The AS400 is Dead!

That's right. The AS400 really is dead!

The AS/400 was retired over twenty years ago - Having said that, this legacy machine might have a couple of decades old machines whirring away in small shops. A big creamy machine designed before the advent of the internet, the AS400 had an excellent operating system, a huge list of business applications and detailed documentation. It quickly became a global success for small and mid-range businesses.

Before following the video presentation of how, why and when did the AS400 get replaced by the iSeries, which in turn got replaced by the IBM Power System (the current system at time of righting) let's have a look at some history:

What is an IBM AS400?

Forty years ago, IBM announced an easy to use computer series - The IBM AS400. Aimed at small businesses and medium sized enterprises, or anyone that didn't want to invest $$$ in a mainframe, these mid-range computer systems were focused on delivering better performance, a wide range of business applications that could be installed straight off-the-shelf, and offering data encryption/security the moment you power them up.

Simple to use, great return on investment. The AS400 quickly became the gold standard business machine for most small businesses.

A Brief History of the AS400 System

IBM launched the System/3x machines in the late 70's - with a similar internal architecture, but hardware technology just wasn't advanced enough to keep up with the demands of the software layer. The System/38 was plagued with performance problems, but still survived and became hugely popular because of its potential.

as400 models

It was replaced by the Application System 400, or AS/400 which fully supported applications that had been running on the older System34, 36 and 38 machines.

So, AS400 is just a funkily named System/40 really 😉

Me. imho. of course.

The primary language supported by the AS400 remained the RPG language. This has evolved greatly over time - from RPG2 for the System/36 to RPG3 for the System/38 it evolved to become a procedural language. AS/400 introduced RPG/400 with larger variable names, SQL improvements, a free format coding option and much more.

The AS400 is dead - Long Live the iSeries

In the late 1990's the next version of the AS400 was announced. With some radical new hardware, hugely upgraded operating system and full internet connectivity IBM decided to relaunch and rebrand the AS400 line with a new sexy black frame and called this new model the IBM iSeries

IBM iSeries ( not AS400 )

One of the huge benefits of the iSeries was the fact that it was still fully backward compatible to earlier System/3x and AS/400 machines...

Goodbye iSeries - Hello IBM System i

In the mid-2000's IBM launched the next big hardware upgrade. A new machine, called the System i was launched.

A new Powerful System - IBM POWER SYSTEM

A few short years later, comes a paradigm shift for IBM. The IBM POWER SYSTEM separates hardware from Software for the first time.

The key difference is that the IBM POWER SYSTEM hardware, obviously hugely more powerful than previous machines can now operate with multiple logical machines. So, within one Power System you can run an *LPAR (logical partition) running Unix, or Linux, or IBM i.

The IBM i operating system is the grandson of the old AS400 operating system (OS400) and as well as being fully backward compatible is fully internet compliant, SQL focused and filled with leading edge web technology. .

Here is a rough timeline for reference:

YearHardwareOS
1988AS400OS400
2000iSeriesOS400
2006System ii5/OS
2008Power SystemIBM i
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