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What Exactly is an iSeries?

With the latest hardware, you can take advantage of the Virtualization Engine capabilities and still accomplish your original business goals.

During the Town Hall meeting at the spring COMMON conference, iSeries* Marketing Vice President Peter Bingaman implored attendees to stop saying "AS/400*" when referring to the iSeries system.

So, just what makes that black box, that's labeled "eServer," unique? Some, like former eServer Magazine, iSeries edition Technical Editor Bob Cancilla would say it's unique because it serves business applications across a diverse realm of user interfaces (Web, pervasive, thick client and 5250) to local and remote users.

Others, like Bingaman, would point out that the server is unique because it can support a large and diverse set of applications by hosting several operating systems. It not only runs OS/400* and its follow-on i5/OS*, it also can run IBMs UNIX* operating system, AIX* 5L, and the open-source Linux* operating system for both POWER* and Intel* in a dynamic LPAR (DLPAR).

Still others might point out the iSeries systems unique ability to manage Microsoft* Windows* via the Integrated xSeries* Adapter and Integrated xSeries Server. In fact, in such an environment, the iSeries system can act as a storage-area network for these integrated Windows servers.

While traditional AS/400 application development leveraged RPG, the iSeries system hosts RPG applications along with the newer application environments workloads like Java* and Web applications.

WebSphere* Application Server-Express and the HTTP Server (powered by Apache) are integrated with the server. Othersoftware is also integrated into the server including IBM* DB2* Universal Database* and Lotus* Domino* software. In fact, the "i" in "iSeries" stands for integration, another point that differentiates this server from others, including its eServer brethren.

The eServer Family Tree

While the iSeries system is unique from others in the eServer family, it shares some important characteristics with its family members-the pSeries*, zSeries* and xSeries servers.

The latest generation of the iSeries and pSeries systems-the eServer i5 and eServer p5 systems-are based on POWER5* technology, the ninth generation of IBM 64-bit processor technology. POWER5 processors feature proven, open and flexible design that leverages the iSeries tradition of integration, virtualization and systems-management technology to bring new levels of functionality and simplicity to today's on demand enterprises.


The iSeries system still handles the core business applications like the AS/400 server before it, but it also excels at meeting the new needs of today's on demand business -- all in one black box.


Both the eServer i5 and eServer p5 systems feature Micro-Partitioning*, which allows one server to be carved into several virtual servers, making either a great platform for server consolidation. IBM Virtualization Engine* technology also spans across the eServer family. iSeries  virtualization capabilities can help your company maintain service levels and automatically manage the changing resource demands of applications by moving computing resources to where they're needed. This can maximize its IT investment by streamlining the management of heterogeneous platforms or servers, helping save money and allowing you to focus on your business and not your IT environment. (For more information on the Virtualization Engine technologies, see the article "Putting the V in Virtualization".

iSeries Virtualization Engine technologies include:


  • IBM Director Multiplatform-This product provides a common Web-based console for systems monitoring of heterogeneous systems. (For details, see the article, "Introducing IBM Director Multiplatform,").
  • Enterprise Workload Manager for iSeries (EWLM)-EWLM monitors computing resources, response times and transaction flow to help businesses improve service-level management and capacity planning. (More information on EWLM can be found in the article "Exploiting EWLMs Power" .)
  • IBM Grid Toolbox-By connecting systems and resources through a single management interface, IBM Grid Toolbox can help companies build more secure, robust infrastructures using open standards.
  • On/Off Capacity on Demand (On/Off CoD)-This non-disruptive method for activating extra processor capacity is built into the iSeries system. On/Off CoD has been enhanced to include the Reserve Capacity on Demand and Trial Capacity on Demand offerings.
  • DLPAR-Many customers are leveraging LPAR to optimize IT investments by consolidating multiple servers onto fewer iSeries servers. New capabilities, such as uncapped partitions, allow unused processor capacity on iSeries servers to be automatically shared based on business priorities.
  • Virtual Ethernet support-Virtual Ethernet LAN support allows high-speed connections among LPARs and Windows servers. iSeries systems provide 1 Gb virtual Ethernet communication paths among multiple operating systems. Virtual Ethernet segments can be created and destroyed dynamically. Access to a virtual LAN segment can be restricted for security or traffic segregation requirements.
  • Virtual I/O-This allows the sharing of physical resources, including storage, adapters and devices, among partitions. Multiple partitions can share a server's physical I/O resources and each partition can simultaneously use virtual and physical I/O devices. Virtual I/O also allows administrators to create new partitions without adding physical I/O adapters to the system.

In a Nutshell

You may have purchased your iSeries system because it's a dependable machine that runs your business applications with aplomb or because it offers the integrated software that your business requires. You may have even purchased it because it provides a secure, rapid way to eliminate IT complexity and invest the savings into the business. Regardless of your reason, with the latest hardware, you can take advantage of the Virtualization Engine capabilities and still accomplish your original business goals.

That, in a nutshell, is what I think makes the iSeries system unique. It still handles the core business applications like the AS/400 server before it, but it also excels at meeting the new needs of today's on demand businesses-all in one black box.  



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