The Curtain Rises a Bit on the Next i OS, Due in 2010
Published: October 26, 2009
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Last week was a big week for operating systems. Microsoft delivered Windows 7 for desktops and started shipping Windows Server 2008 R2 for servers. And IBM, as The Four Hundred reports about elsewhere in this issue, put out a dot release of its current i 6.1 platform, which is called i 6.1.1, and started talking about the next major release of the i platform, which is due next year.
Getting information about the future i release has not been easy, but The Four Hundred is the only place where you can find this information for the past year--unless you work for IBM, of course.
In May 2008, I caught wind of some vague road-mappy stuff regarding future i releases, which I told you about here, and I called the future big release i 6.2 consistent with what IBM had been telling customers.
Back in September 2008, after IBM hosted an i variant of the Power Systems Technical University, I had heard that we should expect an interim i 6.1 release (which we all called V6R1M5 in keeping with past interim releases) in May 2009, with a release called 6.2, a so-called major release, due in early 2010. The word on the street a year ago--which is like a decade in the dot-com Nineties decade but more like five years in the relatively slow-moving Naughties--was to expect i 6.2 around January 2010, more or less concurrent with the expected launch of Power7-based servers.
And then this January, I got my hands on some less vague--but still pretty vague--i/OS roadmaps, and told you about that here, moving the ball a few yards, and in April, when the Power6+ servers were launched, a somewhat nervous IBM told a somewhat jumpy set of customers that a new and major i/OS release was in the works and scheduled for delivery in 2010. IBM did not name the release--which could be called i 6.2 or i 7.1 at this point--but did say that the new release would have native XML support in the DB2 for i database, would have enhanced encryption for DB2 databases, and sport asynchronous (meaning, geographically distributed) server clustering using IBM's PowerHA tools.
Last week, IBM moved the ball forward a few more yards on the future i major release, but the company has still not cleared up its name. Here's a listing of the expected features in the next release--I am tempted to call it OS/400 V7R1 just to be contrary--that IBM put into the back end of announcement letter 209-281. And I quote:
- The integrated DB2 database for IBM i will be enhanced with support for XML, enabling clients to store and search XML documents. IBM also plans for DB2 for i to support transparent encryption of a specific column in a database table, enabling clients to further protect sensitive information.
- PowerHA for IBM i is planned to support asynchronous replication, providing clients a disk-clustering based disaster recovery solution. In addition, PowerHA for i will support LUN-level switching, providing another high availability option for clients with selected IBM System Storage solutions.
- IBM i storage management will further leverage solid state disk technology by automatically moving data that is accessed most frequently to SSDs, designed to help clients improve application performance.
- IBM Power Systems and IBM Rational will provide enhancements to RPG, enabling RPG programs to easily work a variety of client applications, including Web services, mobile devices, and XML.
- Additional management tasks for IBM i will be available in Web-based Systems Director Navigator for i that IBM plans to include with the IBM i operating system.
- Additional monitors for IBM i will be added to Systems Director, providing an alternative to Management Central for clients with multiple IBM i environments.
- IBM i integration with BladeCenter and System x via iSCSI technology will be enhanced with support for software target support. This solution is planned to support a faster connection between IBM i and x86-based systems while potentially lowering the cost of the solution.
- IBM i support for PDF documents will be enhanced to support the transformation of existing spool files to PDF files.
So there you have it.
The native XML support is something that the DB2 "Viper" release of IBM's database for Linux, Unix, and Windows had since July 2006 and that the mainframe variant of DB2 got in March 2007. So, yeah, for the record, I am kinda annoyed on behalf of AS/400 shops that IBM was moving so damned slow to get DB2 for i on par. IBM has required i shops to use its XML toolkit to provide some sort of integration between DB2 for i databases and XML documents and the many Web 2.0-style applications that are based on them. The neat thing about the PureXML features of the Viper release XML documents to be stored without losing the hierarchical information that is inherent in them and still allows the elements of the XML documents to be queried.
For some insight into the RPG enhancements coming in the next release, catch our report in Four Hundred Stuff from last week that was gleaned from IBM presentations at the RPG & DB2 Summit.
Now, I will start digging to get more information than this statement of direction has provided. If you hear something, don't be shy. We're all in this together.
IBM Rolls Up an i 6.1.1 Dot Release
Jarman Flashes Clues on Future DB2 and RPG Directions
Krengel Tech Eases XML Integration with DB2 Web Service Enabler
Looks Like It Will be i 7 for that Future Release
IBM Makes the Case for Power Systems SSDs
Sundry Spring Power Systems Storage Enhancements
Power Systems Finally Get Solid State Disks
i Roadmaps: Here Be Dragons
One Less Headache: IBM Preconfigures i 6.1 and VIOS on Blades
Look for an Interim i Release Next Year, and i 6.2 in Early 2010
The i Platform Roadmap Is a Work in Progress
So Where Is PureXML for DB2/400?
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