Thursday, July 27, 2017

IBM i is more than an AS400

why ibm i  is not as400

I frequently get messages asking why does IBM call it IBM i when it is just an AS/400, or even System/38, by another name. Talking to other authors and IBM-ers I find that I am not alone to receive communications like this.

Steve Will, chief architect for IBM i, has felt compelled to dispel this fallacy. Earlier this month he made an online presentation, sponsored by HelpSystems, explaining how IBM i differs and is a lot more than AS/400. The video can be watched on the sponsor's website here.

The video lasts just over an hour, and, in my opinion, is worth watching to learn the evolution of the operating system to become the thoroughly modern IBM i.


  1. I think you are missing the point. Do you remember any dissent when System 38 was changed to AS400? I don't either, because AS400 was a name. "i" is not a name it is a letter usually associated with Apple products. And " i on power" is even more clutsey. We have had many good product names (360, VM370, System 36, and many others but "i" is a loser. I is a significant reason for the loss in platform sales. There is absolutely no name recognition here. But by gosh you're right and all of your customers and business partners are wrong. I have been working for or with IBM for 50 plus years and I believe that marketing has completely lost touch with the marketplace. "i" is just one example!

  2. There ya go. The NEW "IBM50+".

  3. My brother-in-law runs a recruitment agency in a state in the middle of the USA. He has never used an IBM midrange, but he "knows all about them" working with his clients and candidates. This is his perception:

    "AS/400 is old, out of date. Only old guys work on them."

    "Power i those are the clever guys."

  4. After watching the video I think the confusion is caused by how IBM looks at the platform and how the programmers (and users) sees it. IBM focuses on the hardware below the MI layer and the programmers sees what is above it. Below the MI layer I admit there have been major changes. But above the MI layer it hasn't changed that much. It is still RPG or Cobol and green screen that is normally seen. Even after 30 years I haven't been working on a system (AS/400) that has used anything but green screen. And I have been working on many different systems. This might have been caused by the fact that IBM hasn't implemented a native graphical interface to replace or interact with the 5250 interface. I think it could have been done if it had been implemented in Client Access or Access Client Solutions. So for our users it is still the same green screen AS/400 that they are used to. And given the awfull names and inpronounceable IBM has renamed the platform to in the recent years we have been using the old term AS/400 in order not to confuse our users.

  5. Power i are those clever guys that worked on AS400s and still enjoy the database, SQL and one of the best operating systems ever written.

    1. Some of the "clever guys" I know started on AS400, and over time have worked to learn most of what has been added to this operating system. They are the one who fit Jon Paris's quote about "Do you have 25 years experience, or just 5 years experience 5 times over".

      Many of the others I know on this platform never worked on the AS400. They came to the system later with different skills and new ideas of what it could do.

  6. People yammering about how the 'IBM mid-range is dead' simply are wanting to sell something more expensive and less-secure

  7. Unfortunately, a lot of IBMi shops are listening to that lie and ruining perfectly good environments for "off-brand" platforms.


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