IBM Begins Beta Testing for Client Access Express

October’s AS/400 Client Access Express beta program introduces to the AS/400 market a client that IBM is looking to add to its CA for Windows family in the future. This welcome addition is a 32-bit client that runs on Microsoft Windows 95, 98 or NT 4.0 workstations and servers.

While IBM tested the new client on OS/400 V4R2 and higher, the company claims many of the functions will continue to work with previous releases of OS/400. CA Express, however, relies upon the V4R2 NetServer function for file and print serving, since these functions do not exist in the Express client.

IBM has planned a variety of enhancements for CA Express, some of which are not expected to be ready in time for the beta release. These new and changed functions affect: installation; processor and memory usage; connectivity; security; Microsoft policy support for central administration; emulation; data transfer; Operations Console; application enablement; and Operations Navigator.

The following functions are not provided in the CA Express client: NS/Router (or any other SNA/APPC connectivity); support to run 16-bit applications, including ODBC; file and print serving functions (without NetServer); Communication Console (replaced instead by Operations Console); Graphical Access for AS/400.

CA Express’s support for TCP/IP only "creates a client solution that complements the direction IBM wants to take the AS/400," according to one IBM spokesman.

Security looks to take a major leap forward in CA Express, as TCP/IP network security will be provided through the use of Secured Sockets Layer. SSL can be used for an entire connection or for specific functions, such as PC 5250 or data transfer.

CA Express will also offer new security logon options. Users will be able to take advantage of the Microsoft Windows logon user-ID and password to sign onto the AS/400. For those who share a workstation, an option has been added to always prompt for user-ID/password when opening a new application, such as PC 5250 or data transfer.

Another notable feature of CA Express is the Data Transfer Wizard, added to create an AS/400 database file from an existing PC file. The wizard is designed to scan the PC file and generate a definition for the AS/400 database file to be created. The user is given the option of modifying the definition once it has been created, before information is sent to the newly-created AS/400 file.