IBM is to reposition its AS/400 platform as an electronic commerce machine on 18 August.
It will rename the product the AS/400e - standing for E-business, according to a source close to IBM's plans.
The date will see the introduction of a machine that includes the Netscape browser, and supports basic Web tools such as HTTP, CGI and software to port the AS/400's native RPG code to the HTML standard.
Sources confirmed that other machines will appear later in the year that will include Lotus Domino servers and a Java Virtual Machine.
But IBM UK is keeping tight-lipped about how the changes will affect its agent channel partners for the AS/400.
According to a US source, the machines will come with 180MHz and 250MHz Apache Power PC microprocessors. The Apache chip is slated to arrive at the beginning of next year and AS/400s then will scale up to 12 microprocessors with eventual clock speeds as fast as 500MHz.
But until then, IBM will content itself with introducing an eight-way box, the source confirmed. The so-called Baby AS/400 boxes will also get a refresh and be fitted with PCI buses.
IBM's move to increase the scalability of the AS/4000 will put it in a better position to challenge both the HP and Sun lines of midrange servers.
The latest plans follow last month's upgrade of the range and the revelation that the AS/400 is to support NT, a significant U-turn in IBM's strategy.
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