Any colour you like…

Henry Ford has long been quoted as having said:
“Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”

While there is some debate on what Mr Ford exactly said, it’s clear that for some time now IBM has heartily embraced this philosophy with a succession of all black machines (occasionally graced with a coloured stripe).  So I was rather excited to spot something new in the IBM Melbourne demo center: an IBM Netezza (pronounced net-ease-a) It’s rack door is one of the coolest IBM covers I have seen in years!

Even the internal blades look cool (I love the big N).

In case your curious, IBM® Netezza® Analytics is a purpose-built advanced analytics platform that enables your enterprise to get the most out of its data, giving you quicker answers to increasingly complex questions. It is the simple appliance for serious analytics.

Of course while I should have been thinking about big data and smart analytics, instead I have been reminiscing about  IBM machines with coloured covers.     For instance the IBM 3350 (storage from the 1970s) could be ordered with covers that were red…   (Actually I think the correct name was garnet rose).

As far as I can tell, IBM have not offered coloured panels on Enterprise kit since June 28, 2002.

Prior to this devices could be ordered with feature codes like:

#9060     Willow green
#9061     Garnet rose
#9062     Sunrise yellow
#9063     Classic blue
#9064     Charcoal brown
#9065     Pebble gray.

While it is easy to find pictures of machines with Classic Blue covers like these 3380s (with 3880 control unit)

And even visions of a red computer room (with an all white 3800 printer on the left hand side):

The only picture I have found so far that shows a yellow machine appears to have faded to orange over the years (I don’t think IBM sold orange System/38s?).

I did some more digging and found this great Youtube video.   You can see some old System 360 kit with red covers  and at 00:46 there are some machines in custom bright yellow!  The client literally ordered the machines painted with a custom tint. That takes case modding to a whole new level.

So should IBM be embracing the new cool and coming out with a bright orange XIV?   How about a Storwize V7000 in fluorescent blue?  A man can dream….

And if you want to see more about Netezza and it’s incredibly cool rack (and even cooler architecture), check this video out:


About Anthony Vandewerdt

I am an IT Professional who lives and works in Melbourne Australia. This blog is totally my own work. It does not represent the views of any corporation. Constructive and useful comments are very very welcome.
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5 Responses to Any colour you like…

  1. Pingback: Any colour you like… « Storage CH Blog

  2. Anthony,
    Back in 2008, IBM offered the 2145-8A4 SVC Entry Edition in Flamingo Pink (as an RPQ). Here was my post:

  3. Anthony Smith says:

    In early 1980 I was sys prog for a data centre. I was informed that there was a “field upgrade” on the colour of our 3350 disk drives. It basically involved the SE taking the doors off, going around the back of the building with a can of approved spray paint and taking care of business. We decided to stick with classic blue. The 3380’s were definitely available in the same colours. The reason for the colours was to run multiple CPUs in the same room and associate all the disk drives, front end controllers, disk controllers etc to the system they belonged to. A 3350 disk drive only had 317.5 MB of storage per spindle, so large data centres very rapidly filled with a whole variety of different kit which had to be quickly identified.

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