IBM set to ship OS/400 upgrade

IBM announced yesterday that it is set to ship on Friday the new release of the operating system for AS/400 mid-range machines that the company says is the most significant upgrade to the software in years.

Much of the new code in OS/400 Version 4 Release 4 has been written specifically for small and mid-size companies that are diving into electronic commerce, IBM said. The AS/400 has been known as a workhorse for small and medium-size companies, and IBM has buoyed the system's popularity with companies in that size range over the years by offering bundling deals in which it offers AS/400 hardware with application software tailored for specific vertical industries.

Some of the main features added to the new version comprise enhancements for companies using the AS/400 as an electronic commerce server, according to IBM. These new features include faster caching, integrated virtual private network capabilities, secure sockets layer software and antispamming technology.

Another main enhancement includes the ability to logically partition the AS/400 server into as many as 12 separate partitions -- or logical servers. Each partition can have independent settings, for different time zones, languages and system names, IBM said.

Other enhancements include: DB/2 for AS/400, new Java developers tools and management enhancements.

The OS/400 is bundled with AS/400 machines. Otherwise, pricing for the operating system is included in subscription services that most users sign up for when buying the AS/400s, according to IBM spokeswoman Barbara McNair. Users not on a subscription plan can buy into the plan; pricing to buy into the plan depends on how old a user's version of the OS/400 is, McNair said.

The new OS/400 is expected to be available on AS/400 machines worldwide this Friday.

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