Why is There a Need for AS400 Software Services in 2024?

Apr 10, 2024 Mohit Sharma

IBMi/AS400 systems continue to stand as stalwart pillars of stability, reliability, and versatility in supporting the mission-critical operations of organizations worldwide. As we embark on the journey of 2024, it is imperative to go a bit deeper into the technical aspects, market dynamics, application types, benefits, challenges, and future outlook of these legacy systems. This blog aims to provide a holistic understanding of AS400's evolution, technical intricacies, market dominance, application versatility, and future prospects.

Inception and Evolution

The IBM AS400 software, initially launched in 1988, underwent multiple rebranding until it was officially named IBM Power Systems in 2008. The iSeries, functioning as a server, is dedicated to supporting mission-critical business applications, accommodating various operating systems. Notably, it possesses a distinctive capability to oversee Microsoft Windows through the Integrated xSeries Adapter and Server. IBM i stands as the operating system tailored by IBM for its midrange computer systems, specifically the Power Systems. Its key feature, denoted by the “i,” emphasizes seamless integration, distinguishing it in the realm of operating systems.

Succeeding the System/38, it embraced three core concepts: single-level storage, an integrated OS with security and a relational database, and a hardware-independent machine interface. With a transition from a 48-bit CISC processor to a 64-bit RISC-based system in the ’90s.

The OS/400 operating system is object-based, featuring a Relational Data Base Management System (DB2/400) and a menu-driven interface. Recent versions support web-based applications, run on the IBM WebSphere Application Server, and accommodate modern programming languages like Ruby and Python.

AS400, over the years, has evolved its operations and now has emerged as a comprehensive ecosystem, providing businesses with a versatile and robust platform. This great transformation is a significant milestone, where the capabilities are expanded beyond its initial functions, incorporating advancements that align with the evolving needs of businesses. The IBM iSeries became synonymous with adaptability, positioning itself as a technological cornerstone capable of meeting the multifaceted demands of modern enterprises. It operates on a job-oriented system, where jobs are submitted, entered in a queue, and fed into subsystems with various priorities and memory limits.

Unlike Unix’s “everything is a file,” AS400 operates on the concept of “everything is an object” with built-in persistence and garbage collection. It employs a Unix-like file directory system through the “Integrated File System” and incorporates Java compatibility with a native port of the Java virtual machine.

AS400 systems are renowned for stability, with urban legends suggesting they continue working behind a brick wall for years. Today, AS400’s legacy lives on in the form of the IBM iSeries—an embodiment of its journey from a revolutionary midrange server to a robust and versatile platform. IBM’s commitment to innovation, adaptability, and providing businesses with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing digital landscape.

Understanding the Technical Aspects of the IBM AS400 Software

AS400 distinctively redefines computing with its modular hardware design, robust IBM i operating system, and versatile support for programming languages. The transition from CISC to RISC architecture reflects a commitment to adaptability, setting it apart as a stalwart solution in the dynamic landscape of information technology. In the realms of hardware, software, and operational prowess, AS400 stands distinctly as a trailblazer in the computing realm.


The transition from a 48-bit CISC to a 64-bit RISC system in the ’90s brought significant change. The hardware independence, facilitated by a Hardware Abstraction Layer, allows for smooth transitions between different architectures. These features give the prowess of reliability, adaptability, and the ability to meet the evolving demands of modern IT infrastructures.

Modular Design

AS400 adopts a modular design for its hardware, providing businesses with flexibility and scalability. This modular approach allows organizations to customize and expand their infrastructure based on specific requirements.

Processor Architecture

AS400 transitioned from a 48-bit CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing) processor architecture to a more advanced 64-bit RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) design in the 1990s. This evolution enhances processing power and compatibility with contemporary applications.


Despite advancements, AS400 hardware maintains compatibility with applications developed on older hardware, ensuring smooth transitions for businesses with legacy systems.

