back to article Bigger Blue: Tonic for Ginni as IBM actually does OK in storage

Diving into IBM's fourth-quarter and full-year results show its storage surge has now run a whole year and possibly pushed Dell EMC into a "Refuse to Lose" channel campaign to regain sales momentum. In the systems business, up 32 per cent year-on-year at $3.3bn, the three brands – mainframes, Power and Storage – were all up. …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Even a blind elephant finds the occasional truffle..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Even

      Elephant? I' m curious where this was posted from. And the state of their truffles.

  2. theblackhand


    If you can halve your storage revenues in 5 years, you might eventually get a small uptick when some of the customers finally decide to refresh?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So...

      "as well as the capacity increase linked to mainframe demand."

      I think the server refreshes played a large role. People tend to refresh the mainframe and the DS8000 at the same time. Likewise with the iSeries. That is probably the major factor. Power9 and mainframe driving the refresh of storage attaches.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    storage bundled is storage gained

    Growth in mainframe due to new models?

    Growth in P-series due to new models?

    Of course storage is going to grow: savvy IBM sales folk are bundling storage with the customer upgrades.

    I'd like to see the numbers on stand-alone storage deals or non-IBM server customers buying storage before I light the fireworks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: storage bundled is storage gained

      Exactly. With each mainframe deal comes a ds8000 refresh and those are the really overpriced, big ticket items. Power will come with all sorts of storage, but the ds8 will feature heavily there.

      As for actual revenues, the deals are shifted around to make the numbers look good. That will include throwing in a ton of services for "nothing".

      IBM mostly sell to their existing customers nowadays. Speak to their partners and they are genuinely fearful for those revenues disappearing in the medium to long term.

      Not that IBM are alone in their bullshit revenue reporting of course. They're just good at it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: storage bundled is storage gained

        Good point, AC.

        I don't see much IBM storage running in HP, Dell, Oracle etc. shops, with the exception of SVC, which is there because the customer used to have IBM gear and kept the virtualization layer when they migrated.

        IBM storage generally pops up in accts where there's a mainframe or some AIX installed. Even the Lenovo shops I know of have moved to other back-ends.

        They probably sell a lot internally for their global services business too, which inflates the numbers.

        {{AC because I work for a company that sells lots of different branded storage products.}}

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe people have forgotten their lost IBM SAN data when they were told they had to upgrade their firmware to fix the errors they were reporting and it all went tits up. Similar to HP's 3-PAR thing with the ATO, but never disclosed in public, as no customer facing systems were affected.

  5. spold Silver badge

    Unfortunately those who still have mainframes don't tend to replace them every year, with the first refresh for a long time you can expect a wave of upgrades but it is inevitable this will tail off quickly,

    With a couple of notable exceptions everything stupidly labelled cognitive was pants. To be fair Watson Health care makes wonderful sense and is amazing tech - pity everyone from the privacy group left so assisting customers with data uptake outside the US will be a challenge. I'm cognitive most mornings assuming a limited beer intake the night before (when I might be challenged to find my pants). Security doubled which is extremely good but it still represents a limited part of the picture- this is also an overcrowded market (e.g. 350+ vendors at RSA last year).

    Cloud is encouraging although still held back by basic crappy features (just an e.g. no 2FA on privileged accounts). With its current state of "also ran" the market will get more challenging, particularly outside North America where companies such as Huawei and Alibaba cloud are eating APAC and emerging as challengers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let me clarify some things as an IBM storage sales guy...

    A lot of the comments here are really way off base. The DS8K has competition from EMC and Hitachi so just because a customer is refreshing their mainframe doesn't make the storage deal a given at all. I am an IBM storage sales guy so I'm speaking from experience. It's a competitive battle the customer can absolutely buy a Mainframe and get EMC storage and no IBM will not sacrifice it's mainframe profitability to help the storage brand they are silod. So if the storage guys win a DS8K deal its on its own merits. Also another comment I want to debunk that we mostly sell/attach to power or mainframe customers. In my patch specifically the majority of my customers run intel, the majority are Cisco UCS or Lenovo and funny enough lots of the power customers are on Netapp storage. So if I manage to refresh a Power customer with IBM storage than it's a win. So this fantasy that just because there is an IBM server footprint we magically get the storage business is false. Those deals were legitimately won from competition. Also I have tons of customers using my storage with HP servers or other brand servers. Quite frankly because we are a separate brand it doesn't matter unless its Cisco because for that we have our converged offering called VersaStack which I have also sold a lot off. Lots of competitive battles being won by IBM storage folks on their own merits nothing is being handed to us so if it's growing in this crowded space that's an achievement. But one thing this article leaves out, is it's not just the tech. IBM has some of the best services support people on the ground in the business and this is something very often overlooked as everyone "claims" to have great support which isn't true. This is still where IBM shines imho having one of the largest services organizations in the business so when things fail we can actually support you with an army of people Fun fact IBM services actually does a ton of Netapp and EMC support as well. As an IBM storage sales guy I don;t love that but it means I have a larger services support organization than them in the geo and I can support my customers better. Make sense?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me clarify some things as an IBM storage sales guy...

      Feels like you're trying to convince yourself, not us!

      Great if you are doing all that but as an ex-IBM storage sales person, now with the competition, I genuinely have not come head to head with IBM in a non-IBM house account for years.

      Fun fact, most big vendors do multi-vendor support.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let me clarify some things as an IBM storage sales guy...

        Not what I meant, we do exclusively all the support in my geo for one particular competing storage vendor...

  7. Mrframe


    I was selling IBM Storage for over seven years (mostly mid market) and a large majority of my accounts ran IBM Storage alone (not IBM or Lenvo servesr of any kind). The big blues problem isn't a lack of products, it's almost the opposite. They almost have to much if you compare to the new nieche storage vendors that is popping up. In my book (still) they have the broadest and best offerings available on the market, they just don't know how to communicate it (and yes, you have bought the other vendors marketing, hook, line and sinker...). So if IBM can get their message together properly I would be very scared if I was a competitor, very scared....

    And saying "We don't see IBM having a strong scale-out filer offering", is simply crazy, Spectrum Scale have pretty much been around since the dawn of time and continuously improved and now it's no longer "just" a HPC product. You can get it as pure SW, appliance or as a storage offering scaling to Zeta Bytes of you want.... who else can do that?

  8. returnofthemus

    We don't see IBM having a strong scale-out filer offering...

    Watch this space!

    I not sure in what context we're talking data management

    No acquisitions necessary!

    1. Storageguy84

      Re: We don't see IBM having a strong scale-out filer offering...

      Spectrum NAS.

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