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AS400 Modernization

AS400 modernization is the process of updating the IBM AS/400 (also known as the IBM iSeries or IBM i) midrange computer system to meet evolving technological standards and business requirements. 

What Is AS400 IBM?

In simple terms, IBM’s AS400 is a reliable multi-user computer system designed by IBM for business operations. Since their introduction in 1988, AS400 systems have offered robust performance with exceptional security features, making the AS400 extremely popular among organizations throughout the world. It’s primarily used for running critical business workloads like ERP systems that demand high levels of availability and reliability.

What Is AS400 Used for?

The AS400, or Application System/400, is a family of integrated systems from IBM that uses the proprietary IBM Power architecture and supports various operating systems, including OS/400, i5/OS, and IBM i. The AS400 language, also known as RPG (Report Program Generator), is the primary programming language for developing applications on this platform. RPG has evolved through several versions such as RPG II, RPG III, and RPG IV (also known as ILE RPG, or Integrated Language Environment RPG). 

Modernizing AS400 Workloads

As technology advances and business needs change, many organizations are modernizing their AS400 workloads to adapt to new demands. One area where AS400 modernization plays a major role is within enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. The AS400 ERP includes various modules that help businesses manage essential processes like:

  • Financials
  • Human resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Distribution
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) 

However, as market dynamics and customer expectations change, companies will need to adopt an effective infrastructure modernization strategy to remain competitive. 

What Is an Infrastructure Modernization Strategy?

Creating an infrastructure modernization strategy involves assessing an organization’s current processes and applications that are running on the AS400 platform and identifying opportunities for improvement. These improvements may include migrating to another platform (like a cloud-based solution), upgrading existing applications by incorporating newer technologies (like web services or mobile applications) or lifting and shifting these applications as-is into the cloud.

AS400 Modernization Benefits 

There are many benefits of AS400 modernization, which is why it’s one of the most pivotal aspects of many businesses’ digital transformations. 

  1. Integration

Firstly, AS400 modernization efforts enable better integration with newer IT systems, facilitating seamless data exchange between various platforms and applications. This interoperability leads to improved operational efficiency and reduces potential bottlenecks. 

  1. Performance

Another significant advantage is enhanced performance. Using innovations like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and advanced analytics, organizations can derive valuable insights from their data with which to aid decision-making.

  1. IBM Power Systems

AS400 modernization also makes it possible for businesses to harness the power of IBM Power systems — highly scalable servers that deliver enhanced levels of performance for data-intensive workloads. The IBM Power platform provides robust computing capabilities capable of handling complex applications like AI, machine learning, and cloud-native applications. 

By adopting a comprehensive infrastructure modernization strategy, businesses can not only improve operational efficiency but also streamline data-driven decision-making. Embracing modernization is crucial for preserving the value of existing investments in AS400 systems as well as for paving the way toward future success in an increasingly digital world.

AS400 Modernization Tools

AS400 modernization tools are designed to simplify, enhance, and update IBM i systems, allowing organizations to seamlessly leverage new technologies. Let’s explore some common modernization tools and their benefits, as well as discuss the importance of training, implementation, and cloud migration. 

A complete modernization tools guide would include a long list of solutions that cater to different aspects of system modernization. Applications like these can help organizations eliminate bottlenecks in legacy systems and ensure smooth transitions into newer platforms.

AS400 Training

Proper AS400 education equips developers with the necessary knowledge and skills to optimize existing applications and leverage the new functionalities of advanced development tools. Various training resources are available through many different channels — resources like online courses, webinars, seminars, books, blogs, or even local online groups where professionals share expertise and best practices.

IBM i Modernization

IBM i modernization is critical for businesses that rely on legacy systems for their everyday operations. Using AS400 modernization tools, companies can streamline processes by adopting contemporary programming languages like PHP or JavaScript while continuing to run established RPG programs concurrently. This way, organizations can innovate without interrupting daily activities or sacrificing valuable resources invested in existing applications. 

Benefits of Cloud Migration

The benefits of cloud migration extend beyond just storage capacity — it also serves as a vital component in the overall AS400 modernization process. Cloud computing allows businesses to access scalable resources on-demand without having to invest heavily in physical infrastructure. In the context of AS400, this enables companies to use cloud-based services and applications to modernize their systems by migrating data and applications from on-premise servers to secure, high-performance cloud environments. 

