News Briefs and Product Shorts
Mystery Solved: i5/OS V5R3M5 Is for Remote SAN Boot
One of the things that the iSeries community has been trying to figure out for the past several months is what exactly i5/OS V5R3M5--that's Version 5, Release 3, Modification 5--is all about. Today, that mystery is solved.
As the name suggests, V5R3M5 is an interim release between V5R3 and the future V5R4, which is expected some time in the first half of 2006--March or so seems likely, but you can never really tell with announcements until they actually happen. V5R3M5 delivers a new boot-from-Storage Area Network (SAN) capability that IBM has been working on for some time to meet the requirements of iSeries customers who want to store their boot i5/OS load source on a SAN rather than have to store it on local disks in their iSeries systems.
According to Amit Dave, senior technical staff member for the iSeries, this capability is being delivered through a tweak of the microcode running in an existing I/O Processor, the feature 2844 card. By tweaking its microcode on the IOP to create a new card, feature 2847, IBM can allow customers to tell the Hardware Management Console to tell their i5 machines to boot from an alternate location out on a SAN. For now, this capability is only allowed on IBM's own TotalStorage DS6000 and DS8000 midrange SAN arrays and its high-end "Shark" ESS 800 arrays, but Dave says that there is no technical reason why EMC Symmetrix and DMX arrays cannot use the feature. It will, however, be up to EMC to figure out how to make it work.
The remote boot over SAN capability is only available on Power5-based "Squadron" servers and only using i5/OS V5R3. By ordering the feature 2847 IOP needed for remote boot, you will automatically generate an order for V5R3M5. To make use of the feature, you will also have to upgrade the microcode in the HMC as well. IBM has put together a Redbook outlining how to plan to use this new feature, which will have an abstract available today with a complete Redbook available on October 14, when this new capability will ship. You'll have to look for Redbook SG247120 to get this. The feature 2847 IOP costs $2,500, which is only a little bit more than the $2,100 price of the feature 2844 IOP.
BOSaNOVA Launches iSeries Console, All-in-One Thin Client
The iSeries connectivity experts at BOSaNOVA got tired of hearing about old, unreliable PCs being used as iSeries consoles, so it decided to build its own iSeries Operations Console built on a reliable thin client frame, which was one of two new products BOSaNOVA unveiled at the recent COMMON conference. The new iSeries Operations Console, which is powered by a 1GHz Via Technologies processor that has access to 256MB of RAM and 512MB of DOM, comes with the embedded version of Windows XP service pack 2 (SP2), and is available in Twinax, Serial, and Ethernet versions, reflecting the various ways IBM allows connections to iSeries servers. The product features BOSaNOVA's management software and VNC (virtual network computing) access, enabling operators and administrators to control the iSeries remotely. It also comes with an array of ports and slots, including 802.11 support, and has an MSRP of $895.
The second new product is the "All-in-One thin client," also known as the BOSaNOVA XTC-733. The All-in-One bundles a 733Mhz Processor with 512MB Flash and 256MB RAM with a 17-inch LCD screen, with optional touch-screen support. Like the iSeries Operations Console, the All-in-One is powered by Windows XPe SP2 and features BOSaNOVA management software. It also comes with the company's Secure GUI TN5250e emulation software, with an optional upgrade to Ericom's Powerterm emulation suite for 3270, VT100, VT220, VT400, SCO, and Wyse 60 connectivity. The XTC-733 has an MSRP of $1,249 (although BOSaNOVA resellers set their own prices), and features a range of productivity apps, including viewers for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, Windows Media Player version 10, the latest release of Adobe Acrobat, version 7.0, Java virtual machines from Microsoft and Sun, PC access software from Microsoft and Citrix, and Internet Explorer 6.0. Company officials say BOSaNOVA is preparing a Linux version of the All-in-One, which would go by the name LTC-733, and feature the FireFox Web browser from Mozilla instead of IE.
