Smart Cube Software Stacks for i, Linux Get Revved
November 2, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Remember the Smart Cube appliances for small business? Whatever happened to those? IBM launched these Power and X64 server appliances with some (but not a lot of fanfare) in the United States this past May running the i 6.1 and SUSE Linux 10 SP2, and then we never really heard much about these appliances again. As part of the Dynamic Infrastructure announcement blitz on October 20, IBM updated the software stacks at the heart of these appliances.
The most important update in the stack is that the Smart Business Software Pack for i V1.2.0, which runs on the Power version of the Smart Cube, is that it includes Application Integrator, a feature that was pitched in the original launch in India of the Smart Cubes (back in December 2008) and in the States in May. Application Integrator is a set of system and application software that allows techies in Rochester, Minnesota, to remotely monitor and tune applications and systems software running on Smart Cube machines. Think of it as the AS/400’s then-progressive Electronic Customer Support, but on steroids and offering a consistent framework so the system and application software can be remotely monitored and managed. (IBM said in May that it has over 150 patents relating to Application Integrator’s secret sauces.)
The Smart Business software stack for the Power version of the appliance includes i 6.1, which does authentication and other security functions as well as providing the DB2 for i database and the Apache Web server and Java runtime that is part of the WebSphere Application Server 6.1 middleware. RPG and COBOL runtimes are also included in the i 6.1 operating system, obviously, and i 6.1 does print and file serving, too. The stack also includes Zend Core 2.6.1 (which includes the PHP 5.2.X PHP engine) and Dokuwiki for collaborative documents. Lotus Domino Messaging and Collaboration Express 8.5 are used for Web serving and email serving for certain Smart Cube applications and are used for LDAP serving for all applications, so this is in the updated stack, too. So is Lotus Sametime Entry 8.0.1 (which has PC client and telephony integration), and Nortel’s Software Communications System 500 unified communication software for VoIP, messaging, and conferencing.
The X64-based Smart Cubes also got the Application Integrator feature with the rev of the Linux version of the Smart Business stack, of course, because any strategic advantage that an i platform might have cannot be maintained for some reason that I will never understand. I am all for Linux, but let the open source community figure out its own stuff.
Anyway, the Linux version of the Smart Business stack has the integrated Apache Web server, Samba file server, and Linux printer daemons for print serving. It has a raw PHP 5.2.5 engine for PHP application serving and a Java 5 virtual machine (embedded in WebSphere Application Server 6.1) for Java application serving. Lotus Domino Messaging and Collaboration Express 8.5 are used for Web serving and email serving (just like on the i version) for certain Smart Cube applications and is used for LDAP serving for all applications (just like on the i version). IBM has added its own backup and recovery software (to complement the Backup Recovery Media Services in the i platform) and tossed in its own ISS Proventia Server firewall into the mix to balance out the firewall functions of i 6.1. For a database, the Linux version has DB2 Express Server 9.5. VoIP functions are provided through the Asterisk PBX Server V1.4.
The Smart Business V1.2.0 software stacks for the i and Linux platforms will ship on November 20.