An Eagle Eye
IBM’s Eagle Studies provide a clear view of true technology costs
Is the Big Iron the best investment for the IT dollar? Comparing real costs against those of distributed architecture can be difficult because different pricing and cost models don’t allow for an easy apples-to-apples comparison. IBM Eagle Studies analyze the total cost of ownership (TCO) and provide a clear, easily comparable cost overview of how a System z* solution stacks up to other options.
“If you just compare mainframe hardware against, for example, Intel* hardware, Intel servers will cost less,” says Craig Bender, TCO analyst for the IBM Software Group (SWG) Competitive Project Office (CPO). “But when you incorporate other costs associated with that switch, in many cases a mainframe is less expensive.”
With millions of IT dollars on the line, more companies were challenging IBM on the cost of System z solutions. “IBM needed to answer the question, ‘What platform offers the least cost,’” Bender says. So three years ago, IBM created the Eagle Studies Program, which Bender leads, to produce a head-to-head comparison of mainframe and distributed computing costs for each client, focusing on specific problems the company needs to solve, at no charge to the client. “We work with them to identify their true and total costs,” Bender explains.
The study group works on- and off-site with clients for 30 days to produce a report. Companies typically want to compare costs on three what-if scenarios: taking an application off the mainframe and moving it to a distributed environment; moving applications from a distributed environment to the mainframe; and identifying the least costly place to put a new application.
Here’s a common scenario Bender sees: “Oracle’s PeopleSoft is accessing DB2* on z/OS*. Oracle will say, ‘Take your data off DB2 and put it on Oracle running on Sun. It’ll cost less.’ ” Bender’s group gathers the company’s current cost data and predicts how big an infrastructure it would need to complete the switch.
Mainframes scale vertically and consume much less power and floor space, providing the lowest carbon footprint of any infrastructure. —Craig Bender, TCO analyst, IBM Software Group Competitive Project Office
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