AS400 came into existence in 1988. Since then, many different computer systems have come into being. While some may argue that AS400 ERP is dead, it is not in the form of IBM iSeries.
Even today, AS400/iSeries systems are very reliable and robust. Most companies that use AS400 and iSeries do so because the software and hardware perform well even now.
Fascinatingly, IBM AS400 has the largest market share of 36.45% with the topmost users from the United States with a share of 59%, as per Enlyft.
The dominant numbers echos the existing popularity of the system’s capabilities and trust in the modern business world.
Yet, one may say that the current technologies offer more benefits, with more versatile ERP, that can help in modernization. Within the AS400 ERP system, this can be attained with even less risk and most minor invasion.
When AS400’s journey started in 1988, it was seen as a powerful combination of software and hardware. It had its operating system, namely 0S400.
In the current day, when we say AS400, we refer to the entire IBM product range, modified over the years. This includes Power Systems with the operating system IBM.
Still, exactly what makes IBM iSeries AS400 one of the most reliable and simple frameworks.
Let us try to find out.
IBM iSeries AS400 Use in Business
With numerous companies still operating on IBM iSeries AS400 globally, this computer system has created a legacy.
The answer to why so many businesses rely on AS400 ERP is:
- IBM has given assured compatibility to help run software written many years ago. The update is constant to meet the ever-changing requirements of the latest power systems.
- Thousands of companies run their high-priority applications on AS400 ERP hardware. These often involve workloads that are data-intense and demanding. They are high volume. Yet, IBM supports the platform well.
- The companies that follow the same business processes appear mundane to the modern-day professionals as they wish for intuitive, role-optimized, and modern applications. For the primary users, the idea of how intuitive the system is does not have much value. Yet, IT workloads and high dependency on IT support due to the AS400 system is always raised.
Irrespective, the use of AS400 ERP in any business relies highly on the kind of business.
- At present, the modernization of AS400 ERP is possible. It can also be done with very minimal risk. IT services and cloud-hosting providers can move AS400 workloads to the cloud, including Microsoft Azure. This helps companies shift their legacy systems to the cloud. Yet, the usability does not change much in the cloud, and certain expert management is still needed.
The uses of AS400 ERP are varied. Since many businesses still rely on this system to sustain their business operations, it is crucial.
If you feel the need to –
- Improve the scalability
- Boost your team’s overall productivity
- Match the pace of the ever-evolving market
- Lower the mounting maintenance cost of the current system
Your business highly lacks the strategic advantage offered by IBM AS/400.
The Architecture of IBM iSeries AS400
The AS400 ERP platform runs on Technology Independent Machine Interface or TIMI. It is a platform-independent instruction set architecture, also called ISA. This architecture is compiled together with the native machine language instructions.
For years, the platform has utilized this capability to transform the present processor architecture without tampering with the application’s compatibility. The previous systems were based on 48-bit CISC processor architecture. This architecture is also called Internal Microprogrammed Interface (IMPI), originally developed for the System/38.
Back in 1991, the company launched a new version of the system running on a 64-bit PowerPC-derived CPU, the IBM RS64. Since the initial use of TIMI was there, the applications continued to run on new systems without any changes. By 2001, the RS64 was replaced with POWER4 processors, and new POWER series models were live.
The iSeries system has a feature prompting its longevity via the high-level instruction set of TIMI that allows applications programs to salvage all the benefits of advances in hardware and software without recompilation.
Since TIMI is a virtual instruction set, it is not dependent on any underlying machine instruction set of CPU. Within the user-mode programs, both the TIMI instruction and machine instruction are present. This ensures hardware independence. You can say that this is similar to the architecture of Java and .NET.
Why is IBM iSeries AS400 Considered as Reliable?
Even though AS400 ERP has been around for many years, it is still considered one of the most reliable systems.
It is reliable because:
- The AS400 EPR, or iSeries ERP, is constantly updated and modified to meet modern technology needs. Since the foundation is based on AS400, data security and authenticity are of primary concern. AS400 modernized ERP is being used in finance, logistics, insurance, manufacturing, transportation, etc.
- iSeries ERP is highly scalable, and it starts with four core servers. It can also move up to about 250 core machines. With the right configuration and setup, the system becomes super secure.
- iSeries ERP is also reliable because it exhibits high availability of enterprise-level features and tools. It also supports native and open-source languages such as Java, PHP, C++, .NET, SQL, and RPG.
- As the system is updated, the core migrations do not happen. The very design of AS400 ERP is meant to deliver high redundancy and reliability. The CPUs are also four to five times better than other brands.
- iSeries ERP surpasses both Standard Intel Architecture Servers and traditional UNIX servers in terms of reliability and availability. The rating is based on several factors, such as unplanned downtime hours per month, availability, and the number of internal users affected.
