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IBM to announce line of high-performance AS/400 servers

IBM will announce on Monday a number of major upgrades to its AS/400 line of servers including the introduction of a new high-performance model that uses IBM's latest I-Star chip technology. The announcement of V4R5 and the new model AS/400s represent the most significant introduction of new technology that the market has seen in a year.

The new Model 800 servers combine copper with silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chip technology for faster processing speed. IBM will also introduce the Model 270 servers, designed for CPU intensive workloads, which IBM says can scale up to 13 times more than its predecessor, the Model 170.

According to Peter Martin, an analyst with The 400 Group, Dedham, Mass., a new type of processor and new release of the operating system makes Monday's announcement a major one for AS/400 users, especially in terms of performance. "The new 840 blows open AS/400 performance putting it on par with the top-end UNIX machines," he said.

Additional hardware functionality added in the new release (V4R5) include a high-speed V90 modem, updated PASE to support the latest version of AIX and improved Java performance.

IBM will also announce new models for the Dedicated Server for Domino, a 700 MHz Netfinity server with 4 gigabytes of memory and several low-end servers. IBM will also formally announce that it plans to bundle several Web development tools into one product, the WebSphere Tool Set.

Martin said that beginning with V4R5, there will be three generations of AS/400 hardware active in the product line at any given time in order for IBM to extend the life of a particular line to keep more technology current. It also allows shops to stay current without upgrading to the latest release of OS/400, he said.

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