i5os-v6r1-logo.jpgLast Tuesday, IBM unveiled a new version of i5/OS, the operating system at the heart of its System i. The version — i5/OS V6R1 — contains enhancements that could help JD Edwards customers who run their applications on Big Blue’s venerable midrange server. Among the dozens of new features in V6R1, the following ones are standouts for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and World users.

  • Better Java performance. The new version is the first to offer a 64-bit Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that works with popular industry tools and boosts Java performance by a wide margin. Indeed, IBM has told us that Java performance under V6R1 will only be a few percentage points less than that of AIX running on comparable System p models.

    This has important implications for JD Edwards customers who use the System i. With V6R1, EnterpriseOne customers may find that the System i becomes a viable host for the Java Application Server (JAS). Currently, many customers run JAS on other servers because of their superior price/performance. As for World users, they could see performance improvements on web pages that include Java applets.

  • Virtual i/5OS partitions. On current i5/OS releases, creating a new i5/OS partition for a JD Edwards test or development environment can be complicated. That is because each i5/OS partition needs its own physical disk storage and adapters. By contrast, V6R1 lets users create i5/OS partitions that borrow virtual I/O resources from other i5/OS partitions. This makes it much easier and less costly to host multiple i5/OS environments.
  • Support for blade servers. The new i5/OS version is the first to support IBM BladeCenter servers. Specifically, V6R1 supports the BladeCenter JS22, a blade that runs on a four-core POWER6 processor running at 4.0GHz. At present, V6R1 supports the JS22 when installed in IBM’s BladeCenter H chassis. Later this year, IBM should announce support for the BladeCenter S chassis as well. Such support could significantly reduce System i hardware costs among JD Edwards customers that use BladeCenter servers.
  • Improved storage area network (SAN) performance. Historically, i5/OS has performed far better when accessing System i internal disk storage than when accessing data on SANs. That all changes with V6R1, which supports a new Fibre Channel Adapter that connects to IBM’s DS8000 family of SANs. When using this adapter on a System i that runs on POWER6 processors, V6R1 can deliver SAN performance levels that equal those of internal disks. That could improve I/O performance at JD Edwards shops that host their data on IBM SANs.

There is much more to the V6R1 announcement than these four enhancements. However, rather than diving into the details here, I would encourage you to read the latest issue of MC Systems Insight, a publication of MC Press Online. The issue is packed with extended coverage of V6R1, including an analysis by yours truly.