Compaq Adds Mainframe Connectivity to ENSA

Compaq Computer Corp. added mainframe connectivity to its Enterprise Network Storage Architecture (ENSA).

The solutions include high-speed transfers from IBM Corp.’s MVS mainframe systems, data and file sharing from IBM DB-2-based systems, and backup and restore from client/server systems to corporate mainframe systems.

"Compaq has not had the ability to exchange data with IBM mainframes," says Rick Davis, product manager at Compaq. "This is our first entry into what we envision as a family of products that will result in direct connections to IBM mainframes."

Carl Greiner, vice president and director at the Meta Group (www.meta.com) points to Compaq’s recent acquisitions and overall market strategy as playing a role in the company offering mainframe connectivity. "With more than 70 percent of data still on mainframes, Compaq is trying to get upstream, and they’re successfully moving more into the data center," he says.

To provide data exchange between mainframe and client/server systems, Compaq inked agreements with two companies that specialize in IBM connectivity: Computer Network Technology (CNT, www.cnt.com) and Bus-Tech Inc. (www.bustech.com).

CNT's solution includes FileSpeed data movement software, UltraNet storage gateway hardware, and consulting, integration and on-going support. FileSpeed and UltraNet also are part of CNT’s SAN solutions.

FileSpeed is designed to quickly execute unattended bulk data transfers between S/390 and open servers with data integrity, either interactively or through batch operations. The UltraNet storage gateway addresses bulk data movement between mainframes and open systems and enables other SAN applications, such as disk mirroring, over campus and wide-area networks (WANs).

FileSpeed is a high-speed data movement solution optimized for integrating IBM and open systems environments. UltraNet enhances the capabilities of a switch by allowing diverse protocols such as Fibre Channel, SCSI, ATM, and T3/E3 to be integrated into the same interconnect platform, thus providing greater flexibility in a SAN infrastructure.

Bus-Tech's solution includes DataBlaster technology, with support for industry-leading management applications and services. The DataBlaster fills the need for high-speed bulk file transfer from IBM and IBM-compatible mainframes to open client/server systems such as the Compaq ProLiant or Alpha servers and can run any industry-standard operating system, such as Windows NT, Unix or NetWare. The high-speed transfer capabilities of DataBlaster enable users to reposition mainframe processing while avoiding the processing overhead of SNA or TCP/IP.

The DataBlaster can support two mainframe channel attachments and up to four Ultrawide SCSI interfaces. The mainframe channel interfaces can be either the 17 MBps. ESCON, or the 4.5 MBps. Bus-and-Tag. On the Ultrawide SCSI side, DataBlaster works at 40 MBps.

Though mainly used with high-end Unix platforms for data mining applications, the DataBlaster can be used with other PCs, workstations, minicomputers or RISC-based servers. Users can deploy applications such as data warehousing, data mining and enterprisewide backup and restore of server data.

"There is no single solution for everybody, so Compaq is offering two options," Greiner says. "A lot of factors, such as network infrastructure, how well IT departments know either company, and a company’s mainframe needs, determine which product customers will choose."

Connecting Windows NT servers with mainframes will help Windows NT move up the back office ladder. "Sharing services between NT, Unix and mainframes will increase NT’s role in the data center," Greiner says.