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What is AS400?

What is AS400
What is AS400

IBM AS400 is Most secured, Stable, Reliable  and Scalable Platform Web & Mobile Business Applications. It is an application system from IBM. AS/400(Application System/400) emerged in 1988.It included a group of user-friendly computers for SMEs.The initial AS/400 B-series models included the IBM 9404 and IBM 9406. The AS400 operating system quickly became a success. History shows that IBM had shipped almost half a million as400 models by 1997. There was no doubt that the Application System 400 was helpful before the immense growth of technology. Even though some organizations still use it, most companies have stopped or have integrated it with modern software. This leads to this question: is the IBM series still alive, or is it dead? We will try to answer this question below.

History of IBM 400

The first IBM’s AS400 computer system emerged in 1988. It consisted of the operating system called the OS/400 and the hardware system called the AS/400. Additionally, the first production had an integrated database and other core functions. Over the years, the AS/400 and OS/400 have seen many upgrades. 

Before it came to be, IBM had made a computer using the object-based OS in 1978. It was called System/38. The relational database found is similar to the Db2 we know now. Also, some of its concepts made the AS400 software system run smoothly. In 1983, the company made another computer system called System/36. It used RPGII as the primary programming language, and it was only a file management machine.

In 2000, IBM branded the AS/400 again to eServer iSeries and had the OS/400 operating system. This became a server for running internet businesses. In 2006, the company released the iSystem server that consisted of the i5/OS operating system. It became an alternative for companies that would not run the Windows OS. 

In 2008, the company released the Power Systems or IBM Power. It was a combination of i5/OS (now called IBM i) and the Unix (also called AIX) OS. Power Systems have a built-in database called DBMS, DB2/400. It provides web-based applications that are easy to execute in MySQL or PHP with an Apache server. Although IBM has rebranded its product over the years, it has retained compatibility. 

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Hence, it is easy to run the initial AS/400 programs in modern Power Systems without an issue. As a result, some companies have been unable to stop using the as400 i series. There is hope because IBM updates its IBM i series every three years. 

With IBM i 7.4, you’ll get continuous availability (thanks to IBM Db2 Mirror for i), the latest security features, and easy integration with IoT, AI and Watson.

What is AS400 Software
What is AS400 Software

What are the characteristics of AS/400 e-server i-series?

The main characteristics of the AS/400 include the following: 

  • Object-based OS – The object-based OS has unique things not available in other kinds of operating systems. For instance, it has single-level storage. As400 System i is more secure and stable for running businesses because of its uniqueness. 
  • Broader integration components – The as400 software is easy to use with other software systems. It has several features for easier integration. These include web application servers, web services servers, the DB2 relation database, and more. All combined, these components can do more than 300 tasks. 
  • Efficient apportioning – The as400 mainframe iSeries is a firmware-based virtualization system that works better than some modern server applications.
  • The administrator interface works well – IBM provides great technologies for doing routine tasks within an organization. It is not the case with Linux and Windows as they have to source tools from other vendors. 
  • It is cheaper to run – The IBM i-series as400 entails fewer hardware servers. So it is cheaper and easier to place in your data center. 

Who still uses AS/400?

Up to today, some companies continue to use AS/400. About 10.1 percent of organizations run IBM i with their servers, according to iDatalabs. After HP, IBM AS400 comes second in terms of popularity. IBM’s product use is more prevalent in the manufacturing and IT fields. However, the use of AS 400 operating system runs across many industries around the globe. For instance, Robert Bosch, a German multinational business, is among the top users of IBM Power Systems. Generally, the platform finds use in organizations of all sizes. 

The IBM i market has a dual nature: an extensive small and midsized client community alongside a strong select group of users in large enterprises. The majority (approximately 70 percent) of IBM i users are small and midsized enterprises, with 30 percent being large enterprises with 1,000+ employees.

Why do companies still bother to use AS 400?