Integrated Architecture

AS400’s hardware is designed to work seamlessly with the integrated architecture of the platform. This integration enhances communication between hardware components and the IBM i operating system, contributing to overall system efficiency.

Storage Management

AS400 employs advanced storage management techniques, including a single-level storage model. This approach optimizes data access and retrieval by moving frequently used content to the fastest memory in single-tier storage, improving system responsiveness.


The modular nature of AS400 hardware facilitates scalability, allowing businesses to expand their infrastructure as their needs grow. This scalability ensures that AS400 can accommodate increasing workloads and evolving business demands.

Adaptability to Emerging Technologies

AS400’s hardware is designed to adapt to emerging technologies, showcasing a commitment to staying relevant in the ever-changing landscape of business computing. This adaptability positions AS400 as a future-proof solution.

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Security Features

AS400 hardware incorporates robust security features, contributing to the overall secure environment provided by the platform. This is crucial for businesses handling sensitive data and aiming to meet industry compliance standards.


Businesses that run mission-critical applications that require uninterrupted service rely on AS400 hardware for its reliability.

Migration Simplicity

The modular and adaptable design of AS400 hardware streamlines migration processes, enabling businesses to transition their applications and data seamlessly when upgrading to newer hardware. This minimizes disruptions and ensures continuity.

Operating System

AS400 operates on the IBM i operating system, known for its integrated architecture, robust security protocols, and seamless interaction with hardware. Powered by an object-based nature, everything is an object with built-in persistence and garbage collection. it supports a Unix-like file directory system through the Integrated File System, showcasing adaptability.

AS400’s IBM i OS ensures a secure and reliable computing environment, seamlessly integrating with diverse programming languages and reinforcing its enduring relevance in the evolving IT landscape.

Database Management

AS400’s database management system, anchored by the native DB2/400, empowers businesses with robust data storage, retrieval, and management capabilities. From ensuring data integrity to supporting sophisticated data warehousing, AS400’s database management plays a pivotal role in the platform’s versatility and reliability.


DB2/400 is the primary and native database management system for AS400. It is a robust relational database that efficiently handles data storage, retrieval, and management. DB2/400 is known for its integration with the overall AS400 ecosystem.

SQL (Structured Query Language)

SQL is a standard language for interacting with databases, and it plays a crucial role in database management on AS400. Developers use SQL to create, modify, and query data within the DB2/400 database.

Data Integrity Features

AS400’s database management includes robust features for ensuring data integrity. This involves mechanisms such as constraints, triggers, and referential integrity rules, which help maintain the accuracy and consistency of data stored in the database.

Data Warehousing Support

AS400’s database management extends to supporting data warehousing applications, efficiently organizing and managing large volumes of structured and unstructured data. This caters to the analytical needs of businesses, empowering them to derive valuable insights from their data.

Backup and Recovery

AS400’s database management system incorporates robust backup and recovery mechanisms, ensuring that organizations can restore their databases to a consistent and reliable state in the event of data loss or system failure. This safeguards critical business data and minimizes downtime.

Stored Procedures

AS400 supports the creation and execution of stored procedures within the database. This enhances efficiency by allowing developers to encapsulate frequently used operations, promoting code reusability and maintainability.

Data Encryption

AS400’s database management system incorporates data encryption features to safeguard sensitive information. This is crucial for meeting security and compliance standards, ensuring that confidential data remains protected from unauthorized access.

Query Optimization

Database management on AS400 involves query optimization techniques to enhance the performance of database queries, especially in scenarios with large datasets. This ensures efficient data retrieval and supports seamless application performance.

Database Monitoring and Analysis

AS400 provides tools for monitoring and analyzing database performance. This includes features for tracking query execution times, identifying bottlenecks, and optimizing the overall performance of the database, ensuring optimal operation.

Integration with Application Development

The seamless integration of the database management system with AS400’s application development environment ensures that developers can easily interact with and manipulate data within their applications. This fosters agility and innovation in application development.

