IBM has previewed a major new release of its flagship integrated operating system, i5/OS, expected in 2008. i5/OS Version 6 will feature significant new security, Web services and virtualisation capabilities to help businesses get the most out of their IT operations.

The company also announced the first System i offering to feature Power6, its fastest microprocessor.
Craig Zieseniss, brand manager for System i at IBM SA, says: “Nearly half of IBM’s systems clients today have i5/OS installed in their enterprise. IBM will continue to build on the integrated, easy-to-use value proposition of i5/OS so clients can rely on this proven platform for their enterprise applications.”
The new Power Systems business unit announced on July 19 includes both System p and high-end System i products for enterprise clients and will allow IBM to better address the unique focus and specific demands of these customers. The new unit demonstrates IBM’s commitment to delivering leadership POWER systems as well as its ongoing investment to advance the integration and ease of use of i5/OS.
Features planned for i5/OS Version 6 to help simplify IT operations include:
* An encryption feature to help companies further protect vital data by encrypting data that is held on disk devices and backed up to tape.
* Virtualisation support that allows one i5/OS partition to host storage for another i5/OS partition. This will eliminate the requirement for separate partitions to maintain their own, individual hardware, making it much easier for clients to flexibly test and deploy new i5/OS applications.
* Utilities for simpler deployment and better integration with Web services as well as an integrated Web application server to simplify the deployment of Java applications with minimal system resources and administration.
Further, as part of the Power Systems business unit, System i will exploit IBM's investments across its Systems and Technology Group portfolio. For example, i5/OS Version 6 will take advantage of IBM Systems Director, extending the current management capabilities of System i to better support a mixed environment that includes other operating systems like Unix and Windows, as well as enhanced integration and performance with IBM System Storage.
IBM also announced availability of the MySQL open source database for the current version of i5/OS, building on the delivery of PHP for i5/OS by Zend in 2006. With the addition of a supported MySQL environment, customers have a broad portfolio of thousands of new open source applications and development options they can run with i5/OS. For example, SugarCRM plans to make its leading open source customer relationship management (CRM) software available for i5/OS. In the future, IBM and MySQL AB plan to deliver DB2 for i5/OS as a certified MySQL storage engine on the System i to increase integration with existing i5/OS data.
IBM also unveiled today the new System i 570 featuring Power6, the fastest microprocessor ever built. This powerful, versatile system will help medium and large enterprises achieve new levels of operational efficiency with up to twice the application performance of Power5-based systems and modular options up to 16-way configurations.
Medium and large clients have asked IBM for the flexibility to grow their systems more affordably and without disruption. In response, IBM will introduce a new, flexible i5/OS Edition pricing structure with the Power6 i570 to better enable clients to pay for the software, middleware and features they use. With this "pay-for-what-you-use" approach, three simple base configurations are offered with an initial processor license of the i5/OS operating system and other components — such as additional processor activations, Linux, AIX or 5250 online transaction processing can be added per-processor based on individual client need.
The new i570 can be customised to run multiple transactional, collaborative and web applications simultaneously in up to 160 separate “virtual” server partitions that share computing and operations resources on a single system, making it ideal for server consolidation of multiple workload types to save floor space, power and cooling costs. The new Power6 i570 has a flexible structure with additional capacity on demand resources to make more stand-by power available and enable the system to easily grow with a clients’ business.