AS400 Migration: Why is the iSeries Hardware Goodbye Inevitable in the Cloud Era?

Jun 30, 2022 Prateek Shetty

IBM introduced the first mid-range computers/servers called the system/38 in 1978 for enterprises. These hardware systems have evolved to System 36 in 1983, AS/400 in 1988, iSeries in 2000, system I in 2006 to the IBM Power Systems in 2008, which users are leveraging today.

Why is it wise to Say Goodbye to As400/iSeries Hardware?

  • Hardware upgrade and Installation Cost

    • Hardware: Upgrading can cost a lot of money for organizations as these IBM machines don’t come cheap. Say if you are using a power 8 technology server and want to upgrade your OS to IBM i version 7.5, you would have to buy a new server with Power 9 processor as the Power 8 servers don’t support this OS version.

      An IBM Power System server S914 model with low end configuration costs around $14000. This is just the hardware cost and doesn’t include the installation cost which implies application and data migration from old server and other installation charges. These are extra charges and might amount to $5000. Remember that you would have to do this all over again every time your hardware requires an upgrade due to newer OS versions or as new applications are introduced which require more processing power.

    • Software: Software licenses should be purchased by the company from IBM to install the new OS and other necessary drivers for the new machine. A one-time license fee would be charged for this. Every time there is a critical software upgrade IBM charges a certain fee.

  • Infrastructure cost

    Any server, be it on-premise or on the cloud requires a robust HVAC system to make sure they don’t overheat or have any other hardware failures. Servers require constant monitoring by personnel for changing hard drives, monitoring cooling systems and other machine faults to ensure uninterrupted service.

  • Hardware and software Maintenance

    Hardware of any kind has to be subjected to maintenance and the AS400 servers are no exception. This can be expensive and hardware failure which is caused by fried processors or motherboard and other crucial parts might take a hefty toll on the IT budget of the company.

  • Resource Utilization Monitoring

    Resource utilization of application have to be done manually by personnel of companies leveraging an iSeries hardware. No tool kit is given.

  • Disaster Recovery

    Companies need to hire IT technical staff to develop, test and deploy DR strategy along with separate hardware for data storage.

Why Cloud Outshines the Legacy Hardware?

  1. No Hardware and Software Upgrade Cost

    As you are aware, all the cloud providers be AWS, Azure, Google or IBM don’t charge extra for server maintenance and upgrade. The annual subscription you sign up for is all you have to pay. Hardware upgrades are inevitable as newer applications with unpredictable demand are introduced into the server and new OS that supports only beefy servers. Cloud can accommodate new applications with varying demands due to its scalability factor and the cost is significantly less than an on-premise upgrade as cloud has pay only for how much you use policy.

  2. No Hardware and software Maintenance cost

    Server maintenance such as OS, disk usage, hardware errors and more are done by the cloud vendors.

  3. Infrastructure Cost

    HVAC is taken care by the cloud vendor. The annual subscription or monthly cost is well below the on-premise setup.

  4. Resource Utilization Monitoring Tools

    Cloud management tools are given to each organization to manage their applications and track utilization of resources to optimize performance and save costs.

  5. Cloud DR

    The cloud provider will take care of the backup, failover, and failback services and maintain your backups in a safe and secure data center.

Why does the Lift and Shift AS400 Cloud Migration Strategy Make Sense?

  1. Less time consuming

    Re-hosting the application and data on the cloud and dumping the hardware won’t be time consuming, since the coding involved is negligible.

  2. Low risk

    During the re-hosting, the code modification is kept to a minimum. Applications need to be recoded while moving the application to the cloud. However, with lift and shift approach unlike application re-engineering which is extensive and time consuming, changes to application code is negligible, hence, it involves low risks.

  3. No Need to have Deep Pockets

    Heavy duty applications require more processing power which in turn requires beefy hardware, which increases cost. Moving to cloud has the option of scalability which helps to accommodate newer applications without significant cost.

AS400 Cloud Migration Partner- Which Public Cloud Provider will give you the best Bang for Your Buck?

Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Why Choose GCP for AS400 Cloud Migration?

  • GCP has introduced Cloud Servers based on Power 9 model which is tailor-made for IBM i applications.
  • Excellent Support for Containerized workloads which isn’t provided by either AWS, or Azure or IBM Cloud.
  • GCP provides Global Fiber Network.
  • AI and ML capabilities are more on GCP than AWS, Azure and IBM Cloud. Tensor flow is an example.
  • GCP’s downtime is significantly lower than its competitors.
  • GCP provides smaller instances with configuration 8GB RAM and 2vCPUs for $52/ month whereas Azure and AWS provide $70 and $69 per month, respectively.
  • GCP provides a larger instance with configuration of 3.75TB of RAM and 160 vCPUs for $5.32 per hour. AWS and Azure Provide 3.84TB and 128 vCPUs and 3.89TB and 128 vCPUs for $3.97 and $6.79 per hour, respectively.

Amazon Web Services (AWS): Why Choose AWS?

  • 218+ Edge locations to reduce latency for the end-users as compared to 146 , 116 edge locations for Azure and GCP, respectively.
  • AWS offers 200+ services as compared to GCP and Azure which offer only 100+ and 60+, respectively.
  • AWS was launched in 2006, the first cloud vendor. Followed by Azure in 2008 and GCP in 2011 and then IBM. Folks looking for experience as an evaluation parameter can go for AWS.

Azure: Why Choose Azure?

  • Easy integration and migration of existing Microsoft applications like Outlook and MS office.
  • Azure is present in more than 60 regions compared to AWS and GCP present in only 25 and 27 regions, respectively.
  • Hybrid cloud enthusiasts may want to pick Azure due to its unique advantage. Azure users can enjoy hybrid cloud benefits like, VPNs, CDNs, Caches, and Express Route connections which automatically improve the usability and performance of the applications.

IBM Cloud: Why Choose IBM?

  • Object storage size limit is 10 TB Compared to 5TB limit for other major cloud providers.
  • IBM Cloud offers tool set for resource utilization monitoring of your iSeries applications. Other cloud providers may not provide IBM i specific tool set.

So what is the Verdict for the AS400 Hardware?

Above are all the reasons why organizations leveraging iSeries on-premise servers should consider AS400 migration to improve business process efficiency and save cost.

Nalashaa has been helping multiple organizations leveraging AS400/iSeries systems with migration, modernization, and support needs. If you are looking for a cloud migration partner, drop us a note at, our iSeries experts will get in touch with you to assess your current as400 setup and plan for a successful migration.

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Prateek Shetty

Prateek is a B2B tech marketer with a keen interest in content marketing. B2B writer by day, Netflix junkie & gamer by night.