IBM is building a fat pipe between the mainframe and its Netfinity Windows NT server.
The company will shortly announce the Netfinity ESCON Channel Adapter, a card that will let customers link servers directly to mainframe resources, providing high-speed access to Big Iron databases and applications.
Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON) is IBM's 17MBps fibre-optic mainframe channel connectivity technology. By channel-attaching the Netfinity server, users no longer need a gateway device to connect the server to the mainframe.
The two-port, Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)-based Netfinity ESCON adapter is built by Bus-Tech, a mainframe channel connectivity company based in the US. Up to four of the adapters can be installed in the PCI slots on the Netfinity server.
The adapter also supports IBM's MultiPath Channel Plus (MPC+) mainframe channel protocol. MPC+ enables high-speed, high- volume traffic among mainframes and downstream channel-attached servers, routers and switches. IBM says MPC+ technology can improve channel throughput by 40 per cent and reduce mainframe cycle utilisation by 60 per cent over older channel protocols.
Other ESCON adapters sold by Microsoft, SPX (formerly General Signal) and others do not support MPC+, IBM says.
The Netfinity ESCON Channel Adapter will be available in October at a price around the $US10,000 mark.