REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 31, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the immediate availability of Service Pack 1 for Microsoft®
SNA Server version 2.11, a free maintenance upgrade to the industry-leading SNA gateway product that runs on Microsoft Windows NT
Server. The Service Pack includes fixes to all problems reported since SNA Server 2.11 was released in July 1995, provides a number of enhancements to existing features and adds several new features to improve the integration of SNA Server with TCP/IP networks and to simplify access to IBM host data through the Internet.
As with all Microsoft BackOffice
™products, we’re committed to providing periodic maintenance updates to SNA Server that address all problems reported to date by our customers or are found in our internal testing,”
said Vesa Suomalainen, general manager of the SNA Server product unit at Microsoft.
“At the same time, we wanted to take the opportunity to include a number of important features that our customers have been asking for.”
New Features Included in Service Pack 1 for Microsoft SNA Server 2.11
Distributed Gateway Service. The Service Pack delivers the Distributed Gateway Service which is the key component of SNA Open Gateway Architecture (SOGA). SOGA, a comprehensive framework for enterprise SNA gateways, was announced by Microsoft on December 11, 1995. It consists of three deployment models for SNA gateways: branch-based, centralized, and distributed. To date, customers have been deploying SNA Servers either in branch-based or centralized configurations – the Distributed Gateway Service enables the new distributed deployment, which combines the strengths of the two existing models. The distributed deployment improves host response times and saves WAN bandwidth compared to the centralized model, while making host access more reliable and simplifying network management compared to the branch-based model. For more details on SOGA, the full press release is available on the Microsoft SNA Server home page on http://www.microsoft.com/sna.
Support for TN3270E clients. The Service Pack adds RFC 1647 support for the TN3270 Server which was included in SNA Server 2.11, making SNA Server compatible with new TN3270E emulators now available from the leading vendors. The TN3270 Server enables any vendor’s TN3270 emulator on any desktop operating system to gain access to 3270 applications via SNA Server without installing the expensive and CPU-intensive TCP/IP stack on the mainframe. These TN3270 emulators are gaining in popularity but previously had some functionality limitations compared to standard SNA 3270 emulators, such as lack of LU1 and LU3 printing support. Most of these limitations are removed in RFC 1647, which was recently approved by IEEE and is now supported in SNA Server.
FTP-AFTP gateway. The Service Pack includes a new server-based function to convert FTP file transfer requests into AFTP. Support for the AFTP file transfer protocol, which is IBM’s implementation of FTP over APPC/LU6.2, shipped in SNA Server 2.11. This feature makes it possible to perform high-speed file transfers between IBM® hosts and systems running Windows NT Workstation and Windows NT Server without installing the TCP/IP stack on the host. The new FTP-AFTP gateway in the Service Pack enables the theuse of any standard FTP client application to access mainframe or AS/400®
files by using the AFTP protocol. Users benefit by being able to get access to host files without installing additional software on their workstations. AFTP requires the APPC Application Suite, available from IBM for most host operating system versions, to be installed on the host.
AFTP API support. The Service Pack adds a new API to automate AFTP file transfers programmatically. SNA Server 2.11 included a command-line interface to initiate and automate AFTP file transfers, but several customers requested that the initiation of AFTP commands be enabled from a custom-built application. To satisfy this request, the Service Pack adds support for the AFTP API, which is an IBM-defined API that effectively provides the command-line interface to any 32-bit Windows-based application running on the Windows®
95, Windows NT Workstation, or Windows NT Server operating systems. Users can now automate AFTP file transfers to take place based on program logic, simplifying the configuration of their applications.
Support for ESCON channel attachment. The Service Pack adds support for the first PCI-bus ESCON adapter for SNA Server from Polaris Communications. It also includes drivers for Polaris Communication’s PCI-bus Bus & Tag and Bus-Tech’s EISA-bus Bus & Tag adapters. SNA Server 2.11 introduced support for direct channel connections to IBM mainframes, allowing the replacement of expensive IBM channel-attached cluster controllers and front-end processors with inexpensive and scalable PC servers. Drivers for Barr Systems’ ISA-bus and Bus-Tech’s MCA-bus Bus & Tag adapters were included in the SNA Server 2.11 release. Bus & Tag, also known as the parallel channel, is IBM’s original channel attach technology. Running at up to 4.5 Mbytes/second, it provides significant speed advantages over a token ring or SDLC connection. ESCON, also known as the fiber channel, is IBM’s new channel-attached technology. Running at 17 Mbytes/second, this technology has a speed advantage over Bus & Tag connections, and can utilize modern flexible fiber cabling.
Windows 95 client for SNA Server. The Service Pack includes the Windows 95-based client for SNA Server, which was previously available only by downloading over the Internet. In addition to the functionality announced September 5, 1995 (see the full press release on the Microsoft SNA Server home page at http://www.microsoft.com/sna), the Service Pack adds support for Banyan® VINES®
IP transport for the Windows 95 client.
