As/400 I Series Series I myths vs reality, Microsoft AS/400 corporate use, AS/400 younger than PCs, NET programs run as well as RPG COBOL, Internet and Ecommerce friendly
What is the current usage of the AS/400 family, I Series and System I computers in business?
I wanted a number so I emailed IBM twice today.
I believe that the number will surprise many, but having worked on the entire IBM midrange of computers beginning in 1981, it will not completely surprise me.
Having also begun using PCs early as well (I owned one of the original IBM PCs), the AS/400 family has always seemed more professional and efficient.
Fully functional database processing has always come with the operating system.
At one time, in the early nineties, Microsoft corporate ran on AS/400s. This has always been a source of embarassment for them.
Microsoft replaced their in house AS/400s in 1999.
I had to use the Wayback Machine of March 2, 2001 to retrieve this article.
“AS/400s Extinct at Microsoft Since May, 1999
In late 1995, Microsoft began a project to centralize and modernize its legacy computer systems. The project was vital to saving the company money by streamlining Financial, Human Resources, Order Management, Distribution and other vital line-of-business applications at the very heart of Microsoft’s internal computing information environment. These applications ran on a number of divergent and geographically distributed computer systems requiring complex and custom interfacing to form an aggregate system that was anything but integrated. Included were 12 AS/400s, 3 VAX clusters, and at least 50 Microsoft® Windows®-based client/server systems. In 1999, the project was completed and the legacy systems were replaced with one centrally managed SAP R/3 solution, consisting of just 15 Windows 2000-based application servers that share a SQL Server™2000-based database. Today, with the new system, instead of taking several weeks to close the worldwide consolidated books, Microsoft can now close every month in five days or less.
In the mid 1990s Microsoft and its worldwide subsidiaries used legacy business systems running on the IBM AS/400 with expensive custom interfaces and no common taxonomy.
Over the next few years, the legacy system was replaced with a centralized ERP system (SAP R/3) running on Windows 2000 and SQL Server 2000.”
Obviously the problems that Microsoft was experiencing were not due to using AS/400s.
Their problem was non integrated, out dated systems and procedures.
I am certain that a consolidation using new software on one or more AS/400s could have solved their problems and saved as much money.
But that would not solve their larger problem.
When I get a number of AS/400 family installations from IBM or elsewhere, I will update this article.
However, I found a great article that dispels many myths about the AS/400 family vs PC systems.
“Keep Your AS/400
You will hear many myths about your AS/400
Here are some bad arguments for migrating away from your IBM i-iSeries-AS/400
The AS/400 is obsolete. It was introduced in 1989. It’s old technology.
The AS/400 (now called the IBM i or iSeries) product is younger than the PC.
Like the PC, it has had continuous hardware and software improvements.
Version 8.1 was just announced around May 2014.
Your iSeries can host dynamic web pages and web services.
It can run PHP, Perl, Java, and Ruby on Rails.
I’m told that AS/400’s use old computer languages like RPG and Cobol.
RPG-ILE and Cobol-ILE date back to earlier versions from the 1960’s.
But Microsoft’s Visual Basic, ASP and .NET languages are really just
updated versions of BASIC which also dates back to the 1960’s.
C++, C# and Java are all updates of C from the 1960’s.
in fact, both Java and RPG-ILE were created in 1995!
And as noted above, you can also use PHP, Perl, Java, and Ruby on Rails.
We want internet applications. AS/400’s can’t do that.
Sure they can.
Click here to see a demo Shopping Cart web page running on this iSeries.
iSeries-AS/400’s also run Java and PHP.
It’s hard to access AS/400’s over the internet.
Click here to install a plug-in to Internet Explorer to
start an SSL encrypted iSeries session on this iSeries
This is one of many ways to connect to an AS/400 – iSeries – IBM i
You have to buy expensive software to run internet applications.
The Shopping Cart program and iSeries sessions above
were written WITHOUT ANY EXTRA SOFTWARE.
My iSeries also can automatically zip data files and EMAIL them.
It also automatically downloads and uploads data
using the internet file transfer protocol (FTP).
All this without extra software.
AS/400’s are expensive.
Not anymore. They are price competitive with Windows solutions.
$15,000 will get a platform big enough to run a $100 Million
distribution or manufacturing company.
Application software is not included. There are lots of options.
We want to use mainstream technology used by successful companies.
You’re in pretty good company.
Here is a partial list of companies that use AS/400-iSeries:
Many Casinos in Nevada and N.J. (Harrahs, Ameristar Casinos, American Casino,
Boyd Gaming, Borgata Casino, Table Mountain Casino)
Ace Cash Express
Affiliated Computer (ACS)
Air Wisconsin Airlines
All England Lawn Tennis Club (Wimbledon)
America’s Health Insurance Plans (www.ahip.ord)
Bank of America”