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    Integrative Systems – The new eye of the IBM i to Help you Capitalize IT Fully

    Are you capitalizing on the full potential of your IBM i infrastructure? If not, you’re not alone.

    Only a few companies fully utilize their IBM i capabilities, leaving vast room for improvement and efficiency gains.

    So, why is mastering the IBM i so crucial?

    The robust platform is more than just hardware; it’s a comprehensive ecosystem designed to streamline your operations, enhance data security, and drive your business forward.

    However, navigating its complexities can be daunting, especially with the rapid pace of technological change.

    As we delve into the fascinating history of the IBM i, explore its unique features, and uncover the major trends shaping its future, you don’t need to worry.

    We’ll also weigh the benefits of in-house management versus outsourcing, providing you with actionable insights to make informed decisions.

    Let’s get started.

    A Look Back at the History of the IBM i

    The journey of the IBM i is an exciting tale of evolution and innovation, marking significant leaps in information technology.

    AS400 history


    IBM took its first step into integrated systems with the launch of the System/38. This system heralded the dawn of the technology we now know as the IBM i. The System/38 ran on the Control Program Facility (CPF) operating system, a groundbreaking development pioneering single-level storage and object-oriented programming.


    IBM introduced the System/36. The System/36 was more affordable and easier to use than its predecessor, making it a hit among small to medium-sized businesses. It introduced us to the System/36 operating system, which later played a crucial role in developing the IBM i.


    The introduction of the AS400 system, running on the OS400 operating system, revolutionized the IT landscape. The AS400, known for its integrated database and backward compatibility, quickly became the preferred choice for businesses worldwide.


    The AS400 was rebranded as the iSeries, but the underlying technology remained largely the same; the name change represented a shift towards a more integrated and internet-focused platform.


    A new name emerged, System I. The System I was designed to run traditional iSeries and Java, Linux, and Windows applications. It was accompanied by an updated operating system, the i5/OS, reflecting advancements in hardware and software capabilities.


    IBM unveiled the IBM Power System running on the IBM i operating system. This departed from the earlier nomenclature and represented a significant step towards embracing future technological trends.

    Having journeyed through the history of the IBM i, let’s now shift gears and delve into the importance and benefits of IBM i Infrastructure.

    Is IBM i Still Humming?

    Yes, the AS/400, now known as IBM i, is still being used by companies today.

    While many organizations have transitioned to more modern systems, there are still businesses that rely on AS/400, AS/400e, eServer iSeries, eServer i5, and System i platforms.

    These older systems are often utilized for resource-intensive applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), banking systems, and medical information systems.

    The hardware underlying these systems has evolved into the current IBM Power server line, which is based on Power processors.

    The latest generation of Power servers, featuring Power10 processors, offers support for three different operating systems: IBM i (formerly known as OS/400), AIX, and Linux.

    IBM positions IBM i as an integrated environment that combines an operating system, database, virtualization layer, application server, and transactional system.

    These systems are designed to minimize downtime and support costs and can be deployed on Power Systems hardware or in the cloud.

    IBM i running on Power servers has various applications, which include data management with the fully integrated Db2 database, software development using traditional languages like RPG, COBOL, C, C++, and Java, as well as modern open-source languages, tools, and environments for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

    IBM i also provides access to IBM Watson for AI applications and supports IoT applications through open-source interfaces.

    IBM i (formerly AS/400) continues to serve businesses in various industries, offering a stable and integrated platform for critical applications and providing support for modern technologies such as AI and IoT.

    Understanding the Distinction between IBM i and AS400

    When discussing IBM i and AS400, it’s important to note that comparing them directly is inaccurate. While AS400 refers to the hardware, IBM i represents the software.

    This distinction is crucial in understanding the evolution of these technologies and their respective roles in the computing landscape.

    AS400: The Hardware

    AS400, initially released by IBM in 1988, is a server system that features its own operating system known as OS/400. Over the years, AS400 has undergone continuous updates and enhancements.

