IBM Enhances Integrated Netfinity Servers

As part of a strategy to extend the relevancy of its servers, IBM has announced an extension of its integration between AS/400e and Netfinity server products and programs. Through this latest iteration of AS/400e Integrated Netfinity Server (INS), AS/400 applications, applications that utilize both AS/400 and Windows servers, and standalone Windows applications, can all be supported via a single server. In addition, functionality for a direct attach from AS/400e to an external Netfinity system, as well as ServerProven status for solution providers will also be available.

By creating a tighter relationship between AS/400e and Netfinity, IBM is responding to the e-business needs of the midrange market, says Rich Cohen, program director for Netfinity ServerProven Solutions. Cohen explains, due to the e-business movement, the ability to integrate legacy back ends with Windows-like front ends has become a necessity.

By creating a tighter relationship between AS/400e and Netfinity, IBM is responding to the e-business needs of the midrange market, says Netfinity's Cohen.
AS/400e INS facilitates this sort of collaborative environment by allowing both AS/400 and Windows applications to run on the same server in a pseudo-seamless setting. For example, with AS/400e INS, AS/400e can act as a flexible storage area network for Windows servers. And it can also improve Windows server uptime and stability by fostering the use of a consistent set of device drivers.

Yojna, a financial software and services organization, believes such integrative capabilities will broaden the potential client base for its FinancialNet software package. Corina Cline, VP of strategic marketing for Yojna, says the economies of scale created by running multiple applications from a single server allow customers to use Yojna's entire suite of products at a greatly reduced cost. "Now maybe we're available to institutions that maybe might not have considered us in the past," says Cline.

Craig Johnson, AS/400 server consolidation segment manager for IBM, touts the capacity of AS/400e INS to establish a direct connection to an external Netfinity server as a major coup for e-business in the AS/400 community. Speaking of the added power such a configuration can provide -- in that applications can run on a four-way processor -- Johnson says users will have the ability to leverage more robust software packages, such as complex ERP suites. Previously, INS for the AS/400 couldn't generate the processing power to handle some of the higher-end solutions needed to successfully develop a midrange e-business setting.

While IBM and Netfinity say the external INS -- which is expected to ship Q1 2001 -- will be compatible with a number of Netfinity servers, at this time they are only guaranteeing it for Netfinity 6000R. "Customers can buy 6000R today and know that it will directly attach to AS/400e next year," says Johnson. Johnson advises those currently pondering the purchase of a standalone Netfinity server to consider 6000R if they also have an interest in the capabilities of an external INS.

The availability of Netfinity's ServerProven Program for AS/400e INS, Cohen believes will prove beneficial both to solution providers, as well as end users. Cohen says the key benefit of the ServerProven Program is that "a solution provider can validate and test solutions and their customers can purchase those applications with confidence." Specifically, from a solution provider's perspective, Cohen says, "the program offers the hints, tips, techniques, and technical information that our business partners need to get programs running [on INS]." Therefore, says Cohen, "the user can feel comfortable that they're getting a tested, complete solution."

This feature apparently possesses a certain level of attractiveness among solution providers, as a number of solutions had already attained ServerProven status at the time IBM announced its further integration of AS/400e with Netfinity. Among the offerings named ServerProven were several familiar to the AS/400 space, including J.D. Edwards OneWorld and Siebel eBusiness 2000 Applications.

Referring to the advantages of ServerProven status, Yojna's Cline says, "I think it adds credibility to the product." She continues, "It certainly means that when you go to shop for an application, you have a shortlist to go by… At least that's what we think."

Related Editorial:

  • IBM Offers Vision of NT Integration

    Related Information:

  • IBM AS/400 Division (new window)
  • IBM AS/400 Integrated Netfinity Server Page (new window)