The iSeries Blog

Jun 27 2007   8:40AM GMT

The AS/400 turns 19 — the teen years are almost gone

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

IT Jungle has a cool article about the AS/400 turning 19 years old. There isn’t a whole lot of reminiscence; most of the story is about where the IBM System i might be going, rather than how far it has come. But it does claim that IBM probably didn’t realize when it created the hardware platform in 1988 (which actually derived from the System/38 platform created a decade earlier) that it would last this long.

Furthermore, on the topic of where it’s going, who really knows, right?

And I don’t think IBM has any better skills than you or I to figure out how the System i will do in the future. IBM gets to try technologies and tactics, it gets to be in control of the initial conditions of each System i product cycle. But that is a far cry from being able to predict what more than 200,000 customers worldwide will do or not do.

Good stuff there. Check it out.

11  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    People wonder why so many see the System i as old. If we would stop speaking of the System i, iSeries and AS/400 as if they were the same, maybe it would stop. Lumping all of these systems together is like refering to every car as being the same. It would be like saying that a 2007 car is old technology because the car was invented in the 1800's. It's just nonsense. We should still celebrate the AS/400 turning 19 because there are likely people still running their businesses on old CISC boxes, because they can. What a great system and a great legacy!
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    [...] In The iSeries blog is a reference to an article in IT Jungle called The AS/400 at 19: Predicting the Future–Or Not which I haven’t had to chance to read but I am sure that it’ll be interesting, as always. [...]
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    I have made my career in the IBM System i5, iSeries, AS400, System 38 and System 3 platforms. While the platform gets better with every refresh, IBM marketing gets worse. IBM continues to preach to the choir or existing users, but they are unable to get the attention of Windows users and Unix users. While this message is as old as the AS400, IBM needs to use some help from outside marketing/advertising geniuses who can come up with a better advertising or marketing plan to convince all those Windows advocates that there is a better solution. Maybe if IBM lowered prices to sell more units, got back into the ERP Application software business and worked closer with other application software companies to competitively bundle hardware & software to compete against Windows and Unix. I have seen many software companies moving to a Windows front-end model because there are more potential sales than the System i5-iSeries platform. Also, when companies hire a non-IBM iSeries manager, the first thing they do is chart a course to replace the IBM System i. If IBM stayed closer to the executive management, they could keep management better informed on how IBM will protect their IT investment and insure that information and reporting needs will be met or exceed expectations through IBM innovations and reliability.
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    I believe it is great to celebrate the birthday of the latest "baby", System i. I also agree it is time people stop calling it an AS/400...that is now old technology. I confess that I do slip and call it an iSeries. But, the System i is a new child, much more gifted, with talents and abilities never dreamed of in 1988. We need to do our part in telling everyone about this exciting new product that just gets better and better. Anne Lucas
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    I too have made my career out of this machine from the System38 on up and I can tell you it takes all of us to work as a team to promote the best machine on the planet. Please, I encourage all of you to get out and be active in your local user groups and colleges that teach on this platform. We, like the machine, are not getting any younger and unlike the machine are getting ready to retire and hang it up in the next decade or so, so if we want to see this machine outlast us, we all need to work toward getting the word out to the young people just entering the work force that there is a better solution out there. I am excited that our local college in conjunction with the school district was able to teach the first ever System i concepts class to the high school and boy how the students took to the platform when they found out they could text message the other students. In the end it showed them that there is this great business application machine out there and that there are other alternatives to the Intel and Linux worlds.
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    That was the purpose of the "Future System" (Sys38)...hardware independent code...
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    The headline of this article is typical of the bad press that the i5 platform receives daily. The IBM PC was introduced in August of 1981, but don't expect to see any articles from the industry mentioning that the PC is 26 years old. The industry constantly implies that OS400 and the "box" itself are on the downside of its life cycle when from a technology standpoint the opposite is true. It remains to be seen if IBM can reverse the market trend on the platform.
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    Speaking as someone who was present at the creation of the great and STILL unparalleled 38, I'm absolutely unsurprised that it has endured as well as it has, despite what has seemed at times to be IBM's best efforts, and I'm only really only regretful that I didn't figure out a way to get a dime for every time some boofhead of a supposedly-knowledgeable IT journo said it wouldn't last.
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    18 years experience on AS400s & iseries & still developing - What else is there in life? (apart from family & chess) - I agree with most of the comments left here - But I do wonder if the low profile marketing is deliberate - I would guess that the larger investors in the machine are sizeable financial institutions & governments who still favour the secure nature of the beasty & my point is that the low profile nurtures this security. The question is whether this is a deliberate strategy or not, but I concede the warnings (OS2, SNA, .. ??) - Just because a technology is robust & rich, it doesn't mean that it will survive in an ignorant marketplace.
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    My career goes back 30 years to the System/3 34, 36, 38, and original AS/400. What's wrong with still calling it an AS/400? The latest i5 includes all the capabilities of the original AS/400 along with serious advancements in technology. A Corvette is still a Corvette over 50 years later even though it's evolved. The real problem is with IBM marketing. Ever see an IBM commercial on TV and wonder just what the heck they're selling? Those that understand know that the platform is technologically superior to Microsoft offerings but Microsoft just knows how to market. As a motorcycle buff, I see the same in comparing Harley Davidson to a Honda Goldwing. The Honda is substantially superior to the Harley touring models but Harley just knows how to market better than Honda. IBM - take note...
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    I choose to built my career on AS400 almost 10 years ago. This is a great machine with integrated OS, Database and Programing Language, but poor and very very poor marketing support. I'm fighting "alone" for this platform existence and upgrades vs abundant of Windows based users, fresh graduates, IT specialist and (sad to say) vendors. It seems that I should be more realistic to the "outside world" and say goodbye to i.
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