Repowering your AS400 applications with cloud

Aug 04, 2020 Sarthak Thussu

Among the widely used enterprise applications in existence today, AS400 systems sit right on the top. With many large, small, and mid-sized enterprises still banking on the high-performance machine for hosting mission-critical tasks, IBM has been evolving the AS400 to match the rapidly evolving business needs.n. However, as most users have their AS400 setup hosted on on-premises, they are faced with an increasing number of challenges to maintain the application in its optimal state. Some users complain that the technology incurs a high IT administrative workload and that aligning it with modern computing requirements is difficult. However, AS400 is still one of the most reliable and high-performance systems in use today, and continuing with the application would be the most prudent choice for businesses. With smart feature enhancements, users can optimize their AS400 environment to realize the same high-performance, ultra-high uptime, and enhanced flexibility while lowering system complexity and costs. The best way forward for users is to rehost the application on the cloud to transform it into a truly competitive option for handling the operational needs of modern businesses.

Why moving AS400 setup to the cloud is a no-brainer

If you got mission-critical workloads on AS400 applications, migrating the entire AS400 portfolio to the cloud is the need of the hour to attain higher scalability, agility, and cost benefits.

  • Agility: IT resources on demand, zero dependencies on hardware.
  • Scalability: Pay only for what’s needed, accommodate unforeseen surges and seasonal usage patterns.
  • Low maintenance overheads: Owing to a diminishing workforce, daily system maintenance adds substantially to the overheads. But system maintenance in cloud hosting is 30%-70% less expensive than the on-premises option.
  • Security: Built-in application security measures with a multifaceted approach; role-based authentication.
  • Architecture flexibility: As workloads are independent of hardware resources on the cloud, it’s easy to make the system future-ready to better match changing business needs and handle unexpected demand levels.

AS400 Cloud Migration Pre-requisites

  • A complete understanding and documentation of the AS400 infrastructure, including all existing workflows.
  • Risk assessment, budgeting, and security analysis to host the workloads on the cloud.
  • Key stakeholders must be informed about the order of migration and its impact on business.
  • Check if the existing versions of RPG & OS400 need remediation.

Common challenges during such AS400 lift and shift process

  • Architectural complexity: The cloud architecture must be compatible with the in-house IT infrastructure to minimize inconsistencies and interoperability problems.
  • Application dependencies: No complete clarity on the relationship between the application and the servers, databases, and other services to which it connects.
  • Maintain system performance: It’s critical to ensure that the network provider offers optimization services to minimize all latencies.
  • Security considerations: To avoid security risks while moving data to the cloud infrastructure, the migration plan must include the tools, practices, and policies to comply with relevant security requirements.
  • Old databases: The aged AS400 database can have challenging relational structures. To migrate it and its contents, restructuring the database to map the new data model is important.
  • No data recovery plan: Understanding data risks and having a data recovery plan is critical. Cloud environments do support disaster recovery (DR) but a lack of cloud experience can make the execution challenging.
  • Knowledge of configuration: The people managing the systems might have already retired; when nobody knows how the old system is configured, you are one step behind.
  • Change management: The need to plan KT sessions and allocate training resources to ensure all departments are equitably prepared for the transition.

Nalashaa’s approach

Migration processes Timeline
Initiate & Assess – Define Objectives, Review Workflows & Current AS400 Setup, Version Assessment & Remediation, Back-up Methodology, Recovery Management 8 weeks
Planning – Set Timelines &Milestones, LPAR Strategy, Choice of Cloud (AWS, Azure, Google, IBM), A Suitable AS400 Emulator, Environment Setup, Backup/Transfer/Restore steps, Performance Tuning Plan 2 weeks
Execute - Sign-off On Execution Plan; Lift & Shift Process; Integration Fixes; End-to-End Test on Cloud; Technical Documentation; UAT to go Live 4 weeks
Maintain - Cloud Maintenance; L2/L3 RPG Support; Patches/Hotfixes; Enhancements; Performance Tuning; Process Optimization; CI/CD Implementation Ongoing

Post-migration possibilities

  • Front-end modernization – Get rid of the green screens and meet today’s business needs and expectations by adding new user experiences, workflows, and capabilities.
  • Automation – Deploy smart robots to automate repetitive tasks and allow the human workforce to focus on other mission-critical areas.
  • Data analytics – Make informed decisions and streamline operations by eliminating wastes to boost the bottom line.

Ramp up your AS400 application with Nalashaa

Over the years, Nalashaa’s AS400 experts have assisted global clients across industries to maintain their mission-critical AS400 systems for optimal performance. With over a decade of providing RPG development, AS400 consulting, and EDI solution services, we enable clients to save time and money while empowering them with the right expertise to approach their IBM i / AS400 challenges.

Sarthak Thussu

Sarthak has been addressing various challenges of the Information Technology industry by evaluating their business context for the past many years. He works closely with IBM iSeries enterprises across different industries, helping them grow their business and gain a competitive edge.