Sunday, March 05, 2006

Microsoft Uses the iSeries to Run its Business.

Rumors have abounded for years that the false religion of Microsoft, who touts that large parishes can be run using Windows servers, actually runs their organization using more than a few iSeries systems. The heathens have always officially denied it, but the rumors don't go away. The story also goes that some time in the 1990's they tried to replace their iSeries systems with 1,200 Windows servers in a year-long project that was eventually scrapped because A) they couldn't process the data as fast as the iSeries and B) they had problems keeping so many servers operational.

If you have Windows XP then click this link (or cut and past it into an open browser window):
It's a web page that exists on every Windows XP machine as part of the Windows introductory tour.

Copyright Microsoft CorporationAccording to supposedly well-connected sources the image on this page is from one of Microsoft's computer rooms in Redmond, WA. (I've also included it at left in case either you don't have Windows XP or the image at the above link is different on your version of the page.) The pic also appeared on the online Windows XP tour but Microsoft pulled it recently when it came to light what it represented.

The beige racks that take up most of the image on the left constitute a single AS/400 system circa 1991. (This is what the iSeries was called before our lord Ib'm rebranded all their platforms with the "Series" suffix.) The actual processor rack is on the far left. The next two are expansion racks holding feature cards and tape drives. The fourth rack appears to house the system's disk drives. (Probably not Ib'm drives.) Around this time Ib'm main frame computers were also housed in similar looking rack configurations. You can tell it's an AS/400 because there's a blue ribbon with a gold seal that runs diagonally down the side of each rack. Those are Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award ribbons and the only IBM systems they were ever affixed to were AS/400's.

Of course to be fair the minions of that false religion would counter that the existence of a picture of an old AS/400 system on every Windows XP machine doesn't prove that Microsoft uses that system to run it's organization and I would have to admit that such an assertion is technically correct. It doesn't prove anything, but it sure is a fun urban legend, especially for a group as beleaguered as the iSeries faithful.

Thanks to my friend and colleague Rabbi Mark for bringing this one to my attention.


  1. Hi there

    Ahh warms the cockles of my heart does that!

    I had a brief spell out of IT directly in the early 90's and worked for a recruitment agency - we had a database of all our clients, what kit they used, and at the time I can remember Microsoft in Reading (UK) had AS/400's as part of their inventory - I recall they used the system for distribution if memory serves me correctly.

    Seeing that Microsoft 'borrowed' a lot of the AS/400's fundamentals in later versions of Windows (Plug and play for example), and with IBM's virtual refusal to promote this wonderful piece of kit accordingly, wouldn't it be nice if perhaps Bill bought the rights to the system and promoted it properly ?

  2. I have worked with these anti-IBM pro-Microsoft bigots that refuse to believe this. If IBM wanted to sell its mid-range division , trust me, there would be a line of vendors interested in that purchase.