ServersBig Blue Unfurls Mainframe Servers, Software

Big Blue Unfurls Mainframe Servers, Software

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Big Blue Wednesday unleashed software under its WebSphere family of middleware that cuts out application servers.

One might think of the new products as Big Blue’s answer to Microsoft’s .NET, which has skewered most of the public’s attention.

Software for the mainframes? Absolutely, said IBM Corp.

Geared for IBM’s z/OS and OS/390 operating systems for the eServer z900 as well as S/390, the software — which is layered with Java and sits between the operating systems of the computer and the actual applications — was created to help large companies compensate for increasing demands of Web transactions. Ideally, the development can make e-commerce, so taxing on a company’s back-end, much more fluid. And the new server can make running business much easier as 50 Unix servers can run on one mainframe with this new release.

The new servers include WebSphere Application Server for z/OS and OS/390, and CICS Transaction Server v2.1. With WebSphere, application programmers can now assemble Java applications using standard programming without having to account for the differences or restrictions of any particular computing system. The decision of where to run a J2EE application can now be based on desired qualities of service — not just the operating system-specific knowledge or skills of the application programmers.

With the new WebSphere application server sitting on the mainframe, the application can run on the same machine at the same time the mainframe carries out other complex functions, such as retail transactions and customer database management.

Dale Vecchio, research analyst with Gartner, said the new Websphere server will reduce operational costs and make work easier for developers. This is because the open structure saves customers money because skills and code are reusable. As customers’ requirements for e-commerce change, they can alter the technology without a further investment in software or special skills training, using Java’s Enterprise Edition apps (J2EE).

“Through the incorporation of open industry standards such as HTML, HTTP, XML and J2EE-compliant Java technology, new e-business applications and transactions can now be developed for deployment on this platform, ” Vecchio said.

To accompany the application server, IBM also released a handful of software packages, including: WebSphere Asset Analyzer Version 1.0, which gauges code and renders a bare bones mock up of the application layout; VisualAge Enterprise Suite Version 2.0, a software development tool kit used to optimize IT expenditures and reduce software administration costs and; MQSeries Workflow, a revamped app that allows developers to automate the retrieval, processing, and distribution of data.

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