Integrated Web Application Server for AS400/iSeries. Why does it make sense?

Apr 28, 2021 Rima Dutta

AS400, iSeries and the machines that came early on the IBM evolutionary stem were not built to interact with the internet but it provides you an unrivaled performance that’s second to none. So, how do you talk to the world without throwing away the perks of operating on a legacy system?

Let us look at a classic case:

Enterprise A is a manufacturing unit with a well-structured business plan in place and the sturdy AS400 to process the bulk inflow of data. The company had been the talk of the industry for the past two decades but eventually, with the world moving its gear online, the performance graph showed a significant dip. While its competitors moved on to modern applications that could interact with the world, Enterprise A remained in the closed-loop of manual reciprocity.

In the contemporary scenario, establishing an online presence is almost a mandate, be it a business or an individual. Online assets like a website, e-commerce solutions, web applications, transaction portals, etc. facilitate the growth rate of any organization by leaps and bounds by reducing friction in the workflow cascade and introducing enhanced flexibility.

So, how do firms riding the IBMi boat learn to surf along the waves of the internet?

The Integrated Web Application Server for IBM i is a server that is integrated into its operating system and helps run web applications by acting as a negotiator between the AS400/iSeries and the internet. It thereby enables organizations to further expand their reach to web and mobile devices. With a middle interface that connects the IBMi machinery to the internet, enterprises can now dive into the various possibilities that once seemed obsolete.

Now that we have an answer to the communication gap between IBM machines and the world of internet, let us walk through the how bouts of integrating a web application server. The deployment can be done via two routes:

  1. Buy a tool: Today, the market is overflowing with tools that help deploy a web application server to the main operating system, OS400. IBM WebSphere, Apache Tomcat, Nginx, etc. are a few of the names, to begin with. Enterprises vote for buying a tool because it is less resource-hungry than the latter and saves them money, effort and time.
  2. Build a tool: Enterprises may go for the road-not-taken and build a home-grown custom interface that does the job. When compared to the tools that are pre-designed and readily available, building a tool from scratch may seem heavy on the fund wallet but on the bright side, firms do not have to spend on any further customizations.

Challenges that IBMi-reliant businesses face due to a lack of web application server.

  • Restricted reach: iSeries systems are a powerhouse but this powerhouse can sometimes be a dark horse due to its within-the-fence reach.
  • Not-so-user-friendly: The green screens and its bittersweet relationship with aesthetics is one of the most active contributors towards the reclining productivity graph of employees.
  • Stagnant growth: Without an integrated web server, enterprises cannot level up their business game as they won’t be able to host any of the tasks that require the system to connect to the internet.

How can an Integrated Web Application Server help?

  1. Better user experience: With an integrated web application server, the IBMi machinery can run applications that are not necessarily written in the RPG programming language. Hence, no more green screens on the front-end to weigh down the user experience.
  2. No Up-Front Cost: Since the application server is a part of the IBMi operating system, so enterprises get the services up and running and show tangible results faster, without having to bear any additional cost.
  3. Elasticity: Integration of a web application server introduces the concept of “Flexible IT” to the entire IBMi ecosystem, making its portfolio more comprehensive and its capabilities, more advanced. With arms extended to the web, authorities can now access data with a greater degree of freedom.
  4. Better Visibility: Web presence supplements the visibility of businesses and with an integrated server in place, IBMi organizations can now leverage their wider exposure to cater to a greater audience.
  5. Operational Productivity: Businesses benefit from the escalated data accuracy which then leads to better, more precise decisions. With the IBMi systems able to interact with the world, organizations can now track key parameters like user/customer engagement, digital footprints, etc.
  6. Adaptability: Web application server for IBMi improves the overall adaptability for enterprises. With the deployment of a server, firms get to remodel existing approaches to fit in with the web world, thereby, evolving with the market dynamics.

Our Approach:

A simple line of approach that initiates with system assessment and continues to 24x7 assistance and maintenance is what enterprises should aim for. Below, we have curated a holistic blueprint of the “ideal” plan of action:

PHASE 1:

  • Assess - Identify the functional and non-functional requirements of the IBMi system followed by brainstorming with the internal team.
  • Plan - Determine set objectives of the integration, create a holistic blueprint along with pre-defined metrics.

PHASE 2:

  • Execute - After a thorough assessment session, our team executes the plan by integrating the web application server to IBMi.
  • Application development - Post-integration, we build the required applications necessary to get you started.
  • Support & Maintenance - Herein, we test the solutions, conduct user training sessions followed by real-time assistance from our team to keep the system running.

Why count on us?

With more than a decade of real-life experience in the IBMi industry, our experts have helped enterprises set their camp and get started in the contemporary market. When it comes to legacy systems, things can get tricky at times but with the right assistance, the waves can surely be tamed. We aim to make your IBMi journey effortless and deliver the best suited solutions to our clients for all end-to-end AS400/IBMi services including migration, modernization, integration, documentation and support.

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Rima Dutta

Made my favourite sandwich using the best of both worlds - Technology & Writing. The girl next door who talks to the camera, cries watching K-dramas and has an unhealthy obsession with momos & fictional characters.