There are claims that IBM does not offer technical support to companies that adopt cloud computing. There are also views that as/400 is obsolete and might be dead. Even with such knowledge, why do some companies still use it? Those who use it run it as an as400 ERP system. Its mainframe works for most manufacturers, SAP users, and database management systems. As far as wholesale distribution business is concerned, now they are switching to cloud ERP as it’s more accessible, accurate, and comes with a very affordable price.

With the growth of AS/400 cloud that works with many applications, most companies won’t stop using it. Besides, some retailers like the item because of being cost-effective and scalable. Here are more reasons why some companies still run the AS/400. 

  • The current Power Systems iseries are still as reliable and exemplary as the original AS/400. The original platform had CPUs that could run three to five times better than their counterparts. 
  • Buyers have a wide range of options. If the problem is low capital, IBM has entry-level systems for small players. It also offers high-power server systems for large-scale organizations and data centers. Additionally, people can depend upon several operating systems, including IBM i, RedHat Enterprise Linux, etc.
  • It is cost-effective to retain the AS400 System i. When running current AS/400 servers, you can still run the 1988 programs. Also, the cost of shifting from IBM hardware to any other may seem minor. However, the price of disrupting your operations when adopting new hardware might be too high. The cost of installing, configuring, and updating new software when moving from the AS/400 also is high. You may view shifting as a disruption when you have run the same platform for years. 
  • AS/400 is a complete solution. The as400 overview information shows that it is a complete solution. Even during the cloud computing era, the AS400 continues to charge users for what they are using.

Unlike Windows technology-based servers, the IBM i operating environment is almost always used to run multiple business applications and databases securely and efficiently on the same server. As a result, clients report that they have fewer servers to manage with IBM i when compared to Windows. This easy deployment, upgrading and management gives IBM i a significant advantage when evaluating TCO.

Pros and cons of AS/400

As400 Pros

  • The first advantage is that as400 i do not need constant rebooting, making it more stable. 
  • It is easier to integrate AS/400 databases and programming languages securely. 
  • As as400 accounting systems and other systems use object-oriented operating systems, they are less prone to viruses. Thus, they are the safest around. 

As400 Cons

  • It is an expensive system when compared to other hardware systems. However, the cost depends on if you are an entry-level or a large-scale business. 
  • People have a negative mindset regarding as400. They feel that the platform works best only for large-scale businesses and might be more expensive to run for small players. However, people’s views have nothing to do with the AS400 system commands and functioning. 
See Also : Is As400 an ERP System ?

Integrated web services for IBM series

These are the technologies within the IBM AS/400 i-Series. It entails the Integrated Web Service server, which allows the execution of objects as web services. In this regard, AS/400 i-series cloud offers all the benefits of cloud hosting. It is flexible, scalable, and secure. With this form of cloud computing, organizations can run swiftly and reduce their operation overheads. 

As companies should pay for their resources, they can reduce their running capital. When making significant changes to their operations, companies can manage their resources and achieve their plans with ease using AS/400 i-Series.

Additionally, those running in the AS/400 cloud can avoid database licensing costs when shifting from another platform. Above all, the as400 shareware can make your Information Technology environment more straightforward and agile. 

Top facts about AS400

An as400 system operator knows these facts about their platform.

  • The entire IBM platform has three unique operating systems and seven separate OS versions. It has had over twenty revisions too. 
  • OS/400 i5-OS has run on six unique hardware systems solely for IBM’s.
  • The AS/400 and prior systems have run on seventeen different CPUs. 
  • IBM has sold over fifty hardware system models to run its IBM AS 400 iSeries product line. 
  • Users can use their current IBM platform to run the 1988 databases. 

What are the new uses of iseries AS/400? 

According to IBM, its platform can achieve the following things for you: 

  • With its ample RAM and hard disk space, the IBM i Series AS/400 makes a good repository for big data. 
  • It has a web server, firewall, and unique applications for accomplishing tasks like warehouse management, order management, vending, and more.
  • It is easy to integrate IBM as400e server iseries with Java virtual machine. Its tools can create commercial applications with Java. 
  • It includes Domino and Notes for offering organizations advanced email, collaboration, and file-sharing capabilities.
See Also : Is It Time to Replace Your AS/400 with a Modern ERP System ?