AS400 Migration

AS400 migration involves moving data and applications from legacy systems to the cloud. This process can be achieved through various methods depending on an organization’s specific goals. Some common approaches include application replatforming, code conversion, or completely rewriting software solutions in modern languages like Java or .NET. Skytap on Azure allows you to move your AS400 workloads to the cloud without rewriting or refactoring applications. This helps organizations modernize without the business risk.

A comprehensive modernization guide includes multiple aspects of system updates ranging from assessment and planning to execution and post-migration support. There are numerous potential challenges that could arise during the process that can be mitigated through careful evaluation of existing infrastructure, including (but not limited to):

  • Hardware capabilities
  • Software dependencies
  • Compliance requirements
  • Budget constraints
  • Desired timelines for project completion

By integrating AS400 modernization tools with proper training resources and the capabilities of cloud migration, businesses can protect their ability to innovate without disrupting regular operations or sacrificing resources previously invested in legacy systems.

AS400 Application Modernization

AS400 application modernization has undergone significant growth and development in recent years. A typical application modernization example might involve updating legacy systems to make them compatible with new technologies while preserving the valuable data and functionalities they possess. 

Application Modernization Framework

A crucial component in the application modernization process is an effective application modernization framework. This framework serves as a structure to assist businesses in systematically analyzing, restructuring, and ultimately enhancing their legacy applications to better align with contemporary requirements. Utilizing a well-defined framework ensures a streamlined approach to modernization and minimizes the inherent risks associated with complex projects. 

To successfully execute this kind of transformation, organizations can leverage various application modernization tools designed to facilitate seamless integration between old and new technologies. These tools not only automate certain tasks, but also provide valuable insights into potential areas for improvement within an existing system. 

  1. Legacy Data Migration

An excellent illustration of AS400 application modernization is legacy data migration. This involves transferring valuable data from older systems to newer ones without compromising the data’s integrity or accuracy. The process usually entails intricate mapping exercises, thorough validation procedures, and meticulous testing stages to ensure a smooth transition.

  1. AS400 to Cloud Migration

Another aspect of modernizing AS400 applications is cloud infrastructure migration. As more businesses adopt cloud-based solutions for improved flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency, it becomes increasingly important to have effective ways of migrating legacy systems to cloud environments. Undertaking a cloud migration requires careful planning and execution since it involves moving vast volumes of data while preserving intricate configurations — not to mention minimizing service disruptions during the migration process. A common approach is a “lift and shift” migration where companies move AS400 applications to the cloud “as-is” and then from there chart a longer term plan to rebuild these applications cloud natively at their own pace. 

  1. Legacy Application Migration

Legacy application migration is another example. This type of migration involves replatforming or refactoring existing applications to run efficiently on modern platforms (such as Azure). Redesigning these applications may involve rewriting code or implementing microservices architecture models — all aimed at improving overall performance and compatibility with contemporary systems. 

  1. Azure Cloud Migration

Azure cloud migration is another popular choice for businesses that want to modernize their AS400 applications. Microsoft’s robust cloud infrastructure provides a comprehensive suite of tools and services that can facilitate seamless integration between legacy systems and newer platforms. 

  1. Cloud Modernization Strategy

An effective cloud modernization strategy is vital in ensuring the smooth transition of AS400 applications to newer ecosystems. A comprehensive modernization strategy is a detailed plan that addresses every step of the modernization journey — including identifying application components that need updating, evaluating potential risks, establishing timelines, and allocating adequate resources. 

  1. Workload Migration

Workload migration forms are yet another integral part of successful AS400 application modernization efforts. These forms help determine which workloads need to be migrated from legacy systems to the new platform while ensuring minimal disruption to critical business operations.

As technology evolves at breakneck speed, many organizations find themselves needing to adapt or risk being left behind by the competition. By embracing the most effective tools and methodologies in their AS400 application modernization initiatives, these companies can ensure they are well-positioned for success both now and well into the future.

AS400 Modernization with Skytap

Modernizing AS400 (IBM i) and AIX applications such as moving them to the cloud can be a complex process, but with the right tools and expertise, businesses can successfully optimize their IT infrastructures to remain efficient and competitive even as technology rapidly advances. Learn more about Skytap on Azure for running your AS400 and other IBM Power workloads in the cloud.

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