IBM to Unveil POWER4, OS/400 V5R2 Next Week?

Analysis of News Events
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For the last several weeks, rumors have been flying around the midrange community that IBM may move up its announcement of POWER4 servers and OS/400 V5R2 from the middle of this summer to a date in April or May. Now, sources within IBM have confirmed those rumors. Next Monday, April 29, the computer giant will take the wraps off the much-anticipated products.


While IBM is closely guarding the announcement details, we can say with relative certainty that the company will unveil at least one POWER4-based iSeries model next week. Since IBM has already rolled out POWER4 on its 16-way and 32-way pSeries models, it will likely roll out similar high-end servers for the iSeries.


Since any POWER4 server will require OS/400 V5R2 for support, we can also expect IBM to unveil the new release during next week's announcement. At last week's COMMON Conference in Nashville, iSeries General Manager Buell Duncan stated that V5R2 is a symbol of IBM's commitment to the iSeries platform. To prove his point, Duncan revealed that V5R2 will be the second largest release--in terms of new lines of code--in the history of the operating system. The only larger release was OS/400 V5R1.


As I've learned from sources close to the Rochester labs, V5R2 has the potential to be a stable and reliable product. One source told me that, after "beating up" the code for a few days in Rochester, his team concluded that the release had a "very normal" number of bugs. While IBM has more tests to perform in the field, this bodes well for customers who need V5R2's features at the earliest possible date.


As for what those features might be, IBM has provided little significant detail. As I've learned from earlier discussions with company sources, one useful feature will be Enterprise Identity Mapping, a directory-based service that will maintain a single identity profile for every user in an enterprise. Through the facility, users will have a single consistent sign-on as they access various servers and applications throughout their companies. Enterprise Identity Mapping is one element of IBM's Project eLiza initiative to simplify and automate systems management across all of its products as well as those of other IT vendors.


If these tidbits have made you hungry for more details, be aware that Kim Stevenson, IBM's VP of Marketing for the iSeries, will review the announcement during an iSeries Nation chat event at 10:00 a.m. east coast time on the day of the announcement. Click here to learn more and to sign up for the event. Then, make a note to yourself to read next week's issue of MCMagOnline, where we'll review the announcement at length.


Lee Kroon is a Senior Industry Analyst for Andrews Consulting Group, a firm that helps mid-sized companies manage business transformation through technology. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..