V4R5 Announcements Grow the AS/400 Bumblebee

IBM i (OS/400, i5/OS)
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Well, fellow groupware groupies, I have more than the usual groupware goodies to discuss this month. While Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino/Notes are still slugging it out for the place of most- respected groupware solution in business computing, IBM’s announcement of V4R5 of OS/400 has pretty much stolen the groupware show. And while Mr. Gates has his attention fixed squarely on fighting the breakup of his huge domain, IBM has been busy adding six powerful new Dedicated Servers for Domino (DSDs). Since the original launch of the DSD in September 1999, IBM has been careful to include its newest technology in these Domino-centric machines. Although IBM is keeping Domino/Lotus upgrades (Quarterly Maintenance Release [QMRs]) distinctly separate from OS/400 version upgrades, the two are, in fact, related. The reason for keeping these upgrades separate is to help meet marketability, scalability, and flexible licensing requirements. It can be a daunting task to understand which release of OS/400 supports which release of Domino, so it makes sense to keep OS/400 upgrades distinct from Domino upgrades. Check www.as400.ibm. com/domino/DomSupport.htm for information on the relationship between OS/400 and Domino release levels (www.notes.net/qmrdown.nsf will give you specifics on all Domino QMRs and how to download them). Another Web site that can help you sort out the differences in DSD support is www.ibm.com/as400/domino. If you click on Support, you’ll be able to find lots of information on the new servers.

V4R5, officially announced on May 22, is really a hardware rather than a software

announcement as far as groupware goes.

IBM has obviously concentrated on adding some very powerful new DSD hardware to its repertoire of servers dedicated to Lotus Domino. The real crux of this announcement revolves around increased performance and scalability. Highlights of the new DSD hardware include the following:

• A new entry-level family of AS/400 Model 270 DSDs that use the Pulsar copper chip technology, including three configurations: two one-way processor machines and one twoway processor machine

• A new high-end enterprise family of AS/400 Model 820 DSDs that use both Pulsar copper chips (the two smallest feature codes use these) and IBM’s newest technology, I-

Star silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chips, and include configurations using one, two, and four- way processors

Obviously, I can’t give you all the specs on these new Bumblebees, but you can get all the details by checking as400.rochester. ibm.com/products/dsda.htm as well as the AS/400 Announcement Alert page at www.midrangecomputing.com/aaa. The offical Notesbench statistics aren’t available at this writing, and some of the numbers released by IBM are a bit confusing. But according to IBM’s comparison chart, these new boxes support from 2,400 simple mail users (1,600 mail and calendaring users) on the low-end 270-2422 model to 14,840 (9,890 mail and calendaring users) on the high-end 820-2427. Also, owners of Model 170 DSDs will have to buy a new 270 or 820: No upgrade path exists for them. While these new configurations run only under V4R5 and Domino R5, there are a number of caveats that control backward compatibility for Domino 4.6 and OS/400 prior releases. Future releases of Domino will run only on the current release of OS/400 and vice versa. The exceptions to this are if the release of OS/400 has been available for less than a year or the current release of Domino has had fewer than two QMRs, in which case Lotus Domino will support both the current and previous release of OS/400 and/or Domino. There may be other exceptions and possible workarounds, but that’s the simple rule of thumb. IBM’s ultimate goal is to synchronize the newest release of OS/400 with that of Domino. Essentially, V4R5 continues to support most Domino/Lotus applications natively on the DSD or an AS/400 running the Domino server. The following Domino/Lotus applications will be available with OS/400 V4R5 and Domino R5.0.x without any major changes:

• Lotus QuickPlace, a Web-based teamware solution that allows users to create a shared workspace on the Internet and corporate intranets

• Lotus Domino Workflow, a separate application that works in conjunction with Domino to allow the development, management, and monitoring of sophisticated work flow applications designed to replace all paper-based work flow templates

• Fax for Domino, a network-based fax server that allows Notes users to send and receive faxes directly from Notes clients

• Domino.Doc, a robust group of document management services

• Lotus Enterprise Integrator (LEI), formally known NotesPump, a pipeline between Domino and enterprise data

While there is little change in these applications for V4R5, QuickPlace will be enhanced later this summer, and native support for Lotus Sametime Chat 1.5 will also be added. Domino for AS/400 Release 5.02 also now supports an online backup capability with Backup, Recovery and Media Services for AS/400 (BRMS/400). Logical Partitioning is also being beefed up to support multiple languages and time zones.

V4R5 includes the most powerful DSDs ever produced and further cements the

bond between IBM hardware and Lotus software, the best enterprise groupware solution available today.

D. Ellis Green has been a senior technical editor at Midrange Computing for three years. He has over 16 years of experience programming a variety of applications on midrange computers. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..