V4R3 Game For Growing E-Businesses

With the abundance of emphasis placed on e-business throughout the AS/400 market, it is appropriate that IBM’s newest release of OS/400 focus a proportionate amount of attention on this high growth area.

"Increasingly, the AS/400 is being recognized by customers, ISPs and vendors as an e-business Web-serving platform," says Mike Odierna, AS/400 worldwide e-business segment manager. "Users can start simple and grow fast."

Though the definition of e-business continues to expand, the center of the technology is still electronic commerce and Web-enablement of business processes. Taking this into consideration, new e-business features available to AS/400 users with the introduction of V4R3 include a payment server, NetQuestion and Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Directory Services. Enhancements to the AS/400’s existing e-business offerings address the following areas: HTTP Server for AS/400; Firewall for AS/400; Net.Commerce; Domino; Distributed Computing Environment (DCE); and Euro currency symbol support.

The new payment server is a form of middleware designed to perform electronic payment processing for merchant systems, such as Net.Commerce, according to Odierna. The server communicates with a consumer – via an eWallet – and an acquiring bank, also known as a payment gateway. Using the Secure Electronic Transaction (SET)-compliant payment server, e-businesses have the capability to perform functions such as funds authorization, funds capture, refund and deposit.

NetQuestion, a text search engine for IBM’s HTTP Server for AS/400, enables the creation of searchable indexes over an AS/400’s Web server. LDAP Directory Services takes advantage of this emerging Internet standard for distributed directories and provides an Internet standard directory service. LDAP is a free option available with V4R3.

HTTP Server – formerly known as Internet Connection Server (ICS) – has been enhanced to act a Web server with advanced security and application development features. More than simply a name change, HTTP Server is now integrated into OS/400 and is part of the WebSphere Application Server, according to Odierna. "[HTTP Server] improves the AS/400 value proposition with regard to manageability of installation and price," he says.

Features added to the HTTP Server include: HTTP 1.1 support; enhanced Common Gateway Interface (CGI) support; National Language Support (NLS) improvements; server APIs (ICAPI); automatic browser detection; directory icon support; user directories; enhanced logging; meta-information files; error message customization; local memory cache; digital ID authentication; persistent CGI; and IBM WebSphere application server. HTTP Server is also a free optionally installed feature with V4R3.

Enhancements to Firewall for AS/400 are designed to improve security while adding new capabilities and simplifying configuration. By enabling use of Virtual Private Networks, the firewall encrypts data sent over the Internet and extends a corporation’s network using the Internet in a way transparent to users, according to Odierna. Firewall for AS/400 also permits log management and analysis, as well as network address translation, allowing multiple clients within a LAN to simultaneously access remote networks using a single IP address assigned by an ISP or remote gateway.

V4R3 also offers SmoothStart for Net.Commerce, a service offering designed to support quick entry into e-business at a low cost of implementation. "IBM is committed to providing additional functionality on Net.Commerce," Odierna says. This also includes acceptance of the SET specification. The new OS/400 release supports Domino on the AS/400 as well, but in a manner that is easier to install and manage than Domino on V4R2. Maximum Domino file size has also been increased to 4 GB.

The DCE is middleware designed to provide a standard environment that supports distributed applications on the OS/400, AIX, OS/2, OS/390, VM/ESA, Solaris and Windows platforms. DCE Base Services for AS/400 include Base Executive, which consists of RPC, directory, time and security clients. Base Services also supports DCE OSF Version 1.2 and replaces DCE products 5733-167 and 5798-TBF. DCE Data Encryption Services (DES) Library Routine enhancements support 40-bit DCMF encryption.

In the area of Euro currency, IBM now enables Euro currency symbol support for companies conducting e-commerce with countries implementing the Euro Currency. This support will be provided for V4R3, V4R2, V4R1 and V3R2.