Some Info on i5/OS V6R1 and V6R2 Support
January 21, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
I am convinced that IBM is getting ready to take the wraps off i5/OS, and it is not because I have any solid information. Not yet, anyway. I am hearing a lot of different things about what IBM may and may not be doing, and when it may or may not be doing them. But I have gotten my hands on some concrete information about V6R1 that comes from IBM’s top techies, and it has some information you will find useful as you make your plans.
First and foremost, on an operating system roadmap that IBM put together only a few weeks ago, it shows i5/OS V6R1 being launched in January 2008. With only two weeks left, and this event being held a few weeks ago, I am pretty sure that we can expect some sort of formal announcement on the last Tuesday of January. If IBM behaves as it has in years past, IBM will schedule an announcement on Thursday or Friday, and the announcement letters will come out ahead of or behind whatever announcement it makes. This is because having the marketing people and the press people coordinated would make too much sense for any company the size of Big Blue. (These plans are subject to change. IBM pushed mainframe announcements out to the end of February, and they may drag everything along with them for a big-bang event that IBM surely wants to host. Probably in New York or San Francisco.)
If V6R1 comes out in late January, then we can expect for V5R3 to get an end of support date sometime around January 2009, since IBM starts winding down support for a release once it has been superseded by two subsequent releases. In recent years, IBM provides support for the n-3 release for 12 months past the launch date of the n release, to use an algebraic expression to explain how IBM does it. Because of the conversion issues with V6R1, IBM could extend support for V5R3, of course.
Here are the other interesting bits of information in the handout. First, i5/OS V5R4 will not be supported on the new JS22 Power6-based blade server that was launched in November 2007. Only i5/OS V6R1 will be supported on the blade. So if you want to move to a blade form factor, you are going to have to convert your programs and make the jump from V5 to V6R1.
Second, V6R1 will run on that JS22 blade, the Power6-based 570, the Power5+ based and user-priced i5 515 and 525 servers, the Power5 and Power5+ machines with the 520, 550, 570, and 595 model numbers, and the second-generation iSeries 800, 810, 825, 870, and 890 servers. (These latter iSeries machines were built using Power4 or earlier PowerPC chips.) That’s it. If you have first-generation iSeries 270, 820, 830, or 840 machines (using even older Star-class PowerPC processors) and you want i5/OS V6R1, you have to upgrade your hardware. (And it is probably a good idea considering the machines are eight years old, anyway.) Interestingly, the word on the street is that V6R2 will run on all of those Power6, Power5+, and Power5 servers, but not on the first-generation iSeries machines and the older chips. The chart I saw outlining these releases did not mention the future Power6+ and Power7 iron that i5/OS V6R2 will run on–but that’s a story for another time. Like a year or two from now.