IBM has announced the next generation of AS/400 systems, due to ship this month, and provided a glimpse of future chip technology slated to further boost the server's performance by late next year or early 2000.
IBM officials released a torrent of details on the release of the new versions of models 170, S40, and 650 servers, which benefit from the company's fourth-generation 64-bit processor, code-named Northstar, as well as Version 4, Release 3 of OS/400, the operating system required to support the new processor.
"We're in our fourth generation after coming up with a 64-bit solution, when our key competitors are only just getting there," said Drew Flaada, IBM's AS/400 project manager, referring to other Unix system vendors' 64-bit development as well as Intel's now-delayed Merced chip running on Windows NT.
AS/400 models S40 and 650 boast a near-twofold performance improvement, doubling memory capacity to 40GB, and an increase in Direct Access Storage Device storage capacity to 2.1TB. The model 170 now incorporates a top memory capacity of 3.58GB and maximum DASD storage of 175GB, according to IBM.
The upgrades also sport ease-of-use improvements, expanded systems and network management capabilities, better Windows support, database performance boosts, broader application development options, and Java and Web-specific improvements.