Programming Languages

AS400 supports a diverse range of programming languages, catering to the varied needs of developers and organizations. From RPG and COBOL to Java and Python, AS400’s compatibility with multiple languages underscores its versatility and adaptability in modern computing environments.

Application Types

AS400 exhibits versatility by supporting various applications tailored to diverse business needs. From ERP solutions and transaction processing to data warehousing and customer relationship management, AS400 serves as a robust platform for powering critical business operations across industries.

Important Characteristics of AS400

The AS400, now part of IBM Power Systems, is renowned for its integrated architecture, reliability, and security. Offering a robust operating system, advanced database management, and unparalleled scalability, it remains a cornerstone in enterprise computing.

Integrated File System (IFS)

The AS400 includes an Integrated File System, a hierarchical file system that unifies the storage of various types of objects, such as files, directories, and programs. This enables seamless integration between traditional AS400 objects and distributed file systems.


AS400 incorporates journaling, a feature that logs changes to files and objects in real time. This journaling capability supports data integrity, auditing, and disaster recovery by providing a record of changes made to the system.

Single-Level Storage

AS400’s single-level storage architecture abstracts the physical location of data from the application. This simplifies memory management for developers, as they do not need to worry about addressing details, allowing for more straightforward and efficient programming.

Advanced Job Scheduler

The IBM AS400 software includes a powerful job scheduler that enables the automation of tasks and processes. This scheduler can be used to automate routine operations, batch processing, and other tasks, enhancing system efficiency.

Query Management Facility (QMF)

QMF is a tool provided by AS400 for creating and executing SQL queries. It allows users to extract and analyze data from the system’s DB2 database easily. QMF is particularly useful for generating reports and extracting business intelligence.

High-Level Language Support

AS400 supports multiple high-level programming languages, including RPG, COBOL, C, and Java. This language diversity allows developers to choose the most suitable language for their applications, promoting flexibility and compatibility.

Remote Database Access

AS400 supports remote database access, enabling applications running on other systems to interact with the AS400’s DB2 database. This is crucial for distributed computing environments where data needs to be shared across different platforms.

WebSphere Application Server

IBM WebSphere Application Server is often used in conjunction with AS400 to deploy and manage web applications. This middleware facilitates the development and deployment of web-based solutions, extending the capabilities of AS400 into the web environment.

High Availability (HA) Solutions

The IBM AS400 software offers various high-availability solutions, such as clustering, replication, and geographic mirroring, to ensure business continuity in case of hardware failures or disasters. These solutions are designed to minimize downtime and data loss.

DB2 Multisystem Support

AS400’s DB2 database supports multisystem configurations, allowing data to be shared and accessed seamlessly across multiple AS400 systems. This is especially valuable in large enterprises with distributed computing environments.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

AS400 provides a comprehensive Integrated Development Environment, often referred to as SEU (Source Entry Utility), which facilitates the development, maintenance, and debugging of applications. Developers can work within a unified environment, streamlining the development process.

TCP/IP Integration

AS400 has robust support for TCP/IP, enabling seamless integration with the internet and other networked systems. This is essential for modernizing applications, enabling e-commerce, and facilitating communication in a connected world.

Advantages of AS400

The IBM AS400 Software, now part of IBM Power Systems, offers several advantages that have contributed to its enduring relevance in enterprise computing.

Integrated Architecture

AS400’s integrated architecture simplifies system management by combining hardware, software, and operating system components into a unified environment. This integration enhances overall efficiency and reduces complexity.

Reliability and Availability

AS400 systems are known for their high reliability and availability. Features such as hardware redundancy, error detection, and correction mechanisms contribute to minimizing downtime and ensuring continuous operation.

Security Features

IBM AS400 software systems have robust security features, including user authentication, authorization controls, and auditing capabilities. The security model is integral to the system’s design, providing a secure computing environment for sensitive data and applications.

Object-Based System

The AS400’s object-based system treats everything in the system, including data, programs, and devices, as objects. This object-oriented approach simplifies development and maintenance, fostering a more intuitive and flexible programming environment.


