IBM is set to extend its S/390 operating operating system, OS/390 in March but will also make changes to the tin that runs it, it emerged today. The new hardware component is a proprietary cryptographic chip which begs questions about whether non-US users will be able to license it.
Version 2, release 5, of the S/390 OS will give additional security to banks and finance houses but also offer better performance with speed increases, said IBM.
The S/390 mainframe will now include a specialised chip which will come with the IBM S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server generation 4.
That is standard in the USA but others who want to use it outside the USA, possibly including Canada, will have to separately license it, depending on the prevailing situation about cryptography in their different countries.
That is likely to make end users outside the US question whether they can afford IBM?s new solution. At press time, IBM was unable to say how much non-US users would have to pay for its crypto-chip.
IBM said it wanted to extend what it called its ?rock solid? security model with other improvements to the operating system.
For example, improvements will include digital certification and something that IBM describes as the lightweight directory access protocol.
According to the company, it will now provide better TCP/IP services in OS/390 to allow Unix (including AIX), web servers and other, so-called ?traditional applications? to connect to ATM and Fast Ethernet servies.
IBM will also bundle a high speed Web access server with the fresh re-iteration of OS/390.
It will also give away its Component Broker for OS/390. A company statement said that this product is still in beta and is designed for corporations and programmers within those organisations to offer object oriented technology to speed up processes. It promised that its Component Broker will go gold by year end this year.
Big Blue is also extending its middleware to bridge the gap between its corporate customers existing systems and the commercial, so called ?e-commerce? systems it is readying, according to insiders at the company.
* Val Rahmani, former head of IBM?s RS/6000 unit in Europe, has returned to head up its S/390 division. She left IBM?s RS/6000 unit to spend time as a personal technological assistant to IBM?s chairman, Lou Gerstner.
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