Computer Business Review


CBR Staff Writer

08:00, February 26 1996

Who else but IBM Corp would consider making announcements spanning a release date for its OS/390 mainframe operating system, with a new low-end RS/6000 and an on-line news and information service without pausing for breath? System 390 is not what would readily come to mind as an Internet server, admitted Arthur Parker, director of enterprise systems at IBM UK. But the the introduction of OS/390 at the beginning of April is intended to change all that. OS/390 is a bundling together of about 30 MVS extensions into a single package that differs only slightly from MVS 5.2.2. The differences are nothing large - lots of little things, said one IBM executive. The main point is the bundling, and the new features comprise an Internet BonusPak and a Year 2000-proofing feature throughout the entire package. The BonusPak will come out a couple of weeks after the bundle, but is included in the price. It includes OS/390's Communications Server for MVS/ESA that has various Internet tools and 200 home page templates. Release 2 of OS/390, which is due in September, will be XPG 4.2. Compliant and gateway products to link DB2, CICS and MQSeries to the Web are also promised by September. IBM also announced its intention to put Sun Microsystems Inc's Java Web programming language up under OS/390, completing its sweep of IBM servers from the personal computer level right through to mainframes. As far as cost goes, Parker said no customer would pay more for the bundle, and many will pay less. Smaller users, those charged on the basis of around three Mainfrane Service Units would see substantial savings on the bundle, as opposed to the cost of the individual components. Large customers, around the 50 MSUs mark will not see any real savings, but Parker insisted costs would range from zero to minus something. The Personal Computer Co announced additions to the PC 700 family with Wake On local area network technology that enables network managers to power up a client from anywhere on the network. They also include Intel Corp ProShare conferencing technology with 90 days free IBM Global Network usage. The server division has changed the name of its NetFinity remote network control software to SystemView 4.0, and is offering Internet-ready bundles for OS/2, Windows NT and Sun Microsystems Inc's Solaris. The AS/400 offerings have already been described in CI No 2,856, with the model 436 able to run both AS/400 and three System/36 operating systems. The new low-end RS/6000 F30 server is based around the 133MHz 604 CPU, with up to 660Mb RAM, 40Gb disk space and starts at $15,700 for 16 users, with server code from IBM or Netscape Communications Corp. Web gateways for DB2 and CICS were also announced. The Thinkpad 820 and 850 models have been transferred from the Power Series line to the RS/6000 division. IBM infoSage is the on-line news and information service that will filter numerous sources and provide users with tailored news services either via electronic mail or to a mail box on the Web. It will provide up to 30 stories twice a day. Delivery via Notes will follow. Content comes from a variety of sources including Comtex, which brings together such things as American Banker, Business Wire, United Press International and Ziff-Davis wire Highlights, among others. Dun & Bradstreet Corp will offer four levels of marketing information and Reuters NewMedia Inc will provide news. Access to various publication's databases will be available as well as sports, entertainment and weather news. Starting in April, infoSage will be $25 a month with a one month trial available - the new service is on beta test at IBM's World Wide Web site now.


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