Microsoft SNA Server Proven to Save Costs in Connecting Desktops With IBM AS/400s

Microsoft SNA Server Proven to Save Costs in Connecting Desktops With IBM AS/400s

Audited tests show SNA Server saves up to 18% of AS/400 CPU and improves response times by up to 47% over alternate methods of connecting PC desktops to the AS/400 via TCP/IP

REDMOND, Wash. – March 26, 1996 – Microsoft Corp. today announced the results of a performance study that compared three methods of connecting PC desktops over TCP/IP networks to IBM® AS/400®
s: direct TN5250, IBM AnyNet
™and Microsoft®
SNA Server. The testing was audited by the Tolly Group, a Manasquan, NJ based testing organization, and was based on the latest OS/400 operating system update, V3R1. The results show that SNA Server can reduce AS/400 actual CPU utilization by up to 18%, improve response times by up to 33%, and generate 32% less wide area network traffic when compared to direct TN5250 or IBM AnyNet connections in an interactive 5250 transaction test. In an ODBC query test, SNA Server saved up to 10% of AS/400 CPU and provided response times up to 47% better than IBM AnyNet connections.

This efficiency can easily be translated into tangible business benefits: customers may be able to postpone or eliminate an expensive AS/400 upgrade, improve the productivity of their users, and save costs on wide area links.

“Performance is always a top consideration as we evaluate new products for our AS/400 environment”
, said Kevin Mishler, network consultant at John Deere Industrial Equipment Company.
“We are extremely pleased with the performance of SNA Server, as it enables us to add new users to our environment without requiring an expensive upgrade to the AS/400.”

“These performance results are consistent with the overall architectural deficiencies of the AnyNet protocol”
, said David Passmore, president of Decisys, a Sterling, VA based consultancy.
“An SNA gateway such as Microsoft SNA Server is clearly the most efficient way to integrate TCP/IP networks with SNA applications running on IBM hosts.”

“SNA Server is recognized as a product that can simplify customers’ connectivity environment, while providing performance benefits compared to direct AS/400 connections from each desktop”
, said Vesa Suomalainen, general manager of the SNA Server product unit at Microsoft.
“These test results prove that, as organizations with AS/400s migrate to TCP/IP networks, SNA Server can provide significant cost savings over alternate methods by allowing the AS/400 to stay untouched running the native SNA protocols.”

Performance Test Details and AS/400 Connectivity Background

A full test summary document, written by the Tolly Group, can be obtained from the Microsoft web site at The same web location contains the following documents that provide useful background to overall AS/400 connectivity issues:

  • A Microsoft response to an IBM marketing document titled
    “AS/400 Direct Attach vs. Microsoft’s SNA Server: Point – Counterpoint”

  • “TCP/IP Connectivity in an AS/400 Environment”
    , an independent white paper that discusses the options for connecting TCP/IP LANs to the AS/400, written by Duke Communications, the publisher of NEWS/400, a leading AS/400 magazine. A specific section is assigned to each of the three available options: direct TCP/IP (TN5250, FTP, LPR/LPD), IBM AnyNet, and TCP/IP-to-SNA gateway, such as SNA Server.

  • “Microsoft SNA Server 2.11 and Windows® Connectivity to the AS/400”
    , another white paper written by Duke Communications that discusses the overall issues and benefits in connecting desktops running the Windows operating system to the AS/400 via Microsoft SNA Server.

  • January 29, 1996 issue of
    “Client/Server Advisor” , an independent newsletter for AS/400 managers published by United Communications Group of Rockville, MD. This issue reports the results of an independent user survey on the use of SNA gateways in an AS/400 environment, specifically comparing customer experiences with Novell® NetWare®
    for SAA and Microsoft SNA Server.

  • Case studies of customers using SNA Server in AS/400 environments: Abarta, American Standard, Callahan Enterprises, Davis Wire, Deaconess Health Systems and Holy Cross Medical Center.

  • “Integrating PCs and AS/400 Systems”
    , a white paper written by Microsoft for the AS/400 business managers, outlining the challenges confronting them, and how Microsoft products can integrate to enhance the overall environment.

SNA Server Background

Using advanced client-server architecture, Microsoft SNA Server offloads the communications processing from host computers and desktop PCs. Each PC uses a standard LAN protocol, such as TCP/IP, IPX/SPX, NetBEUI, Banyan® VINES® IP, or AppleTalk®
to connect to one or more SNA Servers. SNA Server then connects to IBM mainframes and AS/400s using SNA protocols. SNA Server supports up to 2,000 clients and 10,000 host sessions, offers hot backup and load balancing, and comes with advanced tools for easy system setup and centralized graphical administration. A key component of the Microsoft BackOffice
™family of products, 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 industry-standard SNA APIs, this foundation makes SNA Server the most reliable platform for integrating PC and IBM host environments.

SNA Server has won several recent reviews and awards, including PC Week’s Analyst’s Choice (December, 1994), PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice (August, 1995), Internetwork Magazine’s Standards Achievement Award (October, 1995), and LAN Magazine’s Host Connectivity Product of the Year Award (March, 1996).

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Windows NT, BackOffice and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

AppleTalk is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc.

Banyan and VINES are registered trademarks of Banyan Systems Inc.

IBM and AS/400 are registered trademarks and AnyNet is a trademark of International Business Machines Corp.

Novell and NetWare are registered trademarks of Novell, Inc.

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