24
Wed, Apr
0 New Articles

IBM's Latest iSeries Announcements--A Second Look

Analysis of News Events
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

When IBM tuned up its eServer i5 models two weeks ago, it quietly announced several hardware and software enhancements that deserve further examination. In keeping with that statement, I am using this week's article to dive into the details of the July 12 announcements and help iSeries users understand their implications.

Among the hardware enhancements that IBM unveiled, the standouts were two announcements that increased the I/O capacities of the eServer i5 models. In the first announcement, IBM increased the number of I/O towers and drawers that users can attach to selected Model 570 and Model 595 configurations. Effective immediately, customers can attach up to eight additional towers or drawers to Model 570 5/8-way and 9/12-way configurations. The Model 570 13/16-way now supports 18 additional towers and drawers, while 16-way and 32-way configurations of the Model 595 support 12 additional towers and drawers. IBM made these changes because some of its biggest users--especially those that support large numbers of logical partitions--were running out of I/O capacity.

In a second hardware announcement, IBM doubled the maximum disk storage capacity for all eServer i5 models. The action gives the Model 520 a capacity of 39 TB, tops out the Model 550 at 77 TB, boosts the Model 570 to 193 TB, and scales the Model 595 to a dizzying 381 TB. To take advantage of the doubled capacity, users will need to install the 141 GB drives that IBM announced in April of this year. However, before you rush out to buy 141 GB drives, you should know that these drives have the same number of disk arms as 35 GB and 70 GB drives. As such, you could end up putting more data under the same number of disk arms and degrading your I/O throughput. To avoid that scenario, customers should conduct performance studies before they move data to the 141 GB drives. Most customers will find that the high-capacity drives are best suited for archived or seldom-used data. By the way, users can move the data from two 70 GB drives in a RAID array to a pair of 141 GB mirrored drives and get the same I/O performance, since such swaps do not increase the data under each disk arm.

Speaking of mirroring, IBM created a mirrored disk storage package that combines a dozen 141 GB disks and a 2780 disk controller at a discounted price of $39,900. The package, which carries the feature code 5556, is only available for eServer i5 models. It is similar to the 5554 and 5555 packages IBM introduced last year that bundle a dozen 35 GB or 70 GB drives for mirroring on iSeries 270 and 8xx models as well as the eServer i5. Like those bundles, the 141 GB package requires mirroring not only at the disk and controller levels, but also at the IOP or system bus level.

A Glimpse of the Softer Side

Besides tweaking its hardware offerings, IBM also tuned up the software that animates all of that silicon and metal. For Java developers, one important announcement was the shipment of the Java Development Kit 1.5 for OS/400 V5R3. The kit, which includes Java 2 Standard Edition (J2SE) 5.0, provides enhancements that Java enthusiasts have long awaited. These include support for generics, a feature that allows a type or method to operate on objects of various types while providing compile-time type safety. The kit also includes all of the other J2SE 5.0 features such as autoboxing and unboxing, typesafe enums, and a metadata feature that lets developers generate boilerplate code from annotations in the source code.

In another pitch to developers, IBM updated WebSphere Development Studio Client for iSeries (WDSc) to the Version 6.0 level. Unlike previous versions of WDSc, this version is based on Rational Web Developer (RWD) for WebSphere Software 6.0. As you may know, IBM charged its Rational Division with the task of integrating its various development tools last year. One of the products of that integration effort is RWD 6.0, which is an upgrade to the WebSphere Studio Site Developer (WSSD) toolset that was the basis for previous versions of WDSc.

In short, WDSc 6.0 inherits the capabilities of RWD 6.0 and adds the usual iSeries extensions, such as the WebFacing Tool and Remote Systems Explorer. There is also an Advanced Edition of WDSc 6.0 that is based on Rational Application Developer 6.0, a toolset that offers additional functions beyond RWD 6.0. I am not going to examine the enhancements that WDSc 6.0 offers iSeries developers, as the technical editors at MC Press can do a far better job of that than I can. Until they provide their assessments, check out IBM's RWD Web site for information about the new foundation for WDSc.

At the application level, IBM announced that it will now ship Workplace Services Express (WSE) 2.5 with Enterprise Editions of the eServer i5 Models 550, 570, and 595. It will also ship WSE with the Model 550 Solution Edition and with Enterprise Editions of the iSeries Models 825, 870, and 890. On these editions, WSE will replace WebSphere Portal Server Express Plus, as WSE offers a superset of the latter product's features. IBM will continue to ship WebSphere Portal Server Express Plus on the Model 520 Enterprise Edition, as some configurations of this server lack the performance to support WSE. As I explained in an article last year, WSE is an integrated platform for email, instant messaging, collaboration, and content management that competes with Microsoft's Office System family of products. By shipping WSE with many of its current iSeries models, IBM could put additional competitive pressure on its biggest middleware rival.

While IBM's July announcements were far from earth shattering, the good news is that they apparently did not need to be. When the company announced its second quarter financial results last week, it noted that iSeries revenues grew by 10% over the same quarter last year. According to sources inside IBM, much of that growth came from sales of the same high-end models that the company enhanced this month. With the enhancements in place, those systems are well positioned to sell in greater numbers in the months ahead.

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..

LEE KROON
Lee Kroon is a Senior Industry Analyst for Andrews Consulting Group, a firm that helps mid-sized companies manage business transformation through technology.
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:
$

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: