IBM Business Group Drives High Growth

By Peter Galli  |  Print this article Print


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IBM GM Jim Stallings discusses the role of the company's Strategic Growth Initiative.

IBM has combined several technology initiatives, including Linux, grid computing and virtualization, into a single high-growth business group, Strategic Growth Initiative, led by Jim Stallings, ex-general manager of Linux for the Armonk, N.Y., company. Stallings talked last month to eWEEK Senior Editor Peter Galli about SGI.

What motivated the creation of Strategic Growth Initiative?

We had not had general managers running these other areas per se, and so we brought them all into one group called SGI, and I'm the general manager over all of them. It's an expansion of my role, but the move is more strategic than organizational. The real opportunity here is that customers are asking for gridded Linux networks and virtualized servers that can run multiple operating systems, and one of them has to be Linux.

What does the inclusion of these technologies in what was primarily a Linux-driven portfolio mean for IBM's vision and strategy?

There are some common denominators in these initiatives, and one is open standards. Grid won't work in a proprietary environment. It is also this thread of community working together to maintain these standards. The same community that exists around Linux exists in the global grid environment. What we are recognizing by bringing this all together is that we know how to operate in this world with the common denominator of openness.

Has the litigation between The SCO Group and IBM had any negative effect on your business?

Companies have done rigorous due diligence since the case started and went to their legal and technical teams and vetted not only the risk to them but the technology itself and talked through industry forums about its deployment. So what we have seen is smarter, more aware customers and, as a result, an absolute acceleration of the business.

Is IBM committed to advancing its Unix platform through AIX?

Absolutely. While the Unix market overall is not growing, AIX is taking share and growing. So we will continue to invest in this growing platform. We have gained five points of share over the past five years in the market, and we expect that to continue.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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