First Look at OS/2 Warp Server for e-business
By: Walter Metcalf
As many of you know Aurora is now in the latter beta
testing phase. However there is still a lot of confusion surrounding Aurora,
or as it is now officially called, "OS/2 Warp Server," the latest member
of the Warp family. This is partially the result of mixed signals sent out by IBM
officials themselves. In order to quiet customers fears, some IBM representatives
have played down the new features in Aurora, calling it a minor upgrade; others
have called it a major upgrade; still others have actually called it a new product.
Whatever it is called it will apparently have a lot of familiar elements, such as
the Warp 4 GUI interface, and a lot of new features. Calling it a "new
product" is probably not much of an exaggeration. In this feature I want to
gather together the major Web documents on OS/2 Warp Server and summarize the major
points of each.
This is an extensive IBM "white paper" that details the new features in
Aurora. Here are just a few of these goodies:
It should be clear why calling OS/2 Warp Server a new product is not much of an
exaggeration! It is truly a powerhouse, light years ahead of Windows NT!
Journaled File System
(This is one I can't wait to get my hands on!)
Supports restoration of a filesystem in seconds!
Supports partition and file sizes up to 2 terabytes (=2,000 gigabytes)!
This effectively removes the need for partitions, unless we wish to use them for
Personally Safe n Sound (PSnS)
A backup and restore feature that supports automatic file backup to a wide range
of storage devices, helps ensure against disk drive malfunction, and offers fast
recovery of deleted files. PSnS includes:
REXX and C APIs and a new command line interface to permit access to PSnS functions
through the command line, user programs, and the GUI interface.
Support for partitioned, removable devices such as JAZZ and ZIP devices.
Dual-device backup set to optimize backup to type of backup device.
Network File System (NFS)
Permits a disk drive to be mounted anywhere on the network (e.g. in any department)
and be made available to the client.
Logical Volume Manager (LVM)
(This is another one I can't wait to get my hands on!)
Permits the creation of (logical) drives that span multiple physical drives. Presumably
files will also be able to span multiple drives. Includes the concept of "sticky"
device lettering that will not be disturbed by mounting or dismounting devices or
deleting partitions. (Imagine being able to reconfigure your disk system--as I would
like to now--without having to rebuild your Desktop and parameter files!)
Supports Windows 95 and Windows NT clients.
Contains level of TCPIP/MPTS whose performance and capacity exceeds TCPIP 4.1. (Note:
exceeds 4.1, not just 4.0!)
Includes Java 1.1.6, or whatever the current Java level is when OS/2 Warp Server
Includes Netscape Communicator.
This document provides additional details about Aurora's Journaled File System (JFS).
This is some of the additional information provided:
Next week I'll present the results of the survey and make some observations about
the direction of this site. Stay tuned!
JFS is not new; it has been proven on the AIX (an IBM version of UNIX) mainframe
It uses database techniques to supplement (or replace) the ancient partition table/directory
schemes currently employed.
A continuous log of transactions is maintained; disk partition recovery is accomplished
in seconds by replaying the log.
FAT and HPFS are both supported as well as JFS. At present it's not possible to
boot from a JFS system,
IBM recommends booting from an HPFS partition to support Java's long filenames.
The maximum number of files and directories in a JFS partition is over 4 billion!
JFS supports modifying partition sizes and defragmentation on the fly. (Could
this be one reason PowerQuest effectively dropped OS/2 support in Partition Magic
4.0? Aurora has much of Partition Magic's functionality built-in!)
This document attempts to answer many of the questions asked about Aurora based
on published IBM documents, his own communications with IBM representatives, and
Aurora is being targeted for Large Enterprise customers currently running some version
of OS/2; IBM will welcome small businesses finding Aurora appropriate for them.
"Support for old applications is VERY important for IBM, let me quote: 'Legacy
support is and remains a fundamental element of our server strategy sustaining our
commitment to our customers.' "
Aurora will have built-in SMP (Simultaneous Multiprocessor Support) support for
up to 64 processors.
An Aurora Client Pak will be released with Aurora. (See below.)
Rumoured features. The document also identifies a number of other features which
may or may not be part of the GA version of Aurora.
Don't expect all these goodies to come cheap! IBM has targeted OS/2 Warp Server
at the Large Enterprise market, and these businesses have deep pockets compared
to the average home or SOHO user. IBM has said nothing about the new Server's price,
but I expect it will be several hundred dollars, or even over a thousand dollars.
That is only my guess, but I think it is an eminently reasonable one. One fact that
might give us a clue is that the price of WorkSpace On Demand is $999; another is
that the current Warp Server starts
at $729. Aurora is unlikely to cost less!
In an interview
with Newsbyte on 17 September 1998, IBM senior OS/2 official Jeff Smith stated that
Windows 95 and Windows NT support would be included in WorkSpace On Demand 2.0,
just as Win-OS2 support is included in Warp. It's not clear whether this level of
support is included in Aurora as well.
New OS/2 Warp Client?
If you have kept in touch with the OS/2 scene at all, you know this a very hot topic
on a lot of web sites (including this one). IBM has not publicly said they will
release a new client; apparently the fact that Warp 4 is not Y2K compatible is causing
problems for IBM with current customers. For this and other reasons rumours persist
that IBM will release a new Warp client, probably shortly after Aurora is released.
These are so far the only glimmers of hope from IBM itself:
This is a new product to be released at the same time or shortly after Aurora itself,
and will run on top of Warp 4 with the latest fixpak.
Unfortunately, IBM has said virtually nothing else about this product, leaving us
Austin OS/2 Product Team
This group of IBM'ers would like to release a client version of Aurora along with
the server product. They are collecting
information from Indelible Blue on the number of people interested and how much
we would be willing/able to pay. If released Software Choice subscribers would receive
the upgrade free. (Thinking about subscribing to Software Choice anyway?). The product
If you are at all interested a new/upgraded client version of Warp then please
to the Indelible Blue page and vote
with your virtual pocket book. I'll reiterate what IB says: be realistic in your
price expectations; list the most you would be willing to pay, not what you would
like to pay. Re-reading the feature lists above should convince you of the value
of what you would be getting. I also agree with IB's assessment that the $100 price
we have been hoping for under the Warp
5 campaign is unrealistic without completely gutting Aurora. Once again, the
feature list should show why that is true.
"Aurora" base OS features (SMP, JFS, LVM, etc.) with server components
pulled out (The only way they'll be able to do this is if they ship exactly the
same base as Aurora)
Warp 4 user interface (unchanged)
latest device drivers client communications features no voice, no bonus pak
For further reading:
Jeff Smith's Visit to Stockholm. Senior OS/2 boss discusses the future of OS/2, extending its life indefinitely. Article originally appeared OS/2 News and Rumors.
Warp X Web site maintained
by Martin Alfredsson chock full of news (and rumours) on the future of OS/2 and
Aurora in particular.
Warp Server (Aurora) Home Page. IBM's prinicpal Aurora site.
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