Based on all these, we can confidently say that iSeries ERP is considered one of the most reliable systems.
Why do Experts think of IBM iSeries AS400 as Simple?
Using and modernizing iSeries AS400 ERP is easier than it may seem. The reasons are:
- A crucial part of iSeries was to make it available for all types of organizations. It was important for organizations to use a framework that could be used and maintained easily. This is why iSeries can run on Java, PHP, C++, and Python. You get everything you need to maintain your business.
- The AS400 ERP provides a highly productive, cost-efficient, and easy method for creating applications. The enhancements include TCP/IP support for Code400, debug support for Java, and visual age for RPG.
- The AS400 ERP includes a better use process and support for unpredictable length fields and indicator data sections.
- Using the ILE COBOL for AS400 also assists with data, timestamp, and time to help in COBOL modification.
The best part about AS400 ERP environments is that they can be modernized. It can be performed with minimum risk if it is well planned. Yet, many businesses and technology managers would not always agree on what refers to modern technology.
There are IT services and cloud-hosting providers who specialize in transferring AS400 ERP workloads to the cloud. The transfer could also be to Microsoft Azure. As a result, any company can continue the use of their preferred legacy systems using cloud infrastructure.
The benefits are numerous, such as scalability, resilience, and cloud-driven security. There is also no risk of old hardware faltering due to cloud computing transitions. Through the cloud, it becomes easier to work with integrations and data flows.
AS400 software may not change much in the cloud, yet some expert management is essential. In terms of transferring to modern ERP systems, some believe that AS400 is not ready. Most think that except for SAP, most other ERP systems do not run well on the AS400 foundation.
To ensure the success of your seamless AS400 software cloud migration, you can leverage the expertise of an ERP Consultant who meticulously performs the cloud configurations, instills robust security standards, and makes the most of your cloud investment. A skilled consultant can elevate your chances of success with the right cloud strategy, operating model, roadmap, and ecosystem.
Need an IBM iSeries AS400 Consulting Partner?
Cloud-based ERP systems best serve various companies. This also includes Microsoft Dynamics 365. Most of these solutions are designed keeping usability, resilience, and security in mind. They can readily integrate with the insights of business and reporting tools. Here, connections can be forged with newer technologies.
For the businesses running their primary business processes on Power System or AS400 ERP, they can make their lives easier, helping them gain more.
Are you looking to hire a qualified ERP consultant for your AS400 cloud migration project?
If yes, then you have got the answer to your problem.
With the help of Integrative Systems, you can get all the help you need for your iSeries or AS400 ERP. While initially, this may feel like outsourcing to another agency, it will not feel that way.
We work as an extension to your team and help optimize many other business points to synchronize your endeavors.
At Integrative Systems, we now have over 20 years of expertise in application integration and ERP modernization services for clients globally. With our iSeries ERP experts at your disposal, you can see your business touch new heights.
Get in touch with us through [email protected]. We will revert within 2-3 business days to resolve your query.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is IBM iSeries the same as AS400?
Ans: Yes, the IBM iSeries is the modern successor to the AS/400. The AS/400 (Application System/400) was a series of midrange computer systems developed by IBM in the late 1980s. Over time, the platform’s name and branding evolved, and it eventually became known as the IBM iSeries or simply IBM i.
The IBM iSeries or IBM i is an integrated operating system and hardware platform designed to run business applications. It offers a wide range of capabilities including database management, security features, application development tools, and more. The transition from the AS/400 to the IBM iSeries represents an evolution of the platform while retaining its core features and functionality.
2. What is the current operating system for iSeries?
Ans: The current operating system for IBM iSeries (formerly known as AS/400) is the IBM i operating system or IBM i 7.4. IBM i is a highly integrated operating system that is designed to run on IBM Power Systems servers, which include the iSeries hardware platform.
3. What is the difference between IBM AS400 and iSeries?
Ans: The primary difference between IBM AS/400 and iSeries lies in their branding and the era in which they were introduced. The AS/400 represents the earlier phase of the platform’s development, while the iSeries represents a later phase with updated technologies and features. Despite the change in branding, the fundamental strengths of the platform, including its integrated architecture, database capabilities, and reliability, have persisted through both the AS/400 and iSeries stages.
It’s worth noting that the platform has continued to evolve, and currently is referred to as “IBM i” or “IBM i on Power Systems.”
4. Why Is AS400 i Series Still in Demand?
Ans: The continued demand for the AS/400 iSeries, is driven by its reliability, longevity, integrated architecture, security features, scalability, and the significant investments that organizations have made in the platform. It remains a dependable choice for businesses looking to maintain their existing systems, leverage their expertise, and ensure the smooth operation of critical applications.