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  1. Technology
June 2, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Client-server working takes step forward with CICS/400 3.1

IBM added Version 3.1 of the CICS/400 application enabler, designed to simplify the development of new CICS Cobol or C applications on the AS/400 and enable existing applications to be converted to it from other environments. The new version adds several new features, including client-server enhancements, new two-phase commit support and C application support. Customers now have CICS/400 server support for direct communication with workstation-based CICS clients. This enables a more powerful client-server configuration, without the need for an intermediate CICS OS/2 server. Operating CICS/400 in a client-server configuration with workstation-based CICS clients provides the advantages of the established CICS External Call Interface and CICS External Presentation Interface programming interfaces that enable workstation-based programs to access CICS/400 functions, IBM says. External Presentation Interface enables existing CICS/400 applications to exploit user-friendly graphical user interfaces on workstation CICS clients without the need for change to the CICS/400 applications. External Call Interface enables CICS applications to be designed with the business logic on the CICS/400 server and the presentation logic (typically exploiting the graphical user interface) on the workstation-based CICS client. External Presentation Interface and 3270 terminal emulation enable transaction routing to CICS/400 and hence onwards to any other attached CICS system. IBM also added the improved data support of CICS/400 two-phase commit support for updating multiple local and remote databases. This improves the integrity with which multiple local and remote databases can be updated. When storing the same data to both local and remote databases, the data will be committed to all databases after they have all been polled to determine their readiness to commit the data. Integrity is improved as all databases will be backed out to the same level (data not committed) if any single database fails to respond positively on its readiness to commit the data – for example, due to a communications link failure on a remote database. Also new is the ability to write CICS/400 applications in C. First ships August, generally available November.

Integrated Language Environment C, Cobol and RPG are unveiled

There’s a 3.1 release of the Integrated Language Environment family. ILE C/400, which delivers a high-performance, 100% ANSI-compliant C compiler, has been enhanced, with improved compile and run-time. ILE RPG/400 delivers the RPG IV language definition, the next RPG generation. ILE Cobol/400 delivers additional ANSI-85 High functions that IBM claims can make converting applications from other environments to the AS/400 system easier. Out in November.

Neural Network Utility/400 gets major enhancements and new client-server support

The IBM Neural Network Utility/400 is designed to bring the power and productivity of neural networks to the AS/400 environment. Version 3 includes support for additional neural network models, for fuzzy rule processing, and for client-server development and remote data access with OS/2, Windows and AIX clients. Increased function and ease-of-use in the data translation and control script language are designed to yield improved productivity. With the move to client-server operation, the native AS/400 development environment has been withdrawn. For AS/400 development, a Neural Network Utility client is required in addition to the NNU/400 server. Applications developed using Neural Network Utility are portable between all Neural Network Utility environments. Neural Network Utility provides a language-independent application programming interface for embedding neural network and fuzzy rule processing into AS/400 application programs. The client-server function in Neural Network Utility enables a user to develop applications on a personal computer or workstation while the neural network processing is performed on an AS/400 system or RS/6000 server. It also enables

remote data access. Using Neural Network Utility in client-server mode, an application developer can access databases and files on the server machines running NNU/400 or NNU/6000. This reduces the duplication of data and the workstation storage requirements, along with data integrity and security problems. The client-server mode enables a developer running OS/2 or Windows on a personal computer to run the neural network computations on a larger AS/400 system or RS/6000 machine. For the computationally demanding training process, says the company, this mode of operation enables more – and larger – neural networks to be developed in the same amount of time. Fuzzy rule processing adds a knowledge-based processing approach to complement the data-based neural network approach. The company has also launched Neural Network Utility for OS/2 and Neural Network Utility for Windows Version 3.1, which are enhanced and repackaged members of the Neural Network Utility product family. The NNU/2 and NNU/Win products are functionally equivalent, and can be used as stand-alone development tools or as part of a client-server environment. Enhancements include support for additional neural network models, for fuzzy rule processing, and for client-server development and remote data access from AS/400 system and RS/6000 servers. There’s also increased function and ease-of-use in the data translation and control script language. More basic, entry-level versions are also available. Finally, AIX Neural Network Utility/6000 is designed for commercial application developers working on RS/6000 systems in stand-alone and distributed client-server environments. NNU/6000 can act as a client to AS/400 systems running NNU/400 software, and as a server to other RS/6000s and personal computers running Neural Network Utility for OS/2 or Neural Network Utility for Windows. Like these, the product features increased function and ease-of-use in the data translation and the control script language.

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Prices fall – but are added on stuff that was free

IBM cut prices on some models of the 5394 Remote Control Unit, down around 15%, and the 9336 Disk Unit model 025, now $15,000, down from $19,500. Some models and disk drive features of the 9337 disk subsystem are also cut by up to 20%. The basic one-time charge for the PC Support/400 Rumba Workstation feature has dropped to $235 from $365. The Pennant Advanced Function Printer is down to $38,250 from $39,000; but the cost of Systems Network Architecture SDLC Attachments is up, and the previously-free AFP Core Interchange Fonts, Systems Network Architecture Token Ring Attachment and twinaxial attachment are now charged.

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