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iSeries A Serious Player At U.S. Open

Michael Borman, the new head of IBM's iSeries product division, chose center court at the U.S. Open last week to make his public debut showcasing how IBM's workhorse server is tracking every volley and match during the U.S. Open's 14-day run in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

The former general manager of IBM's Global Business Partner organization assumed responsibility for the company's midrange server line 30 days ago, succeeding Al Zollar, who was assigned the task of running IBM's Tivoli software division. While Zollar kept a relatively low profile in his role as iSeries chief, Borman took immediate advantage of IBM's multimillion-dollar sponsorship of the U.S. Open to build visibility for the iSeries line, assembling journalists, end users and key members of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which oversees the U.S. Open, to discuss the iSeries' role at the Open and his plans for running the organization.

Borman's public meeting comes just days after he was introduced to the iSeries manufacturing and assembly team in Rochester, N.Y., where he was joined by IBM chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano, who is anxious to revitalize sales of the company's server after a disappointing performance in the second quarter. For the quarter ended June 30, IBM reported iSeries revenue "slowed significantly," while sales of the pSeries products tapered off, though to a lesser degree. IBM blamed the sales slowdown on a transition to its Power5 microprocessor architecture.

The USTA said it, too, was making a transition to an iSeries i5 server running Linux on top of the i5/OS. It replaces three Intel-based xSeries servers the organization used for staging, tracking scores, publishing and managing Web content, producing television graphics and feeds, and analyzing player data, such as an individual's serve speed or ball location. IBM was effectively positioning the new iSeries server as the ideal platform to consolidate numerous Intel based application or Web servers.

However, for an executive who had the Midas touch at IBM's partner organization, integrators were noticeably absent from any involvement with the USTA solution. IBM executives present at the event confessed the tennis organization is working directly with the server organization or IBM Global Services, although sometimes it wasn't necessarily clear how the USTA's technology needs were being met. In addition, the CIO of a publicly held furniture retailer -- and IBM customer -- appeared during the iSeries press conference, but privately admitted his company does not currently take advantage of solution providers or integrators.

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