Bye Bye zPrime on System z

Just before court action in Texas was scheduled to ramp up, Neon gave up the battle for zPrime. It issued the following statement May 31:

 NEON zPrime to be withdrawn

AUSTIN, Texas – May 31, 2011 – NEON Enterprise Software, LLC today announced it has settled its legal dispute with IBM and will immediately withdraw zPrime from the market. Pursuant to the terms of a permanent injunction, NEON and its distribution partners and affiliates will no longer market, sell, license (including any renewal or extension of any existing license), install, distribute, export, import, offer to sell, offer to license, offer to install, offer to distribute, offer to export or offer to import zPrime.

The U.S. District Court has ruled that (1) only workloads expressly authorized by IBM may be processed on Specialty Engines (including zIIPs and zAAPs) and (2) IBM’s contracts, including the IBM Customer Agreement and the License Agreement for Machine Code, prohibit software (a) that enables workloads not expressly authorized by IBM to be processed on Specialty Engines or (b) that circumvents IBM’s technological measures in Machine Code that protect the Built-in Capacity of Specialty Engines and enables workloads not expressly authorized by IBM to be processed on Specialty Engines. Neon has agreed to a permanent injunction under which it will withdraw zPrime from the market and request that licensees and customers remove and destroy their copies of zPrime. Neon will not renew, extend or transfer any existing zPrime license or any warranty, maintenance or service period of any existing zPrime license (or any portion thereof).

Other NEON products are not affected by this settlement.

In the interest of anything that helps lower the cost of mainframe computing DancingDinosaur has covered zPrime repeatedly, starting in Oct. 2009 and even referencing it as recently as this past March in reference to J.D. Williams use of specialty processors on the z196.

Earlier this spring DancingDinosaur spoke directly with the data center manager of a z10 shop with two zIIPs. He reported that the software licensing savings that resulted from shifting software, authorized and UNauthorized, from the System z general processor to the zIIP were stunning, around $900 million Euros each year.

The System z specialty engines have long been a proven way of lowering mainframe costs. DancingDinosaur has reported on it previously, most recently here with J.D. Williams’  strategy to reduce the number of z196 MIPS the company needed to purchase. As the British web retailer discovered, the z196 specialty engines represent a considerable bargain in terms of MIPS delivered for the dollar compared with the specialty engines provided for the z9 or z10. By shifting authorized workloads to the specialty engines, J.D. Williams could buy a z196 for about the price of a comparably powered z10.

The z196 pricing story should be improving later this year when IBM introduces smaller, lower priced business class versions of the machine. Shortly after, you should expect System z Solution Edition bundles including the z196, again at deeply discounted prices for qualifying new z workloads.

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