IBM pitches new OS/390 for Net transactions

IBM pitches new OS/390 for Net transactions

IBM has announced a new version of OS/390 with improved security and system management features designed to make the operating system more attractive to businesses that process large volumes of transactions over the Internet, IBM officials said.

"We're looking to provide levels of availability [over Internet Protocol] that no one else can match, and our commitment to secure e-business is unparalleled," said Doug Balog, director of IBM's S/390 software group, prior to the launch.

IBM releases an upgrade about every six months for OS/390, the operating software for its S/390 mainframe computers. Version 2.8, which is scheduled for release on September 24, will be available as a free upgrade to current version 2 users, the company said.

New security features in the new release are designed to make the operating system easier to use in conjunction with VPNs (virtual private networks). The exchange of encryption keys between the end points of a VPN transaction can now be automated and managed using Internet Key Exchange, a standard protocol used in the IT industry.

IBM has also enhanced the OS/390's SecureWay Communications Server, which acts as a gateway between the server and a range of application and network environments. The new version includes support for Virtual IP Addressing takeover for clustered or multiprocessor environments. If a connection to a server fails, users are automatically bumped over to an alternate connection so that their access to applications remains unbroken, said Chris Holley, brand manager for IBM's SecureWay Server.

The upcoming release also includes features designed to enable improved service level agreements for certain applications and users.

Improvements include an agent that allows network administrators to reserve a set portion of bandwidth into the server for certain users, and then assign all other traffic the remaining bandwidth, Holley said. A new SNMP Service Level Agreement (SLA) subagent also allows network administrators to retrieve data and determine whether the current set of SLA policy definitions are working as desired, Holley added.

IBM has also improved the LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) server to support the LDAP V3 protocol, allowing IBM's operating system to communicate with other LDAP V3 clients and servers.

In addition, IBM has enhanced printing features in OS/390, including use of the Internet Printing Protocol in the Infoprint Server (formerly known as the OS/390 Print Server).

"Just about all of our OS/390 customers use them for high-speed, high-quality printing. With release 2.8, we're adding further functions that allow for PDF files and even SAP-type data streams to be transferred onto printers," Balog said.

Further enhancements to native file and print serving for Windows clients will be included in release 2.9, due early next year, along with text-search support for XML documents and other improvements.

S/390 news releases and fact sheets are available at

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