January 1

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IBMi Modernization – The Challenge of AS400/ISERIES Application Modernization

By NickLitten

January 1, 2022

#ibm i, #as400, iseries

IBMi Modernization

The Challenge of AS400/ISERIES Application Modernization, Database SQL Conversion and Cloud Migration

Regardless of where you are in the world and whenever you are reading this blog entry, 99.99% of AS400 and ISERIES applications are running on an IBM i Power System.

The reason I saved a .01%, is because I know of at least 2 companies that are running old AS/400 systems to run their business. Yes – they know the hardware is 30 years old and yes they know it’s a risk, but that little creamy box of computing goodness just sits quietly in a cupboard and keeps on running and running and running without failing.

So, there is a 99.99% chance you are not using an AS400 like you imagine

If your IT guys are calling your business system an AS400, I am willing to bet they have grey hair, reading glasses, wear sandals with socks, and are just waiting for retirement!

ibmi modernization to reduce static storage

Launched in 1988, IBM’s AS400 (Application System 400) running OS/400 (Operating System 400) this powerful midrange Computer System lead the market for businesses running COBOL and RPG language business applications. When IBM launched the AS400, they shook up the computing world by building arrangements with global software companies to supply complete business software applications specifically designed to run on the OS400 operating system.

Over the next ten years, new AS400 models were launched, bigger, faster, then smaller and even faster still.

Finally, it was time for a redesign of the hardware using the latest technology. Technology improvements had been taking massive leaps forward as we headed into the 21st century and IBM released a whole new internet focussed hardware platform called IBM ISERIES

The IBM ISERIES replaced its predecessor the AS400 but was fully backward compatible to the old AS400 machines and ran all AS400 applications with little more than a software recompile in most cases.

The ISERIES operating System was a more powerful version of the AS400’s ‘OS400’ and looked and felt the same.

Just like the AS400 – the ISERIES was a famously Stable Platform

AS400 applications based on OS/400 were migrated to the new ISERIES machines and kept running without disturbance.

Fast-forward another ten years and the next ground shaking computer system is launched.

The IBM Power System is a brand-new modern hardware system, light-years ahead of the early AS400 and ISERIES machines. IBM’s Power System can run multiple different operating systems on the same machine using Logical Partitions (Virtual Machines).

Obviously, IBM wanted to support all the older AS400 and ISERIES applications with minimal changes – with that in mind, the Power System’s IBM-i operating system is a modern web focussed O.S. but with a full (green screen) terminal interface and totally backwards compatible to decades old applications from the AS40 and ISERIES years.

Here is where the word MODERNIZE rears it’s ugly head!

What is Application Modernization?

If you are running an old green screen application on your IBM i Power System, the chances are it would benefit from code modernization.

  • Is it easy to use?
  • Does it give the user what he/she wants to see clearly?
  • Does it look better?
  • Does it work faster?
  • Is it easier to understand?
  • Is it accessible for everyone?

Starting with an old 1980’s green screen, we can move that to partially modernized mobile-friendly screen layout – at least we can see it in a browser and maybe have common function keys shown as a web friendly left side menu:

How to we make this move from old green screen to modern web layout?

Come with me as I create an online lesson series looking at:

Database Modernization – upgrading old DDS to SQL. Changing files from Physical Files to SQL TABLES

Source Code Modernization – taking old code and upgrading to the latest version of CL and RPGLE. In simple terms, this could be just upgrading column based RPG to freeformat ILE RPG.

Program Modernization – beyond source code modernization, this steps into program redesign to use modern programming techniques and guidelines.

Application Modernization – All of the above 😉

Want to learn CL Programming

What is CL?

94% Overall

IBM i Control Language (CL) is a powerful scripting language for the IBM AS/400, IBM iSeries and IBM i Systems. It’s got roots in the older IBM Job Control Language, and it works as a simple way to script commands, instructions and other functions into an easy-to-understand programs.

94%
Speed
94%
quality
94%
cost
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