Having greatly eased the processor-to-disk bottleneck with acres and acres of Expanded Storage and the new concept of Hiperspace, IBM yesterday began the process of enhancing some of its software to make use of all that extra memory. The company also postponed launch of the 4391 by coming out with a mid-range 4381 Model 90, and a baby 3090, the 100S, which effectively legitimises the Model 120S. There are also substantial price cuts on memory for top-end systems, catching the first two pushers of add-on 3090 memory just as they start first shipments. IBM is claiming its biggest performance improvement from a new Enterprise Systems Architecture release of Data Facility Sort – DFSort, release 11, which is said to cut sorting time by up to 25% by doing it in Hiperspace memory instead of having to swap stuff in and out from disk – IBM has coined the term Hipersorting for this facility. Out in March, it is $259 a month. Also making better use of Expanded Storage, IBM has enhanced CICS/MVS with a new option called Data Tables, which enables frequently used records such as credit authorisations to be held in expanded memory instead of on disk. The company claims that the facility can increase transaction processing rates up to 95% – depending on what the user has decided can now be kept in Hiperspace; also March, $595 a month. In other software and firmware announcements, the company said that VM/XA SP-2 would support the basic functions of the IBM 3990-3 disk controller for guest operating systems and CMS – available in December; and that the PR/SM hardware partitioning feature would now run up to seven partitions, so that some 3090 multiprocessors can support 14; out in the second quarter at no charge.
On the hardware front, IBM propped up the 3090 and 4381 lines with entry-level Enterprise Systems Architecture models. The 3090-100S effectively legitimises the 120S, has a base price of just $795,000 and will be available in April. The 4381-90E comes in below the two existing ESA 4381s, the 91E and 92E – of which Computer Intelligence was able to find just eight US installations; it starts at $395,000 and will be available in September. And, probably of much more interest to most users, IBM has cut 4381 main memory up to 15% and Expanded Storage on the 9XE models by up to 14%; main memory up to 9% on some 3090s; and 11% on the first 64Mb, 17% on all additional increments, on 3090 Expanded Storage. And memory for the 3990-3 cache models is cut by up to 13%.