The new version of i5/OS, V6R1, features significant new capabilities in the key operating system in areas of security, Web services, and virtualization, among others. The collective requirements and leadership voice to IBM by the worldwide i5/OS user group community—COMMON North America, Common Europe, and other sister user groups—were instrumental in helping IBM prioritize their development investments and produce a release with the features the community truly needs, COMMON leadership announced. The long-existing requirements process between IBM and the user group community heavily influenced this major product release, along with previous product releases, COMMON said.
"The COMMON Requirements Process and the COMMON Advisory Councils provide invaluable feedback to IBM regarding directions for our products," said Jim Herring, director, IBM, High End Power Systems. "We have enjoyed a great working relationship with them during the development of this latest release," he said.
"With... (the) announcement of V6R1, the virtualization story at IBM continues the strategic direction that IBM has been telling COMMON audiences about for some time," said Jim Oberholtzer, executive vice president of COMMON. "The virtualization capabilities in the new PowerVM combines the Hypervisor, logical and micro partitioning, the virtual I/O server, and Integrated Virtualization Manager onto i5/OS. This now means that total state-of-the-art virtualization will enable a more agile and responsive infrastructure architecture.
"The most exciting part of this story is an ability to completely virtualize i5/OS inside another Power6 i5/OS partition. Now, development, quality assurance, and integration partitions no longer need specific hardware allocated to them on your Power6 system. This is a huge step forward in reducing the cost of managing i5/OS in the average shop," he said.
"The V6R1 Java performance improvements make the jump to i5/OS V6R1M0 a 'must have' upgrade," said Oberholtzer. "With performance improvements of 68 percent to 78 percent in java database connector (JDBC) performance over V5R4—already a great performing Java engine—any business running i5/OS will see immediate improvements in WebSphere and other Java related application performance. Since so many applications depend on Java, this is a huge advantage over other operating system platforms."
In talking about the Security enhancements with V6R1, Larry Bolhuis, one of COMMON's subject matter experts and vice president of Arbor Solutions, said, "With the V6R1 release, IBM will digitally sign all i5/OS executable program objects. In any upgrade process, every executable software object on the entire system will be retranslated before being allowed to execute. This means that on this and any subsequent new release, any program that might have been altered in possibly malicious ways will be eradicated from the system. Of course any attempt to alter the executable portion of an object will also be blocked. This program retranslation also boosts the performance of some executables as well as holding the promise of exploiting current and future processor-specific capabilities with the compilers. Previous releases required all generated code to support the lowest common processor for that release, but this capability will enable the system to translate executable objects to exploit the actual processor (that) the system is running on, thus further leveraging the capability of the latest IBM POWER family processors.
"In addition to program retranslation, IBM has added significant capability to notify customers when the system is under attack," Bolhuis said. "IBM has built in the ability for the operating system to throttle down denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, keeping the impact of those attacks on both the system and network bandwidth, to an absolute minimum. (It's) yet another reason i5/OS administrators will sleep well at night."
COMMON strives to be a leader in the i5/OS community and the broader IT industry through its three main pillars: education, community and networking, and leadership and advocacy. As part of advocacy, COMMON continues to provide requirements and development influence to IBM and other i5/OS solution providers within the IT industry, helping define the next generation of i5/OS-related solutions.
COMMON is the world's largest users group of midrange IBM and IBM-compatible technology. The organization comprises more than 4,000 individual and corporate members. They represent more than 22,000 IT professionals involved with the IBM System i, OS/400 and related solutions. For more information about COMMON, visit http://www.common.org.