AS400 is dead, It’s time to Modernize and embrace IBM i

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November 17, 2009

AS400 is dead, It’s time to Modernize and embrace IBM i

By NickLitten

November 17, 2009

IBM i, 400, as400, IBM i OS, iseries, legacy, modernization, modernize

YOUR IBM System is NOT an AS/400

YOUR IBM System is NOT an iSeries

  • IBM stopped making the old AS400 in the 1990’s
  • The iSeries came next and that ran for over ten years
  • The current machine is an IBM Power System. The grandson of the AS400

YOUR IBM System is an IBM POWER SERVER running the IBM i Operating system

The operating system is IBM i – just one of the OS that can run on IBM Power systems ( think Microsoft Windows Server running on Dell Poweredge Hardware ) but that’s a bit of a mouthful so most RPG Developers simply call this beast the IBM i System.

After coming back from the last System i Developers Convention I was feeling excited about all the fantastic things that this machine is capable of: The IBM Power System has incredibly bullet proof hardware and combined with the IBM i operating system it’s just a totally integrated, incredibly resilient and easy to use Business Server for the new millennium. It’s totally Internet friendly and everyone agrees IBM i is arguably the most secure server OS on the market today. It pumps out websites, emails, spreadsheet, full windows integration and even has 100% backward legacy support for the old green screen applications from the 80/90s.

Ibm on power solutions - the as400 is dead

Todays IBM i System is fantastic bit of kit that has evolved incredibly from it’s early B10 models of grandfather AS400 over twenty years ago.

But there is one problem with the IBM i – and its a big one!

I’m embarrassed to say that the problem is us IBM i Developers – or to be more accurate its the AS400 Developers!

Many developers working on the modern machine and operating system are old school programmers who have evolved up from the early days of the AS400 (and it’s earlier iterations the System/3x). It’s the blinkered view of many IBM i developers who are in the ‘I’ve always called it an AS400 so why change it now” mindset.

A depressingly vocal community out there still thinks of it as an old green-screen AS400, it’s time we get up and say“no more” to the dusty old farts that insist on degrading the IBM i and trying to relegate it to the annals of history.

These are the same faceless people who own 60inch LCD TVs and use duct tape to make a small 18inch window and turn the colors down to black and white.

  • You don’t refer to your Windows7 Laptop as a DOS PC do you?
  • So why take a modern Power System running IBM i and then refer to it as an old fashioned AS/400

The IBMi brand needs a little loving…

Still confused about AS400, DB2, UDB, i5/OS, OS400?

Perhaps this will help clarify:

What is IBM i?

IBM i (previously known as i5/OS and OS/400) is an operating system. It is an integrated, easy to use environment that was designed by IBM for efficient, resilient business processing. DB2 is an integrated database within the i operating system.

Is IBM i the operating system that runs on systems which have evolved from the iSeries, Systemi, and before that Application System 400?

Yes. [redbook]

What servers support IBM i?

IBM Power Systems run the IBM i operating system. This POWER processor-based servers also run AIX, IBM’s UNIX operating system, and Linux. The MySQL i DB2 Storage engine is only supported with IBM i.

Is DB2 for i the same as the databases on other systems?

IBM DB2 for i is a distinct product within the IBM Database family. DB2 for i is the database that runs on the IBM i operating system on IBM Power Systems.

What is so good about the IBM System i?

IBM i for Power Systems (including AS/400, iSeries, and System i) is an all-in-one platform with proven solutions, built-in security, and unlimited potential. Designed to help you spend more time managing your business, not your infrastructure.

So why do some people still call it an AS/400!!

Because they are stuck in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. They still listen to 70’s disco, mourn the death of VHS and use mobile phones the size of bricks. People that call the machine an AS400 think the internet is a passing fad.

Why wasnt I told about all this?

Knowledge is power. If people in your business talk about an AS400 or iSeries then you should correct them. You are not using an AS400 anymore! You are using the IBM i operating system on an IBM Power System platform – call it what it is.

IBM I is the operating system. The Power System is the big physical black computer box that runs it all.

What we used to call ‘The 400’ was a big creamy old computer system invented before the tinernet. Nowadays we have this big chunk of hardware called the IBM POWER SYSTEM and an operating system called IBM i. So, I commonly refer to this machine as the IBM i System or IBM i Server.

“Yesterday I went in and lovingly polished the Power System until it glistened” said John the Operator

“While you were doing that I was using IBMi to edit some seriously sexy website layouts in the IFS .” said Charles the slightly camp programmer.


  • (I found this post through Pinterest, of all things.)

    You have good points. But I do know of a genuine AS/400 (a Model 170 which is admittedly a RISC machine running V4R5) still running for production today. And with 3 of 4 of the original disk drives! So dead may be too harsh.

    My complaint is with IBM marketing. A Honda Civic has the same name it had in the ‘70s. It does look like the IBM i name has some staying power, which I like.

    IBM itself needs to get rid of all references to AS/400 on the IBM i. Yes, they’re still there; I’ll find one if you want me to.

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