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IBM has taken the wraps off a new version of its mainframe operating system, which has been designed to make it easier to port Unix applications onto Big Iron servers. The upgrade also includes scalability and security improvements.

The update, z/OS V1.9, will ship generally from 28 September, and includes the ability for a logical partition on the machine to span up to 54 processors. Previous versions of the OS were capable of setting up partitions spanning only 32 processors.

Improvements to z/OS Unix System Services assist customers looking to run packages more commonly associated with mid-range servers, such as ERP or CRM workloads, on mainframes. The latest version of the OS also makes it easier to set consistent network security policies across distributed systems communicating with a mainframe, as well as multiple instances of the OS. Improved security also comes from the ability to manage digital certificates directly through the mainframe, providing centralised key management for web-based applications.

z/OS V1.9 runs on IBM System z9 and zSeries (z890, z990, z800, z900) servers. IBM said it doesn't plan to release a z/OS.e V1.9 OS, a cut-down version of the OS designed for e-commerce. Previous version, z/OS.e V1.8, can be ordered until October 2007 and will be supported until October 2009.

Long after its predicted extinction, IBM's mainframe (dinosaur) business remains healthy with Q1 hardware revenues up 25 per cent from last year, Information Week reports.

In other enterprise news, IBM announced the general availability of Lotus Notes 8 and IBM Lotus Domino 8 on Thursday. Lotus Notes 8 is designed to be an enterprise collaboration suite - rather than just an enterprise email client - which brings together email, calendar, instant messaging, office productivity tools, and custom applications. These custom applications include help desk, CRM applications, discussion forums, blogs, and more. ®

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