The iSeries Blog

June 27, 2007  8:40 AM

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.

June 27, 2007  8:33 AM

Creditz signs $1.1 million System i deal with IBM

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Creditz, which creates digital rewards cards for consumers, has signed a $1.1 million deal with IBM that includes the purchase of IBM System i servers.

The iSeries hardware is just a portion of the deal, which also includes the purchase of WebSphere and DB2 software as well as managed services hosted in IBM’s Toronto data center. Here’s the rundown on what Creditz does, from the IBM press release:

The Creditz service gives consumers a digital currency card that allows consumers to make payments for anything from a postage stamp to a luxury car. With each payment, users earnCreditz that can be spent on whatever consumers want. For those who collect frequent flyer and retail buyer points, Creditz allows them to aggregate and exchange points for everyday shopping, dining, paying bills, retirement funds or making donations to nonprofit organizations.

Chris Maxcer at the System i Network has a column about how the IBM System i is good for Creditz because of the platform’s reputation for security and reliability. Although the best part from the link is a comment from a reader who compares the System i to Cinderella:

It has been told tales are a metaphor of real life. Has anyone ever noticed the likeness between the AS400 story and Cinderella’s tale? You have a step-mother (the mainframe) and you have stepsisters (p and x servers). You could even see the coach metamorphosed from the pumpkin (RPG?).

Will it ever be a happy end?

By now I see many many princes (faithful users) but none of them seems able to find the golden slipper.

Wow. I mean, that’s just funny.

June 20, 2007  9:34 AM

Comparing the System i to Unix boxes

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

In this detailed article, Timothy Prickett Morgan from IT Jungle compares System i price and performance to Unix boxes from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

I suggest reading the story if you want all the dirty details, including tables with all the specs. But the bottom line conclusions by Morgan are these:

  • System i entry boxes should have the Power6 chip sooner rather than later.
  • i5/OS is too expensive.
  • DB2 on the System i is too expensive.

Morgan said System i lags on price-performance more because of the software than the hardware.

June 20, 2007  9:06 AM

Another iSociety fireside chat

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Speaking of iSociety, the group has announced that there will be another online “fireside” chat coming up next month.

This time up the chat will be on MySQL and PHP and will feature Jon Paris, one of the co-founders of iSeries consultancy Partner400; Mike Pavlak, the director of information services at power supply manufacturer Tripp-Lite, and others. It’s scheduled for 1 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, July 11.

The iSociety has gotten some cool chats going on their site. Participants have included Mark Shearer, the IBM System i general manager; and Elaine Lennox, the IBM System i marketing VP.

June 20, 2007  8:39 AM

Open source System i applications?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

David Vasta suggests having a site dedicated to the creation and sharing of open source applications on the IBM System i. He points to an existing site,, which frankly doesn’t look like it’s been active for a while.

Perhaps there is room within the iSociety for this type of discussion? The group has a fairly active forum, and if a discussion was started on open source applications that started to grow in popularity, perhaps a special page on the site could be dedicated to it. I’m not sure.

June 13, 2007  11:18 AM

Vision Solutions buys Lakeview Technology

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

That’s right, Vision Solutions Inc. has reached out and touched someone again. Last time, as you remember, it was iTera. This time, it’s Lakeview Technology Inc. All three were already major players in the System i high availability space; combining them just creates a behemoth. Vision claims it has 6,000 customers.

From the release:

During the merger of Vision and iTera in 2006, the company committed to develop, market and support both ORION HA and iTera HA for the foreseeable future. Vision intends to implement this same strategy with Lakeview’s MIMIX product line.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

So it seems that if you want high availability on your System i, iSeries or AS400 box, it’s more and more likely that you’ll be dealing with Vision Solutions. Which might not be such a good thing if you’re looking to get good support services from Vision Solutions, despite how expansive it is, according to the release:

The acquisition of Lakeview Technology combines the R&D talents of the industry’s largest and most innovative high availability and disaster recovery development organizations. In addition, customers will benefit from an extensive support organization that spans the world.

June 13, 2007  8:42 AM

S4i updates Express document management software

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

S4i Systems Inc., a System i disk and document management company in Oceanside, Calif., has upgraded its S4i Express software for document management.

S4i Express can take i5/OS and OS400 spool files and create electronic documents and reports in various formats, including Word, HTML and PDF.

New features of the software include support for binary files (in addition to spool files), the ability to assign priority for which documents get created and distributed in a queue, and password-protected PDF files.

The software, available now, starts at $7,800. A free 30-day trial is available by contacting S4i.

June 13, 2007  8:17 AM

Draft redbook on logical partitioning

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

IBM is working on a draft redbook about logical partitioning on System i and p. Since Big Blue has been pushing the two platforms as good locations for server consolidation projects (especially the System p), knowing LPARs like the back of your hand is a good first step.

June 13, 2007  8:00 AM

Uh-oh, iTera-Vision merger causing support problems?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Remember back in November when System i high-availability software vendors iTera and Vision Solutions merged? They painted the picture of a smooth transition, rosy outlooks and, of course, uninterrupted support. Well, here’s the first sign that mergers don’t always do what they’re supposed to for the customer.

David Vasta from the iSeries Addict writes about his poor experience, particularly with support personnel from Vision. One person complaining about support isn’t news in itself, but if you read the comments to Vasta’s post, you’ll see that support from Vision has been a problem for users for a long time, and now it’s starting to bleed over to iTera users as well.

The post is obviously garnering some attention, as a senior VP from Vision Solutions even left a comment defending his company. There’s some back-and-forth going on that you don’t want to miss. As an aside, the title of the blog post is “Vision Support is starting to stink,” but the URL shows a stronger opinion:

June 6, 2007  8:15 AM

The ins and outs of deploying portals

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

A portal is a first step toward what everybody in IT — or at least all the vendors — are talking about: service oriented architecture, or SOA. IBM is touting the idea of using portals to better and more quickly access what you need in an application in an easier-to-digest format.

IBM has WebSphere Portal, but there is also plenty of open-source portal software out there as well.

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