Mainframe Web Servers

Rohit Khare (
Sat, 17 Feb 96 03:36:32 -0500

Did you really think you'd ever hear of System 390 Web servers? or:

> "Java will also be a wonderful language for interactively
> accessing data in CICS and DB2," Dzubeck added.



IBM servers to deliver one-two punch of power, Internet access

By Ed Scannell

Posted at 8:39 PM PT, Feb 16, 1996

Mainframes are back, and they're on the Internet.

The first manifestation of IBM's new comprehensive server strategy will
materialize the week of Feb. 19 when the company details plans to bundle
Internet server code across its entire product line, including S/390

IBM officials said the unified stance by the company's server groups -- which
will include introductions by the IBM PC Co. and the RS/6000, AS/400, and
S/390 divisions -- is an important step toward achieving seamless
network-centric computing.

To facilitate that goal, IBM's RS/6000 division will announce an RS/6000
Model F30 running AIX that can be bundled with Internet server code from
either IBM or Netscape Communications Corp., based in Mountain View, Calif.

These systems will also be packaged with DB2 and CICS mainframe World Wide
Web gateways on AIX.

This group will also announce availability of more than a dozen Internet
applications for the RS/6000 systems.

IBM's S/390 division's contribution will be a bundle of Web software for its
OS/390 operating system using IBM's Internet Connection Server.

IBM's AS/400 group, meanwhile, will announce software that will incorporate
easy Internet access through the OS/400 operating system.

In addition to offering the new AS/400 Advanced 36 Model 436 processor, the
AS/400 division will show off a beta version of its Internet Connection for
AS/400 browser. That product, however, is not expected to be commercially
available until the second half of this year.

Finally, the IBM PC Co. will introduce servers that offer users a choice of
OS/2 Warp Server, Sun Solaris, or Windows NT. These servers can be configured
with either IBM's Interconnect Server or Netscape's Secure Commerce Server.

Most observers said IBM has the technological wherewithal to piece together a
coherent micro-to-mainframe server strategy centered around the Internet.

But the company's degree of success -- particularly in building a wall
against Microsoft Corp. to keep NT out of enterprise sites -- will depend on
how clearly it articulates and executes that plan.

"IBM's strategy makes sense, given that most corporate data still lives on
mainframes and Microsoft still doesn't know how to play in the enterprise,"
said John Oltsik, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc., in Cambridge, Mass.

However, there appears to be a debate about the effect that IBM's Internet
strategy -- and those of its competitors -- will have on the long-term health
of mainframes.

Analysts said that over the long term, the wide acceptance of the Internet
will hasten the demise of mainframes, as users replicate data off them to
increasingly powerful but lower end platforms.

"The conventional wisdom is that by opening up mainframe apps to the 'net, it
will preserve mainframes. But users will do a lot of replicating to systems
like the AS/400 and RS/6000," Oltsik said.

Others believe IBM's mainframe business will only be bolstered as new
platform-independent environments such as Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java
programming language take hold. IBM licensed Java late last year. (See "Java
brews trouble for Microsoft," Nov. 20, 1995, page 6.)

"I know users who are going back to mainframes because of their huge
bandwidth, and because they can be logically configured as Web servers," said
Frank Dzubeck, president of Network Communication Architects Inc., in

"Java will also be a wonderful language for interactively accessing data in
CICS and DB2," Dzubeck added.