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-- by Joseph C. Panettieri
Microsoft's preoccupation with mainframe connectivity software continues. Only months after delivering SNA Server 3.0, Microsoft is quietly beta-testing three host connectivity products, code-named Cakewalk, Thor and Cedar.
Cakewalk replicates mainframe databases to Microsoft SQL Server; Thor lets customers access host file systems via OLE-DB. Cedar (see NT Newstrends, April) links Microsoft Transaction Server with IBM's CICS (Customer Information Control System) transaction processor. The company is also developing ActiveX-enabled applets that let Web browsers access mainframe and AS/400 applications. At press time, pricing and availability for these products were undisclosed.
Separately, IBM and Microsoft are integrating Windows NT with the AS/400. Late this year, IBM will begin testing AS/400 servers with dedicated Pentium Pro add-in boards that can run NT Server 4.0. However, the AS/400s will continue to run IBM's PowerPC-based OS/400 as the primary operating system. Once NT is integrated with the AS/400, you will be able to download files and records from a DB2/400 database to NT applications. The AS/400 will also offer storage management services for NT.
Microsoft's host connectivity products will certainly let NT coexist with mainframes and the AS/400 for the short term. And thanks to products like Cakewalk, you might even offload some host apps to NT Server.