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May 19, 1987


By CBR Staff Writer

With an entry-level 3090/120E model at under $1m, a complete heart and soul transplant for the 4381 line, graduated pricing on MVS/XA to make it less prohibitive on small machines, and a swathe of database software enhancements, IBM yesterday fulfilled just about all the forecasts made in our Monday issue. There were also enhancements to the company’s query management, data extract and storage management products, and the first past at some Systems Applications Architecture software in the field of database interface. The 4381 line sports four new processors, the Model Group 21, 22 and 23 uniprocessors and the 24 dual processor. All four have completely new internal circuitry and memory technology, and offer a 30% performance boost over the present 4381s. Main memory on the 23 and 24 is doubled to 64Mb using IBM’s new 80nS 1Mbit memory chip. Bad news is that they will do nothing for IBM this year: they don’t ship in the US until first quarter 1988. Additional 3Mbyte-per-second channels are supported, plus a new serial OEM interface. Although upgrading involves a processor swap-out, 4381-11 through -14 and -1 through -3 can be upgraded to the new models; in the new line, the 22 is 50% more powerful than the 21, the 23 is 60% over the 22 and the 24 80% over 23. IBM is so desperate to keep the 4381 pot – where DEC has been stealing its lunch – boiling, that it is offering savings of $20,000 to $75,000 for customers who order between now and November 30 and are prepared to take existing models as stop-gaps by the end of the year. The new baby 3090 is the 120E, which is particularly touted as a cheap delivery vehicle for IBM’s Vector Facility; it starts at under $1m, and is rated at between 70% and 80% the performance of the 3090/150E. It comes with 32Mb of main storage and 64Mb or 128Mb of expanded storage as options. It comes with 16 channels, expandable to 24. First US ships are set for October, and again, IBM is trying to fend off DEC and the plus by offering special inducements to get customers onto the bottom rungs of the 3090 ladder that leads up to the 3090/600: it is offering six months’ free usage of the machine before payment becomes due for customers installing their first 3090 at the location. On the software front, IBM is alleviating the heavy burden on MVS/XA users who want to run the operating system throughout their operations, but find the present cost of running it on satellite 4381s prohibitive. There are also new releases of DB2, 3.0, of SQL/DS, 2.1, Query Management Facility for both MVS and VM, and of Data Extract. Enhancements in DB2 and SQL/DS include support for date, time and timestamp, enhanced ANSI SQL compatibility support, improved recoverability of data and increase performance. QMF 2.2 supports the new relational data base functions. A new DB2/VSAM Transparency program enables data stored in IBM DB2 tables to be accessed as though it were stored in VSAM data files. Delivery of IMS/VS 2.2, which improves XA utility, has been brought forward to July 1987, and all five IBM high-level languages, OS PL/I, VS Pascal, Cobol, Fortran and APL2 now support 31-bit MVS/XA .

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