IBM sets the PASE for Unix apps on the AS/400

IBM chose its PartnerWorld conference in San Diego in January to announce a new AS/400 capability that makes it far easier for developers to port Unix applications to the AS/400.

The new capability is called AS/400 portable application Solutions Environment, or PASE for short. The announcement marked the start of IBM Rochester's first quarter marketing push, code named "Rolling Thunder", which IBM AS/400 General Manager Tom Jarosh has described as "10 weeks of thunderbolts, with each week featuring a different announcement." Other announcements in the series were set to cover Domino, ASPs, Windows 2000 and Websphere.

AS/400 PASE is a fully integrated component of OS/400 that provides a subset of AIX runtime functionality. It exploits the AS/400 processor's ability to switch between AS/400 and Unix run-time modes. Applications deployed using PASE run natively on the AS/400 and take full advantage of its file systems, security and DB2 Universal Database for AS/400. AS/400 PASE is available now in OS/400 Version 4 Release 4 on all AS/400e servers.

Ian Jarman, Rochester AS/400 product manager, told NEWS/ "This is a very exiting announcement in delivering together the major technologies and the combination of the investment that has been made between the AS/400 and RS/6000 and the other technologies we have within IBM, specifically AIX technology that we have exploited inside the AS/400."

Jarman was, however, keen to downplay industry rumours of an eventual merger between the two product lines, especially in the light that OS/400 and Unix technologies have been moving closer together for some time. "Let me first of all explain the common investment we have had with the RS/6000, because that has been of huge benefit to both IBM and to ourselves by leveraging together the common investment both in the Power PC processor technology, and beyond that to the other hardware areas and manufacturing," he said.

"This allows us to exploit common technology, drive down the cost of that common technology and deliver the resulting benefits to customers. So we don't only share processing technology with the RS/6000, we also share manufacturing facilities, covers, I/O technology, etcetera. And that technology sharing is fundamental to the Enterprise Server Group within IBM to help the group go forward and exploit the joint opportunity that we have with the RS/6000 and the AS/400." He said that IBM sees the RS/6000 and AS/400 as serving two distinct and separate marketplaces. "The AS/400, as you know, is targeted at a market or companies of business people who primarily want to buy a system that is easy to own, easy to operate and offers a low total cost of ownership. And we get those benefits to those customers by the level of integration that, quite frankly, you don't get on any Unix system or indeed in the RS/6000."

Jarman pointed to other technological assimilations by the AS/400, most notably that of the integrated Netfinity server and the advent of LPAR, taken from the S/390, and said: "Now we've taken technology from AIX to offer an integrated runtime for Unix applications on the AS/400. What all of this says is that we're serving the AS/400 market and providing new technology and extending from the core values that we have with the AS/400. It's not about merging AS/400s with another system."

The Unix runtime environment first appeared on the AS/400 in V4R3 designed specifically to support Smalltalk. But that iteration of PASE provided only limited function. With V4R4, PASE has been significantly improved and extended to get the range of function needed to attract more solutions developers. One of the first vendors to take advantage of PASE has been J.D. Edwards with its advanced planning and scheduling solution Active Supply Chain suite, a Unix-based application the company acquired when it bought Numetrix. At the time of the announcement Tom Bittman, Gartner Group vice president of technology and marketing, told NEWS/400 International that PASE need only attract a handful of key Unix applications to the AS/400 each year to fill in a few obvious gaps in the product line. Overall, Bittman said: "There's not a huge number of applications that are applicable to the AS/400 that it doesn't already have."

Jarman commented: "We already have on the AS/400 the majority of major ERP applications and we are very strong in ERP and other core business applications, things like banking and finance, and what this technology will do for us to help us is specifically in other solution areas such as Supply Chain, Customer Relationship Management and Business Intelligence. It's those new applications that complement the existing applications that you have on the AS/400 that will be the value of this new environment."

DCS rebrands

The DCS Group has adopted a single name across its group.

The £300m international company previously operated under 16 different company names which included CSI, Digica, Global Automotive and CIEL International. Under the new brand each company is now called DCS, followed by a description of the company's activities. For instance, CSI has become DCS eIntegration and Global Automotive has become DCS Automotive.

