IBM Delivers New AS/400 Models, OS/400 V4R5

Despite speculation that it would not be making any new AS/400 announcements until the second half of 2000, IBM continued to transform the AS/400 with a series of new hardware announcements on May 22, 2000 that also included details on the latest version of the OS/400 operating system.

On the OS/400 front, one of the primary new features of V4R5 is XML support so AS/400 applications can be extended to pervasive devices such as cell phones.
Perhaps the biggest news is a new line of AS/400 servers--the 800 series--that is the first in the industry to use IBM’s patented copper and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chip technologies. On the high end, the new SOI technologies can result in the AS/400 840 server performing 3.6 times faster than comparable servers in its class “The SOI technologies give us a 20 to 30 percent performance increase over copper technologies and is helping us build a powerful new server,” says John Reed, IBM project manager for 2000 AS/400 projects.

There are three servers in the new family, the 820, 830, and previously mentioned 840. The 820 includes a 1-4 way Pulsar/IStar, up to 4 TB disk, and up to 3,200 CPW (commercial processing workload). The 830 features a 2-8 way IStar, up to 11 TB disk, and up to 7,350 CPW. Finally, the 840 has a 12-24 way IStar, up to 18.9 TB disk, and up to 16,500 CPW.

For the first time, IBM has added a Dedicated Server for Domino (DSD) server to its high-end server family, as the 820 can be programmed to run as a DSD server. According to Reed, customer demand ultimately led to the decision to DSD-enable the 820. “We had planned to extend DSD based on the success of the 170 series (the first DSD-enabled server) and what we found was great interest,” he says. “Customers wanted additional capabilities, additional storage—they just wanted to be able to do more with their applications.”

The introduction of the 800 series ultimately leads to the question of what IBM will do with the 700 series. Because customers are getting great value from the 700 series and V4R4, Reed says there are no plans to phase it out.

However, IBM is reducing prices on its current 700 series and is providing customers with an upgrade path to the 800 series. IBM is also aligning the price/performance of the 700 and 800 series. For example, a 12-way 740 is comparable to a four-way 830 in CPW rating and will cost approximately the same.

In other server announcements, IBM introduced two new servers—a 250 model and a 270 model.

The AS/400 270 server delivers more than triple the power of its predecessor, the 170, and comes equipped with 1 or 2 way Pulsar, hot plug PC12, up 24 disks, 421, and up to 2000 CPW. Designed to provide quick deployment of e-business solutions, the 270 can easily deploy Java, Internet and Domino applications. Along with the 820, the 270 is also able to perform as a DSD server. “The price/performance ration for the 270 is unbeatable,” says Tom Jarosh, general manager, mid-market servers, IBM. “We are offering customers outstanding performance at an entry-level price. From a performance standpoint, the e-business expandability and processor upgradeability clearly make this model a cut above the rest.”

Featuring a 1-way Northstar, RAID-5, up to 10 disks, 175 GB, and up to 75 CPW, the AS/400 250 server is designed for small businesses and comes packaged with a strong portfolio of small business applications. The packaged software includes client access and popular database query tools.

Finally, IBM also introduced the AS/400 SB2 and AS/400 SB3 servers--multi-tier applications for ERP and supply chain.

On the OS/400 front, one of the primary new features of V4R5 is XML support, which allows users to extend their AS/400 applications to pervasive devices like cell phones, palm tops and wireless devices. Java performance has been increased up to 65 percent in some cases and supports multiple version of Java on single systems.

Other features include: AS/400 PASE enhancements-- are based on a subset of AIX 4.3.3 and includes a full locale set, X Windows System client runtime, and motif runtime; Windows 2000 support—can plug-in Intel 700 MHz Pentium III and can also now connect an external Netfinity box with a cable to a 800 series or 270 server through a cable; LPAR extensions—now supports up to 24 partitions; extreme support through personalization (ESP)—self-guided installation and intuitive operation, personalized and predictive on-line service, and Internet access to knowledge databases; and Web security with TLS and LDAP V3.

The new servers and V4R5 will be generally available in August of 2000, and there will be limited availability starting in June of 2000.

Related Information:

  • IBM AS/400 Page (new window)