By Timothy Prickett Morgan
The latest scuttlebutt has it that IBM will announce new AS/400e servers and their associated OS/400 V4R4 operating system on February 9, right on its typical winter-summer announcement schedule. IBM plans to introduce the machines to the press a day earlier. The AS/400e announcements fall halfway between the Lotusphere99 trade show in January and the COMMON midrange trade show in March. IBM’s plans reportedly call for it to announce new high-end 16-way servers using new AS/400 PowerPC processors. No one is sure what these processors are — various rumors peg them as 400-MHz chips using the same Northstar design in current high-end AS/400s, others speculate that IBM may be able to get a 550-MHz Pulsar copper chip out the door. Suffice it to say, the AS/400 line will be significantly extended, with anywhere from 65 to 125% more aggregate throughput and from 50 to 100% more processing power for single-stream batch jobs. IBM is also reportedly planning to announce a new Integrated PC Server card for the AS/400 line that uses a 333-MHz Intel Pentium II processor, which is significantly faster than the 200 megahertz Pentium Pro chip used in the fastest current IPCS card. Down the road, IBM will announce 2-way and 4-way IPCS cards that use top-of-the line Pentium II and, perhaps, Pentium II Xeon chips, and may even allow AS/400 customers to hook IBM’s Netfinity servers into the AS/400’s system bus, much as it allows Netfinity and RS/6000 servers to link into an RS/6000 SP cluster.