Reading the article, I was struck by a couple of points. They quote Lindo as saying that the inspiration came to them as "Wouldn't it be great if we could just TiVo this and replay it?" And then it says this:
Innovation by analogy is a powerful concept, says Giovanni Gavetti, an associate professor at the Harvard Business School who, with his colleague Jan W. Rivkin, has published research on how businesses can use analogic reasoning as a strategic tool. Human beings are analogy machines, he notes, dealing with new information by comparing it to things they already know something about.
That's true, I often try out analogies when I'm trying to understand or explain something. And I can really see how that could lead to innovations, as well as to some odd product evolutions. For a consumer example, I love how the iPhone lets me listen to my voicemail messages in any order, instead of sequentially, which must have been a leftover paradigm from when messages were stored on an analog tape. I can picture someone saying - "why can't I access my messages like I read my email?" - and voila - innovation.
Then I started wondering just how much you could tinker with the crash replay. Could you start eliminating concurrently-running applications, for example, to see if any of them contributed to the crash? And could you test a fix with the replay to see if it fixes the crash?
I also wonder whether IBM's customers would voluntarily seek out software like this to help them narrow down problems. It's not from IBM, and I really don't know any more about it than is in the article above. It's from a company called Replay Solutions, and it runs on several versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. So, no mainframe support yet (grin). But you could ask them about it!