    In 2008, IBM rebranded it as Power Systems, aligning it with their broader hardware offerings.

    IBM i: The Software

    On the software side, we have IBM i, formerly known as OS/400. IBM i is an operating system specifically designed for IBM Power Systems, including the former AS400 hardware.

    This operating system has seen active development and transformation, with IBM rebranding it to IBM i to reflect its ongoing evolution.

    Differentiating IBM i and AS400

    The distinction between the two is crucial for understanding the modern computing environment and appreciating the advancements made in the IBM ecosystem.

    By recognizing this distinction, we can better appreciate the ongoing developments and innovations within the IBM ecosystem.

    The Importance and Benefits of IBM i Infrastructure

    The IBM i infrastructure holds a significant place in the digital landscape of businesses thanks to its robustness, reliability, and versatility.

    Let’s take a closer look at why it’s so important for businesses and the table.

    1. Unified Platform for Diverse Applications

    The IBM i offers a unified platform that can run multiple business applications concurrently. This means you could have an ERP system, a CRM solution, and a supply chain management application running harmoniously on the same platform.

    For instance, a retail company could leverage this capability to run inventory management, sales tracking, and customer relationship management all on the same IBM i system.

    2. Integrated Database Management System

    One of the key strengths of the IBM i is its integrated DB2 database. This allows for seamless data management and ensures data integrity and security.

    Take the example of a healthcare provider managing patient records. The IBM i ensures patient data is stored securely, accessed efficiently, and updated accurately.

    3. Scalability and Flexibility

    IBM i systems are designed to grow with your business. Whether you’re a small startup anticipating growth or a large enterprise undergoing expansion, the IBM i can scale to meet your changing needs.

    For example, a rapidly growing e-commerce company can rely on the IBM i to handle increasing transaction volumes without compromising performance.

    4. Reliability and Security

    The IBM i is renowned for its reliability and security features. It offers robust security measures, including object-level security and a built-in firewall, ensuring your business data is protected from threats. This can particularly benefit financial institutions, where data security is paramount.

    5. Support for Open-Source Technologies

    The IBM i offers compatibility with a wide range of open-source technologies, allowing businesses to leverage the latest innovations. Whether integrating a Python script for data analysis or deploying a Node.js application, the IBM i makes it possible.

    These are just a few examples of how the IBM i infrastructure can be a powerful asset for businesses across various industries.

    As we move into the digital age, it’s important to understand how external trends can impact the use and adoption of the IBM i.

    What is AS400 used for?

    It is essential to explore the versatile capabilities of AS400 and understand how this robust system can empower your organization.

    Data Storage

    AS400 serves as a reliable and secure central data repository, enabling efficient data mining and analysis. With its robust infrastructure, AS400 can handle vast amounts of data, making it an ideal choice for organizations seeking a high-performing datastore.

    From financial records to customer information, AS400 can effectively store and manage critical data assets.

    Internet and E-commerce Services

    Harnessing the power of AS400, organizations can leverage its web server capabilities to deliver seamless internet and e-commerce services.

    AS400 offers a range of applications that facilitate tasks such as order management, order tracking, customer support, and supplier and warehouse management.

    By integrating AS400 into your e-commerce infrastructure, you can streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive business growth.

    Enterprise Group Services

    In addition to its core functionalities, AS400 offers a range of enterprise group services that can optimize internal collaboration and enhance productivity. These services include email systems, project file sharing applications, and fast collaboration.

    IBM i – Should you Eye for the i?

    IBM i can involve higher upfront costs compared to other platforms. The initial investment includes hardware, software licenses, and specialized skills required to manage and maintain the system.

    However, it is important to consider the long-term cost efficiency and the value provided by the platform in terms of stability and scalability.

    IBM i is a specialized platform, requiring a specific skill set for development, administration, and maintenance.

    Finding qualified professionals with expertise in IBM i can be a challenge, which may impact resource availability and recruitment efforts.

    Organizations considering IBM i should evaluate their access to skilled resources or invest in training existing staff.

