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  1. Technology
August 25, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp yesterday revealed more details about the upcoming enhancements to its range of AS/400 servers and workstations, due for roll-out on September 11. As previously outlined by ComputerWire (CI No 3,480), the Armonk, New York computer giant will make enhancements to three of its eight servers, including the low-end Apache Invader 170 and two high-end models; the 650 and S40. Speaking at a press conference in New York yesterday, Drew Flaada program manager AS/400 division, said all the new models would include a 64-bit Northstar PowerPC, the successor to IBM’s previous 64-bit chip, Apache. The chip is designed to work with the latest version of the AS/400 operating system, V4R3 (Version 4, release 3), IBM said. Both the high-end and low-end models will be available in a variety of configurations. The S40 will come in two flavors: an 8-way version, the 2207, and a 12- way model, the 2208. Both will feature Northstar chips running at 262MHz. The 650 is available in the same 8 (2188) and 12-way (2189) configurations, running the same speed chips. All models come with a choice of between 1Gb and 40Gb memory, two times the previous maximum available, and a 4.2Gb disk drive, expandable to 2.1Tb. Although on paper, the S40 and 650 look the same, they are optimized for very different environments. The S40 is designed to take advantage of the client/server environment for customers installing ERP applications, like SAP, while the 650 is designed for users running their own, typically RPG-based, applications with dumb screens. The low-end 170 will come in five single- processor feature sets; the 2290, 2291, 2292, 2385 and 2386. The first four versions have Northstar processors running at 200MHz, while the 2386 model has a faster, 252MHz chip. The 2290 and 2291 come with 64Mb memory, expandable to 832Mb while the 2292 starts at 296Mb and increases to 1Gb. Both the 2385 and the 2386 come with 256Mb memory and can be upgraded to 3.58Gb, over three-and- a-half times larger than previous models IBM said. All 170 servers feature a 4.2Gb hard disk as standard, but the maximum capacity has been doubled to 175Gb. Flaada said that most people still thought of the AS/400 as a huge box with multiple dumb screens hanging off it. But he stressed the new models were designed to have a point and click, windows-style feel, with a Windows 95-based Graphical User Interface, easy to use set-up wizards, and software, called NetServer, that enables the AS/400 to appear on a network like a normal server. Flaada said all the new features were designed to attract different types of customers, people who are used to the Windows environment. He added that there would be a payment server for the AS/400 range, to enable users to conduct secure transactions over the internet, by the end of the year. He also said IBM would introduce a search engine, to enable users to search AS/400 databases over the internet or intranets. Pricing for the new models wouldn’t be available until September 1. For a closer look at the enhancements, see tomorrow’s edition of Computergram.

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