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The next major AS/400 announcement is still five months out, but insiders are already buzzing about what's in the pipeline. IBM won't confirm or deny what to expect between now and late next year - and the company has been known to change its plans at the last minute - but here are some of the anticipated highlights of Rochester's next three announcements:

Insiders expect the next announcement in July. The headliners will include a new release of the operating system (probably V4R5) and model 8xx boxes based on the new I-Star processor, which combines IBM's latest Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) and copper technologies to deliver performance of 560 MHz, more than doubling the processing power of the current 262 MHz Northstar processors. The new boxes will offer up to 24-way processing and 24 partitions.

Support for freestanding, n-way Netfinity PC servers attached to the AS/400 bus by fiber optic cable, promised as a statement of direction in February 1999, also arrive this summer. Expect a variety of enhancements in other areas as well, including many new ILE RPG features. However, V4R5 isn't expected to bring hard-hitting software enhancements. There could be some LPAR news, but the next stage of LPAR technology is generally expected not to make this summer's announcement.

Many insiders have marked February 2001 for the second announcement, marking a return to a traditional announcement month that Rochester skipped this year. This announcement should bring V5R1, said to be a major new version with significant additional functionality in many areas. LPAR watchers say this will be a big LPAR announcement, delivering "dynamic" LPAR that will let you split processors among partitions and reallocate resources on the fly.

Autumn 2001 - or possibly early 2002 - is on the radar screen for the third announcement, which will debut IBM's 1 GHz processor. Called Power4 (because someone else already owned the "Gigaprocessor" name) this chip will contain two full 64-bit PowerPC AS processors using a symmetric multiprocessor design (SMP-on-a chip). Another operating system release, V5R2, is also likely.
Pam Jones, NEWS/400 Industry Editor

This story is taken from NEWSwire400 on the NEWS/400 International website. For the full story see:

Websphere and Domino to merge

IBM and its subsidiary Lotus are to integrate Domino with Websphere. The move will combine Domino's collaborative and workflow capabilities with the transactional services and Java-based programming model of the WebSphere Application Server. At the time of writing it was not clear what the new brand will actually be called.

The core services from Domino and WebSphere will be integrated to enable developers to build upon in order to leverage collaboration, commerce, and e-business component offerings, according to the announcement made at Lotusphere, Orlando, in January. The idea is that the two products' common technologies, ranging from HTTP services to dynamic server pages, will enable a set of core capabilities that include: a common program environment; security; servlets and BASIC development models; common HTTP stacks; single sign-on; and simplified administration.

According to IBM, the integration will enable applications to exchange security authentication information and enable single sign-on and will be available later this year. It will offer developers a rich environment for building the user interface for Web applications with Servlets and JSPs, while leveraging Domino as the backbone for workflow applications, directory and replication. It also provides developers using WebSphere Application Server, Advanced Edition, with a seamless method of integrating transactional capabilities with Domino's collaborative capabilities.

IBM will support the BASIC development language LotusScript as a scripting language for Java Server Pages managed by WebSphere, allowing Lotus developers to create dynamic Web pages in a familiar development language. This also means that LotusScript will be able to call Java components, in a WebSphere, Advanced Edition, environment.

WebSphere already ships with Java directory interfaces (JNDI) that offers Java standards-based access from WebSphere to Domino directory information layered on Domino Directory's standard LDAP interface. This lets companies that have based infrastructures on Domino to exploit the rich directory information in Java-based applications for the Web and for the enterprise.

New name for AS/400 industry PR firm

Major UK AS/400 related PR firm Ford Public Relations re-launched in February as Ford-Peacock Consultancy Limited.

David Ford told NEWS/ that the change of name reflected the broader range of services now available from the agency. "When we began in 1991 our focus was centred on press relations activity but has since developed extensively to include new media, telemarketing and all the services you would expect of a full service agency," he said. "Although we have grown and diversified we haven't diluted our emphasis on the IT and telecom sectors, nor our commitment to attaining some of the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry."

As well as a new name and logo, the company also has a new website ( which is set for extensive further development in the coming months. Ford-Peacock counts JBS Computer Services Limited, Silvon Software and CSL amongst its clients. The name Ford-Peacock is taken from the family names of the two Directors, David and Liz Ford (née Peacock).