Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Host Access Client Package for Multiplatform announcement

Looking back over the evolution of mainframes, there have been a few “great leaps forward”, but the majority of improvements have come trickling through in a way that seems to go unnoticed – yet the way we’re working today is easier and quicker than last year and a million times better than ten years ago. And those of us who can remember how things were over twenty years ago – well …

One such “trickle” announcement is IBM’s recently announced HACP (Host Access Client Package) for Multiplatform and for iSeries, which are available 8 September. Both versions include Version 5.9 of Personal Communications for Windows and Version 10 of WebSphere Host On-Demand (HOD).

HACP is marketed by IBM as “the solution to all of your host connection needs”. It supports SNA, APPC, HPR, and other related technologies.

V5.9 of Personal Communications has a number of useful enhancements. It now supports Windows x64 platforms – including Windows XP Pro, and Windows Server 2003 Standard and Enterprise editions. The downside to this is that x64 support is available only in “compatibility mode” – ie it’s not available in SNA environments. I assume the thinking is that sites are all migrating away from SNA to IP networks so it’s not a problem.

Another important update is support for Kerberos ticketing. On iSeries (or OS/400 platforms) using Kereberos-based Single Sign-On (SSO) reduces the number of passwords a user needs to know and use (or, as we’ve seen all too often, have written on post-it notes stuck to the side of the screen!).

The list of enhancements also includes more centralized control for administrators – such as the power to control a user’s ability to modify their session’s view. Administrators are also able to identify when a product is being used or even installed – although this requires Tivoli Licence Manager to be already installed.

There are some printing enhancements – allowing lots of print files to be collected and printed as a single job. It’s also possible to use Windows GDI (Graphics Device Interface) print capability for VT host printing.
Finally, there’s support for concurrent IPv4 and IPv6 connections and support for Telnet security.

Version 10 of WebSphere HOD now supports IBM’s Workplace software. This means that users can create HOD plug-ins that will run on any software based on Workplace Client Technology (WCT) on Windows. Support for JSR 168 allows HOD to create portlets that will run on any JSR 168-compliant portal server (which WebSphere is!).
There are some other enhancements such support for FTP’s copy append function.

Overall, quite a useful release upgrade to a useful connectivity package. And, like I say, a small trickle, a tiny advance, making computing better.

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