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October 13, 1995

IBM TARGETS NETRA BUSINESS

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp has seen how well Sun Microsystems Inc has done with its pre-packaged Internet Netra servers and plans to offer a range of similar pre-packaged options, initially in the form of software stacks for the RS/6000 line (CI No 2,768). There are seven variants: an Internet server with choice of Netscape or IBM Explorer browser; a database server with either DB2 or third party databases; a Notes server for groupware; transaction server for CICS; systems management server; communications server; and applications development server. Based on the sort of configurations customers are typically ordering, the packages will require one order number and one document to buy, along with easy install scripts. OS/2 versions of the stacks will also be available and IBM is considering combined hardware and software bundles for the future. Meantime, recognising that most of the clients attached to its RS/6000s are non-Unix, IBM is also preparing a selection of middleware culled together from third parties called AIX Connections, which will include everything needed to connect up Windows, Mac OS, OS/2 and any Unix client up to its AIX servers. The move is parly to counter Microsoft Corp’s increasingly loud story that using Redmond software on both the client and the server is the most sensible option. Meanwhile, IBM’s anticipated E20 mid-range server appeared this week as a 100MHz 604-based PCI machine, replacing the current Micro Channel-based C10 and C20 boxes. It could also be the first machine that is hardware enabled to run operating systems other than AIX – Windows NT, of course, springs to mind, although the debate over whether or not support of NT on the RS/6000 line will dilute IBM’s efforts to push its flagship AIX offering is still continuing within the company. A new release of AIX accompanied the machine. On a wider front, IBM has set a strategy in place to establish what it calls an IBM common client, the idea of which is to get any client connected to any service, on any server. Dubbed Get Connected, and put under the control of Global Services general manager Dennie Welsh, the common client will be able to talk to IBM mainframes, AS/400, OS/2 and AIX servers. The client will come in a standard single package of client-connectors, including things like DB2 and CICS requesters and SystemView monitors, as well as the usual communications suspects such as TCP/IP, ONC, IPX, SNA and AppleTalk. The aim is to get things moving over the next year, according to Donna van Fleet, AIX systems development vice-president. It is not that clear, as yet, just how extensive the bundle will be. Anything too comprehensive would be cumbersome and unworkable, while those things that get missed out could prove controversial. Object Linking & Embedding, for instance, does not appear to be too high on the list at the moment.

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