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as400 Modernization

Importance of iSeries Modernization in 2022

Do you ever feel the need to re-evaluate your IBM i security or modernize your legacy IBM iSeries AS400 software application? The concern with legacy software is that they outgrow their original and intended requirements yet continue in service for an extended period.

To keep up with changing business requirements, the systems are constantly updated to the extent that they are no longer recognizable as the initial model. This makes it difficult for IT specialists to understand them and make additional improvements.

To date, many organizations are still shackled by legacy software applications.

The AS400 software systems have been in use for almost three decades.

Although it is a very reliable technology, it does have certain drawbacks, even now.

Organizations that employ AS400 technology that is outdated encounter issues from time to time, which can be related to efficiency or user experience or both.

Let’s get into details of the AS400 technology and learn why must you modernize your outdated systems.

What Is the AS400/iSeries?

In 1988, IBM developed the AS400 systems, which included its proprietary OS/400 operating system and an integrated database. More commonly, it is now known as the IBM System or i-Series. It is adopted not only by medium businesses but also by several Fortune 500 companies.

iSeries Modernization

The IBM iSeries AS400 has become well renowned over the years for its stability, flexibility, efficiency, security, and low ownership costs. However, due to the requirement to integrate with other advanced technologies, enterprises are trying to upgrade existing AS400/i-Series applications and migrate to newer, more open platforms.

IBM iSeries AS400 systems can store enormous volumes of complex data and essential business intelligence and insights. As data becomes the primary source of corporate information, there is an increasing demand to access these 5250-based green screens.

This will aid in extracting information while balancing cost, risk, and the development of a more modernized and user-friendly system.

Why Do You Need to Modernize Your iSeries Applications?

AS400/i-Series systems have been in use for over three decades now. Even in 2022, despite being a fairly reliable technology, it has its drawbacks.

Organizations that employ AS400 software applications have issues from time to time, which could probably be related to performance, user experience, or both.

The following are some of the key reasons why you should definitely consider modernizing your IBM iSeries AS400 software applications right now:

Staffing

Because many AS400 software application systems are decades old, the IT specialists who manage them are nearing retirement age.

Companies and organizations’ CTOs or CIOs cannot allow such obsolete software to function independently and unsupervised. Even with the most advanced automation, such software necessitates manual intervention.

As a CTO or decision-maker in an organization, you can choose to outsource maintenance to AS400 software development companies.

UX/UI

One of the most significant disadvantages of using an AS400 iSeries system is the standard green screen on which users must operate.

Modernizing these green screens to reflect the more modern GUI (graphical user interface) while keeping all of the legacy RPG software’s benefits is an appropriate approach.

Operating System

OS 7.2 and even 7.3 seem to have become outdated as newer operating systems like 7.4 take over the iSeries realm. IBM formally ended up providing TRs (technology refreshes) and PTFs (program temporary fixes) for version 7.2 users back in April 2021.

as400 operating systems

Organizations with Power Systems can upgrade to 7.3 or 7.4, which will have AS400 support services for years to come.

Organizations utilizing non-Power Systems, on the other hand, must either modernize their technology to accommodate newer operating systems or face complications.

Manual Intervention

Automation is another critical issue to consider while thinking about modernization. The operations that run on these outdated systems, as well as the server, necessitate manual intervention. As a result, any firm that relies on legacy systems must implement a solid automation solution.

Lack of Integration

Due to a lack of integration with advanced technology, AS400/i-Series applications are segregated from other programs.

The Hardware Conundrum

The decision-makers who are sceptical about cloud migration will need to choose the most recent power system or higher to gain all of the benefits, as outdated ones lack AS400 support services and security.

Security Concerns

Despite the fact that IBM iSeries AS400 systems are quite robust and reliable, security threats might render your legacy software systems vulnerable if you are running an outdated application, database, or operating system.

IBM i Security Risks and Challenges?

One of the most crucial and valid advantages of the IBM iSeries is that it is generally perceived as a secure platform. It is thought to be so because it has strong IBM i security mechanisms and durable hardware and it is supposedly uncommon for a virus to be built to target it.

However, as cyber-attacks become more widespread, IT security must become a larger concern for everybody, including those using the allegedly impenetrable AS400 iSeries.

