IBM To Larry Ellison: Your New Servers Aren't Faster Or Cheaper Than Ours

steve sibley IBMIBM’s Steve Sibley

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison wasn’t telling the whole truth when he trash-talked IBM during a speech yesterday, IBM’s Steve Sibley just told us.

Sibley handles marketing for IBM’s servers.

As we previously reported, Ellison introduced two new servers and a new microprocessor yesterday by making a lot of bold claims about how much faster and cheaper they were than IBM’s.

We knew IBM would be sceptical about Oracle’s claims, as we noted in our story yesterday.  Three times in the last seven months, IBM has successfully forced Oracle to stop making advertising claims saying that its hardware systems were faster than IBM’s.

Here’s what Ellison got wrong yesterday, according to Sibley:

1. Oracle’s benchmark tests were made against three-to-five-year-old IBM servers, not more recent models.

2. Oracle sometimes stacked the deck in its tests, using servers with up to twice as many CPU cores—hence more raw processing power—than the IBM systems it used.

3. Oracle’s price claims were just plain wild, Sibley says. In one of Ellison’s slides, he claimed that an Oracle $270,000 T58 was faster than a $1.9 million IBM P780. Those were not comparable setups, Sibley says. For similarly configured machines, IBM servers are priced about the same as Oracle’s new servers, he says.

Plus, IBM’s servers help save enterprises money on software licenses, he says. That’s because IBM servers will run more apps on a single server, he says. For enterprise software that’s priced per server, companies can pay less for software licenses.

IBM says it’s winning a lot of business away from Oracle and HP. It brought in $335 million of new server business in its last quarter and $1 billion over the whole year, half from Oracle and half from HP customers, it told analysts in its quarterly conference call.

We’ll take that with a grain of salt. IBM’s revenues from Power Systems—its high-end servers—decreased 19 per cent last quarter, compared to the same period a year ago.

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