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IBM beefs up mainframe operating system

Big Blue makes its "big iron" more palatable for its button-down corporate customers by upgrading its operating system with more secure features.

Big Blue has made its "big iron" more palatable for its button-down corporate customers by upgrading its operating system with more secure features.

IBM released an upgrade for its S/390 mainframe operating system to help large corporate customers better use these brawny machines for e-business.

Over the last 30 years or so, IBM has sold its mainframes to more than 15,000 of the largest companies in the world. IBM said the update is for these customers who are looking to make their systems more secure on the Internet for applications such as transaction processing. IBM mainframes are used by large banks, for example, to handle millions of daily customer transactions.

OS/390 Version 2 Release 8 comes with enhancements in security, connectivity, and systems management, IBM said.

The most crucial updates are centered on managing Virtual Private Networks and clustering.

IBM says these improvements will help mainframe customers integrate Web application inside and outside the company. There is a "dramatic shift in the nature and volumes of transactions, where a single Web site hit can spawn a multitude of transactions," said Doug Balog, director of software at the 390 division.

IBM is also making generally available four previously announced models for its S/390 Parallel Enterprise Server. These models and upgrades make their systems better able to handle e-business applications.