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e -server magazine

September 1995: Vol. 11, No. 1


Tenth Anniversary Issue!

AS/400 Integrated File Server (FSIOP)

By Harry Hirsch

n February of this year IBM started shipping the much anticipated "duo" of File Server input output processor and LAN Server/400. This solution provides high speed file serving and LAN connectivity to the AS/400.

The combination of LAN Server/400 and the FSIOP is a very attractive alternative to PC servers for those customers looking for a fast, simple, integrated and inexpensive file serving solution. The FSIOP addresses a number of concerns normally associated with PC servers: little integration of data access, backup and recovery, security, management and administration.

The advanced architecture of the AS/400 allows for the integration of asynchronous processors under the covers. The FSIOP, an Intel based 66MHz processor available to all the members of the AS/400 family starting with the D models to the most recently announced members of the Advanced Series. The FSIOP actually serves two functions. The first is as a communications adapter, where it can be used in place of a high performance token-ring or ethernet adapter with the added flexibility of being configured as either token-ring or ethernet. The second use of the FSIOP is as a high performance file server for the attached PCs.

The FSIOP has memory options ranging from 16Mb to 64Mb allowing for large cache memory. The addition of a second local area network can also be ordered as an option to boost the number of PCs that can be attached to the FSIOP.

Instead of having one or multiple PC based file servers connected externally to the AS/400 the FSIOP allows these functions to be moved inside the AS/400 with 200-500 users being attached to the FSIOP with little impact on normal AS/400 workload since most of the file serving workload is handled by the FSIOP. By not simply "adding" but "integrating" the FSIOP into the AS/400, PC LAN administration and security have been simplified. Configuration and administration is a simple menu driven process very familiar to AS/400 users. By entering the name of the server, the location of the FSIOP, and the amount of disk space to be allocated, you can create a server. A single administrator can manage a large number of servers from a central location, eliminating cost and complexity. As for security, the same OS/400 security model is used for administering authorization and access to OS/400 database files and PC files stored on AS/400 disk. Users are added only once and can be managed in groups for both AS/400 and LAN Server/400. With most PC servers, databases and files are controlled by two different security mechanisms.

Another advantage of the tight integration of the FSIOP is that disk space is easy to allocate. The FSIOP takes advantage of the AS/400'S high availability options such as mirroring and raid 5 protection as well as AS/400 backup and recovery services. You simply create virtual disk spaces in increments of one mega byte up to eight giga bytes per virtual disk (up to sixteen virtual disks per FSIOP) and attach them to your server. Normal AS/400 save and restore commands can be used to back up LAN Server/400 data.

LAN Server/400 also provides extra Serviceability, Availability, and Recovery enhancements. The AS/400 operator local or remote, receives immediate error notification of hardware server failures, errors are logged and used by OS/400 problem analysis. Performance data on the FSIOP is displayed along with other communications IOPs.

The FSIOP and LAN Server/400 make for a very practical high function and performance solution that is available today. But what about the future? On June 21st IBM announced a more modular approach that separates the installation of the FSIOP and the software solutions running on the FSIOP. This will allow for new strategic solutions to be implemented. The first of these is NetWare Integration for OS/400 that will allow users to install NetWare 4.1 from Novell on the FSIOP. Once NetWare is installed on the FSIOP; file, print, and application serving functions of NetWare are enabled. NetWare administration functions requiring access to the console will be performed through the remote console support. Most NLMs will also run in this environment. This solution will provide consolidation of multiple servers within a single AS/400 and allow for sharing of AS/400 disk and backup facilities.

Also announced at the same time was a statement of direction for Enhanced Integration Services for 3.12 or 4.1 NetWare servers (FSIOP or PC based). This will provide enhanced integration of user security, print serving, and integrated file system support. NetWare integration for OS/400 and NetWare Enhanced Integration for OS/400 provide for integration of PC based NetWare servers and FSIOP based NetWare servers. They provide disk serving LAN- Host printing (FSIOP based servers) data distribution, Host-LAN printing, and NetWare user integration with OS/400 users.

In addition to NetWare and LAN Server/400 IBM announced Lotus Notes Integration on the FSIOP as a product preview. Functions provided will include directory integration, Notes mail integration and DB2/400 database access.

In summary the FSIOP strategy is focused on providing solutions for both server and groupware applications, integration with LAN servers and providing value added services to LAN administrators and users. T < G


Harry Hirsch was our evening speaker at the September 20, 1995 TUG Meeting of Members, on the subject of FSIOP.