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IBM Beefs Up Rational Power Appliance Family

The big benefit of these appliances is they will enable AIX developers to 're-do their basic app plumbing, while saving money in a very collaborative environment,' IBM says.


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In a bid to boost sales of UNIX software and servers, and related services, IBM introduced a small boatload of products yesterday, including its new turnkey family of application development appliances for IBM Power Systems.

The products in the IBM Rational Power Appliance family are designed to provide AIX developers with a fully-enabled, pre-configured software development environment that can be put to use in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks, says Scott Searle, IBM Rational's marketing program director.

[login] The market for these appliances is huge. IBM estimates there are about 900,000 AIX servers worldwide, with about one developer for every three or four servers.



The big benefit of these appliances is they will enable AIX developers to "re-do their basic app plumbing, while saving money in a very collaborative environment," says Searle, who predicts the appliances will typically pay for themselves probably within a year or less.

As most elements of the appliances are plug-and-play, developers will be able to simplify software maintenance as well as development, he adds.

"Developers will have a modern GUI instead of a green screen, and a very productive space in which to work," he says. "The cost to migrate from green screen to GUI will be minimal. Plus, licensing will be in same ballpark as developers have been used to with green-screen products."

The appliances will enable developers to modernize green-screen applications by extending them to the Web.

Available for C/C++ and COBOL for AIX, the appliances come in three flavors: Express Solution for five developers in a small enterprise or a department within a larger enterprise; Workgroup Solution for 20 developers in a medium enterprise or a large department within an enterprise; and the Enterprise Solution for 40 developers in an enterprise or a large department within an enterprise.

Each appliance consists of a preconfigured POWER7 server with preinstalled AIX v6L operating system, Rational Team Concert for Power System Software v2.0, Rational Developer for Power System Software v7.6 (C/C++ or COBOL feature), and a choice of XL C/C++ for AIX v11.1 or COBOL for AIX v4.1 compiler.

The new POWER7 technology, announced yesterday, supports four times as many processor cores as prior systems, the vendor claims. The technology uses PowerVM virtualization software to allow customers to run more than 1,000 virtual servers on a single physical system, substantially improving operating efficiency.

Rational Team Concert for Power Systems Software is a complete agile collaborative development environment. It provides agile planning, source code management, work item management, build management, and project health, along with integrated reporting and process support.

Team Concert can be implemented in either a unified or modular manner. It connects dispersed development teams to increase individual and team productivity, compress development cycles, and rapidly deliver high-quality software.

Rational Developer for Power Systems Software provides integrated development and debug tools for IBM i and AIX. It helps developers create and maintain AIX and IBM i applications with rich source editing features, visual design and analysis tools, integrated search and compile / build error feedback and remote debugging based on Eclipse.

This software integrates with Rational Team Concert for Power Systems to enhance application lifecycle management and team collaboration.

The hardware foundation of the appliances is three servers: the Power 710 Express and Power 730 Express, announced yesterday, and the Power 750 Express, available since this February.

IBM claims the servers offer the performance, energy efficiency and other benefits of POWER7 technology in rack-mount or tower packages.

While the vendor did not disclose pricing on the appliances yesterday, it pegged the starting price of the new Express servers at $6,385.



   
Herman Mehling has written about IT for 25 years. He has written hundreds of articles for leading computer publications and websites.
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