Kisco Introduces New CFINT Buster
December 14, 2004 Alex Woodie
OS/400 shops looking to get the most 5250 performance out of their boxes may want to check out Kisco Information Systems‘ new GoFaster product, which the company introduced last week. Kisco says that GoFaster implements a simple software change that overcomes the CFINT interactive governor to allow users to access the full power of their OS/400 server for 5250 sessions. The software was developed in Europe and is now available in the United States for the first time through Kisco.
IBM didn’t entirely eliminate the 5250 interactive governor with the new iSeries packaging it introduced in January 2003, but it made the existence of the governor less of an issue. With the new Standard and Enterprise versions of OS/400, access to 5250 interactive was pretty much an all-or-nothing deal. Buy the Enterprise Edition of OS/400, and there’s no limit on how much of the box’s total horsepower (or total CPW) could be used for interactive workloads, which IBM renamed 5250 online transaction processing (OLTP). Buy the budget-minded Standard Edition, and you get very little 5250 OLTP, unless you use IBM’s WebFacing Tool to convert your interactive applications into Web apps–a perk not available with other Web-enablement technologies, most of which require 5250 OLTP under that pretty GUI.
While IBM’s January 2003 repackaging would seem to have reduced the demand for governor-busting products, like GoFaster and Fast400, there is still a large installed base of older AS/400 and iSeries machines that are restricted in the amount of 5250 interactive CPWs that are available to them. These are the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” accounts that IBM and ISVs have been trying to sell new boxes and new software to for some time. But many are happy as clams on their AS/400s and green screens and don’t see a need to move, even if they’d like a little more 5250 OLTP to make their users’ screens move a little faster.
That’s just what Kisco says its new product does: it makes the OS/400 server go faster. Like the notorious Fast400 product, GoFaster somehow finds a way above, underneath, through, or around the CFINT governor, and it allows a server’s total CPW to be used for 5250 OLTP. The result of GoFaster is the same as Fast400, but it goes about it in a different way, says Rich Loeber, president of Kisco Information Systems, which is based in Saranac Lake, New York.
“Through the implementation of a fairly simple software change, it lets the system’s interactive performance rise above the level imposed by OS/400 to reach the full performance capability of the system it is running on,” Loeber says. “It does not stop CFINT from running but is able to control it.” That’s probably about as deep of an explanation into GoFaster’s inner workings as we’re going to get.
The company in charge of selling and distributing GoFaster–the company Kisco partnered with to sell it–is American Top Tools, a software company based in Barcelona, Spain, that has partnerships with many American vendors of OS/400 software, including Kisco, for its SafeNet/400 security tool. ATT owns the sole distribution rights for GoFaster but is not the actual developer. The developer of GoFaster is a secret, and one that is not likely to be divulged anytime soon. Suffice it to say that ATT has been selling GoFaster for about two years, and numerous companies, including banks and financial services firms in Europe and South America, have used it to successfully open up more 5250 OLTP capability.
According to Kisco, users of GoFaster are not violating any agreements they’ve made with IBM. This is an important matter, considering the soap opera that has surrounded the Fast400 product and the companies that have sold it. While IBM has never made any official statement to users about the legality of using Fast400, it has taken numerous actions to thwart it, including issuing PTFs that break Fast400 and getting a U.S. Attorney to charge the Fast400 founders with federal crimes. (Those charges were later dropped, and the Fast400 founders are currently suing for defamation of character. See “Fast400 Founder Sues Big Blue”.) IBM has also made some unofficial statements about Fast400, including one to the press that said, basically, that IBM may stop providing maintenance to machines that are running a program that alters the microcode, such as Fast400.
It will be interesting to see what actions IBM takes against GoFaster, as well as Kisco, ATT, and its ultimate developer. According to Loeber, we will not see a battle of PTFs like we did with Fast400, in which IBM tries to break the CFINT buster with OS/400 updates and the developers struggle to overcome the new programming challenges. “It is interesting to note,” Loeber says, “that none of the changes that IBM put into OS/400 had any effect on GoFaster, while Fast400 had to scramble and issue product fixes for these things.”
Kisco is selling GoFaster on a “timed software lease” basis, with terms ranging from three to 24 months, which includes all maintenance and support. The base price for a single processor system runs from $819, for a P05 for three months, up to $7,389, for a P60 for two years, Kisco says. All OS/400 releases from V4R4 to V5R3 (i5/OS) are supported. For more information, go to www.kisco.com.