    Major Trends Impacting the IBM i and AS400 Market

    As we venture deeper into the digital era, various trends significantly impact the IBM i and AS400 market. Keeping abreast of these trends will help you effectively navigate the evolving landscape and optimize your use of these systems.

    Here are the key trends to watch:

    1. Digital Transformation/Modernization

    More and more businesses are undergoing digital transformation, leveraging technology to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences, and foster innovation.

    The IBM i is critical in these transformations with its robust capabilities and wide-ranging functionalities. For example, a manufacturing company might employ the IBM i to digitize its production line, achieving greater efficiency and accuracy in its operations.

    At Integrative Systems, we evaluate existing applications running on the IBM i platform and identify opportunities for modernization. This may involve rewriting code, adopting new development frameworks and languages, and incorporating web and mobile interfaces to improve user experiences.

    We also can get into integration between IBM i applications and external systems through web services and APIs. This facilitates seamless data exchange, collaboration, and interoperability with other applications and platforms.

    If you need data analytics or business intelligence, we help you leverage the data stored on the IBM i platform by implementing these solutions.

    We can develop mobile applications or optimize existing applications for mobile devices, allowing users to access critical business functions on smartphones and tablets.

    You can embrace DevOps practices to streamline application development, testing, and deployment processes. We can help you implement continuous delivery pipelines to accelerate software releases, ensure quality, and promote collaboration between your development and operations teams.

    2. Cloud Migration

    The shift towards cloud computing is another significant trend. Companies are now exploring options to host their IBM i and AS400 systems in the cloud. This provides the benefits of reduced IT costs, improved scalability, and access to advanced cloud-based services.

    For instance, a retail business could move its IBM i-based inventory management system to the cloud, enabling real-time inventory tracking across multiple locations.

    Migrating AS/400 applications to a modern platform requires careful planning and execution due to the complexities involved.

    The way we approach it is by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the existing AS/400 application to understand its architecture, dependencies, and functionalities. And then the components that need to be migrated, while evaluating any potential challenges or limitations.

    We engage with your stakeholders to gather requirements and identify the desired functionality, scalability needs, user interface improvements, and integration requirements with other systems or services.

    We evaluate the existing AS/400 codebase and determine whether certain parts need to be rewritten or refactored to align with modern programming languages and frameworks.

    We redesign user interfaces to enhance the user experience and meet current design standards.

    Lastly, we develop a strategy for migrating data from the AS/400 system to the modern platform. Plan for data transformation, cleansing, and mapping to ensure data integrity and compatibility with the new environment.

    3. Cybersecurity Focus

    With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, there’s a growing emphasis on securing IBM i and AS400 systems. To safeguard their IBM I environments, businesses invest in advanced security measures, including data encryption, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits.

    We can strengthen security measures on your IBM i platform to protect against cyber threats and comply with industry regulations.

    4. AI and Machine Learning Integration

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are increasingly integrated with the IBM i. These technologies can help automate routine tasks, provide predictive insights, and enhance decision-making processes.

    An insurance company, for example, could use AI algorithms on its IBM i system to predict future claim trends and adjust its policy pricing accordingly.

    You can explore the integration of AI and automation technologies into IBM i applications.

    This can include leveraging machine learning algorithms for data analysis, implementing chatbots for customer support, or automating repetitive tasks to improve efficiency.

    5. The Rise of Open Source

    The IBM i and AS400 also see increased integration with open-source software. This trend allows businesses to utilize various innovative, community-driven software solutions in their IBM I environment.

    Understanding these trends will equip you to make the most out of your IBM i and AS400 systems. But, capitalizing on these trends requires efficient management of your IBM i infrastructure.

    This brings us to the next important question: Should you manage your IBM i in-house or outsource it to the experts?

    Strategies for Efficient IBM i Management: In-house vs. Outsourcing

    ibm iSeriesNavigating the IBM i landscape can be complex. However, efficient management of this system is crucial to extract its maximum benefits. Businesses generally adopt one of two strategies: In-house management or outsourcing.