Data privacy and security have been frequently mentioned in the news during the last decade. No one wants to be in charge of their firm when a high-profile breach occurs. Therefore, the significant legal and reputational ramifications are evident.

as400 iseries security

When IBM iSeries AS400 implemented tools such as the IFS to integrate platform software applications with Linux and Windows systems, it improved utilization while also increasing IBM i’s susceptibility to possible dangers.

Benefits of Modernizing IBM iSeries AS400

Below is a listicle of perks that you will gain if you modernize your legacy AS400 software application:

  • Improvements and enhancements to the customer experience, including the inclusion of other users
  • Redesign scope using popular web technologies like Angular, React, and HTML 5
  • Modernization at a low cost without compromising essential business requirements
  • Accessibility and integration with smartphone devices
  • Optimized workflow of the software application
  • Applications with increased flexibility
  • Simpler to implement new business requirements.
  • improved resource availability

Types of AS400/i-Series Modernization

List of AS400/i-Series modernization solutions:

Front-End Modernization

Front-End modernization solutions entail complete redesigning of your IBM iSeries AS400 user experience by reviving 5250 green screens.

Modernizing your green screens can be accomplished in four ways:

  • Screen Re-facing
  • RPG Open Access
  • Zend PHP Server
  • API & UI Framework

Code Modernization

Some organizations continue to employ fixed-form RPG programming rather than free-form code. Although free-form coding is easier to comprehend, many modern language functionalities are not accessible in a fixed format.

RPG fixed form is incompatible with modern coding languages, which are all free form. As a result, they must be re-evaluated into a three-tier modernized code.

Cloud Migration

This method is effective in both ways, particularly when it comes to reliability and security. Migrating all of your data from your AS400 iSeries to a third-party cloud service like Azure, AWS, or Oracle is undoubtedly daunting.

However, cloud companies have improved their reliability in order to provide users with a sense of security. Moving your apps to the cloud reduces server maintenance costs and ensures that your data is secure during IT emergencies.

Methods for transferring your information to the cloud server:

  • Application re-hosting (lift and shift)
  • Batch job migration
  • Application re-engineering

RPA on RPG

Automation enables decision-makers of the companies to focus on more essential work processes and strategies while RPA bots handle routine tasks. Organizations end up saving time and money as a result of this.

When installed for your IBM iSeries AS400 systems, RPA can accomplish the following tasks:

  • Data entry
  • Data extraction
  • Ticket creation
  • Machine monitoring
  • Reporting

Integration Solution 

The modernization of AS400 iSeries software applications will not be complete unless all of your systems are integrated to share data. Most applications running on AS400 frameworks are isolated from other software or systems in the environment.

It occurs because IT leaders are unable to create appropriate system documentation; IT staff are overburdened with several other responsibilities or are unfamiliar with the integration protocols and technologies that support interface.

Here are a few systems with which iSeries can be integrated:

  • CRM integration
  • SAP Integration
  • Mobile application integration
  • BI platform integration

Now that we know the benefits of modernization and the different ways you can modernize your apps, Let’s lead you to a software development company that can help you with reliable tech solutions.

Integrative Systems can Help Modernize Your Software Applications

With over 25 years of AS400 development experience and knowledge, Integrative Systems understands organizational workflow procedures and workplace user demands.

We guarantee that IBM iSeries AS400 interfaces work properly with different systems.

Integrative Systems’ AS400 interface support enables users to operate at the intersection of humans and technology. We thoroughly understand IBM products such as the AS400, iSeries, and System i.

As you must know, all software application programs are susceptible to threats and vulnerabilities when it comes to security.

However, you might well have heard that the IBM iSeries is impenetrable in terms of security and is one of the safest technological platforms.

That is not at all true!

Users of this platform constantly feel that the IBM i security measures built into their AS400 software applications are adequate to keep them secure.

However, the iSeries requires extra monitoring and administration to achieve comprehensive security.

Here, Integrative Systems can assist you in auditing your IBM i security levels and implementing a good security plan to ensure optimum business practices.

Send us an email at contact@integrativesystems.com with your AS400 modernization requirements, and we will get back to you ASAP in 2–3 days.

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