By William Fellows
You just can’t knock that OS/390 development cycle; version 2.7 rolls out of IBM Corp on March 26, right on the nose (CI No 3,482). Running on a G5 S/390 mainframe IBM will rightfully be able to claim it is the fastest web server available (CI No 3,583) – however short-lived the glory maybe – but is touting the release primarily as an e-business play. IBM appears to have a significant opportunity here given barely 1,000 of its 10,000 OS/390 licensees are currently doing web serving on their mainframes. It’s less likely anyone is going to purchase an S/390 for the express purpose of building an e-business from scratch. Nevertheless, whether it really believes it or not, Big Blue is quite happy to convey the impression it is the Unix vendors which are now in its crosshairs, not plug compatible vendors such as Hitachi Ltd. It’s a view clearly shared by Sun Microsystems Inc, which last week began a campaign for the hearts, minds and back pockets of the mainframe set as datacenter.com. But even Sun, HP et al are not yet suggesting anyone swap out a mainframe for one of their Unix servers. Unix servers cannot duplicate the functionality of OS/390; they can’t handle mixed workloads within a single system image nor provide the same raw throughput for batch processes. As we’ve said before, OS/390 2.7 includes new versions of the eNetwork Communications Server, WebSphere Application Server, OS/390 Unix System Services and OS/390 Security Server, plus Data Facilities Storage Management Systems (DFSMS) enhancements claimed to deliver performance improvements of up to 40 times over the previous release. Version 1.5 of the DFSMS/MVS includes a restructuring of the Hierarchical File System (HFS), to help remove system bottlenecks and improve CPU utilization. 2.7 comes with the Tivoli Management Agent framework – now preferred over SystemView for MVS base version 1.1 – which enables OS/390 applications to be managed by Tivoli. Later in the year the full Tivoli management environment will be up on the platform, enabling OS/390 to manage Tivoli agents anywhere on the network. Enterprise Extender now provides support for SNA and IP, enabling customers to move to an all-IP network while enabling pure SNA applications to retain all of their functionality. A service policy agent is said to make it easier to implement service level agreements for TCP/IP networks. New open Cryptographic Services Facility provide security and cryptographic services programs running in OS/390’s Unix environment. It is compatible with the OpenGroup’s Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA). Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) services enable an S/390 server to serve as an enterprise directory and security server. Novell Directory Services will be available on top of 2.7. Behind the industry- leading 21,591 SPECweb96 result is a new Fast Response Cache Accelerator in the Communications Server. Apache will replace the current HTTP server in a year or two. 100Mbps fibre optic (Ficon) channels and Gigabit Ethernet support is also now available for S/390. IBM expects 2.7 will increase the number of customers web- enabling existing mainframe data and applications, largely CICS and IMS transaction programs. Previewing version 2.8 which is six months out, IBM says it will offer print server consolidation through OpenPrint. IBM says three-quarters of the S/390 base in terms of MIPS installed is now running OS/390. It claims 300 SAP users, 300 Lotus Domino users and 300 PeopleSoft customers up on OS/390.