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IBM Upgrades OS/390

Keeping to its promise of updating its two-decade-old mainframe operating system, IBM today will unveil OS/390 release 2 version 7, and will also reduce pricing for Parallel Sysplex customers. R2V7 will increase functionality for its four continuing initiatives: E-business, server consolidation, data mining, and enterprise resource planning applications.

More integrated TCP/IP support for IBM's legacy Systems Network Architecture is a big part of the upgrade. Enterprise Extender will offer mainframe customers the chance for a single IP network by allowing SNA applications and clients to appear the way they always did, while communicating over IP networks. Another major feature of R2V7 will be Gigabit Ethernet support.

Parallel Sysplex is IBM's architecture for mainframe clusters and shared workload support. Now, any customer who reaches capacity of 1,800 Parallel Sysplex Mips will get 25% off incremental Mips for the OS/390 stack of 80 products, including DB2, CICS, and compiler technology. IBM already gave customers this break once they reached 1,000 Mips.

An industry analyst says IBM is steadily adding functionality to make System 390 a viable platform for new applications. "The enhancements are just starting to show some movement," says John Phelps, analyst and VP of hardware and operating systems for the Gartner Group Inc.

One existing mainframe customer chose 390 for a new Baan application in 1997, and is happy it did. Aerostructures Corp., a $400 million subcontractor for wings and wing components in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this month had a fire that caused the fire department to shut down all power, including the backup generator and uninterruptible power supply the System 390 R65 was running on. The system went black between 4:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., but Aerostructures was able to retrieve live data and batch jobs that were midtransaction. "It was amazing that they came back so quickly," says Julia Peeler, Aerostructures' VP of manufacturing and information systems. "When we told our story to other Baan users who are on Unix, one of them said 'It sounds like the good old days.' They all have problems with recovery."

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