IBM Unveils i/OS CMS Upgrades and Migration Promotions
May 18, 2010 Alex Woodie
A new release of the Content Manager OnDemand for i software was unveiled as part of IBM‘s April 13 i/OS 7.1 announcement. The new 7.1 release of CMOD includes new PDF and AFP functionality, as well as the capability to access CMOD content from FileNet P8, Big Blue’s flagship content management system (CMS), which doesn’t run on i/OS. IBM also unveiled discounts for customers migrating from CMOD and Content Manager for iSeries to FileNet or other Unix-based CMSes.
CMOD, as IBM calls Content Manager OnDemand for i, is used by organizations that need to capture, index, store, and distribute a large number of business documents, such as reports, checks, statements, and invoices, or image files like x-rays and doctor’s notes. The software, which is tremendously scalable and often deployed alongside an older product called Content Manager for iSeries (which IBM sometimes calls Content Manager for AS/400), serves as a long-term archive for documents that in the past would have been handled with paper or microfiche.
While IBM surely has a handful of happy CMOD customers, the company is marching to the FileNet drum these days. You will recall that IBM spent $1.6 billion in August 2006 to buy FileNet, in large part to obtain the industry-specific functionality for healthcare and financial services that FileNet built into its Unix-based CMS. CMOD and its Content Management for i/OS companion, by comparison, are hardly known outside the i/OS community, and while CMOD has been upgraded every two years, Content Manager for iSeries (i5/OS) appears to be on maintenance mode.
With CMOD version 7.1, IBM built one-way integration from CMOD to IBM FileNet P8, which will provide some benefits to organizations that use both CMSes, but does nothing to enhance the core value of the i/OS-based CMOD product, which IBMers who work on the CMOD product consider “complementary” to FileNet. With version 7.1, documents stored in CMOD can be accessed and managed from FileNet applications. CMOD documents are also integrated into FileNet’s processes and compliance mechanisms, while searching and viewing of CMOD documents is available to FileNet customer through the FileNet Workplace XT product.
Don’t hold your breath on IBM reciprocating the integration and opening up FileNet content for viewing through CMOD or Content Manager for iSeries. Last week IBM unveiled a series of promotions that will give CMOD and Content Manager for iSeries customers discounts for migrating to FileNet, Content Manager Enterprise Edition (which runs on Unix, Windows, and Linux), and Content Manager OnDemand for Multiplatforms. (IBM has added similar one-way FileNet integration capabilities with the Content Manager Enterprise Edition.)
More CMOD 7.1 Enhancements
But back to the new features in CMOD 7.1. The software has always supported the ingestion of content in common i/OS application output formats, such as SNA Character Stream (SCS), Advanced Function Presentation Data Stream (AFPDS), and regular line data output. With version 7.1, the software gains the capability to convert AFP documents into HTML and PDF for viewing over the Web, while maintaining document fidelity. IBM calls this function AFP2WEB. This function was available from IBM as a service previously, but is now built into the product.
While Web-based PDF generation via the new AFP2WEB function is new, the CMOD software has supported PDF as a back-end storage format for some time. With version 7.1, IBM has enhanced the PDF ingesting and indexing functions, which results in lowered storage requirements when storing documents in PDF, and quicker PDF retrieval times. IBM says the storage requirements of PDF storage is now on par with the product’s performance when AFP is the chosen storage format.
CMOD 7.1 also introduces new security and administration capabilities. Administrators can now lock down individual documents contained in a report, which will help customers comply with privacy laws. Administrators will also appreciate the new and enhanced commands that IBM has made available through the System i Navigator client.
IBM also tweaked the OnDemand Web Enablement Kit (ODWEK), which is a set of client and server components that allow users to view CMOD documents from a Web browser. IBM says it improved the APIs so that the ODWEK can be used by custom clients and the “WEBi” client.
Customers interested in upgrading to CMOD 7.1 need to do their homework prior to the upgrade. Specifically, they need to have already moved much of their processing to the Common Server component of CMOD, as several old components, such as Spool File Archive, AnyStore, Record Archive, and Object Archive, are no longer supported; CMOD for iSeries version 5.4, which was announced in February 2006, was the last release of the product to support these legacy components.
IBM also warned customers that, if they are upgrading from a previous version of CMOD, then they must be running the CMOD server version 188.8.131.52 prior to upgrading to OnDemand version 7.1. If that confuses you, then you should probably read a planning document, like Appendix A of the IBM Content Manager OnDemand for iSeries: Common Server Planning and Installation Guide for V5.4.
For more information on CMOD 7.1, see IBM United States Software Announcement 210-074.
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This article was corrected. The AFF2WEB function is not new, as it was previously available as a service. Product names were also clarified and corrected, and a Web link was corrected. IT Jungle regrets the errors.