Support for SQL/DS and stored procedures in the ODBC/DRDA driver. The Service Pack adds several new features in the ODBC/DRDA driver which first shipped in the SNA Server 2.11 release. The ODBC/DRDA driver enables standard Windows-based applications to access data on IBM DB2®
databases without requiring any additional host software. Developed for Microsoft by StarWare Inc., the ODBC/DRDA driver has been enhanced to be compatible with the IBM SQL/DS database, recently renamed DB2 for VM. The release also adds stored procedures support which enables users to build higher-performing applications that access data on IBM DB2 databases both on mainframes and AS/400s. SNA Server includes a single ODBC/DRDA driver license per server, additional licenses are available from StarWare.
Compatibility with IBM S/36, S/38 and AS/36 hosts. The Service Pack makes SNA Server compatible with the predecessor systems to the IBM AS/400 — the System/3x family of computers. Customers have been able to utilize SNA Server 2.11 to gain access to IBM mainframes and AS/400s. The Service Pack expands this list to include IBM System/36® , System/38®
, and Advanced System/36. Customers can use token ring, ethernet, or SDLC connections to access 5250 applications and data on these systems. The compatibility requires that the IBM PRPQ for PC Support be installed on these systems.
Drivers for several new SDLC and X.25 adapters. The Service Pack includes drivers for several new SDLC and X.25 adapters, giving customers an ever-increasing choice of adapters to use with SNA Server. Microgate’s T1 adapter and the Digiboard® Digi-Sync adapter are now supported for SDLC connections. X.25/QLLC support was added for the Attachmate®
Advanced SDLC adapter. The Service Pack also comes with SDLC and X.25/QLLC drivers for Eicon Technology’s EiconCard family of ISDN, dial-up and leased-line adapters. This functionality, previously available only as an extra-cost item as part of Eicon’s WAN Services for Windows NT, are now included with SNA Server at no extra cost.
The full details of the Service Pack are documented in a Windows Help file, SNASP1.HLP, which can be downloaded from the Microsoft SNA Server home page on the Internet: http://www.microsoft.com/sna.
Easier Access to IBM Host Applications and Data through the Internet
The Service Pack also includes tested integration between SNA Server and the upcoming Microsoft Internet Information Server, which also runs on Windows NT Server. Arguably, the majority of the world’s electronic information still resides on IBM mainframes and AS/400s. Being able to make this vast amount of data easily available to the public Internet or to the company’s private intranet users is a priority to many organizations.
With SNA Server’s support for TCP/IP as one of the client-server protocols, it is possible for desktops to access SNA Servers across the Internet or an intranet. To make the most of the strict, user-based security features in SNA Server, the Service Pack includes documentation for configuring SNA Server clients and servers on different sides of an Internet firewall, to enable controlled access to precious host data from public networks.
Users can provide hyperlinks from Web pages on the Internet Information Server to files that reside on IBM mainframes or AS/400s, thanks to the FTP-AFTP gateway feature that ships in the Service Pack. Host administrators can now make live host data files available on the Internet without either copying them to the Web server or having to install TCP/IP services on the host.
Because Internet Information Server includes the capability to access any ODBC-compliant data source, the 32-bit ODBC/DRDA driver that ships with SNA Server can be used to create forms-oriented data links between IBM DB2 databases and the Internet. It is possible, for example, to configure the Internet Information Server to provide a stock-ticker application that is updated every five minutes with live stock data stored on a remote mainframe DB2 database. This data is then presented as a Web page and can be viewed with any standard Internet browser — no special tools or custom programming required.
SNA Server Background
Using advanced client-server architecture, Microsoft SNA Server offloads the communications processing from host computers and desktop PCs. Each PC uses standard LAN protocols, such as TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, Banyan VINES IP, or AppleTalk®
to connect to one or more SNA Servers. The SNA Servers then connect to IBM mainframes and AS/400s using SNA protocols. SNA Server supports up to 2000 clients and 10,00 host sessions and offers advanced tools for easy system setup and centralized graphical administration. It supports all standard PC and network operating systems, LAN protocols, SNA host connections, and host types. Client computers and administrator workstations can connect to SNA Servers across LAN and WAN bridges, routers, and over dial-up lines. A key component of Microsoft BackOffice, SNA Server takes full advantage of the Windows NT Server operating system to deliver the power, scalability, and security of this robust foundation. Combined with the industry-standard SNA APIs, this foundation makes SNA Server the most flexible platform for integrating PC and host environments.
Pricing and Availability
The Service Pack is available now and is free to current SNA Server 2.11 customers. Customers can download the Service Pack over the Internet (ftp.microsoft.com: bussys/winnt/sna-public/fixes/sna211), or order a compact disc from Microsoft for a $14.95 handling fee by calling (800) 426-9400. The Service Pack is automatically applied to new retail copies of SNA Server 2.11 and will also be included on the next available Microsoft Select, TechNet, and MSDN subscription compact discs. The estimated retail pricing for SNA Server 2.11 remains unchanged at approximately $409 per server license and approximately $65 per client access license, before volume discounts.
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Microsoft, Windows NT, BackOffice and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
IBM, DB2, System/36, System/38 and AS/400 are registered trademarks and SQL/DS is a trademark of International Business Machines Corp.
Banyan and VINES are registered trademarks of Banyan Systems Inc.
Digiboard is a registered trademark of Digi International, Inc.
Attachmate is a registered trademark of Attachmate Corporation.