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IBM and HP's battle for bank mainframes heats up

Rik Turner | March 19, 2010
The two largest IT companies in the world are ratchetting up competition for the mainframe market, with financial institutions as the primary battleground.

Its not all about financial services, but banks are a major arena for this battle

This battle for hearts and minds in high-end enterprise computing is not confined to the financial sector, but given the preponderance of financial institutions in the mainframe world, and the fact that all tier-1 and tier-2 banks still run mainframes, the industry figures heavily in both companies strategic thinking in this area.

IBM makes much of the fact that Temenos has recently completed a port of its core banking system to System z, that part of the Oracle FS system (formerly i-flex) has been ported across at Irish bank AIB, and that the Finacle platform from Infosys will be available for the mainframe in the second quarter. Beyond the basic port, IBM also puts together bundles of hardware, software and services to deliver a compelling price/performance, which it calls Solution Editions. Outside of core banking systems, IBM also has an alliance with payments system vendor ACI whereby the two companies offer ACIs payment switching software on mainframes.

HP says about a third of its Mainframe Alternative (MFA) groups business is in the financial sector, and about a third of that is in core banking system migration, where it has relationships with Oracle, Infosys, and Temenos.

While recognizing that a core banking system has often been an inhibitor to mainframe migration, HP sees opportunities in the current environment. Some banks have been forced to merge by their governments. Others have been obliged to spin out divisions. Both scenarios mean a change of underlying platform may be up for consideration.

The writer is an Ovum analyst.


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