AS400 systems are scalable, allowing organizations to expand their computing resources as needed. This scalability supports both vertical growth (adding more resources to a single system) and horizontal growth (connecting multiple systems).

IBM i Operating System

The IBM i operating system, running on AS400, is known for its stability and ease of use. It supports multiple programming languages, including RPG, COBOL, Java, and others, providing flexibility for application development.

Database Integration (DB2 for i)

AS400 includes a built-in relational database management system (DB2 for i) that seamlessly integrates with the operating system. This simplifies data management and supports efficient storage and retrieval of information.

Legacy Compatibility

AS400 systems maintain a high degree of backward compatibility, allowing organizations to run legacy applications developed for earlier versions. This characteristic ensures the longevity of AS400 installations and protects investments in existing software.

Green-Screen Interface Efficiency

While modern interfaces have been introduced, the traditional green-screen interface (5250 emulation) remains efficient for certain tasks. Users familiar with this interface often appreciate its simplicity and speed for data entry and basic functions.

Middleware and Connectivity

AS400 supports various middleware and connectivity options, facilitating integration with other systems and technologies. This includes support for web services, messaging, and seamless integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

Advanced Job Scheduler

The AS400’s advanced job scheduler enables the automation of tasks and processes, enhancing operational efficiency by streamlining routine operations and batch processing.

Single-Level Storage

AS400’s single-level storage architecture simplifies memory management for developers by abstracting the physical location of data from applications. This contributes to more straightforward and efficient programming.

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Mapping the Present Vs Future of AS400

The future of IBM iSeries systems appears promising, with a strategic roadmap, ongoing innovations, and a commitment to support. As businesses contemplate their technological evolution, the iSeries systems stand as a reliable partner, ready to navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

  • Market Share: IBM AS400 stands out with an impressive market share of about 40.8%, positioning it as a leading player in the market. It maintains a significant presence across various industries, including technology, computer software, retail, healthcare, transport, automotive, machinery, food, and construction.
  • Modernizing AS400 Applications holds 33%: A significant portion of customers, accounting for 33%, is actively involved in the modernization of their AS400 applications. This likely includes efforts to enhance user interfaces, improve functionality, and ensure compatibility with contemporary technologies.
  • SQL Database Access holds 18%: For 18% of AS400 iSeries customers, prioritizing SQL database access indicates a shift towards leveraging more standard and versatile database management, potentially streamlining data retrieval and manipulation processes.
  • High Availability captures 17%: With 17% of IBM i customers focusing on high availability, there is a concerted effort to minimize downtime and ensure continuous operations. This involves implementing robust backup and recovery solutions and establishing failover mechanisms.
  • Enhancing Data Safety holds 15%: 15% of customers recognize the paramount importance of data safety. This likely involves implementing advanced security measures, encryption protocols, and redundancy strategies to safeguard critical business data.
  • Business Analytics Beyond Query/400 holds 11%: An 11% segment is dedicated to advancing business analytics capabilities beyond the traditional Query/400. This may involve adopting more sophisticated analytics tools, exploring machine learning applications, or implementing advanced reporting mechanisms.
  • Integration of AS400 Business Applications holding 4%: 4% of customers are specifically focusing on integrating their AS400 business applications. This effort aims to enhance overall operational efficiency, streamline processes, and ensure seamless communication between different applications.
  • Document Management accounts for 2%: Document management is a priority for 2% of customers, indicating a need for organized and efficient handling of data, particularly in the face of data growth. This might involve implementing document storage systems, version control, and retrieval protocols.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Some customers see the growing trend of mobile accessibility. This involves adapting IBM AS400 software applications to be accessible and functional on mobile devices, reflecting the evolving needs of industries for on-the-go solutions.

Current Scenario of AS400 (2024)

In 2024, AS400 continues to hold a prominent position in the enterprise computing landscape, showcasing adaptability and resilience. The platform has undergone several transformations to align with contemporary technological trends, ensuring its relevance in the ever-evolving IT industry.

