Friday, October 1, 1999

Why pick the AS/400 for Domino platform?


By Jon Johnston

This is my first article about the IBM AS/400 and the Lotus Domino Server. In this issue, I'll focus on the AS/400 from an IT manager's point of view. A future article will focus on the AS/400 from a technical and administrative point of view.

"The entire room looked up towards the ceiling for the lightning bolt that was sure to strike him dead."

About ten years ago, I attended "AS/400 Jump Start" training for a full week at IBM's headquarters in Rochester, New York. There were a couple of hundred people in the room. The IBM trainer in front of us was wearing the traditional IBM uniform -- dark suit, white shirt, and power tie. As he was teaching, he turned from the overhead and consciously reached up and loosened his tie slightly. In unison, the entire room went "ooooooOOOH" and looked up towards the ceiling for the lightning bolt that was sure to strike him dead for such a bold act...

To say a lot has changed in ten years is a massive understatement. Long gone is the standard IBM uniform. If you haven't run into IBM representatives lately, they look, well, almost normal, almost like the rest of us. As IBM's culture changed, so has the AS/400. It has evolved from being a platform of business applications running on green screens (terminals) to being one of the focal points in IBM's "e-everything" movement.

The key to the AS/400's evolution has been IBM's commitment to develop the platform into the premier email, groupware and Web server in the market. Lotus Domino for AS/400 is the application which provides these services in the AS/400 environment.

Domino and the AS/400: a brief history

Early incarnations of Domino in the AS/400 environment required running Domino under OS/2 on an integrated PC board. Scalability was a problem, as the integrated PC board (then called FSIOP, now called IPCS) could support only a single Domino server.

Lack of tight integration with the AS/400 environment, particularly with the native DB2 database, kept developers from creating hardcore applications.

In March 1998, Domino for AS/400 appeared as a native application. The native version increased scalability by allowing up to 30 partitioned servers within a single AS/400 box. Data integration was made much more robust by eliminating the need for ODBC-based data links. Developers may access AS/400 data through the Domino development environment, at the API layer, or through the use of a "pump" based tool such as Lotus Enterprise Integrator (LEI), formerly NotesPump.