FAQ

What is AS400 used for?

AS/400 by IBM is over three decades old but remains reliable in various industries. Most companies use it as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software system. It also functions as a database management system. Although the AS/400 is highly adaptable, its deployment process varies based on a business type. The recent emergence of the AS400 cloud helped create more applications for this IBM architecture. The newest uses for this system include: 

  • Data storage
  • A development system for Java-based applications
  • Running eCommerce businesses as AS/400 has a suitable web-enabled server with firewall capabilities. 
  • If integrated with Notes and Domino, the AS/400 can let companies share project files, send emails, and collaborate in other ways online.

What is AS400 called now?

IBM has rebranded the original AS/400 system several times. Now it is known as IBM Power Systems. In 2000, AS/400 was called the eServer iSeries. In 2006, it became IBM system I. In 2008, it changed to IBM Power Systems.

Does AS400 still exist?

Yes, the AS/400 server continues to prevail regardless of advances in information technology. Using the OS/400 operating system, the AS/400 is IBM’s epitome of success. You will find it in the departments of large-scale and small-scale businesses. AS/400 works best in virtually any industry and accepts web-enabled applications.  

Is AS400 outdated?

The AS/400 system has existed since 1988. It consists of an IBM-made database and operating system. Over the years, the AS/400 and its hardware system (OS/400) have undergone many alterations and revisions. While they are still reliable, scalable, robust, and secure, people assume that AS/400 systems are obsolete. 

Although they have existed for over three decades, the IBM i systems are not outdated. Several companies continue to use them successfully. As the world embraces cloud-based software solutions, IBM has ensured that the AS/400 users are not left behind. 

Why do companies still use AS400? 

Even if the AS/400 architecture is too old, some companies prefer to keep it. Here are the possible reasons for this behavior.

  • IBM AS/400 system boasts superior CPUs with three to five times more power than comparable systems. As a result, users hardly ever encounter server downtimes when hosting SAP and other complex systems. 
  • AS/400 system includes a variety of choices. Additionally, it is compatible with different operating systems. Hence, users consider the AS/400 one of the most versatile older IT solutions. 
  • Companies may fear meeting the cost of switching from AS/400 to something else. Shifting from a legacy system to the cloud could also disrupt manufacturing and other processes. The company would not only install and configure the new software to match its needs. It would also need to review and update a lot of data. 
  • Now that the AS/400 cloud exists, users have a more complete and competitive choice. They can still reduce the total cost of ownership for a solution they have used for decades.

The adaptability of IBM i is guaranteed by an architecture that provides unique dependability, security, flexibility and integration, all of which lead to a significant total cost of ownership advantage.

How do you migrate the AS400 platform to the cloud?

Countless enterprises own a legacy AS/400 platform. If you have it and want to shift your platform to the cloud, you have two best approaches. The first one is re-engineering, and the next one is re-hosting. If your business growth has overtaken the current AS/400 applications, the re-engineering approach is the best choice.

An engineer will alter and modernize your existing AS/400 system to make it more capable of meeting your growing business needs. Re-hosting entails moving mainframe AS/400 applications to the cloud without altering the original code or data analytics tools. Companies move their AS/400 to Microsoft’s Azure, Amazon’s AWS, or Google’s Cloud.

IBM has a multi-cloud strategy for IBM i, which is called hybrid cloud. IBM Cloud strategy continue to ISV partners to provide IaaS, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and DisasterRecovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). IBM has made IBM i available in the IBM Cloud.

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Conclusion

Are you asking this query: is as400 dead or alive? The answer to this is no. IBM i is active and more scalable. It fits businesses of all sizes as it can grow with their needs. IBM i as400 cloud series ensure 100 percent uptime and run existing programs like C++, Java, RPG, SQL, Angular, node.js, React, and PHP. Lastly, we love the IBM as400 iseries for being more compatible. Its high performance and reliability  (99.9%+ uptime) are the same as they were in 1988.

