The Curtain Rises a Bit on the Next i OS, Due in 2010
October 26, 2009 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:
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.
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.