The System “Who-Must-Not-be-Named” Arrives


For months now, rumors have been flying about the next generation of the IBM System z—when it would be launched, what it would include, and even bold queries as to whether or not the system would have Windows functionality. In addition to the features/functionality, I started to wonder—and focus—on the name IBM would give this new system. Is it that obvious that I really am a marketer at heart?

Product naming and product branding are no easy task, despite what some folks out there might think! How would IBM capture the right name for this rumored groundbreaking technology?  zNext, z11 were the terms many in the industry were using to describe the “system of systems”.  Prior to launch, some articles did indeed refer to the final name at launch, zEnterprise.

With lack of an official name from IBM, as I prepped for launch I personally started to refer to it as the  “system-who-must-not-be-named”.  Harry Potter fans can hopefully appreciate my reference.  For those of you not familiar with Harry Potter, there is a character in the series called Lord Voldemort who is so powerful and well-known that no one refers to him by name; rather he is referred to as “he-who-must-not-be-named.”
Given all the hype and confidentiality behind this next generation of System z architecture, I thought I was pretty funny referring to the launch as the “system-who-must-not-be-named.” You might think I’m cheesy for making this analogy to the zEnterprise System and Harry Potter, but bear with me.

Like Lord Voldemort, the zEnterprise is very powerful. In fact, it’s the fastest server in the world, according to IBM and Tom Rosamilia. However, unlike Lord Voldemort the zEnterprise is not an evil system. It promises to integrate harmoniously heterogeneous computing environments. The zEnterprise mainframe server allows workloads to run in a hybrid environment with mainframe, POWER7 and System x servers in a shared resource environment and be managed as a single virtualized system.

Tom Rosamilia’s (General Manager, IBM Power and z Systems) quote sums it up for me at a high level: “The new IBM zEnterprise System represents a bold move to fundamentally change how data centers are managed. The new mainframe is the fastest enterprise server in the world and represents a giant leap forward in performance.  This new dimension in enterprise computing– extending mainframe governance to POWER7 and System x blades integrated into the zEnterprise System architecture–was developed over the past three years with direct involvement from a team of IBM’s 30 top customers, which provided direct input at every stage of the development process”

I have to say, I think IBM got the product naming right. I do think that they surprised many people by not calling the new system “z11” . zEnterprise describes the key functionality that a game changing “system of systems” brings to the market and to enterprises worldwide.

The fact this system also supports SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z isn’t half bad either! My guess is for those of you who have been following the hardware space, you would know if I simply said, the system “Who-Must-Not-be-Named” arrives you would think zEnterprise. IBM would like us to think of the zEnterprise as a “systems of systems.” You can find more info on that definition here:

What do you think? Did IBM get the product naming right for this launch? Is the zEnterprise indeed the system of all systems?

Welcome your feedback!

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