AS400 systems have been around for three decades now. Although it is a very reliable system, it does have its fair share of disadvantages, even in 2022. Organizations using AS400 machines run into problems from time to time, such problems can be related to performance and/or user experience.
Here’s why you should strongly consider modernizing your AS400/iSeries systems in 2022:
Staffing: Since these systems are decades old, the engineers who are managing these systems are close to retiring. CTOs/CIOs can’t let these machines run unsupervised; even with the highest level of automation, manual intervention is required. So, you, as a CTO of an organization, can choose outsource maintenance to vendors or opt for complete migration.
UX/UI: One of the biggest drawbacks of using an iSeries system is the traditional green screen that users have to work on. Modernizing these green screens to match with the more modern GUI while retaining all the benefits of the legacy RPG software, is an apt solution.
Operating System: OS 7.2, even 7.3 are becoming obsolete as newer OS versions like 7.4 are taking the iSeries world by storm. On April 2021, IBM officially sunset its Technology Refreshes (TRs) and Program Temporary Fixes ( PTFs) for version 7.2 users. Organizations with Power systems have the option of upgrading to 7.3 or 7.4 which has software support for years to come. But organizations using non-power systems either need to upgrade their hardware to accommodate newer OS or risk running into problems.
Manual Intervention: Another crucial factor for considering modernization is automation. The tasks that run on these legacy systems and the server itself require manual intervention. Hence, a robust automation solution is a must for any organization leveraging legacy systems.
Security Concerns: Even though AS400/iSeries systems are super reliable, security threats while running an older application, database or OS version can make your legacy systems vulnerable to threats.
Lack of Integration: Applications running on iSeries/Power systems are isolated from the other software due to lack of integration.
The Hardware Conundrum: CTOs who are skeptical of cloud migration will have to pick the latest power system 9 or higher to reap all the benefits as older ones lack support and security.
Front End Modernization: Front end modernization services refer to complete revamping of your AS400 user experience by breathing new life into 5250 green screens. There are four different approaches to modernizing your green screens:
RPG Open Access
Zend PHP Server
API & UI Framework
Code Modernization: Some organizations still use RPG fixed form code instead of free form. Free form coding is easier to read, and many new language functions are not available for the fixed format and RPG fixed form is not in line with the modern coding languages as they are all free form. Hence, they need to be re-thought into 3-tier modern code.
Cloud Migration: This method is like a double-edged sword, especially when it comes to security. Moving all your data from your iSeries to a third-party cloud space like Azure, AWS, oracle, etc, is scary. But these days, the cloud providers have beefed up their security to assure user’s peace of mind. Moving your applications to cloud decreases server maintenance cost and data is likely remain safer during IT disasters. Approaches to migrating your data to cloud:
Application Re-hosting (Lift and Shift)
Batch Job migration
RPA on RPG: Automation makes it easier for CTOs/CIOs to focus on more critical tasks and strategy while mundane tasks are taken care of by RPA bots. This also saves organizations cost and time. Here are few tasks RPA can handle when deployed for your iSeries systems:
Integration Solution: AS400 modernization is not complete until all your systems are interconnected to share data. Most applications being run on AS400/iSeries systems are cut off from other software/system in the environment due to IT leaders not being able to create proper documentation of the system, IT teams swamped with other tasks or are unaware of the integration standards and tools that make interface possible. Here are few systems you can integrate iSeries with:
Mobile App Integration
BI Platform integration
Choosing the right vendor for this endeavour
Below are some key qualities to look for while choosing a vendor:
Diverse technology stack: There are many vendors who provide AS400 services across the globe, but choose the one that has skilled resources at their disposal with variety of tools.
End to end accountability: Choosing a partner who is very much process oriented rather than someone who throws TATs and technology tools is the way to go.
Flexible Package: Pricing is perhaps one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing a vendor for your AS400 modernization tasks. A vendor who provides pricing in line with single requirement rather than whole package deal is one to go with. This would be economical for organizations and hence, will be a better choice.
Turnaround Time: A project’s turnaround time should be a pivotal factor when planning to modernize.
The above services should be considered thoroughly when you plan to modernize iSeries/Power systems. Look beyond just hardware upgrades. A powerful hardware overhaul solves only half your problems; when it is coupled with software upgrades, your AS400 system modernization project truly completes. Modernizing your legacy system is not just for 2022, it is an ongoing process until the legacy aspects of the systems, which hinder productivity and compromises on user experience (UX), are completely purged or replaced with modern technology.
Nalashaa has over a decade of experience in modernizing legacy systems including iSeries and Mainframe systems. We have been working with many top tier organizations that leverage iSeries and been their pillar of hope when it comes to modernizing, migrating and supporting these legacy behemoths.
Our services include system i modernization, cloud migration, and end-to-end support. Drop your details at email@example.com to embark on your modernization journey, today.