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September 13, 1995


By CBR Staff Writer

At the Common AS/400 event in Chicago this week, IBM Corp is set to announce a version of SAP AG’s R/3 corporate application suite to run on the Advanced Series AS/400s,the ones that use 64-bit PowerPC RISC variants as the central processor. The suite is expected to be installed in five IBM pilot sites from November and should become generally available by the second half of next year. It will run only under OS/400 release 3.6 and later, because that is the operating system that supports the new processors. Version 3.6 is functionally similar to the current complex instruction set version of OS/400 – Version 3.1 – except that it includes 25 more of the Spec 1170 application programming interfaces, all of which are required by R/3. Only around 5% of the 2m lines of code in SAP’s Basis software layer, upon which the rest of R/3 sits, had to be altered, said IBM, which boasts that because of the Technology Independent Machine Interface layer included on the new AS/400s (CI No 2,627), the AS/400 SAP implementation will be the first fully to exploit 64-bit hardware, database, operating system and applications. Although benchmarking has not yet been completed, SAP thinks that the 64-bit machines will give them higher compute and throughput characteristics, maybe enabling the support of twice as many users, five times the transaction load, and the ability to address databases far greater in size. Of course AS/400 users won’t have the option of using third party databases, only the hard-wired database that is integral to the AS/400 systems. But that integration could result in lower overall costs, according to IBM. The two companies will jointly market the product.

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