The adaptability of IBM i is guaranteed by an architecture that provides unique dependability, security, flexibility and integration which lead to a significant total cost of ownership advantage. Recent OS release adds enhancements centered on– security, modernization, and availability.

If you are in the market for a Next Generation  Modern Scalable cloud ERP platform for your Wholesale Distribution Business, then Ximple Solution offers Innovative High-quality ERP systems.   It uses Java, Microservices,  Angular, IBM DB2 database,  Material Design Libraries, Lightweight Web & Mobile  UI-UX.

Hitesh Barot

Author

Hitesh Barot is a Technologist and blogger passionate about solving business and technological challenges in Wholesale Distribution, Retail, and Manufacturing Industries. He has more than 20 years of experience leading the IT department for the Distribution, Retail, and Manufacturing business. Learn more about him here and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 


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ERP Assessment Approach and Checklist

ERP Assessment Checklist
ERP Assessment Approach & Checklist

The business management ERP is a must-have nowadays. However, the success of the ERP implementation process is the bottom line. If you fail to execute ERP well, you might waste money, time, and other resources. When you conduct an ERP assessment checklist and evaluation process, you can pinpoint weak areas and deal with them early on. An ERP readiness assessment during the implementation phase is so imperative.

It can help an organization determine if it is ready for significant change. Do you have the funds to complete the process? Can you trust your team to complete the project successfully? The Cloud ERP software implementation process is lengthy and expensive. Although assessing it does not guarantee success, it can reveal the weaknesses and shortcomings of failure.

Why undergo an ERP assessment?

When doing a capital-intensive project like ERP implementation, an organization has to do its best to succeed. Whether it is getting the most talented team of programmers and analysis or spending a lot of money, a company aims only at success. One way to ensure success is to carry out an ERP assessment. Even if a company can gather vast amounts of money, it can squander it through poor planning and execution processes.

Organizations are expanding beyond country borders as technology wheels continue to roll. A company thirsting for success must define ERP and describe ERP functionalities correctly during the implementation process to keep up with the pace of change. That is where the ERP evaluation comes in. Whether upgrading your enterprise resource planning software or getting a new tool, you have to assess the execution process very well. Those doing it for the first time should evaluate the process for these reasons:

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  • To know if they require a cloud ERP solution or the legacy one
  • To identify systems that will become irrelevant after the implementation of the ERP
  • To pinpoint areas of the existing infrastructure that might require modification before installing ERP software
  • To check where your sales revenues leaks are and determine how ERP can help seal them
  • To assess the total cost of ownership against the benefits that the best ERP software would bring to the organization
  • To estimate the time frame the entire implementation process can take. Also, you can identify the factors that can interrupt and cause delay.

As an older company with running ERP software, you might assess your ERP program to:

  • Know the current state of the software solution
  • Determine areas of the software that might require improvement
  • Measure how business growth and expansion may have affected the existing ERP platform
  • To measure the cost of running the software and see if you can afford an upgrade.

ERP needs Indicators

At what point can companies using ERP know they are not benefiting? How can businesses not yet using ERP realize it is time to implement it? The indicators include the following: 

  • Poor real-time data and reporting – When a business cannot track what is happening in various departments in real-time, it is in dire need of an ERP program. The software will restore visibility and capture insightful data in real-time.
  • Cannot grab opportunities for acquisition and growth – The vision of many organizations is to achieve growth and expand operations beyond country borders. But how can a business with outdated, slow, and unreliable software infrastructure grow and acquire wealth? If production is too slow or packed with errors, a company will stagnate for the longest time.
  • Cannot adapt to customers’ needs – The modern customer is aware of advanced technology. He has strict demands that only the prepared manufacturer can fulfill.
  • Cannot handle global expansion and geography – Technology has altered the mode of running multi-national businesses. It is harder to monitor all your international distribution channels without administration ERP software. Lack of visibility can lead to mismanagement and failure of some of the channels. There are strict tax laws in the global business world. Also, have to translate your business functions into multiple languages. With a thorough ERP assessment report, an organization can pick the right software and execute it well.
ERP Assessment Approach
ERP Assessment Approach

ERP Readiness factors

Has your organization outgrown its current software system? If so, explore this question before choosing ERP. It is crucial to do this even if you run ERP already. Here are the readiness questions you need to ask as an organization.

