With OS/400 V4R4, IBM made significant software and hardware enhancements to its AS/400 Integration with Windows NT Server products, especially the Integrated Netfinity Server for AS/400 (previously known as the Integrated PC Server, or IPCS). As members of IBMs Integrated Netfinity Server development team, we can tell you whats new with the Integrated Netfinity Server, where the product line is going, and how it fits into V4R4s overall statement of direction for Windows NT and Netfinity integration. The Integrated Netfinity Server is an active part of IBMs server consolidation strategy. Both the internal Integrated Netfinity Server and the planned external Integrated Netfinity Server will continue to play major roles in future Windows integration projects.
Product Name Changes
With V4R4, IBM rebranded the IPCS integration solution the Integrated Netfinity Server for AS/400. Because IBM will be using Netfinity server hardware in the Integrated Netfinity Server, it decided to brand this AS/400 server consolidation solution under Netfinity. What rebranding means is that customers will get the latest in PC server technology and performance and the best Windows NT integration in the industry. By using Netfinity hardware on the Integrated Netfinity Server, we can provide advanced technology faster than if we repackaged a Netfinity design into the AS/400. This step also offers a consolidated platform with a single point of administration and maintenance. (See Figure 1 for a list of current hardware specifications.)
A key reason for using the Integrated Netfinity Server is server consolidation. Three server consolidation scenarios represent the way customers can use and consolidate servers with an Integrated Netfinity Server.
The first scenario involves customers who have a head office campus and distributed branch offices, sometimes in one region but often worldwide. In distributed computing, head office computer operators are responsible for their branch office computing services. An AS/400 with an Integrated Netfinity Server addresses these needs
by combining the AS/400 and Windows NT server while providing central control for remote operations. By combining both platforms into a single hardware package, the Integrated Netfinity Server removes the need to install, manage, and maintain a separate PC-based server.
The second scenario involves customers who deploy PC servers dedicated and tuned to an individual application, such as file and database serving, faxing, email, remote access, groupware, Web serving, or firewalls. The single-server-per-application concept introduces space, maintenance, and systems management challenges into a networking operation. Consolidating servers inside an AS/400 offers an alternative; it provides multiple, distinct, Intel-based servers housed and managed in a single physical package. The AS/400 also provides systems management features, including the following:
Individual server reset and restart capabilities without requiring physical access to a hardware reset button
Disk pool and peripheral sharing between servers to optimize disk and tape drive investments
A single console for administration, improving operator access and convenience The AS/400 can house up to 16 Integrated Netfinity Servers running a variety of applications. Each server runs independently but is controlled by the AS/400 for disk management and backup. You can configure a hot spare Integrated Netfinity Server to replace a failed server without completely reloading the servers operating system.
The third scenario involves companies wanting to consolidate client workstation functions into a server, using network computers to simplify their user environment (thin- client computing). Here, the AS/400 acts as a main server, providing boot manager services for IBM Network Stations, allowing Network Stations to access AS/400 and Internet applications. You can add a Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition (TSE) server to allow Network Stations to run Windows-based personal-productivity applications, such as Lotus SmartSuite or Microsoft Word, and provide GUI front-end services for AS/400 business applications. If you install Citrix MetaFrame on the Windows TSE, you can improve application, deployment, management, and support by adding the Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocol. ICA extends the client baseincluding the IBM Network Stationthrough load balancing, a key feature of MetaFrame. Load balancing supports the creation of server farms, the pooling of servers behind a single server address for total transparency. Because the AS/400 can house multiple NT servers on multiple Integrated Netfinity Server cards, the Integrated Netfinity Server is an excellent fit with the load-balancing feature.
The Future of AS/400-Netfinity Integration
With the importance of server consolidation, the AS/400 and Netfinity products are forming a closer partnership to meet customer needs. Computing solutions that support Windows TSE with thin clients and certain database server solutions run best with the most powerful Intel processors, usually in a multiprocessor configuration (the second and third scenarios). This requirement is being addressed for AS/400 integration with the introduction of an external n-way Integrated Netfinity Server.
