Why are AS/400 systems still in use?

Three decades is a very long time in the world of technology, but 1988 was still an important year.

The first well-known computer virus was created, an IP connection connecting Europe and North America was established, and the idea of a World Wide Web was discussed for the first time by Tim Berners-Lee.

Another significant breakthrough was the creation of the IBM AS/400 computer system, known today as the IBM Power Systems. Picture a super computer from any spaceship in a sci-fi movie – a huge black or white box with shiny knobs – and you won’t be too far off.

The IBM System i is a family of midrange computers from IBM. It was first introduced as the AS/400 in June 1988, alongside the OS/400 operating system. It was intended as the successor to IBM’s System/36 and System/38 platforms. 


Before moving on to the reasons why this system is still in use and why it remains popular, one thing needs to be cleared up. Nobody still uses the original AS/400, it’s just the generic name that groups together all of IBM’s midrange computers, such as the iSeries and IBM System. Just like with any other technology that evolves and progresses, this is the case with the IBM Power System.

What is the AS400 system used for?

What is AS/400 Used ForAS/400 architecture is often used for ERP and other mission-critical tasks, particularly in industries that require extreme reliability, such as manufacturing. IBM Power Systems are popular with SAP users, as well as competing database management systems, such as Oracle Database.

Now that we’ve clarified that, let’s move on to discuss the AS/400 in more detail. Generally, the AS/400 is used for mission critical systems specific to industries that depend on reliability and stability, which is a priority for many. And this is reflected in the variety of Fortune 500 companies that still use the computer system. Chevron, JP Morgan, and UPS, just to name a few.

From its inception, the AS/400 has provided the foundation for some of the most powerful systems in the world. Its performance has enabled it to run the functions of an entire business. So, if some of the biggest companies in the Fortune 500, who can afford any system they want, aren’t looking further afield, it’s fair to say that the AS/400 is still going strong. But the main question from TEAM – what is the reason why?

In one word: Flexibility. And this can be attributed to a couple of different things. Firstly, there’s its upward compatibility. You can run a program created in 1988 on a Power Systems server today. In fact, this is the reason why it is still referred to as the AS/400. Secondly, the AS/400 can run a whole range of different languages, including: SQL, Java, Javascript, XML, PHP, JSON, Python, Perl, C, C++, and Ruby.

Take a look back and it may come as no surprise that the AS/400 has already celebrated its 30th birthday. As with any technology that has achieved longevity and stayed relevant, it needs to be adaptable and flexible. This is something that IBM has allocated a lot of time and efforts towards.

If you think the AS/400 is outdated just because of its age, then you are very wrong. IBM releases biannual updates with new hardware and software, and today’s version of IBM Power Systems is a far more powerful and flexible than any of its predecessors.

So, there you have it, the AS/400 is a prime example of how flexibility and openness are essential in establishing long-lasting and reliable technology. The original IBM Power Systems has provided a strong foundation for later versions, and the only thing that has stuck with the AS/400 has been its name.

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