Adapting through Evolution: Navigating the IBM i Modernization Landscape

Aug 30, 2023 Aiswarya Madhu

Speed is of the essence, and technology is inseparable from it. Businesses are on the threshold of a remarkable transformation – a metamorphosis of their IT landscapes. This change is driven by the need to enhance agility, scalability, and cost-efficiency.

At the heart of this transformation lies the enduring IBM i (AS400/iSeries) modernization, which has long supported critical applications across industries.

Born in 1988, it has traversed time, witnessing tech revolutions yet adapting seamlessly.

The AS400 is not a mere memory. Continually developed and updated, it caters to modern business needs while accommodating legacy technologies.

The AS400's operating system has not aged; it has matured with grace. It offers a built-in database, backward compatibility, and autonomous maintenance.

Just like a caterpillar undergoes a metamorphosis to become a butterfly, these systems too shed their limitations and emerge anew.

With IBM i modernization, businesses can harness its enduring power and adaptability to soar to new heights of efficiency and technological prowess.

Challenges as Catalysts: Paving the Path to IBM i (AS400/iSeries) Modernization

Rapidly Changing Conditions: Survive or Perish

The inflexible architecture of IBM i AS400 applications struggles to keep pace with modern demands. Either adapt to change or risk becoming obsolete - the dilemma is stark. The choice to modernize AS400 becomes not just an option, but a lifeline.

Talent Shortage: The Modernization Vacuum

Facing the scarcity of skilled resources in the rapidly evolving tech landscape, modernizing monolithic legacy systems is a daunting task. The art of modernization requires expertise that is becoming increasingly elusive, posing a risk to the continuity of critical processes.

As businesses strive for innovation and resilience, partnering with IBM i cloud hosting providers can fill the talent gap, ensuring seamless modernization and future-proofing operations.

IBM i Integration Maze: Bridging the Divide

Integrating AS400 systems can be complex due to various hurdles. Understanding the core tools is crucial for leaders, while outdated code in RPG language poses compatibility issues.

Making different software systems work together and ensuring data security is also tricky. To overcome these challenges, maintaining clear system documentation, updating code, using APIs, and seeking expert AS400 integration support can make the process smoother and more secure.

High Cost of Maintenance: Investing for Longevity

The modernization journey comes with costs, but the cost of not investing in it can be even greater. Without regular updates and modernization, the system may accumulate technical debt, which includes outdated code and practices. This can result in compatibility issues with newer software and security vulnerabilities.

While updating an IBM i system may require investments, not doing so could jeopardize the system's long-term viability and put the business at risk due to the potential for disruptions, security breaches, and decreased competitiveness.

Survival of the Fittest: How IBM i Stays Relevant

Industries morph, customer needs shift, and new technologies arise. This journey reflects the essence of the IBM i system, which has adeptly evolved to remain aligned with modern demands.

Through a continuous infusion of novel features and functionalities, it has preserved its status as an indispensable tool for businesses globally.

Let’s see how:

Resonating with Modern Needs: Enriching the User Experience

Intuitive user interfaces and user experiences have become the norm. The IBM i system's evolution includes enhancements to its user interface, making it more user-friendly and accessible for a broader range of users.

Modern interfaces replace AS/400's keyboard navigation with clickable icons and menus, akin to smartphones. This visual approach enhances user experience with animations, expanded space for data, and adjustable graphics. Moreover, this intuitive design accelerates familiarity, simplifying navigation for all users and expediting onboarding.

Click here to learn more about ways to transform AS/400 Green Screen to GUI for advanced functionalities.

Interoperability: Embracing the Language of the Present

The system's adaptability to modern programming languages and integration with contemporary systems demonstrate its commitment to seamless interoperability, which is crucial for businesses in today's interconnected world. If you're comfortable with languages like Java or PHP, free-form RPG's familiar syntax eases the learning curve.

ROI's Evolution: From Caterpillar Investments to Butterfly Returns

The annual IBM i Marketplace Survey consistently demonstrates that IBM i provides substantial value to its users, delivering a high return on investment (ROI).

A remarkable 95% of respondents attested that IBM i offers superior ROI compared to other servers.

IBM i contributes to revenue and ROI through:

  • Efficiency and streamlined operations.
  • Stability and uninterrupted services.
  • Rapid application development.
  • Scalability for business growth.
  • Robust security and compliance.
  • Integration and compatibility with various systems.
  • Lower total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Innovation potential with modern technologies like cloud and AI.

Powerful Wings: Power10 Takes Flight

  • The IBM Power E1080 server, fueled by Power10, ramps up performance by 50% compared to Power9. This is crucial for cloud, AI, security, and scalability demands.

  • IBM Power servers host AIX, Linux, and IBM i on the same footprint, keeping you current. Unlike old AS/400 systems, IBM invests in modern technology.