In February 1999, IBM made a statement of direction that, in a future release, an nway Netfinity server will be able to directly attach to the AS/400. (A statement of direction represents IBMs current plans and is subject to change without notice.) This bus-level connection will retain the systems management and disk consolidation features of todays internal Integrated Netfinity Server.
The external n-way Integrated Netfinity Server will use a symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) PC server model from Netfinity, adding functions to attach it directly to the external AS/400 system bus. By using Netfinity servers, the latest in Intel SMP server technology and performance would be more quickly available than with repackaging a Netfinity design into the AS/400. PCI bus adapter cards plugged into the
Netfinity server accomplish the bus attachment. These cards contain cable connectors for the AS/400 external system bus (similar to the way a PCI Ethernet adapter allows connection to an Ethernet LAN), thus enabling easy adoption of new Netfinity servers when they become available. The external Integrated Netfinity Server will operate much like todays internal Integrated Netfinity Server. It will share devices with the AS/400, use AS/400 DASD for NT disk drives, and support the same integration features. In addition, the external Integrated Netfinity Server can support many of the features and products listed on the Netfinity ServerProven list (www.pc. ibm.com/us/netfinity/serverproven).
Todays internal Integrated Netfinity Server meets the branch office needs of customers with a distributed computing configuration (the first scenario). It is also a good solution for consolidating multiple file servers into a single AS/400 system (the second scenario). IBM plans enhancements to the internal Integrated Netfinity Server with new versions as a strategic part of the AS/400s Integrated Netfinity Server support. The internal Integrated Netfinity Server is ideal for customers with moderate PC server needs who want to consolidate Windows NT servers into a single AS/400 box. Near term, Intels uniprocessor offerings are the best for the price and performance requirements of the internal Integrated Netfinity Server. The external Integrated Netfinity Server is ideal for customers needing large SMP PC servers while requiring the integration benefits of the Integrated Netfinity Server.
When the external n-way Integrated Netfinity Server becomes available, customers will be able to choose between internal and external versions. Both versions will share devices with the AS/400, use AS/400 DASD for NT disk drives (intrinsically gaining the benefit of AS/400 RAID and disk mirroring functions), and support the same integration of AS/400 and Windows NT server management. The internal version is ideal for price- sensitive customers with moderate PC server computing needs and for companies that want to consolidate their branch office AS/400 and Windows NT servers into a single box. The external n-way Integrated Netfinity Server is ideal for companies deploying large Windows Terminal Servers, database servers, or application servers. Attaching multiple Integrated Netfinity Servers (both internal and external) to a single AS/400 allows customers to consolidate single-application Windows NT servers, deploy Windows NT applications requiring SMP performance, or configure MetaFrame server farms inside a single AS/400.
IBM continues to enhance its offering in the AS/400 and Windows NT integration arena. The internal and external Integrated Netfinity Servers for AS/400 have an exciting future and will continue to extend the integration value of the AS/400.
IBM Netfinity Servers home page: www.pc.ibm.com/us/netfinity
IBM Windows NT Integration Web page: www.as400.ibm.com/nt
See Client Access Runon Windows TSE! Jeff Van Heuklon and Ana Tomko, MC, July 1999
Integrated Netfinity Server - PCI Integrated Netfinity Server - SPD
Processor Pentium II 333 MHz Pentium II 333 MHz
L2 Cache 512 KB (operating at full 512 KB (operating at full
CPU core speed of 333 MHz) CPU core speed of 333 MHz)
Memory 64 MB up to 1 GB ECC/EDO 64 MB up to 1 GB ECC/EDO
AS/400 AS/400e series with PCI bus AS/400e series or Advanced
Series with SPD bus
AS/400 Slots Prereserved 3 SPD
LAN Adapters 1 to 2 Token-Ring 1 to 3 Token-Ring or Ethernet 10/100 or Ethernet 10/100
Device Options Parallel Port Parallel Port
1 Serial Port 2 Serial Ports
Windows NT Server 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0 and Software Support Windows NT Server 4.0 Windows NT Server 4.0
Terminal Server Edition Terminal Server Edition
Figure 1: These are the current PCI and SPD hardware specifications for Integrated Netfinigy Server for AS/400.