The launch of IBM's latest mainframe product has been met with a cautious reception by analysts who have urged the firm to move away from the more than 50-year-old term.
Market watchers have pointed to the "frustrating position" the firm finds itself in as customers and partners perceive mainframe technology be old-fashioned and as such are not interested.
IBM's latest update to its System Z mainframe line was unveiled today and includes extra enterprise Linux and cloud integration. But analysts claim labelling the tech as a mainframe is enough to put people off, regardless of product quality.
Quocirca's founder Clive Longbottom said the product has a lot to offer resellers, especially in the MSP space, but only if they can get their head around what the technology actually is.
"[IBM should say] ‘let's forget about this being a mainframe in any way, shape or form and just see it as a Linux workload product'," he said.
"The majority of the channel look at it and say ‘it's a mainframe; I don't like mainframes'. It's IBM's fault, they should stop talking about the mainframe and get rid of the whole idea – they should talk about workloads.
"If you're going to an existing mainframe user, you can say ‘look what we've got for you' and they can drool all they want, but if you're not a mainframe user and someone tells you to look at it, [customers] will say ‘I think I'll change my channel, thank you very much.
"Call it anything – call it Jennifer if you want – just get away from 'mainframe'. IBM has got to change the way it is messaging these items," he concluded.
Ovum analyst Gary Barnett agreed with Longbottom that a two-pronged attack for mainframe marketing is the way forward for IBM, claiming that the vendor finds itself in a frustrating position.
"Mainframes are a part of our lives, but there is a perception out there that they belong in the 1980s, and it's a false perception," he said. "Does IBM really want to help people rediscover the mainframe, or is it simpler to explain the value proposition in a different way? Why not call it a Linux appliance? It is a much more direct conversation.
"If IBM wants to break into a new generation of people who may or may not have used it, calling it a mainframe complicates it. It's an emotional thing for IBM."
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