IBM pulls up the ladder behind some supercomputer customers

As in it's stopped selling the ladders needed to clamber up and do maintenance. Thankfully the internet can help

IBM has pulled up the ladder behind customers of its Blue Gene/Q supercomputers.

A hardware withdrawal announcement dated June 8th, 2021 lists 53 products that Big Blue will stop selling as of September 30th, 2021.

Most are cables, old-school add-on cards, or racks.

But two ladders also make the list — namely the “Lift Tool and ladders, Blue Gene/Q” and the “Lift Tool and ladders, Blue Gene/Q, World Trade”.

IBM may be in decline, but the company retains its ability to document everything it does in extraordinary detail.

Which is how we found an IBM Canada sales manual update that offers some detail about the products.

“This feature delivers the US version of the Lift Tool, Ladder and Step Stool for the Blue Gene/Q system.”

“A lift tool is required for IBM to service the system. Failure to have at least one functional lift tool available in a location may result in delayed or prolonged maintenance times and additional maintenance charges.”

What's a lift tool? This IBM document shows that it comes in a crate and is designed to lift whole rack-mounted servers into position. A 2017 IBM price list [PDF] says a lift tool costs $6,108.

The ladder also appears to be an off-the-shelf affair. Our digging revealed that the ladder’s part number is 46G5947 and another IBM document uses the same part number and describes it as a “3 step Louisville ladder”.

As it happens, there is an actual company named “Louisville Ladders” and it offers a three-step model. You can check it out, here and find a very similar model on Amazon for about US$160.

Far from leaving users without a leg (or ladder) to stand on, IBM is surely within its rights to drop the lift tool and pull the ladder out from under its customers, as the Blue Gene/Q range was discontinued in 2015 and anyone still bothering to run them has had plenty of time to buy a ladder in the years since.

If you own one of the ladders, let us know if it has spiffy IBM branding or how you’re using it. You’ll do well to top one IBM recycling effort detailed in this marvelous blog post by Australian storage expert Antony Vandewerdt, who spotted an old IBM storage robot propping up a letterbox.

One last thing: Lousiville Ladders is all about safety and its motto is “Because work ain’t play”. Except when you write about lift tools and ladders for The Register. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022