IBM will announce technology that allows users to run Unix applications on AS/400 platforms at its annual Partnerworld 2000 show in San Diego next week.
These applications are currently restricted to the RS/6000 Unix platform.
However, as vnunet.com revealed earlier this week, IBM will attempt to find a coherent strategy for its wide range of platforms using AS/400 portable application solutions environment (Pase) technology. Platforms include RS/6000, AS/400, OS/390, Netfinity and Sequent's Numa-Q, which was acquired late last year.
Some analysts believe that integrating technologies between the RS/6000 and the AS/400 could mark the beginning of the end for IBM's Unix line.
Industry analyst Phil Payne believes that IBM could abandon AIX when Linux becomes more important. He argues that the AS/400 is easier to manage than RS/6000 and claims that it is more cost effective.
"More importantly, with Linux, why does IBM need other Unixes at all? But gradual migration is the end-game. Any conversion would be staggered and Pase is an interim solution," said Payne.
Martin Hingley, an analyst at researcher IDC, agrees that integration is the driver behind the move.
"It's possibly not in IBM's interests to kill off RS/6000, but it is a muddying of the waters between the two," he said. "Pase is the beginning of an integration strategy, but it is a subtle story. IBM cannot be as focused as Sun Microsystems."
The Pase component provides a subset of AIX run-time functionality that exploits the AS/400 processor's ability to switch between AS/400 and Unix run-time models.
This creates a market for RS/6000 Unix applications that can only run on the AIX operating system by allowing them to run on AS/400's proprietary operating system, OS/400.
Applications deployed using Pase run natively on the AS/400 and take full advantage of its file systems, security and DB2 Universal database for AS/400.
JD Edwards plans to use the technology to offer its active supply chain suite, an advanced planning and scheduling product, on AS/400.
"AS/400 is designed to meet requirements of applications that favour a Unix environment," said Edward Sitarski, vice president of supply chain planning at JD Edwards. "With its improved porting speed for Unix applications, Pase allows us to bring our active supply chain suite to market faster on AS/400."
Pase will ship as part of OS/400 version 4, release 4 on all AS/400e servers.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago