CIOs/CTOs Handbook to Set the IT Priorities Right for 2022
Let’s begin with an interesting aspect of ‘How do you refer to your AS400?’
- What do you know it as?
- How do you write it?
We will tell you the difference between each of them, but this one darling of a technology is searched and called by various names across the domain
AS400 is a mid-range server released by IBM in 1988 and got rebranded many times by IBM until 2008 to be called IBM Power Systems.
iSeries is a server that supports mission-critical business applications by hosting several operating systems. It also has a unique ability to manage Microsoft Windows via the Integrated xSeries Adapter and Server.
IBM i is an operating system developed by IBM for its midrange computer systems, namely Power Systems. Its defining characteristic, the “integration” is represented by the “i” in IBM i.
AS400 and its OS/400 (now IBM i) have Come a Long Way
We want to take you back to history of AS400.
We have observed time and again when talking to our customers that no matter the branding changes – veterans still prefer to call it their AS400.
Have a look at its journey since 1988 that led the way for today’s IBM AS/400:
Did you know this about your IBM iSeries? (AS400 System – Hardware/OS)
- IBM AS400 i Series (now Power Systems) and its predecessors have had three different OS names, seven different OS versions, and more than twenty revisions.
- The OS/400 operating system in 1988 has run on 6 different hardware and was called AS400 at that time.
- At least seventeen different CPUs have run the IBM AS-400 system and its predecessors.
- Since 1988, IBM has sold more than 50 hardware models to run the product line of IBM AS 400 iSeries
- All the IBM AS400 software customers can run the software and as 400 databases were created in 1988.
- According to IBM– “The AS400 systems incorporates a trusted combination of an interactive database, security, networking, web services, and storage management abilities”. Furthermore, it also provides a comprehensive and highly stable database and middleware foundation.
- Commonly AS400 services are used for data warehousing, web and e-commerce serving, and Java application development.
- Also, if you are already familiar with AS/400 experience but confused with multiple terms associated with it- you should look at this.
- The AS400 applications are known by various names- System i, iSeries, and IBM i. IBM uses all these names as a brand initiative over the years. It was renamed as iSeries in 2000 and was renamed to System i in 2006, as a part of a brand initiative. However, they all refer to the same AS400 and can be used interchangeably.
IBM shared the news of its integration with the System p platform in the year 2008. And the unified product line is called IBM power systems and features support for the IBM i.
The operating system has undergone several name changes by IBM. It was first called System/36, then became OS400 and later became i5/OS in 2006 after introducing eServer i5 that features POWER5 processors. And finally, it became IBM i.
IBM i, the latest evolution of IBM AS400, is a descending of OS400, and together they run on “Power Systems‘ hardware and have its own set of unique features such as:
- The subsystems provide backward compatibility with earlier versions of IBM AS/400, so migration to the newer IBM i platform requires no application re-installation.
- The IBM i is designed as a “turnkey” OS, and is said to require little or no attention from IT staff during normal business operations.
- The maintenance of hardware and software tasks is integrated.
- “Wizard-driven” system administration
- The self-care policy on IBM AS400 iSeries is fully automated. It schedules the system maintenance automatically, detects issues in the system, and even orders spare parts if required.
- Software data like DB2 SQL that are the much necessary software to run the IBM AS400 are already integrated into the base OS, eliminating the need of purchasing and installing the software separately.
With the rise of cloud computing technology, some IT experts have labeled IBM Power Systems as “OFF” and written that many new companies won’t consider it due to the high cost. But, when one hour of technology downtime can cost a company up to $1 million, companies (especially in the manufacturing and retail sector) still prefer to stick with IBM AS400 architecture. Also, the cost and complexity of migrating to another platform are hard to justify.
Furthermore, the traditional IBM AS/400 system is leveraged with RPG, newer IBM AS400 host RPG applications, and some unique applications like Java. Also, it is integrated with server technology like “DB2” universal database and “Lotus Domino” software.
The “i” in IBM iSeries stands for integration, and this is the feature that differentiates it from others.
There’s More to the AS400
- How long have you been using AS400?
- How has been your experience with AS400 Applications?
- What makes you still stick to the AS400 ecosystem?
Well, we know you won’t deny the fact that AS/400 is the most robust, reliable, and secure technology ever existed.
Still, there are some unsung features and services that AS-400 has released for businesses to adapt to the changing business needs.
This blog focuses on the captivating world of AS400 where we will unearth its distinctive features, and its ongoing popularity.
Take a plunge to discover why businesses continue to use this renowned platform, the numerous benefits it has, and the opportunities for integrating modern-day solutions.
Brace yourself for an enthralling insight on the most important facts about IBM AS400, its advanced applications, and modern-day solutions for serious business.
Let us uncover the ground for the AS400 iSeries, an evolving and adaptable powerhouse that keeps on growing in today’s business landscape.
Facts and Figures of the AS400
- According to a data research company that uses the best indexing techniques combined with advanced data science to monitor the market share of Server Hardware, IBM AS/400 has a market share of about 36.3%.
- Majority of enterprises continue to have 75-100% of their workload on the AS400 i Series,as per a survey conducted by IBM.
- IBM i has a significant presence in industries such as manufacturing, finance, banking, healthcare, retail and logistics.
Here comes the important part…
IBM i Users are Currently Focusing on these IT Goals
After talking about the history, facts and figures, let’s move on to what AS400 objectives you as the technology leader could focus on achieving.
Here are most common IT goals you should know – that other IBM i AS400 shops are narrowing down on. This data comes out of our 20+ years of experience in serving our AS400 customers.
1. Improving their end User Experience
2. Investing in Modern Technology
|33% of customers stated that modernizing their AS400 applications is a project that they are currently working on.|
|SQL database access is another popular choice claiming 18% of our AS400 iSeries customers.|
|High availability (HA) with 17% of our IBM i customers currently working to eliminate downtime.|
|15% of customers are working on enhancing their data’s safety.|
|11% are aligning their efforts towards business analytics beyond Query/400|
|4% are focusing on integrating their AS400 business applications to ensure effectiveness.|
|2% come to us for document management for staying organized in the face of data growth.|
|Mobile accessibility is a new trend in all industries, with some of our customers working on it.|
|Rest of our AS 400 customers are working on combating IBM i skills depletion as a major issue.|
Considering the benefits and cost-savings coming from cloud computing, we slowly are seeing an increase in AS400 cloud migration as well.
Now that you got an idea of the challenges around the AS400, and we understand you might be facing some of these, let’s look at how we can help you resolve these.
Let’s Solve the Challenges of your AS400!
This is important for visionary technology leaders, like YOU, who are forward looking and want the best for their teams and businesses.
Legacy AS400 and Skill Deficit:
Your Challenge: Your AS/400 is built and relies heavily on legacy programming languages such as RPG and CL, and that makes it difficult for you to find skilled IT professionals with expertise in these languages. It is possible that the staff who worked on your AS400 is approaching retirement.
Solution: Either invest in training and upskilling your existing IT staff or avail the ready-to-use expertise of external AS400 consultants or AS400 solution and service providers to bridge the skill gap. Contemplate on the cost of delay for not a taking a decision sooner.
As400 Modernization is Complex:
Your Challenge: Your AS/400 ecosystem is not evolved and not keeping up with latest technology trends. You lack support for using the modern AS400 tools, newer frameworks, and cloud-based solutions. Your users are frustrated using the 5250 green screens and running time taking manual processes.
Solution: Plan for gradual transition from AS-400 to newer technologies by implementing modernization initiatives internally. You’ll need to preserve your existing business logic and data. If at any point, you need expert assistance, get in touch with AS-400 service provider. They’ll become an extension of your internal team and expedite the modernization process for you.
High Cost of As400 Ownership:
Your Challenge: You know that maintaining AS/400 systems can be costly due to licensing fees, hardware investments, and ongoing support costs. Keeping it running as legacy will do nothing but increase your TCO overtime. It not only eats into your allocated IT budget, but and you are also answerable to the board of senior management.
Solution: How much is your TCO? Its more than just a sticker price. Include all parameters such as IT infrastructure/equipment, data center and hosting, cost of software/licenses, support employees cost, downtime, risks, growth plans, inflation rates and your historic data. Basic formula is TCO = Purchase Price + (Costs of Operations x Time). If it is going anywhere above 8-10% of the revenue, you need to explore alternative options such as cloud-based solutions or working with an AS400 service provider to reduce costs.
AS400 Integration Limitations:
Your Challenge: AS400 faces the challenge of limited compatibility with newer technologies, software, protocols, and APIs which can hinder seamless exchange and real-time AS400 integration resulting manual processes.
Solution: You need to start planning around utilizing integration middleware or platforms to facilitate communication between your AS/400 and other systems. Alternatively, you can work AS400 service and solutions provider to develop custom integration for overcoming the compatibility issues.
52 Types of AS400 Services Offered by Us
As you identify the topmost goals for your business, we encourage you to read the list of AS400 (IBM i) services we offer and pick the ones that you need. You can easily avail one or more or all the below for your AS400 systems.
|Sr. No.||Types of AS400 Services|
|1||AS400 Software Services|
|2||AS400 Support and Maintenance Services|
|3||AS400 Cloud Migration Services|
|4||AS400 Integration Services|
|5||AS400 Application Development|
|6||AS400 Application Modernization|
|7||AS400 Application GUI Modernization|
|8||AS400 Application/RPG Developers on Demand|
|9||IBM i Developers on Demand|
|10||AS400 Consulting Services|
|11||AS400 Legacy Application Migration|
|12||AS400 Custom Application Development|
|13||AS400 Database Application Development|
|14||AS400 Application Optimization|
|15||AS400 Application Enhancement|
|16||AS400 Application Performance Tuning|
|17||AS400 Application Upgrades and Updates|
|18||AS400 Application Security Services|
|19||AS400 Application Backup and Recovery|
|20||AS400 Application Monitoring and Management|
Services for Various Types of AS400 Applications you use
We provide all types of AS400 services given above to cater to multiple types of business applications, such as…
|Sr. No.||Types of AS400 Applications|
|21||AS400 (BI) Business Intelligence Application Development|
|22||AS400 Reporting and Analytics Applications|
|23||AS400 CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Applications|
|24||AS400 ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) Applications|
|25||AS400 Financial Application Development|
|26||AS400 Inventory and Supply Chain Applications|
|27||AS400 HR (Human Resources) Application Development|
|28||AS400 E-commerce and Online Store Applications|
|29||AS400 Manufacturing and Production Applications|
|30||AS400 Healthcare and Medical Applications|
|31||AS400 Education and e-Learning Applications|
|32||AS400 Inventory Management Applications|
|33||AS400 Order Processing Applications|
|34||AS400 Sales and Marketing Applications|
|35||AS400 Retail Point of Sale (POS) Applications|
|36||AS400 Inventory Tracking and Management Applications|
|37||AS400 Document Management Applications|
|38||AS400 Workflow and Process Automation Applications|
|39||AS400 Customer Support and Helpdesk Applications|
|40||AS400 Project Management Applications|
|41||AS400 Time and Attendance Tracking Applications|
|42||AS400 Travel and Expense Management Applications|
|43||AS400 Procurement and Purchasing Applications|
|44||AS400 Supply Chain Management Applications|
|45||AS400 Asset Management Applications|
|46||AS400 Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Applications|
|47||AS400 Business Process Management (BPM) Applications|
|48||AS400 Document Archiving and Retrieval Applications|
|49||AS400 Data Migration and Integration Applications|
|50||AS400 Service Management Applications|
|51||AS400 Event Management and Scheduling Applications|
|52||AS400 Data Warehousing Applications|
Uses of AS400 – The Server
Let’s understand about the server-side benefits of the AS400.
With multi-gigabytes of RAM and ample hard disk space, the IBM i series AS 400 can act as a central repository for various big companies’ data, where data mining could be applied.
Web and E-commerce Serving:
The IBM as400 / i-series is equipped with a web server and applications intended to support e-commerce tasks like order management, tracking orders, customer support, vendor, and warehouse management. The IBM as/400 iSeries comes with firewall capabilities and has the capability handle multiple visitors at a time without downtime.
Java Application Development:
The IBM as400 i series can be used as a development system because of its relative integrity with Java virtual machines and tools designed by IBM for developing commercial applications with Java.
Corporate Groupware Services:
Given that Domino and Notes have been included in the system, the IBM AS400 is designed to provide the organization with sophisticated e-mail, project file sharing, and quick collaboration.
IBM Db2 Mirror for IBM AS400 iSeries
Mission-critical applications are needed to run 24/7 without any downtime. IBM Db2 Mirror for IBM as 400 iSeries is a high-level solution with active-active topology and provides zero Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The software ensures continuous accessibility of applications regardless of the obstacles.
- Ensure constant availability of AS400 applications.
- In-built GUI for observing and handling the Db2 Mirror environment.
- Supports systematic advancements.
- No journaling needed.
- Allows active-active application positioning for load balancing.
- Allows active-passive application arrangement for BI and query.
- IBM as/400 iSeries technology provides cost-effective options for implementation.
How does AS400 Operate?
To bring the AS400 system up to today’s standards, it must be used with custom applications. Any feature and functional enhancement on AS400 must come from a packaged app. Moreover, AS400 applications must be programmed into the server before they are usable, i.e., it’s not plug-and-play.
The latest generation of IBM iSeries and pSeries systems (eServer i5 and eServer p5 systems) are based on “Power5” technology, i.e., the 9th generation of IBM 64-bit processor technology. Power5 processors have proven features and functionality and leverage the tradition of virtualization and system-management to let organizations gain a high level of simplicity while performing business operations.
Both technologies (eServer i5 and eServer p5 systems) feature “Micro-Partitioning” technology that allows one physical server to be fractionated into multiple virtual servers, making it an excellent platform for consolidation. The Virtualization Engine technology of IBM is also extended into the eServer family and allows companies to maintain service levels.
Moreover, it will enable automatic management of resource allocation in case of demand change. The technology can maximize the IT investments of an organization and streamline the management process.
IBM AS400 Virtualization Engine Technologies
IBM Director Multiplatform
This provides a standard web-based console for monitoring heterogeneous systems.
Enterprise Workload Manager
For iSeries, EWLM helps to monitor computing resources, the flow of transactions, measure response time, and help companies improve service-level management.
IBM Grid Toolbox
It uses open standards to help organizations build more secure and robust infrastructures.
On/Off Capacity on Demand (On/Off CoD)
This feature allows companies to activate extra processor capacity whenever required and enhance reserve capacity offerings on-demand.
AS400 Systems’ Robust Characteristics
1. AS400 Uses an Object-Based Kernel
AS400 systems have been created using an object-based kernel. It means you will find some unique features such as single-level storage in the AS400 systems that you will not find elsewhere. Such features are necessary and increase stability and security for businesses.
2. AS400 Services has Broad Integrated Component Offerings
Several underlying operating system tasks come with the IBM AS400.
They are –
- Web application servers
- Web services servers (fully integrated file system)
- DB2 for i RDBMS (relational database management system),
- And other tools also
Moreover, the incorporated modules can execute over 300 tasks, from backup and improvement to operations and security.
3. AS400 Applications Offer More Efficient Apportioning
Server applications like – VMware, Hyper-V, and Xen have their limitations. It means their virtualization methods are software-based instead of firmware-based.
It means that your assigned features will not be incorporated as closely with your allocated setup and will lead to performance degradation. To get the most out of it, you need a firmware virtualization solution like AS400 systems.
4. Provides Efficient Administrator Interfaces
Generally, you need a comprehensive tool from different vendors to get the most out of your systems if you are working on a Windows or Linux environment. But with AS400 systems, you will get reliable technologies to perform routine tasks without any hassle and can get a simplified interface for the rest of your organizational needs.
5. AS400 lets You Have Fewer Physical Servers
Like PowerVM, virtualization technologies make you realize that you do not need as much hardware covering up the data center.
This, in turn, reduces the complication of management as well as your momentum costs. You can balance your capabilities across all your system assets, like – processor, memory, and I/O. You cannot do that regularly on an x86 server. In turn, you will experience a substantial boost in your general capacity.
6. AS400 Systems Security
The AS400 systems are assumed to be the most secure setup. IBM i platform is adaptable enough to meet the needs of a range of users.
In a Nutshell
You may have purchased your IBM iSeries because of the integrity and dependability that your business requires, or you may have bought it because it provides a secure and reliable way to keep your data safe and earn more ROI. Irrespective of your reason to be on this platform, with the latest IBM AS400 hardware setup, you can benefit from its robust engine capabilities and achieve your pre-determined business goals.
What makes IBM AS400 unique is that it can handle the core business challenges and excels at meeting the emerging demands of today’s business world.
Integrated Web Services for IBM AS400 iSeries?
Integrated Web service supporting IBM AS400 / i-series is a term that refers to the technologies that belong to IBM AS 400 i series:
- Integrated Web service server
- integrated Web service client for ILE
An Integrated Web service server is a server in which objects can be implemented as Web services.
ILE’s integrated Web service client enables ILE-based applications to act as a Web service client by creating RPG, C, or C++ counterfoils that ILE programs can use. The Web service protocols are responsible for the serialization and deserialization of Web service requests.
AS400 i-series cloud provides all the advantages of cloud hosting on a platform that you can trust. By leveraging the benefits of attributes like flexibility and scalability of AS400 i-series cloud hosting, organizations can create a more flexible and agile IT environment.
In turn, achieve unparalleled business robustness and a strong competitive advantage by:
- Reduce total operating costs and data centre overheads.
- Pay only for the resources you need, thereby reducing capital costs.
- Optimized change management process. Expand the business operations as per your needs to keep up with resource-intensive projects and business plans.
- Simplify your entire IT environment.
- Eliminate database licensing costs when switching from another platform.
iSeries/AS400 is Cloud-Ready
Cloud-ready technology for IBM AS 400 software have existed for many years. Before the x86-based computing environment adopted the concept of virtualization, IBM AS/400 series were directed at the HW layer and introduced the concept of logical partition (LPAR) in 1999.
Why IBM i (O/S of AS400) Stands Out?
Let’s have a look at the short philosophy behind the different OS and understand why IBM i is different from others:
There are quite a few small devices, apps, etc., for individual tasks, after which they “connect” them collectively to do bigger things.
Monumental target-programs (solutions) for a tangible problem. (Mostly Defined as “package”).
A solid system with outstanding documentation and full proof
operations. Applications are precisely sufficient alone. They aren’t enormous and don’t need to be linked together mostly to make something meaningful.
The AS400 applications can be written in several programming languages, like – JAVA, COBOL, and RPG.
Frequently Asked Questions Around AS400
1. What is AS400 used for?
Ans: AS400, also known as IBM iSeries, is a midrange computer system developed by IBM. It is commonly used for business applications, such as accounting, inventory management, and order processing. AS400 provides a secure and reliable environment for critical business processes. It includes a robust database management system. AS400 supports programming languages like RPG, COBOL, and Java.
2. Why do companies still use AS400?
Ans: Companies still use the IBM iSeries as400 for several reasons.
Firstly, it is a highly reliable and stable platform with a long-standing reputation for robustness. Many organizations have built their critical business applications on the AS400, and transitioning to a new platform can be complex and costly.
Additionally, the AS400 offers excellent security features, which is crucial in today’s cybersecurity landscape. The platform also supports a wide range of programming languages and tools, making it versatile for different business needs.
Lastly, the AS400 has a large installer base, and there is a significant amount of legacy software and expertise associated with it, which makes it economically viable for companies to continue using it.
3. Is AS400 cloud based?
Ans: The AS400 or IBM iSeries is not inherently cloud-based. It was initially designed as an on-premises server system. However, IBM offers cloud solutions and services, such as IBM Cloud for Power Systems, that enable organizations to migrate their AS400 workloads to the cloud.
This allows companies to take advantage of cloud benefits like scalability, flexibility, and pay-as-you-go pricing while still running their AS400 applications. So, while AS400 itself is not cloud-based, cloud options are available for running AS400 workloads.
4. What is AS400 software used for?
Ans: AS400 software, running on the IBM iSeries, is used for a wide range of business applications. It is known for its versatility and is commonly used for tasks such as data management, database operations, business intelligence, ERP, CRM, supply chain management, and financial management.
AS400 software provides a robust and secure platform for running mission-critical applications and supporting various business processes. It also offers integration capabilities, allowing organizations to connect with other systems and technologies, making it a valuable tool for businesses across different industries.
5. What does the share access path mean in AS400?
Ans: It means to share the accessible data path by numerous programs in the same job.
6. Differentiate between multiple occurrence data structure and an array?
Ans: The values stored does not vary in the array, while we can store different values in multiple occurrence data structures at various stages.
7. Why *INZSR is used?
Ans: *INZSR is a particular type of RPG/400 subprogram implemented inevitably at the program’s initial stage. It is the right place where code modifies the variables.
8. How to execute a command from within an RPG program without calling a CLP program?
Ans: You can execute a CL command within an RPG program by calling the QCMDEXC application program interface.
9. What does “N” denote in the calculation specification written below?
Ans: C KEY CHAIN FILE N 99
It’s a way of avoiding the record block, and if you specify “N” in the 53rd position and try to read the lock record, the record will not be locked.
10. How Does IBM iSeries AS400 Support ERP?
Ans: Generally, ERP landscapes are resource intensive. Also, IBM i systems are 3 to 5 times more potent in comparison to its competitors. The IBM architecture offers multiple level servers, that too with little redundancy. Moreover, IBM AS400 provides affordable options to the organizations and allows cost-cutting on Capex and QA.
11. What Can IBM AS400 iSeries Cloud Hosting Do for My Organization?
Ans:It is difficult for companies to find IBM AS/400 experts as the talent is retiring. Still, it’s not a good idea to move away from IBM AS400, as the process is complex and pricey. As a solution to this, IBM AS400 cloud hosting allows organizations to stay with their trustable technology and reap valuable benefits.
Moving to IBM AS400 iSeries cloud will let organizations cut Capex and TCO, as the hosting partner will be responsible for bearing hardware, administration, and security costs. Moreover, it will provide flexibility, and organizations will scale up quickly and without disruption.
We offer AS400 iSeries solutions to companies looking to seamlessly upgrade their AS400 setup and want to re-design their AS400 applications on-premises or on the cloud, while improving the application’s overall scalability, flexibility, and performance.
These solutions will also help organizations increase business agility, reduce manual reliance, increase productivity, reduce costs, and drive business growth.
- And the reason for this shortage is that AS400 systems knowledge can be learned on-site, one cannot understand it outside the system.
- Also, the system is expensive, and the only resources who can learn AS400 systems are the people who have worked at a company using this technology.
So, maintenance and enhancement are the two significant challenges for the businesses currently using AS400.
Due to the limited availability of expertise in the field, companies look to outsource their needs to AS400 service provider, mainly to keep the focus on their in-house projects.
In case you have any specific questions regarding AS400 systems or looking for a service provider for supporting your AS400, you have landed at the right place.
Integrative Systems for All your AS400 Needs
We, at Integrative Systems, have more than 20 years of experience in extending AS400 services. Whether you need to hire a team of AS400 developers for your project or work on-site or remote as an extension of your team, we can cater to all types of requirements.
We are an IBM Silver Business Partner and INC 5000 ‘One of America’s Fastest Growing Company’.
At Integrative Systems, we believe in helping our customers succeed first and we would stick to that belief with you too.
Feel free to contact us at [email protected],and we would be happy to help you!