Those waiting to hammer nails into the AS/400 coffin might want to down tools, because IBM claims the old fella is going to be around for a little while yet.
Last week, IBM revamped its entire line of AS/400s, consolidating the previous 16 models down to just four - all equipped with new PowerPC processors which boost price/performance by between 30 to 40 per cent.
Among the new arrivals is a $13,750 entry level machine, which will go head-to-head with Intel-based servers, said David Russell, IBM Australia's manager for business servers.
"When you consider that comes bundled with an operating system, database, security package and so on, that's pretty competitive," he said.
It's that integrated nature of the AS/400 which is keeping it popular with the channel and customers, Russell claimed. AS/400 customers don't want to piece together their own NT solution. Rather, they're looking for a channel partner to integrate the solution for them.
Channel partners find it simpler to sell an AS/400 solution because, although one box might act as a Web server, print server, communications server, Domino server, NT server and so on, the operating system "masks the complexity of integrating those environments together", Russell said.
This makes the platform particularly popular with software developers who may not be able to offer a total solution on NT, he said.
IBM also announced a new version of its OS/400 operating system, which features further Internet, Domino and Java enhancements as well as logical partitioning, which lets administrators dedicate processors to specific tasks.
Nor will these improvements be the end of the line. IBM is hoping to introduce its "gigaprocessor" at the end of next year, which will give four to eight times the performance of today's AS/400.