Can I upgrade JBA SYSTEM21 from IBM-i v5r4 to V6 or V7? 

 September 4, 2012

By  NickLitten

Just what is JBA SYSTEM21 anyway?

JBA Softwre Company from Birmingham

The JBA ERP system is a 30 year old Enterprise Resource Planning system running on IBMi operating system (an on the earlier i5/OS and OS400 versions). I can sense your eyebrow raising when you read “30 years”, but think of it as a system that has evolved for thirty years and grown incredibly. Originally developed and distributed by UK based company JBA (from in-house developed system called Olympic and also by blending in field developed products from many client sources). The entire product line was later bought and distributed by GEAC in the USA. Following the demise of GEAC the latest and greatest version is (at the time of writing) provided and supported by Infor.

  • The older JBA/GEAC versions of System21 and all related apps will run on any system upto and including V5R4.
  • The current version of System21 is called Aurora, supplied by Infor and runs on all the latest version of IBMi (currently IBMi Version6 but Version7 is in beta so watch this space)
I think that the last version of JBA System21 was V3.5.2 and this was the basis for the new improved Infor version. From what I understand, the Infor version is a total conversion of all the old System21 OPM RPG source Code to ILE RPG and recompilation. Infor has also added lots of new web-friendly components and modernised the entire package for the new millenium.
infor system looks good
What OS versions will JBA run on
  • JBA System 21 will run on all versions upto and including v5.4
  • Infor Aurora will run on all version upto and including the current version.
Upgrading to V6 is as big an upgrade as the old Cisc-Risc upgrade in the mid-nineties and requires programs to have their observability included in the object description to process each object as part of the upgrade. JBA used to remove observability and compress objects prior to distribution and this is why you cannot upgrade to v6.1 without recompiling the older code. QED – if you aint got the source code you cant recompile, to include observability, so cant get past 5.4.
I want to upgrade to IBMi Version6 or higher but am running JBA System 21
No can do: You cant unless you [a] pay $$ for a newer version or [b] have the source code for everything and are prepared to recompile it all *gulp*
Having said all that. I’ve worked for JBA back in Blighty, I left before Geac and am looking forward to working with Infor at sometime in the future. *fingers crossed* šŸ˜‰ So, all my blog thoughts have come tumbling from my cluttered brain if I’ve got my facts muddled then please leave a comment. Cheers.


IBM i Software Developer, Digital Dad, AS400 Anarchist, RPG Modernizer, Shameless Trekkie, Belligerent Nerd, Englishman Abroad and Passionate Eater of Cheese and Biscuits. Nick Litten Dot Com is a mixture of blog posts that can be sometimes serious, frequently playful and probably down-right pointless all in the space of a day. Enjoy your stay, feel free to comment and remember: If at first you don't succeed then skydiving probably isn't a hobby you should look into.

Nick Litten

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