Buying Used AS/400 iSeries for training

15 pts.
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AS/400 training
I'm an IT consultant with experience on Windows/Linux/Mac and a smattering of AS400. Frequently I come across clients who have an AS400/iSeries that's been tucked in a closet or under a desk running for years without a problem that they now want to pull data off of into a front end app for team collaboration/sharing, etc. I know enough to muddle through with the help of a manual and find the info I want, but I often end up steering them towards moving to the Windows platform just because that's what I know and support even though I really enjoy working on the iSeries and think it's more reliable and secure than Windows. Many of my clients are in smaller towns away from the metro area of Detroit and there are no local resources for iSeries. I'd like to become more fluent myself so I could offer them the support they are seeking and continue to make use of their investment. Is it feasible to pick up a used AS400/iSeries on eBay to use for training purposes? I'm a self-learner and love nothing more than pouring through a manual and working things out on a live system. I see plenty of 170's and 270's in the range of $1000-$5000 on eBay, which is pretty much my budget. Most of the systems I come across at client's are in the 5-10 year old range so I don't think I really need to have the latest and greatest. If this makes sense, what sort of system should I be looking at, what OS version, what are the licensing issues, etc? Most of them have descriptions of which cards they come with, cables, etc. But I don't know what to look for if I"m just looking to tinker around versus run it in a production environment. Or where can I go to find this out? I've Googled everything I can think of and I can't really find anything useful. Thanks

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You may want to look at time share such as

http://www.timeshare400.com/

Phil

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  • Voodoovw
    I agree with Phil. Unless you know what you are doing you could end up with a useless piece of equipment sitting in the corner. This is because the Operating system is tied to the serial number of the server. Without the “Keys” for the OS the system is almost worthless. The OS could cost more than you paid for the hardware. My friend David use to offer free time on his server to those interested. I’m not sure if he still does but you can contact him through www.texas400.com
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  • Kurtismonger
    Interesting comments. That's why I was asking about the eBay option. Some of them are from refurb outfits and they specify it comes with V5R3 or whatever, but I wasn't sure of everything I would need to make sure I had to make a running system. The time share idea may be what I need and a heck of a lot more affordable. Mostly I get requests to do minor admin tasks or modify existing code. I'm primarily looking to learn more about system administration as well as some COBOL and RPG programming. I suppose I can do that as easily on a remote system as I can locally.
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  • OldSysAdmin
    Let us know what approach you decide to take and how it works out, I'm curious. If you're not too concerned with learning hardware, your own small 170 with apropriate OS (doesn't need to be the most current release) and compilers and a network card ought to work for you IMHO.
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  • slack400
    Back in the 90's I knew a couple of contractors who owned their own AS400's at home. I know that IBM would cut them very good deals on software maintenance so they could stay current without getting hit very hard for maintenance. You probably get a tax write off as well. There used to be a software vendor in California that sold an AS400 simulator software that could run on a PC. I can't find it but I found this link. It looks like the company has been acquired. http://www.virtual400.com/
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  • hafwhit
    You have come to the right place to ask you question. You can get most of your questions answered here if it is not to technical. If you purchase a used system you need to see what you are getting. You may just get a system with the OS and not any programming or Query software. You might submit a question on a system here with the details and see what people think. You might even work a deal with one of your clients to use there system remotely.
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  • TomLiotta
    If the system is billed as coming with, say, V5R3 of i5/OS, then the purchase price includes the OS license. You will want to ensure that the seller is able to work with IBM to transfer the Proof Of Entitlement (POE). This can be a tricky process. If you also need hardware/software maintenance, that will be an additional contracted fee. My last system was bought off eBay from IBM -- surplus equipment. I was fortunate in dealing directly with IBM. It was a 170 at V5R1. I purchased hardware and software maintenance, and upgrades and PTFs got me to V5R3 without issues. I also purchased a compilers license from a reseller, and they have also been upgraded/PTFd. Note that V5R3 is no longer supported by IBM as a release. I do not know what this means in terms of the POE transfer. However, there should be no legal issues. The POE would be needed for support contracts and upgrades. Tom
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  • TomLiotta
    ...but with that said, a timeshare can be an excellent way to go. Google is your friend. Tom
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