No limits to Netfinity's promise
By Mark Baard
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Now may be the time to add Microsoft Windows NT/2000 skills to your knowledge base. IBM recently announced two products to ease AS/400 and Windows integration: the AS/400e Integrated Netfinity Server PCI card and the Netfinity 6000R, an external, integrated server that will be available later next year. "With Integrated Netfinity, AS/400 users can leverage their present skills, since all of the administrative and storage functions remain the same," says Craig Johnson, AS/400 server consolidation segment manager at IBM. "But if they're going to roll out an e-business application from Siebel Systems, then someone is going to have to learn Windows NT."
Most AS/400 shops with Windows NT/2000 servers have both an AS/400 group and a PC networking group, says Eric Nickel, vice president for network solutions at The Burnham Group, Inc., a Hampshire, Ill.-based consulting firm that offers network integration and support services. "You rarely see any crossover between the two. So, AS/400 pros who take the time to learn Windows can definitely create a niche for themselves."
Training courses and books about integration are a great place to begin, but programmers and technicians should also seize upon any opportunity they get to test their mettle in the workplace. "In the classroom, everything can seem nice and neat, but hopefully you can find an environment that offers you some real-world experience," Nickel says.
Johnson points to online courses and Big Blue's Redbooks as starting points for integration. Nickel acknowledges that some technicians learn faster without the pressures of the workplace. "But it is far from a day-or-two effort," he says. "You are going to have to learn Windows from the ground up."
Baard is a freelance editor in Milton, Mass.