    Let’s delve into both of these strategies:

    In-house Management

    • Control: Managing IBM i in-house gives you direct control over your systems. This approach allows your team to tailor the system to your unique business needs. For instance, a healthcare provider might have specific data privacy requirements; an in-house team can ensure these are met.
    • Knowledge Retention: In-house teams develop a deep understanding of your IBM i environment over time. This accumulated knowledge can be invaluable in resolving system issues quickly and efficiently.
    • Instant Response: An in-house team can respond instantly to any issues that arise, minimizing downtime. This quick response time can be critical in industries like e-commerce, where even a few minutes of downtime can lead to significant revenue loss.

    However, managing IBM i in-house also has its challenges:

    • Cost: Hiring and training an in-house team can be costly. Additionally, the expenses of keeping your team updated with the latest IBM i developments and trends can add up over time.
    • Scalability: As your business grows, your IBM i environment must scale accordingly. This can require substantial resources and expertise.

    Working with an IBM i technology partner

    • Expertise: When you outsource, you gain access to a team of experts with extensive experience and knowledge of the IBM i. They can bring best practices from across the industry to your business. For instance, a financial services firm might outsource to leverage the provider’s expertise in implementing robust security measures on the IBM i.
    • Cost Savings: Outsourcing can be more cost-effective than managing your IBM i in-house. You save on hiring, training, and retaining an in-house team and can instead focus your resources on core business activities.
    • Scalability: An outsourcing provider can quickly scale your IBM i environment as your business needs change. This can particularly benefit businesses in high-growth industries, like technology startups.

    This option too has its downsides:

    • Less Control: When you outsource, you may have less control over your IBM i systems. However, this can be mitigated by clear communication and setting explicit expectations with your outsourcing provider.
    • Dependence: Outsourcing can lead to dependence on the provider. However, this risk can be managed by ensuring a proper contract is in place, outlining the responsibilities of both parties.

    Each strategy has merits; the right choice depends on your business context and needs. If you’re considering outsourcing, it’s essential to choose a provider who can offer not just expertise but also a partnership.

    This is where Integrative Systems can help.

    How Can Integrative Systems Help with IBM i Management?

    ibm i series AS400With extensive experience in IBM technologies, our team of experts can help you streamline your operations, enhance productivity, and drive business growth. Here’s how we can assist:

    1. Expert Consultation and Strategy

    Our seasoned IBM i experts will work closely with you to understand your specific business needs and objectives. Leveraging their industry-wide experience, they’ll develop a tailored strategy to optimize your IBM i environment. Whether you’re looking to streamline your operations, enhance security, or integrate new technologies, our consultants will provide the guidance you need.

    2. Seamless Integration and Migration

    Integrative Systems specializes in seamlessly integrating IBM i into your IT infrastructure. We also provide migration services to help you transition from outdated systems to the latest IBM i solutions. We aim to ensure minimal disruption to your operations during this transition while maximizing system performance and efficiency.

    3. Robust Security Measures

    At Integrative Systems, we understand the critical importance of data security. Our experts will implement robust security measures to protect your IBM i environment from potential threats. From securing your data at rest and in transit to setting up firewalls and intrusion detection systems, we’ll ensure your data remains secure.

    4. Ongoing Support and Maintenance

    Our commitment to you doesn’t end once your IBM i environment is up and running. We provide ongoing support and maintenance to ensure your systems continue to operate smoothly. From troubleshooting system issues to providing regular software updates, our team is always on standby to assist.

    5. Cost-Effective Solutions

    At Integrative Systems, we believe that top-notch IT services shouldn’t break the bank. We strive to provide cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality. By outsourcing your IBM i management to us, you’ll save on the costs of hiring, training, and retaining an in-house team.

    Partner with Integrative Systems and experience the difference that expert IBM i management can make for your business. Whether you’re a small startup or a large enterprise, we have the skills, experience, and commitment to help you succeed.

    Contact us at [email protected] to learn how we can assist with your IBM i management needs.

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