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February 15, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Presidents’ Day celebrates the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and IBM picked the day to give its large users a birthday present in the shape of up to 12% performance improvement on all 3090E processors simply by moving to a new MVS/ESA Enterprise Systems Architecture version of MVS/XA at no new initial charge and the same monthly licence fee as the current release. IBM has also provided a much cleaner upgrade path through the 3090 line, and added the expected 3090/500E and also the 280E that was announced as an RPQ in the US in October: the 500E is five CPUs in a 300+200 asymmetrical configuration, the 280E is two CPUs in separate cabinets with space for another CPU in each, where the existing 200E is two CPUs in the same cabinet (CI No 839). New 4881 91E and 92E models replace the 23 and dual processor 24 before those had even been shipped, and support the new operating system. The bad news is that there is up to another 30% performance improvement to be had from the enormous additional address space supported by the new Enterprise Systems Architecture – 16 Terabytes, Tb, instead of 2Gb – but users will have to rewrite their applications to take full advantage of it, although simple recompilation will relieve applications constrained by the 2Gb limit of XA. Existing E series models require an engineering change and some new microcode to run MVS/ESA: this will not be available on 308X or non-E 3090s, thereby tending to obsolete these machines and force users to upgrade to the E models – IBM says that 60% of 3090s installed are already Es; the company did not give the price of the upgrade. MVS/ESA – which is what had been dubbed XB consists of MVS/SP-3 (XA is SP-2) plus MVS/DFP – Data Facility Product – 3, and requires the expanded storage that is a feature of the 3090s: prices for this slow extension to main memory were cut 17% worldwide yesterday. IBM also responded to Amdahl Corp’s Multiple Domain Features facility with a hardware partitioning facility called Processor Resource/Systems Manager, which enables each CPU or single image complex to be partitioned into up to four logical partitions, each of which can run a different operating system. The facility is based on the Multiple High Performance Guest support already announced for VM/XA. The other major announcement is Data Facility Storage Management Subsystem, described by IBM as its most significant storage management advance in more than 20 years. It comprises the new release of MVS/DFP, the rest of the Data Facility family, and RACF, and is designed to manage data on disks and tapes automatically, allocating the disk space to use it more efficiently and simplifying addition of new devices; available January 1989, December in US. Enterprise Systems Architecture hardware and software are out in the third quarter. The 3090-280E is available second quarter 1988 at a typical $4.9m; the 500E third quarter at $9,65m; the 4381 91E with 16Mb is $550,000, the 92E, 16Mb, is $920,000, both November; installing PR/SM partitioning ranges from $60,000 on a 180E to $200,000 on a 600E, from August.

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