  • Do we lack complete visibility into our operations? – Without real-time data and reporting, a company will face complex decision-making and have messy operations.
  • Do we run obsolete systems that no longer support our business functions? – These sorts of software systems cannot sustain an organization in a world full of competitors. 
  • We have good business deals. Are we ready to grab them? Can our production handle it? – Poor production processes will lead to poor overall performance, low profits, and missed opportunities.
  • Do we want to obtain mergers and acquisitions soon? Can our current software infrastructure let us make the changes? – When a company wants to make massive changes, its needs will grow or change. Only a complete ERP solution can handle such transitions. 
  • What if we want to establish a global brand? Can our current system handle stricter tax compliances and a broader supply chain?
ERP Needs Assessment
ERP Needs Assessment

ERP Assessment Checklist 

When carrying out a comprehensive ERP assessment, what process should you include? Consider the following ERP assessment checklist when making your decisions. It shows the angles from which you should review your ERP software. These include the following: 

1. Functionality

Explore the basic concepts of ERP and see how they can boost your accounting and finance. If your company runs multiple distribution channels countrywide or globally, can your access ERP platform simplify the accounting functions? Multiple branches have separate accounting and financial data. You need a system that can handle all of them without a single error. Productivity –This checklist assesses how an enterprise resource planning system can make the organization more productive. The productivity checklist seeks to know if the ERP system can help remote workers perform their job on mobile devices. Will it boost the speed at which tasks run?

2. Technology

The information technology team can handle this checklist better than everyone. However, it should not exclude the managers and other stakeholders. The software will serve the entire organization, so everyone should understand and accept it. The ERP assessment checklist is a matter to discuss in this step. You need a vendor who can provide the best software without hiding charges.

3. Value

This checklist assesses the actual worth of the ERP package. Will its benefit outweigh to cost of acquisition and lifetime management?

4. Risk

The implementation team wants to evaluate the chances that the client ERP platform can eradicate or minimize. It also considers the security loopholes in the current system and identifies how the ERP can mend them.

Ready to Select ERP Platform

The ERP evaluation framework is broad. It provides a clear picture of the people, processes, and technologies that a company has. It evaluates each department, including accounting and finance, inventory and warehouse, marketing, procurement, customer relations, and more. Because of how broad the ERP assessment task can be, it requires caution and expertise.

Although the in-house team can do the exercise, it is better to employ a third-party professional. The internal team can provide a non-biased evaluation of the system. After reading a thorough assessment report, the organization can buy the best cloud enterprise resource planning software for its needs.

Also, it can use the findings can allow the team to create logical ERP vendor selection criteria. After choosing the best vendor and product, the team can consult the report again to map ERP implementation.

Ximple Solution

Hope you are enjoying reading this post.

If you belong to a medium or large-size distribution business, Ximple ERP is just for you.

Ximple ERP offers independence and flexibility to your B2B customer to grow their business. Our solution has D2C features they expect from you. Our ERP has an inbuild ERP offering.

You are one click away from transforming your wholesale distribution businesses, book a call now for the free demo

Conclusion

It is vital to assess an existing or upcoming ERP software system. The review process will show where and why the current software infrastructure has failed. It will probe deeper to identify the cause of those challenges and risks and the best ways to solve them. The evaluation and selection of the ERP package ensure that no resources go to waste. It is so crucial for organizations to skip it. It reveals what is not working, what is working, and which areas could require improvement.

Hitesh Barot

Author

Hitesh Barot is a Technologist and blogger passionate about solving business and technological challenges in Wholesale Distribution, Retail, and Manufacturing Industries. He has more than 20 years of experience leading the IT department for the Distribution, Retail, and Manufacturing business. Learn more about him here and connect with him on LinkedIn.


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