Codal Logo

    Modernize AS400: What you need to know before updating this legacy system

    Many organizations use IBM AS400 to store data and power mission-critical applications. However, this technology—built in 1988—comes with many drawbacks, especially when compared to more modern solutions.

    Developer working with computer in office
    Many organizations use IBM AS400 to store data and power mission-critical applications. However, this technology—built in 1988—comes with many drawbacks, especially when compared to more modern solutions.
    From a development standpoint, the AS400 is outdated, with clunky interfaces, inferior data security, and excessive costs for support and maintenance. Plus, the amount of programmers with AS400 experience is dwindling rapidly, making it difficult for businesses to recruit qualified talent. For these reasons, many businesses are updating their AS400 legacy systems by leveraging newer, faster, and more scalable solutions.
    Is your company currently being held back by an outdated system? AS400 modernization can provide the following benefits:
    Streamlined development workflows
    Lower operational costs
    Ability to access applications from various devices and locations
    Greater flexibility when implementing new business logic and processes
    Smoother integrations with third-party tools and applications
    If your organization is looking to update its legacy system, here are a few important things to be aware of:


    A web development agency like Codal will help guide you through the modernization process. The amount of time it takes to plan and execute this transformation will depend on your business’ goals for the future, the amount of data and applications being managed, and the overall complexity of your technological ecosystem.
    A good digital transformation partner will be able to analyze the current system, make recommendations, then create an execution plan that leverages cutting-edge AS400 modernization tools—with respect to your company’s budget and timeline.


    Before you start evaluating different AS400 modernization services, you’ll want to have a strong sense of your business’ long-term goals and requirements. Keep in mind, your modernization partner will be able to provide helpful insights, including any additional improvements that could be made after reviewing your legacy system.
    What are your main priorities? What are the biggest obstacles holding your team back? How do you envision future development processes? Whether you’re focusing on cutting costs, enhancing security, increasing scalability, or all of the above, make a list of what you’re looking to accomplish through this transformation. For example, many developers struggle working with RPG ILE—the primary programming language used for IBM i applications. Migrating to a new system allows businesses in this scenario to facilitate faster, more efficient workflows for their developers.


    As we touched on earlier, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for AS400 modernization. It will depend on a range of factors, from your company’s current third-party integrations to its ideal future workflows. In many cases, businesses are looking to migrate their data from DB2 to a cloud environment like AWS, Azure, or SQL. This involves performing data audits, identifying high-priority and low-priority data points, and implementing automation tools for tracking and reporting—all of which can be executed by a solid modernization team.
    In general, there are several approaches to AS400 modernization. Here’s a quick look at each one:
    Re-host: Without altering any application code, features, or functionality, you can move mission-critical tasks to a new server, whether it be on-premise or in the cloud.
    Re-architect: This involves materially changing the code and switching to a brand new technological infrastructure.
    Re-platform: By migrating to a new runtime platform, you can take advantage of more advanced capabilities, while only having to make minimal changes to the code base.


    When evaluating potential modernization partners and approaches, make sure to inquire about long-term system maintenance. Having an outsourced support team that understands your business’ particular technological infrastructure will help prevent unexpected issues from popping up, like site outages, data leaks, and so on. You can even implement machine learning tools that perform predictive maintenance to ensure greater scalability and security.


    Here’s a quick checklist to help solidify the AS400 modernization process:
    For growing businesses, effective AS400 modernization can produce many positive outcomes, from streamlined development workflows, to lower operational costs, to better data security. But the transformation can take many different forms, which is why it’s so important to partner with an agency that specializes in AS400 modernization.
    Codal has over a decade of experience digitally transforming organizations across all industries. So when your business is ready to update its system, we can help guide you through the entire process with technical expertise, market research, and cutting-edge tools.  Ready to get started? Get in touch with Codal today!

    Written by Gibson Toombs