The iSeries Blog

Apr 29 2009   7:41PM GMT

Legacy AS/400 meets the future of IBM i at COMMON 2009

Leah Rosin Leah Rosin Profile: Leah Rosin

While at COMMON, the push-pull of new versus old technologies for the IBM i (AS/400, iSeries, System i) has been an underlying theme. Trevor Perry’s recent assertion that IBM’s marketing of the i could kill the system sets the stage for the discussion. His experience has been shared at the conference and has been debated. On Tuesday I had a couple of great conversations and learned more about a couple of new products that are looking to the future.

The first is Zend PHP Server, which takes DB2 400 to the Web. Mike Pavlak demonstrates Zend PHP tools: Zend Core, Zend Studio for Eclipse, and Zend Platform.

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Halcyon Software’s John Dominic, Channel Manager, shared the Systems Management Suite enterprise console interface and the message communicator product that allows two-way communication from a mobile device to the AS/400.

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(When Halcyon wasn’t using their flat-screen to show how their products worked, they were challenging attendees to ski jumping on a Wii Fit that the winner got to take home).


New books with hot AS/400 programming and administrator topics
I was able to sit in on Carol Woodbury‘s session “A Step by Step Approach to Object Level Security,” and was immersed in the maze of setting up adopted authorities on the AS/400. The presentation was based on Chapter 16 of Woodbury’s new book, IBM i and i5/OS Security and Compliance: A Practical Guide from 29th Street Press.

Speaking of books, in the past, Search400 has offered book chapter downloads, but we’ve been lacking this valuable content of late. I met with Merrikay Lee, President of MC Press, and we’ve set a plan to restart this feature, and one of the first books we’ll be taking a look at is the newly released IBM i Programmers Guide to PHP.

Managing legacy systems efficiently
In many ways, the concerns of AS/400 programmers and admins revolve around the legacy applications. Either you’re using a legacy app that still does what you need it to do, or you’re working on bringing that functionality forward with today’s technologies, such as PHP. On Tuesday, I had the chance to sit down with Steve Kilner, CEO of vLegaci. He shared some interesting statistics about legacy application management that would be of interest to any CIO with a AS/400 system:

  • 80-90% of lifetime software cost is maintenance
  • Maintainers of software spend 40-60% of their time trying to understand the programs they work with

Kilner founded his company with the goal of helping AS/400 shops make software maintenance more cost effective and productive. I admire the effort, because despite all that is new and glittery in the world of IBM i, legacy applications exist and may be taking time away from programmer’s abilities to develop new applications that would use the system to its full advantage.

ISV name changes and new product announcements from IBM and ISVs
Quickly, here are some of the announcements that were released today from ISVs and IBM:

  • BOSaNOVA, Inc., change their company name to 10ZiG Technology. 10ZiG will continue to offer the same products which include a wide-range of thin clients, Q3 security encryption products, and System i Connectivity Solutions.
  • Quadrant Software released version 2.5 of its document management, workflow and imaging solution, IntelliChief. This release builds upon previous versions and adds more capabilities including performance metrics, workflow document matching, enhanced Web-form use, improved notifications, multiple document handling viewer improvements, document attachment options, and updates that support MS Server 2008 and MS SQL 2008 and MS Vista.

As promised, on Tuesday IBM unveiled their new products around dynamic infrastructure. The new POWER Systems announcements were:

  • Power 520 and 550 servers, the 4.7GHz and 5.0GHz POWER6 processora, which allow companies to save up to 91% on energy use and reduce floor space by 92%.
  • BladeCenter JS23 and JS43 blades for 64-bit applications on i, AIX or Linux OSes. A 4.2 GHz POWER6 processor delivers performance and scalability improvements. BladeCenter JS23 with four cores delivers twice the performance of an HP 860c Itanium blade according to industry benchmarks.

Also, to support enterprise IT energy savings initiatives, IBM has designed a prescriptive Energy Management Adoption Model to provide clients with concrete steps to improve the energy efficiency of their infrastructure. The entire enterprise infrastructure is included: IT, Facilities/Property and other business assets. As part of this model, IBM announced enhancements to its energy management portfolio including enhanced integration between IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management and Tivoli Business Service Manager, enable unified energy management of IT and non-IT infrastructure assets, consolidating energy information across a facility into a customizable energy dashboard and a free 60 day trial of IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Energy Management.

The exhibit hall closed at 3 pm, but the sessions continue Wednesday and Thursday.

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