IBM Updates Host Access Client Emulator Packages
October 27, 2009 Alex Woodie
IBM last week unveiled the version 7 release of Host Access Client Package, the pair of emulator products that give customers the choice of accessing i OS, z/OS, and Unix applications from either a traditional Windows-based emulator (Personal Communications) or a Web-based emulator (Rational Host On-Demand). Enhancements delivered with the new version include support for Windows 7, SSL-enabled FTP, new sign-on options for i OS, a text editor, and a range of other changes.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to IBM emulators. System i shops that need the full gamut of capabilities will more often than not choose IBM i Access (formerly iSeries Access and Client Access), which includes several 5250 emulators for Windows, Linux, and the Web, along with other administrator tools and middleware for accessing the System i’s databases, printers, message queues, and IFS files.
Organizations that don’t need these capabilities but still require access to traditional System i applications are directed to Host Access Client Package for iSeries (for some reason, IBM hasn’t changed the name of this product to reflect the change to System i, let alone the name change to IBM i). IBM develops a similar product called Host Access Client Package for Multiplatforms, which is used to access DEC/Unix and z/OS applications.
Last week IBM rolled out the version 7 releases of both products. Both products include new releases of the two emulators, including Personal Communications for Windows version 6, and Rational Host On-Demand version 11.
Personal Communications for Windows version 6
Chief among the enhancements in Personal Communications for Windows version 6 is support for the new Windows 7 operating system that Microsoft launched last week. The software also gains support for Windows Server 2008.
A range of productivity enhancements were released, including a new lightweight text editor called the scratch pad where users can manipulate data with cut, copy, and paste functions; the new “Copy As Image” command that allows users to copy a selected area as a bitmap; and a new find text function that allows users to match text in their displays.
In terms of connectivity, users can now get a Telnet session up and running quickly with the press of a button through the new “quick connect” feature. There is also a new Telnet “keepalive” feature that keeps a connection with Telnet servers active.
Version 6 introduces a new sign-on option for System i customers that should boost security. By selecting the bypass sign-on options, System i users can sign into TN5250 sessions by sending SHA1 messages, instead of entering their passwords. Security is enhanced with support for SSL encryption for FTP, or FTPS.
Programming enhancements were delivered in the form of bidirectional (BIDI) support for the HLLAPI, as well BIDI support for the FTP client. Japanese JIS 2004 Unicode support provides extended support for the Japanese alphabet.
IBM has eliminated support for several legacy technologies with this release, including Twinax, coax, S/3X interface support, and SNA DFT and SNA non-DFT.
Rational Host On-Demand 11
The new release of the Rational Host On-Demand emulator brings several of the same productivity enhancements that its Windows big brother got, including the new scratch pad, find text, and quick connect features.
The Java-based emulator gains a few additional productivity features, including a new screen history function that allows users to view previous screens in their Telnet sessions, and to use data from the screens. This release also includes new hot spot features that allow users to configure their screens with hot spots that correspond with macros, scripts, function commands, and e-mail functions.
This release also gains a new “composite applications editor” that makes it easier to adapt Telnet resources into a service oriented architecture (SOA) environment. This function works with a Host On-Demand container for Lotus Notes version 8.5.1 and Lotus Expeditor. Users also gain the capability to print multiple captured screens on a single page.
The emulator view will look different to users if administrators take advantage of new SSH Banner and watermark capabilities. If administrators want to communicate a message, they can use the SSH Banners function to display messages at the top of emulator screens during the authentication process. Likewise, admins can add images that will be displayed on session screens as a watermark.
Both Host Access Client Package products will become available November 9. Single user licenses cost $185 per user. For more information, see Software Announcement 209-408.