IBM ups mid-range ante
IBM has introduced three high-end models in its mid-range AS/400 series designed to operate more effectively in client-server computing architectures.
The machines are up to 80 per cent more powerful than the previous high-end AS/400.
They include new software and much improved disk storage that enable them to better operate as data servers to intelligent terminals.
The products, introduced last week, are intended to help Big Blue protect its position at the top of the mid-range systems market.
Mid-range ''open systems'' vendors, such as NCR, Unisys and Sequent, have pressured IBM to drop its AS/400 prices.
IBM's Hong Kong-based regional manager for general distribution, Ip Kam-sing, said the industry was moving towards client-server architecture, with its distributed applications and shared resources.
The new IBM AS/400 systems were in line with this, but worked in a more robust environment that was based on the OS/400 operating system.
The client-server AS/400 models were priced from about US$25,000 for the base configuration system to about US$100,000, Mr Ip said.
They were designed to give PCs and workstations open access.
The systems would act as an application server for text-based programs.
They could also be used as servers for databases, communications, and network managers that could be accessed through desktop graphical interfaces such as Windows, Apple Macintosh and IBM's OS/2 and AIX.
IBM said last week 60 per cent of the more than 225,000 AS/400 systems that were installed worldwide operated as client-servers, and were attached to more than two million networked PCs.
The current generation AS/400 is based on a 64-bit architecture, though implemented on 48-bit registers.
IBM said this meant customers could easily change to full 64-bit commercial RISC technology, on which its next generation of mid-range systems would be based.