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Time Keeps On Ticking, Ticking for Client Access Support

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As we pull out of our respective Y2K bunkers and as networking vendors tell us it’s time to move on to application service providers (ASPs) and e-business, a less dangerous alarm clock is about to ring for shops that use IBM’s Client Access for Windows 95/NT (the Windows 95/NT client). IBM is planning to pull support for several old versions of OS/400 along with their respective Client Access for Windows products—including some implementations of Client Access Express for Windows (the Express client)—as of May 31, 2000. This will force AS/400 shops to reevaluate their current OS/400 and Client Access setups and make some changes that IBM has been looking for its user base to make for some time now.

Timing of the CA Support Disappearing Act

The first place to surf for information on this change is Document 17623433, “Understand the Importance of Staying on Supported OS/400 Releases,” which is available on the Global AS/400 Technical Support Web site at www.as400service.ibm.com/supporthome. nsf/Document/17623433. In this document, IBM prints a table designating May 31, 2000, as the “End of Program Services” date for OS/400 V3R2, V4R1, and V4R2. In addition, IBM has already withdrawn support for V3R7 as of June 30, 1999. For Client Access users, this means that IBM will also be withdrawing support for the following Client Access for Windows products as of May 31, 2000:

• Express client running under V4R2 (However, Express client will still be supported on V4R3 and V4R4 through the early part of 2001, as you will read below. Express client was

never officially supported while running on V4R1 and below.)

• Windows 95/NT client (all versions) running under V4R2 and below (i.e., V4R2, V4R1, V3R7, and V3R2)

• Enhanced Client Access for Windows 3.1 running under V4R2 and below

• All old clients included with products 5769-XY1, 5649-XY1, 5716-XY1, and 5763-XY1 (Client Access Base Family: Client Access for DOS, Client Access for DOS Extended,

Client Access for Windows 3.1, Client Access for OS/2, and Client Access Optimized for OS/2) also lose support for all currently available OS/400 versions (V4R4 and below).

All of these planned withdrawals and their associated product ID numbers can be found on the Client Access End-of-Service Dates Web site at www.as400.ibm.com/ clientaccess/caendservice.htm.

Be sure to double-check this site after reading this article because there is always the chance that IBM will decide to extend some product support beyond the dates reported here. However, these are the dates that are in force as I write this in early January.

What It All Means

Put in simpler terms, to retain Client Access support from IBM after May 31, 2000, you need to be running V4R4 or V4R3 with one of the following products:

• Express client

• Windows 95/NT client V3R1M3 or V3R2M0

• Enhanced Client Access for Windows 3.1

That’s it. If you’re on any other version of OS/400 or Client Access, your support officially runs out on May 31, 2000. If you’ve held back on your OS/400 upgrades or you don’t have the budget to upgrade, you could have a problem if you need IBM support for Client Access.

Options, We Need Options

This is fairly typical of the way IBM usually ends support for its products, so—if you find yourself on the wrong side of the support tree—IBM is sending you a message that it would like you to upgrade now. But what are your options for Client Access if you can’t upgrade your OS/400 version at present time? Here’s my take on it.

Do nothing. You can stay with your current Client Access version if you wish, but you must realize that IBM is no longer obliged to support you if you run into problems. Indeed, if you can’t upgrade, this may be your only option.

If you can, upgrade your PCs to Express client if you’re running OS/400 V4R2 or above. If you still need to use the Windows 95/NT client (because you don’t have a TCP/IP network or because your PCs need some function not available in Express client), try to ensure that you’re running Client Access for Windows 95/NT V3R2M0 rather than an earlier version. The reason V3R2M0 is a good choice is that it’s more stable than earlier versions and that, if IBM changes its mind and decides to extend support for an earlier OS/400 version, it will probably extend Client Access support as long as you’re running the most recent client (i.e., it won’t support multiple versions of Client Access running on an obsolete operating system).

Outside of going with a competitor or upgrading your AS/400, these are pretty much the only options you have.

Looking even further into the future, IBM is scheduled to end service for V4R3 on January 1, 2001, and end service for V4R4 on May 31, 2001. This means that Client Access support for Express client, the Windows 95/NT client, and Enhanced Client Access for Windows 3.1 will also end on those dates. Here in , it’s important to understand that the meter is running on OS/400 and Client Access and that your options are starting to run out for earlier versions of these products.



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