They're the first ones to break the 200,000 transactions-per-minute benchmark, and that's critical. They're now able to offer a lot more applications performance for lower price configurations.

Eighteen months ago, seven times out of 10, the short list for these large Unix environments was typically between HP and Sun. In the last six months, that has dramatically shifted to putting IBM much more frequently on that short list.

Essentially what they've done is added the ability, through a Palm Pilot, to have real-time access to sales reports, orders, revenue.

That capability from IBM really came about because they were able to build an architecture that had a much lower processor requirement with very extreme levels of performance. That gave them a tremendous price-to-performance advantage in that market versus their traditional competitors, HP and Sun.

On a very low processor count, IBM now has performance benchmarks that are really going to put HP and Sun in a quandary, because they're going to have to match them.

It now goes beyond just being a tool for a system manager and will allow a business-line manager to remotely monitor Web storefront traffic, look at real-time sales database information and so on.

This technology not only helps to lower the cost of operation, but it also allows you to make changes to the architecture in a rolling upgrade fashion without having to bring the system down, so you can still have that high level of availability.