How to prepare your AS400 for migration?

Nov 22, 2021 Rima Dutta

System migration is a cumbersome process, this is a universal truth but when it comes to migrating off of a legacy system like Application System 400, the stakes are higher than the average. In our previous blog, we talked about the precautionary measures and the pre-requisites enterprises must take care of before migrating their AS400. In this blog, we take you through the preparation stages across different business verticals that assimilate to form the cushion for a better, more enhanced system migration.

This is a lengthy project and can require assistance from engineers, finance and IT developers to chalk out budgeting and the technical aspects of the project. Here are a few things to include to ensure that the AS400 system migration is laid on a well-structured foundation:

  1. SWOT Analysis: SWOT analysis, a.k.a, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis is a simple yet powerful framework to anatomize the above-mentioned components related to the migration process. When the CIOs and the IT heads have a clear picture of the process, the risks, and areas of improvisations not just in the AS400 but also on various dependent departments, they’re able to make better, data-driven decisions.
  2. Business Logic: Companies managing their workload on the AS400 or its successors have been holding onto it because the hardware and the software have aged well and carried with themselves the stability of the workforce. But the usability of a system depends on who the actual users are. While the old lot of RPG programmers did not mind the archaic interface, the new resource pool grew up checking Instagram every day. So, placing them in front of the green screens will dip the productivity which would show up in the year-end numbers.
  3. Configured Devices: The peripheral instruments connected to the IBM i is considered a device. Most hardware including the adapters, drives, workstations, communication hardware, etc. Come under the umbrella of devices. A shift from AS400 should accommodate these devices in the new environment without hindering or ruling out its functionality. Devices, in any organization, are not specific to the core tech team. They carry out and hence can affect the workflow of a plethora of employees from departments as diverse as manufacturing to finance to marketing.
  4. Third-party Integrations: In order to keep up with the current market dynamics, enterprises often add third party integrations to the AS400. During migration, any one out of the two possible scenarios might happen. Case one, when the new system lacks a few features that were added as extensions/integrations. Organizations should have a plan of action, either to utilize those integrations in the new environment or to address the functionalities with minor modifications. In the second scenario, the new environment serves all functionalities, where the integrations (bought or built) are deemed redundant.
  5. Data Quality: Do not overestimate the data quality, even if the source is a legacy system, AS400. Modern systems have new rules which may be violated with legacy data. The AS400 contains age-old data which might contain hidden mines that have been untouched the past years but could react while migrating. A mindful approach would be to decide beforehand how deep you want to dive in the history because the farther you go, the messier it gets. Hence, it is necessary to decide in the early preparation stages how much history you want in the new system.
  6. Change Management: Organizations associated with AS400 have been in its cradle for the longest of time and moving away from it would generate reform waves, which is why a systematic approach to accommodate the transition is important. It involves conducting a change management assessment on an organizational level to get a pulse of the current state of dependency on the AS400, building a change agent network – a team of internal employees who act as the support network for the migration & prior training of the workforce.
  7. Security Leaks: When migrating, the access perimeter of critical corporate data is diluted, which is why security cannot be assigned just to the post-migration practices. The repercussions of insufficient data security are huge and may take years to correct that one wrong. The security assessment before and after AS400 migration has to be cost-effective and should not outweigh the threats highlighted in the assessment.
  8. System Documentation: We have always highlighted the importance of a well-documented AS400. IBM i systems that lack or have partial documentation are vulnerable to an array of risks that impact business operations. Decommissioning the AS400 is one of the high-end moves that demands precision and expertise. With system documentation, organizations have a cushion to fall back to in case things go south.
  9. Fit-Gap Analysis: Before taking the plunge into the new system’s environment, you should have a thorough understanding of what the new environment has to offer, how would it be different from the AS400, what functional and operational requirements your organization has and how exactly will the new system deliver this. A fit-gap analysis paints this picture and highlights the discrepancies that exist between the wants & the gains.
  10. Resource Availability: One perennial problem that co-existed with AS400 systems for the past decade is the scarcity of long-term resources to shoulder the workload on AS400. With this new system becoming the new habitat, ensuring training and fluent transition of the current workforce isn’t enough. Organizations need to make sure that they have plenty of resources to suffice in the long run.

Why is it important?

It goes without saying that with the AS400 replaced with another system, the tech department, quite metaphorically moves to a new neighborhood. Any brittleness in the new architecture is reflected directly in the efficiency which in turn impacts the outcome. The transition, especially for IT, from one system to another should be smooth, adequately timed, and skilfully assisted.

The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in the war.

This is applicable to anything and everything, in this case, metaphorically, of course. A migration built on a foundation that’s tested and proven with real-time data to support its claims is better immune to the risks entailed by the AS400 migration.

Migrating from a legacy system can be a lengthy and daunting process, but one with huge benefits to your business. Legacy system migration allows you to keep up with current technologies and to gain better business value, as well as better manage and protect sensitive data.

Here’s a quick rundown of advantages that organizations get to enjoy post a well-strategized AS400 system migration:

  • Portability and multiplatform support
  • Higher Return on Investment in the long run.
  • Increased Storage & computing power
  • Flexibility and interoperability of features & applications
  • Faster data processing, saving and retrieval
  • Less estate hungry, modern and sleek design

Why Nalashaa?

Nalashaa harbors a team of experts who’ve been in the IBM ecosystem for over a decade now, helping authorities like you to sail a smooth ride. A simple conversation with us can help you get through the troughs of AS400 system migration. We aim at making AS400 and its successors easier on organizations and helping you extricate the machine's full potential.

We get it, AS400 migration isn’t something that gets IT heads out of their bed with a glimmer of hope but with the right assistance, the tides could be tamed. Drop a query at to talk more about AS400 migration or any IBM i related concern.

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.