works against marketers' ability to ever encapsulate things under a simple umbrella. Cisco has perhaps come closest, with its "Unified Computing System" label, but even there the simplicity is being exploded by customers who increasingly want to dive into the details of what's under the hood.

Bottom line, slogans -- which are subject to change, anyway, at the next executive-level shuffle or ad agency review--aren't going to matter as much as technology, a front on which Adkins is going to market with a strong message.

Dual Systems View

The final angle I want to mention is the challenge faced by IBM, and well as HP and Sun/Oracle, is that of managing the fielding of both x86 and RISC systems. (Dell and Cisco sell only x86 servers, and HP is moving in that direction, though it still offers high-end Itanium servers.)

Back in the day, when x86 processors were underpowered compared to their RISC or Itanium uncles, there was a clear distinction. Today, not so much, and the market has verified this lessening disparity via the increased sales of x86 servers.

These days, RISC and Itanium are used mainly in high-end transaction processing applications, though there's some nipping at the heels on the lower range of this space by x86 clusters.

There's a lot more detail I could get into on the distinctions, which space doesn’t allow. Suffice to say that IBM is well positioned on both fronts, with its x86 boxes and its higher-end Power7 offerings.

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What's your take? Let me know, by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me directly at [email protected].

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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of

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About the Author(s)

Alexander Wolfe


Alexander Wolfe is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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