Hoping to boost development around its venerable mainframe platform, IBM last week launched Version 6 of its WebSphere Application Server. For the first time, the server will be built on the same code base as editions of WebSphere for distributed platforms.
Aligning code bases allows applications to work across all the company's environments, including Linux and Unix, and salvages existing WebSphere skills, which serves to keep ownership costs down.
In the same spirit, IBM rolled out new versions of WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer and Asset Transformation Workbench. Both tools are designed to make managing, updating, and modifying the reuse of mainframe applications in an SOA (service-oriented architecture) easier.
"IBM has needed to tie its larger host systems with lower-end environments for development purposes for some time now. They were isolating the mainframe out there by itself to the point that some people were losing interest in it," said John Henderson, a LAN administrator at a large transportation company in Houston.
One of the new features of WebSphere 6 for the eServer zSeries is its full support for the Application Assist Processor already built into existing zSeries mainframes. That processor's job is to make the task of deploying Java-based workloads easier.
Other new features include self-healing and protection capabilities to address problems such as network glitches, a wizards-based drag-and-drop environment that shortens the application-development process, improved support for Web services through better security authentication, and transaction automation for cross-platform computing.