Integration with Cloud Computing

One of the significant trends in the current scenario is the platform’s integration with cloud computing. IBM AS400 software systems now support cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and others. This integration facilitates scalable and flexible computing, allowing organizations to leverage cloud benefits.

Modern Development Tools and Open-Source Adoption

The platform embraced modern development tools, catering to contemporary software development practices. Furthermore, there has been a significant push toward open-source technologies, with the adoption of open-source RPG and modernization frameworks. This has enhanced the platform’s agility and compatibility with a broader range of applications.

Security Enhancements

As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve, the IBM iSeries has proactively enhanced its security features. The platform’s security measures have been reinforced to address modern challenges, ensuring the protection of critical business data.

AI and DevOps Integration

The integration of AI and ML tools enhances the platform’s analytical capabilities, providing organizations with valuable insights from their data. DevOps integration ensures smoother collaboration between development and operations teams, promoting agility and efficient software delivery.

Community Engagement and Support

IBM continues to actively engage with the AS400 community. The platform enjoys support from a dedicated user base and IBM’s ongoing commitment to advancements. Training programs, modernization tools, and community collaboration are key aspects of IBM’s strategy to sustain and grow the AS400 ecosystem.

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Future of AS400

The capabilities and relevance of AS400 have fueled several industries to adopt, ensuring a resilient and future-ready computing infrastructure. As technological landscapes evolve, AS400 continues to stand out for its robustness, security, and adaptability, positioning itself as a strategic choice for businesses aiming to navigate the complexities of the digital era.

Continued Modernization and Integration

The future of AS400 (IBM iSeries) involves a continued focus on modernization to adapt to changing technological landscapes. Integration with emerging technologies, cloud services, and modern development practices is expected to be a key aspect. IBM has historically shown a commitment to keeping its platforms relevant through updates and enhancements.

Cloud Adoption

Given the industry-wide trend, AS400 may continue its journey into cloud computing. Integration with various cloud platforms allows businesses to take advantage of scalability, flexibility, and the latest cloud services. This could involve both on-premises and hybrid cloud solutions.

Security Enhancements

With the ever-growing threat landscape, security will remain a top priority. Future versions of AS400 may introduce advanced security features to protect against evolving cyber threats. This could involve improvements in encryption, access controls, and overall system resilience.

Community Support and Training

Ensuring a skilled workforce is crucial for the continued success of AS400. IBM may invest in training programs and resources to support the AS400 community. This includes educating developers and administrators on modern practices and technologies.

User Interface and User Experience

The user interface and overall user experience will augment to align with modern design principles. This could involve updates to the graphical interface, making it more intuitive and user-friendly.

Flexibility and Adaptability

The ability to adapt to changing business requirements and technology landscapes will be a hallmark of the AS400’s future. Ongoing flexibility in terms of application development, data management, and system scalability will bring elevated development in the technical spheres.


In conclusion, the IBM AS400 software, now IBM iSeries, stands as a testament to IBM's commitment to innovation, reliability, and adaptability. From its inception to its current iteration, AS400 has evolved into a comprehensive ecosystem, supporting critical business operations across industries. With ongoing modernization efforts, integration with emerging technologies, and a focus on security and user experience, the future of AS400 looks promising. As businesses continue to navigate the complexities of the digital era, AS400 remains a strategic choice for organizations seeking a robust, secure, and future-ready computing platform.

Our team at Nalashaa possesses the expertise needed to oversee AS400 projects from end to end. Get in touch with us today and let us scale your legacy system efforts to greater heights!

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Mohit Sharma

Constantly looking to fuel personal and professional growth, I’m also a wordsmith, a reader, a sports lover, and a fitness enthusiast, who believes that learning via exploration and curiosity is growth's only true form. I use my free time to interact with people from different walks of life, and try to learn about anything under the sun.