Wireless Comes Into its Own
The technological savvy of today's generation of kids amazes me sometimes. My 6-year-old routinely suggests that we visit the PBS Web site so he can play games on the PC. Of course, my son lives in a world of cable TV and cell phones. I grew up in what he calls "the old-fashioned days," watching black-and-white television sets and using rotary-dial telephones. Since we've come so far from the days of my youth, I often wonder what the future holds for technology.
In the case of wireless communication on the iSeries platform, it seems that the future is here.
For the past few years, IBM has been developing underlying technologies-including Java*, XML, JDBC, WebSphere* and Lotus* Domino*-that make it possible to communicate with an iSeries server via a Web browser, cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA). This foundation enabled the introduction of Management Central-Pervasive in OS/400* V4R5. Additional wireless functionality came to the iSeries with V5R1, including enhancements to Management Central-Pervasive and new technologies designed to ease the deployment of wireless applications.
With V4R5, Management Central-Pervasive allowed users to monitor their systems remotely. With V5R1, new monitoring features were added, as was the capability to run commands remotely. Administrators can monitor jobs, sets of jobs, servers, sets of servers and message queues. Then, if a problem is discovered, they can run a command or take some other corrective action (e.g., end the problem job or restart a server). In addition, administrators can manage their integrated xSeries* servers for iSeries or external xSeries servers attached to the iSeries through the Integrated xSeries Adapter.
From the active management side of things, it's possible to respond to messages, delete messages from queues, etc. "You can really do many things you need to do to correct problems. Running commands, especially, opens you up to almost any type of function," explains IBM's Michael Branson, iSeries pervasive computing team leader.
Branson adds that while most users react positively to Management Central-Pervasive, many adopt a wait-and-see approach, preferring to sit back until active management functions became available. For those customers, V5R1s added functionality may be the ticket. Others have chosen to initially use the solution from a traditional Web browser. "They're using Management Central-Pervasive to dial in from home or to have one of their clients check on the load on the systems they're using remotely," Branson explains. "These users can migrate to wireless devices when they are comfortable.
"The customers that can put wireless systems management to use right away are the ones who are doing Web serving or Internet-related work already," he adds. "When you access something from a wireless device, you're accessing your machines over an Internet connection, so customers that don't have an AS/400 or iSeries attached to the Internet have a fair amount of work to do before using Management Central-Pervasive."
The steady adoption of open technologies that's occurred on the iSeries and AS/400 platform over the past three to four years is what's really paved the way for wireless.
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