back to article IBM guns down Neon's mainframe accelerator in Texas

The hired legal guns were blazing, and when the smoke cleared, the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, located in Austin, granted a permanent injunction in favor of IBM in a long-running lawsuit Neon Enterprise Software, killing the controversial zPrime mainframe acceleration program. The zPrime tool was …


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  1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Fair enough

    So basically IBM didn't want customers getting wind of a product that might mean they won't upgrade kit for a while thus depriving IBM of revenue generated from the upgrade treadmill?

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Balls in the vice

    Must be nice for all those IBM customers to know they can't fart without paying IBM rates.

    Is there really such a cost/performance advantage to mainframes to make such lock-in worth it? Or are these customers all dependent on legacy stuff that they just have to grin and accept each turn of the vice handle?

    1. Dagg Silver badge

      It is all about legacy

      I used to work for big blue and the only stuff that was ever on the MF was legacy and most clients were activity moving to something else. I *NEVER* once saw anything new go onto a MF.

      A classic "standard" was to run the MQ Hubs on the MF. These days these are among the first to be migrated off the mainframe.

    2. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Mainframe != Legacy (well, not necessarily)

      For certain environments, Mainframe offers a very compelling argument - both in terms of cost per transaction, and in terms of availability/security. There's a very good reason why IBM has been so successful in the (notoriously tight fisted) banking sector.

      Secondly if you agree with Wikipedia in defining Legacy systems ("A legacy system is an old method, technology, computer system, or application program that continues to be used, typically because it still functions for the users' needs, even though newer technology or more efficient methods of performing a task are now available.") then Mainframe is most definitely not a legacy system. In many cases it is very much the newest and most efficient way of processing current transaction workloads.

  3. Peter Simpson 1

    I remember when

    the tech showed us which relay to pull out on the 402 accounting machine to make it run twice as fast. We were cautioned to replace it after finishing whatever rush job, because the motor in that unit wasn't as hefty as the one used in the 403 (which was the same machine, minus a relay and plus a heftier motor)

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Your good Uncle Ben

    Bed Dover, that is.....

  5. NoneSuch Silver badge

    and once again...

    Users lose options on the hardware they own and the only ones to gain anything financially are the lawyers.

  6. Dave 13
    Thumb Down

    If you can't change it, you don't own it..

    Just *why* would any sane person use a mainframe these days?



    (Sound of crickets chirping)

    1. The Evil One

      Mainframes these days are bomb proof.

      I still remember the days when we used to REIPL (IBM mainframe speak for REBOOT) the mainframe daily and within 10 minutes of a problem such as a memory leak occurring. That was the era when people who wanted robust systems bought fault tolerant boxes, not IBM or its clones.

      However IBM mainframe software and hardware has advanced. By 2003 one would expect the IBM/390 machines to stay up for at least a month without problems. If we wanted to make changes we would have to collect them all and schedule them for the monthly IPL.

  7. Beachrider

    A contract is a contract...

    Customers enter into contracts with IBM when they qualify for discounted pricing on these boxes.

    It looks like some customers were attempting to get around their commitments.

    I guess we cheer when they beat the tax-man. I suppose you can boo when they lose...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of directv

    Directv sued me for $3K because I bought a device that "could steal programming".

    The problem is Directv could not prove I stole it...and yes I bought a device....they treated the whole thing like a collection agency until they pissed off everyone and they went to Dish network.

    It does not look like IBM is treating Neon customers the same way.....I think Neon customers thought they were legal. Neon is a flea...and strangely enough their are 1,800 known species of fleas on this planet.

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  10. The Evil One

    The wicked anti-competive IBM of yestertear is back.

    Looks as if IBM is back to its bad anticompetitive behaviour of old when the problem was manufacturers of plug compatible mainframes.

    Maybe the court has come to a correct decision, but in that case the law is encouraging bad commercial behaviour by monopolists.

  11. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    So you don't *really* control your hardware you're merely allowed to own and operate it.

    Remind me again of how this is *not* like owning an iThingy.

  12. Kebabbert


    should not allow anyone to plugin a 3rd party graphics card. You should only be allowed to use DELL hardware, or be sued. That would be good business for DELL.

    As I understood it, you lease the slow IBM Mainframes, so you dont own them? If you bought them, then it's yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

    I hope this teaches a lesson for new companies to not rely on Mainframes. There are no new companies basing their business on Mainframes. Only old companies upgrading.

  13. Graybeard
    Paris Hilton


    So many comments, so little knowledge.

    The zIIP and zAAP are sold cheaply *specifically* with conditions controlling their use. The alternative is that you get to pay full freight for those engines. IBM is doing nothing anti-monopolistic, nothing that isn't clear and above-board. zPrime customers were no different from someone buying farm gas and using it in their daily commute -- knowingly cheating by going around the rules. I suppose the folks saying "You bought it, you can do what you want with it" think this is OK, too?

    #Dave 13: Your ignorance of the industry is showing. If you bank, fly, have insurance, or a lot of other daily activities, you use mainframes. Companies aren't "locked in", stupid, or insane: they spend a lot of time analyzing costs. Squatty boxes are frequently *not* cheaper, especially when you consider the cost of managing 3-9x the number of machines you think you need (production x3, QA x3, dev x3...).

    #Kebabbert: Your post is particularly irrelevant. Nobody is talking about plugging things in, nor leasing machines. For that matter, mainframes have spares built in, and can be upgraded on-the-fly -- I suppose you think that because you bought one CPU, you should be able to use all the CPUs that are in the box? That's self-defeating: the alternative is that you always have to pay for them all, at full-speed. That would be stupid. And "There are no new companies basing their business on Mainframes. Only old companies upgrading"? Really? You know this how? You're flat-out wrong, by the way -- there aren't a lot of 'em, but they exist. And certainly existing companies are adding applications, not just upgrading.

    Guess what, your experience in your little corner of the industry isn't necessarily representative. Good lesson to learn; might avoid you looking foolish in the future.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    There are ways to speed up mainframe work *legally*

    Back in the days of OS/390 a scheduler company reckoned that they could cut 25% off CPU hours *simply* by handling program termination (normal ends and ABENDs) better. Obviously it depended how the work flow was structured but for the right sort of job mix that could delay adding CPU's or main memory by *months* which could save serious cash.

    Sadly (like most of their competitors) they are now part of CA so likely gone right down the pan.

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