In what could prove to be a major boost for establishing the corporate credibility of Java-based application servers, IBM's AS/400 division is planning a Java-centred version of its server for OEMs.
Though the idea of licensing the AS/400 server's proprietary technology has been in and out of fashion over the last few years at IBM, company officials said they believe that the timing may now be right.
They credit the rise in awareness of server-side Java, coupled with a growing demand for application-specific servers as their reasoning.
"We are actively looking at ways to take some of our technologies into the marketplace, particularly around Java and Domino-specific servers," said Tom Jarosh, general manager at IBM's AS/400 division.
Although he would not identify the companies that IBM has approached with the idea, Jarosh said that he believes there is a healthy amount of interest in the idea.
As part of the OEM package, IBM would make a scaled-back version of the 64-bit OS/400 operating system - perhaps just its kernel - available with a Java engine sitting on top. The company would also market such a system and would include any number of Java-based vertical applications to industries such as banking, insurance, and others.
What is further encouraging IBM to move forward with the idea is the performance of Java on its OS/400 platform. Company officials attribute that performance in part to the marriage of two pure object-oriented technologies: Java and the OS/400 operating system.