  • For 30 years, IBM i has protected business apps. New servers and OS versions ensure smooth transitions. Upgrade like the seamless shift from 32-bit to 64-bit tech.

  • With a 99.999% reliability rating, IBM Power servers excel. Power10 offers 50% more scalability.

  • Power10 unlocks AI potential. On-chip machine learning tech empowers AI apps. IBM's RedHat acquisition boosts AI capabilities.

  • Power10 enhances security with faster transparent memory encryption.

  • IBM's billions in Power10 investments benefit IBM i. Upgrade confidently with tools like Performance Navigator software.

  • Staying with IBM Power yields dividends. Your investment grows, from AS/400 to Power10, ensuring a stronger future for your business.

Simplicity's Symphony: Navigating Complexity with IBM i

Even though IBM i is easy to use for regular people, behind the scenes, IBM i is made up of many intricate parts like hardware, software, security measures, and a powerful database.

The AS400 has evolved into the IBM Power system, which is much more advanced and can easily work with new technologies. IBM i is designed in a clever way - changes in one part don't affect the others.

This is done through something called the Machine Interface (MI), which helps applications, the operating system, and hardware communicate with each other. The result is that AS400 can keep its software and hardware separate.

Digital Horizons: IBM i's Remote Revolution Takes Off

In response to the growing demand for remote work capabilities, IBM i has undergone a series of strategic modernizations to ensure a robust and efficient support system for remote operations.

These enhancements not only empower organizations to adapt to the new normal of remote work but also elevate the platform's overall versatility and accessibility. Here's how IBM i has modernized itself to support remote operations:

  • Advanced Connectivity: IBM i Access Client Solutions enables secure remote access, ensuring seamless interaction with the platform from anywhere.
  • Data Security: Enhanced security measures, including encryption and access controls, protect sensitive data during remote transmission.
  • Cloud Integration: Integration with cloud services facilitates remote access to applications and data while maintaining security.
  • Modern App Development: IBM i supports modern web and mobile app development for user-friendly remote interfaces.
  • Virtualization: Virtual environments accommodate remote work, while scalability ensures optimal performance.
  • Remote Monitoring: Tools enable administrators to manage and address remote system issues proactively.
  • Collaboration Tools: Integrated tools facilitate remote teamwork, document sharing, and effective communication.

RPG's Resilience: Adapting and Evolving with IBM i's RPG IV

RPG (Report Program Generator), initially introduced by IBM in 1959 for data processing and report generation, has seen a continuous evolution.

Today, RPG IV (ILE RPG) stands as the latest version utilized on IBM i systems, offering adaptability to changing business needs. Notably, the 2023 IBM i Marketplace Survey highlights RPG's enduring relevance, with an impressive 93% adoption rate for new development on the platform.

As experienced RPG experts retire, organizations turn to RPG support programs to modernize legacy systems and ensure uninterrupted operations. RPG IV's evolution includes IBM i V7, introducing free-form syntax akin to modern languages.

Fusion for Tomorrow: IBM i's Symphony of Integration

The IBM i platform offers tools and technologies for seamless interaction between applications, simplifying integration.

  • The platform supports modern integration approaches like API-led integration and SOA, promoting agile practices.

  • IBM i enables real-time data sharing between applications, vital for scenarios like financial transactions and customer interactions.

  • The platform seamlessly integrates on-premises apps with cloud services, supporting hybrid environments.

  • Robust architecture ensures integration processes handle high data volume without compromising performance.

  • IBM i's advanced security features safeguard data during integration, ensuring secure and compliant exchanges.

  • IBM i accommodates modern app development, facilitating integration of new apps with legacy systems.

  • Integration within IBM i is feasible and advantageous, enhancing operations through seamless data sharing and process orchestration.

Also Read: Top 7 Findings from 2023 IBMi Marketplace Survey: How AS400/IBMi Modernization Services can Help?

Survive in the Future with IBM i Modernization

From its humble beginnings to its current dynamic form, the AS400 ecosystem has embraced modernization, integration, and innovation. As your business ventures into this ever-changing landscape, our experts stand ready to guide you through every phase of this transformation.

Discover the true potential of AS400 modernization, seamless integrations, and cloud migration – a journey that mirrors the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly.

Get in touch with our experts today to embark on your AS400 metamorphosis. Together, we'll navigate the landscape of solutions, support, and possibilities, ensuring that your IBM i modernization is not just a change, but a true metamorphosis.

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Aiswarya Madhu

In the ever-changing tech landscape, my mission is to craft content that simplifies complex concepts and brings the wonders of modern technology closer to my audience. With a rich experience spanning over 2 years, I have honed my skills in crafting captivating and informative content for B2B domain that deeply resonates with the tech-savvy audience. When not working, you'll often find me with a steaming cup of tea and an inspiring book, fueling my curiosity and passion for knowledge.