By Siobhan Kennedy Computer Associates International Inc yesterday became the first vendor to pledge its support for IBM’s new mid-range Multiprise 3000 platform by announcing bundled versions of its systems management software with fixed prices for the three versions of the server. CA president and CEO Charles Wang, took the stage alongside IBM’s general manager […]
By Siobhan Kennedy
Computer Associates International Inc yesterday became the first vendor to pledge its support for IBM’s new mid-range Multiprise 3000 platform by announcing bundled versions of its systems management software with fixed prices for the three versions of the server.
CA president and CEO Charles Wang, took the stage alongside IBM’s general manager of S/390, David Carlucci, to make the announcement, paving the way – IBM hopes – for other application vendors to do the same. In addition, CA also announced a version of its Unicenter TNG for the S/390 mainframe as well as a series of service offerings targeted specifically at Multiprise S/390 users.
Traditionally, CA has partnered with IBM in the high-end mainframe space by offering its software – scheduling, disk management, security, tape management, performance management, event management and so on – on a license per application basis and charging for the service based on MIPs, the same way as IBM does.
But with the launch of IBM’s Multiprise 3000 S/390-based servers last month, IBM did away with MIPs-based pricing and introduced a single price per server for the three variations of its 3000 box; the H70, H50 and H30. With revenues from MIPs on the decline, IBM is trying to find new ways of letting companies bolt on additional applications without being tied to large mainframe systems or paying hefty charges for using more CPU clock cycles.
To that end, CA is effectively aligning its software to help users achieve that goal. Rather than charge on license per application basis, it’s putting all its systems management software together into one bundle and charging a fixed price for each of the three 3000 servers. CA wouldn’t give the exact specification of the bundle, but it’s likely the company will include all the standalone modules available for mainframes today. CA said it would cost $6,000 for the H30 bundle, $12,000 for the H50 and $15,000 for the H70 version.
Ken Farber, CA’s senior vice president of strategic business alliances told ComputerWire that CA would work with IBM’s channel partners to develop and co-market special bundles of its systems management software on top of IBM’s Multiprise servers running specific applications, such as ERP or email software. CA will also offer migration services for its customers wanting to upgrade from VSE to Multiprise S/390 technology, Farber said.
Although the focus was on CA yesterday, clearly IBM wants to use the Multiprise platform as a way of boosting its own software sales too – its Websphere application server, MQSeries, Tivoli TME network management software and Lotus Domino. It’s all about attracting new workloads onto the S/390 Multiprise environment, Carlucci told an audience of press and analysts in New York yesterday. The MIPs based pricing model is becoming less and less important as we go forward…today, we’re doing it more simply.
IBM is targeting the Multiprise line at organizations which have already invested in older mainframe technologies, such as VSE, and which want to take advantage of the improved functionality of the S/390 operating system without having to go through the expense of upgrading to huge, mainframe environments. By partnering with CA, IBM is effectively using the vendor as a guinea pig to test out the viability of its new pricing strategy. IBM has already stated its intentions to move away from the traditional MIPs-based pricing to a more user-focused model. Presumably if the Multiprise strategy is a success – and more and more vendors make their applications available on the platform – then IBM will be well positioned to introduce the same strategy with its other mainframe technologies. It only remains to be seen how long it will take for CA’s rivals, BMC, Candle, Compuware and so on, as well as other application vendors, to lend their support to Big Blue.
In addition, CA said it has tweaked its current S/390 services offerings and extended them to the Multiprise 3000 strategy, Farber said. It also announced its new Millennium licensing structure for mainframe S/390 users. Under the strategy, CA has put a fixed maintenance cap, of 600 MIPs, on the use of its software, which means no matter how much it’s used, customers will pay a fixed price. It has also cut the cost of its maintenance fees – for things such as upgrades, 24×7 support and bug fixes – to a third of the normal price. The license also offers customers an optional grace period, which lets companies avoid having to pay for new licenses in the wake of radical change, such as company acquisition or divestiture, CA said.