Hurricane Ike is quickly bearing down on the coast of Texas.
So I'm leaving the country.
Actually, I was leaving the country anyway, and then Ike decided to pay us a visit -- but why squabble over minor details.
While across the pond, 'm going to be meeting with numerous colleagues (although by the time I get back to Texas, a more apt saying may be "across the lake").
And because I've been flying so much this year, I decided to go for an AA Platinum challenge.
If you've never heard of such a challenge, it's kind of like the Amazing Race, Business Traveler Edition, where if you travel so many miles in a certain window of time, an airlines will bump you up to one of their frequent traveler statuses.
That way, when the plane gets way oversold, you have a better chance of getting a seat the next time around.
I used to be a Platinum member many moons ago, at another time when I was traveling frequently. But comparing those times to these times in terms of air travel is kind of like comparing what it was like to traveling in a horse and buggy versus a Ford Model T.
In any case, we'll see how it goes. My first stop is London, where I haven't visited since November 2002, and I'm really looking forward to returning there.
With any luck, I'll hope to send along a few Tweets from the ground.
Meanwhile, speaking of horsepower, our customer Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) announced a major change in its approach to computing earlier today by adopting the New Enterprise Data Center strategy.
PSBank is that country's second largest savings bank, and has decided to migrate its database to the IBM System z platform, which will be using to host seven Linux-based OLTP applications and its Data Warehouse.
Using IBM virtualization technology, this is allowing PSBank to consolidate multiple servers into just one Integrated Facility for Linux, while providing 30x better performance and a "greener" IT operation.
Some of our own IBM Web operations recently underwent a similar transition -- from 8 production servers to 3 "frames" in a new hosting environment.
In the process, we significantly improved our Web publishing and availability time and windows, and our virtualized z environment is proving to be much faster and even more reliable. Recent benchmarks indicated we're now seeing over a 500% improvement in performance, in fact.
If you're interested in learning more about IBM's approach to the New Enterprise Data Center, check out this Web site.
P.S. If you're interested in tracking dispatches about Ike, subscribe to "TrackingIke" on Twitter. I'll be following closely from across the....well, for now, from across the pond.