For CIOs who may not be familiar with the IBM i environment, it helps to understand how you can leverage an IBM i system in a Microsoft Windows network.
IBM i partitions can run most TCP/IP servers alongside production software. Many packages, including DRV’s full-line of solutions, can run IBM i and TCP/IP servers on the same partition, rather than using Windows servers for standard TCP/IP functions.
This can help Windows managers decide three things when delivering IBM i-produced stream files to users:
1) Whether to place new IBM i-based traffic on existing Windows servers
2) Whether to stage new Windows servers to handle additional IBM i traffic
3) Whether to use native IBM i TCP/IP functionality
Here’s how IBM’s native TCP/IP capabilities provide options in a Windows network to reduce traffic, use your IBM i as a Microsoft file server, and avoid additional Windows server costs.
Choices, Choices, Choices
Like a Windows server running VMWare, you can create multiple IBM I, AIX, and Linux partitions on an IBM Power server box.
But where most Windows shops only run a few applications on each virtual partition or physical server, IBM i shops usually run all their IBM production applications on the same partition.
The Windows applications/partition ratio is low (around 1-3 applications per partition), but the IBM i applications/partition ratio is high. Because of its architecture, you can run as many applications on an IBM i partition as you have resources to support them with. It’s common for IBM i shops to run 20+ applications on a single partition.
Because of the IBM I multi-application architecture, you have more options for exchanging information using TCP/IP in a Windows network. You can use Windows TCP/IP servers or native TCP/IP IBM i servers, and you can use whichever server best meets your needs.
Here are some ways IBM i TCP/IP services can help you move information in a Windows network.
Providing Windows Drive Mapping for IBM i Data
Using applications such as DRVTech’s report automation and document management software, you can save IBM i application output in universal file formats such as PDF and XLSX. These files can be directly written to a Microsoft file server using QNTC, the IBM i Server Message Block (SMB) client.
You can also save application output to the IBM i Integrated File System (IFS), which has the ability to store stream files and make them available through a Windows file share. Once stored to the IFS, your Windows users can access those files by mapping a drive to the IFS through their Windows desktop Computer folder.
Using the IFS in lieu of a Windows file server can save Windows storage on your existing server (avoiding a possible Windows file server upgrade). You may also potentially save another Windows server license if you would need to stage another Windows server to handle your IBM i stream file traffic.
For more information on using the IFS as a Windows file share, see my earlier post on sending IBM i report data directly to Windows servers and to your users.
Reducing Traffic on Your Exchange Servers
You can configure the IBM i SMTP server to forward email to a Microsoft Exchange Server or you can set up an IBM i SMTP server to do the job. Most IBM i packages that use email services can be configured to use either a Windows or an IBM i SMTP server. If you don’t want to add extra traffic to your Exchange servers or the Exchange servers reside in a different network, you may want to send IBM-generated emails directly through the IBM i native SMTP server.
And There are More Options
SMTP and SMB aren’t the only TCP/IP options you have available on an IBM i. You can leverage your IBM i systems to natively run most TCP/IP services, including:
- Domain Name Server (DNS)
- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
- Apache HTTP server
- Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
- Line Printer Requester and Line Printer Daemon (LPR and LPD)
- Quality of Service (QoS)
- Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP)
The Choice is Yours
My purpose here isn’t to recommend running all your native TCP/IP servers on IBM i. If it meets your business needs for configuring IBM i software from DRVTech or other vendors, you can run TCP/IP functions on either an IBM i or on a Windows server.
IBM Power systems running IBM i partitions give you more options to leverage both your IBM i and your Windows servers by: reducing network traffic, reducing your Windows licensing charges and the number of Windows servers, and using your IBM IFS as a Windows file server. Don’t forget your free eguide by clicking the button below, as well as the helpful articles we’ve included for your viewing.
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More articles on IBM i concepts and the Windows world
3 Steps for Moving Spooled Files Out-of-Machine for Non-IBM i Managers
Four Keys to Fair Software Pricing
IBM i Software Pricing for Non-IBM i Managers
Translating IBM i for the Windows World
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