[Beowulf] Oh.. IBM eats Red Hat
Robert G. Brown
rgb at phy.duke.edu
Tue Oct 30 06:32:29 PDT 2018
On Mon, 29 Oct 2018, Douglas Eadline wrote:
> Those alleged problems could have been solved for far less than $34B
The big question these days is -- what the hell DOES IBM make money
from? This is not the IBM of my youth, making "all" the mainframe
computers in the world (as well as all of the awesomest electric
typewriters:-). This is not the IBM of my middle years, which made the
IBM PC and hence laid the ground for the dissolution of its mainframe
business, taking a tiny garage-basd software company iun the process and
transforming it into one of the richest corporations in the world as a
mere side effect. This isn't even the IBM of my later years, which
still dominated desktop and laptops, sold the most reliable hard drives
and server hardware, and provided key corporate middleware.
I see their ads, but who buys? What are they selling? AI? Very Large
Scale corporate server racks? Consulting? Software? Hardware? For
most of my life one literally couldn't go into an office without seeing
stuff made and sold by IBM. At this point, I can't recall the last time
I DID see IBM stuff in ANY office, or for that matter server room -- it
has been maybe a decade or more since I did.
I suspect that they DO in fact need to buy RH, even for $34 \times 10^9.
RH represents two things for them. An absolute wealth of technology
that they can sieve through and uplift in key places, and some of the
brightest young minds in the world of computing. This isn't JUST about
"the cloud", because the cloud is still a fuzzy thing with unclear cost
benefit ratio, especially given the enormous security issues associated
with cloud based services for the major customers for this kind of
computing -- banks, the entire medical establishment, and the
government. Duke still has serious issues with people putting any kind
of privileged or protected information on ANY cloud, for good reason.
Is the data truly secure? How about while it is in transit? Who holds
the bag in the event of a major theft of private data? And IS IT EVEN
CHEAPER than keeping it locally, with disk costing what, $30 per
TERABYTE or even less (I found 8 TB drives for less than $180 without
working particularly hard just now). One can buy one of these drives
every month for what renting a similar amount of cloud space costs from
many vendors. The market is almost insane at the moment.
I think IBM is at long last thinking of remaking the entire company -- I
don't know exactly how -- maybe they will go straight up against google,
or amazon, or microsoft, or apple. Maybe they will release their own
direct competition for Android, and their own phone and tablet. Maybe
they will turn RH and their own software base and the huge coder base
they are buying into AI that actually works in actual devices, the next
killer appliance. All I know is that IBM is one of the companies which
historically has shown the vision (and which still in its comparative
dotage has the resources) to become a player -- again -- over and over
again over its history, and it is dangerous to write them off. Buying
RH isn't about the software, and honestly I doubt it is about buying the
cloud presence even though that's how it is being marketed to the stock
market. I think it is about buying the people. I just don't think they
have been successful at attracting the cream of the programming world
for twenty plus years now, focusing on hardware after OS/2 collapsed and
pretty much ended their bid to become "the" dominant computing company
-- again, from a software point of view.
That could change, especially if they DO avoid breaking RH's corporate
culture, if they woo the bright young minds with the promise of doing
exciting work, well compensated, the way Google has been enormously
successful at doing. If anybody on the planet could tackle Google or
Apple, it would be IBM. IBM made a fortune by not being Apple, by
CREATING the open source world for PCs, once before (until M$ took it
over). I think they have the opportunity to not be Apple once again,
and eat Apple's core as they do (sorry:-). With Linux, they are
guaranteed a fair fight -- NOBODY can pull a M$ on the market, not M$
itself, not Apple, not even Google. But if they own and are funding
what is arguably "the" premier corporate Linux, they are going to be
able to ride the bleeding edge of it, open source or not.
It may sound crazy, but they may have bought the company to get Fedora
as much as for any other reason. Fedora is where it is at, not RHEL.
RHEL is for corporate wonks and server rooms, and it is valuable enough
there. But imagine fedora, truly transformed into a single common
platform from the server room down to the cell phone and supported with
real money from top to bottom.
Wild and crazy? Sure, maybe. We'll see. But if they are SMART, this
is at least as likely as them cutting off fedora and throwing it away as
>> On 10/29/2018 02:43 PM, J??rg Sa??mannshausen wrote:
>>> Hi all,
>>> it is not only that, but I saw something about Mellanox today as well.
>>> Not good news in my humble opinion. :-(
>>> All the best
>>> Am Montag, 29. Oktober 2018, 07:42:48 GMT schrieb Tony Brian Albers:
>>>> I wonder where that places us in the not too distant future..
>>>> I've worked for Big Blue, and I'm not sure the company cultures are
>>>> compatible to say the least.
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Robert G. Brown http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567 Fax: 919-660-2525 email:rgb at phy.duke.edu
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