IBM Streamlines Product Configuration with Director 5.1
IBM this month is launching Director 5.10, a new release of its suite of systems management software that supports--and is shipped free with--the full range of eServers from Big Blue. A number of new features are available with this release, which brings support for Linux on the zSeries and pSeries systems, as well as support for IBM's new System z9 mainframe. One of the primary goals of Director is to centralize management of a range of platforms into one interface, so it's no surprise that the user interface was targeted for improvement with Director 5.10. IBM says the new interface has been streamlined for greater productivity, while lightweight agents and more customizable deployment options will make it easier to deploy. There's also a new Software Health Check feature that's designed to save administrators time by determining which systems need an update, while a new Event Action Plan Wizard provides a step-by-step guide for telling Director what to monitor and what actions to take in response to an alert. eServer shops deploying BladeCenter servers will benefit from new Director tools for managing the configuration of BladeCenter chassis and subsystems, while Wintel users will see closer integration between Director and Microsoft's Systems Management Server and Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) products. IBM Director supports i5/OS, Windows, Intel Linux, Power Linux, zSeries Linux, AIX, and System z9 across iSeries, xSeries, pSeries, zSeries, BladeCenter, and OpenPower servers.
nuBridges Offers truExchange Software as a Service
nuBridges unveiled a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering last week involving its truExchange software, which provides business-to-business communication for EDI, AS2, AS3, and UCCnet services. As part of its new truExchange eBusiness product, nuBridges is offering customers various flavors of SaaS, ranging from full-on outsourcing via nuBridges Atlanta-area data center, to a partial outsourcing mix, where customers host the server running truExchange software (nuBridges seems to favor Linux these days, but some of the truExchange stack will still run on OS/400), but outsource management to the experts at nuBridges. nuBridges says users will benefit from truExchange eBusiness by gaining a single view of their B2B communications and a centralized control panel for managing business relationships, projects, connections, and interactions, while saving time and money compared to traditional ebusiness software implementations. "Every CEO and division head wants to streamline and centralize their business--from sales, to payments and inventory monitoring," says Wain Kellum, chief executive of nuBridges. "But they're blocked by the sticker-shock of custom development. We're shifting the equation." truExchange is primarily written in Java, and is based in part on the ZMOD Exchange software that nuBridges obtained through its acquisition of OS/400 software developer TrailBlazer Systems in 2004.
Utilities 400 Takes Over U.S. Product Distribution for OS-Solutions
One of the new vendors demonstrating their wares at the recent COMMON conference in Orlando, Florida, was Utilities 400 (UTI400), a British developer of data transfer and business intelligence software for the iSeries. While UTI400 is not a new company, it is probably new to most Stuff readers, especially those in the United States. The company formerly developed software that was distributed by OS-Solutions, but since the acquisition of OS-Solutions by Vision Solutions, the company has decided to try other means of distributing its products in the U.S. The primary products involved include RouteOne, which moves data between iSeries servers, or from an iSeries to Windows or Unix servers, while applying various data transformations; and ShowMe, a business intelligence tool that displays results using the Web or 5250 screens. The company, which is led by Steve Close, has offices in Millbrook, New York, is considering partners.
S4i Systems Has a New Web Site
S4i Systems is sporting a new look and a new attitude on its new Web site, www.s4isystems.com. The Oceanside, California, developer of OS/400 document management, document imaging, and disk management solutions, which in previous years has gone by the name Solution 400, is reshaping its image, and chief among the changes is a new Web site, which the company announced last week. One of the new features current and future customers of S4i Systems will find online is the new S4i Customer Resource Center (CRC). The password-protected area of the portal will provide access to current product documentation and technical bulletins, and also enable customers to request technical support and to make product enhancement requests. It's important to allow IT professionals to access technical information online, says S4i president, Spencer Elliot. "Users and others are still encouraged to call technical support, but we want to expand the available information channels," he says. In the future, S4i's CRC will allow clients to download updated versions of products. There is also a non-password protected area of the CRC for general information about S4i's products, case studies, white papers, Webinars, and regional events.