The new operating system offers Web caching and secure sockets accelerators, which IBM executives claim can double the machine's capacity for serving Web pages.
Ray Titcombe, chairman of council at the IBM Computer Users' Association, believes the release is evidence of IBM's ongoing commitment to the iSeries server, which is the successor to the popular AS/400 midrange machine. "I think it goes a long way to following up the reassurances that a lot of IT managers and boards are looking for, which is continued investment in the iSeries," he said.
The hardware giant rebranded the AS/400 nearly two years ago, prompting fears in some quarters that the server family's importance could be on the wane. Titcombe explained, "A lot of people thought that the AS/400 would lose its identity when the machine was re-branded." This has not happened, he added.
Titcombe also welcomed the switched disc clustering offered by OS/400 V5R2, which is designed to reduce downtime for scheduled server maintenance. "This will be useful. The iSeries is already a high-availability machine and this makes it virtually uninterruptible," he said.
Another recent addition the iSeries range was the 32-way eServer i890. IBM claims that by running OS/400 V5R2 the i890 offers nearly double the processing power of its previous top-of-the-range iSeries, the i840.
Initial shipments of the i890 with OS/400 V5R2 are scheduled for next month, with worldwide general availability of the new operating system expected to be in August. IBM has also announced plans to support AIX on an iSeries partition in the future.