Modern connectivity for the IBMi Series A/S 400

One of the most common platforms for running integrated applications is the IBMi Series AS/400, also known as the A/S 400. Introduced in 1988, this powerful solution had a strong value proposition for its time:

  • It requires little or no maintenance
  • It runs core line of business applications securely and predictably, focusing on quality of service and availability
  • It has nearly bulletproof security
  • It has one of the lowest TCO for integrated on-prem solutions
  • Virtualization has been available for the A/S 400 since 1999

It’s clear to see why so many companies chose to become IBM shops; for enterprise computing needs of the 1980s and 1990s, the A/S 400 was a very good solution. But for today’s enterprise technology needs, the IBM iSeries A/S 400 faces a number of challenges.  Over time the IBM i applications have accumulated mounds of technical debt, poor reuse, a web of point-to-point interfaces exploding out of control, and last but not least, an outdated green screen UI. These challenges are common to many organizations using on-premises legacy systems like the A/S 400; in organizations that have these systems, maintaining and extending legacy system capabilities consumes the majority of the IT, which leaves little time for innovation. 

 

In addition, the accelerating adoption of new technologies (e.g. SaaS, mobile, IoT) has meant that IT organizations can little afford the time and resources needed to maintain legacy systems. This problem is compounded by the increased number of requests for legacy system data; at the same time, many of the experts who are qualified to work with these systems are retiring. In short, legacy systems can often compromise IT’s ability to deliver on business initiatives.

Many organizations want to modernize their legacy systems to allow them to better meet the needs of 21st century enterprises, and those companies that use the A/S 400 are no exception. The necessary components of modernizing the IBM iSeries solutions are:
Integration - IT teams want to unlock IBM i data and processes quickly, promote reuse of those data and processes

  • UI - users want to provide a modern UX for both web and mobile clients
  • Database Modernization- IT teams need to modernize the model, validation, and relationships logic
  • CI / CD and DevOps - DevOps shops need to enable continuous refactoring, frequent releases, reduced risks
  • Cloud and SaaS - IT teams want to migrate non-differentiating ERP components

A purpose-built connector to the A/S 400 solution

MuleSoft provides a partner-certified A/S 400 connector that supports connectivity to AS/400 and all IBM i systems. It allows for AS/400 programs to be called directly from Mule, simplifying the process of exposing an AS/400 program with MuleSoft. The connector can support thousands of transactions per second from AS/400, and enables data and services from that solution to be exposed via a reusable API, so policies can be applied to protect sensitive data and system integrity. 

The connector has been used by an electronics and furniture retailer, which needed to adopt new point-of-sale technologies like Docusign and back-office eCommerce systems like Magento in order to improve customer experience and provide a more efficient selling process. But in order to adopt these technologies, they needed to unlock access to core processes and data housed in AS/400 applications. With MuleSoft’s AS/400 connector, they were able to enable high-throughput access from end-consuming applications to AS/400, supporting up to 200 transactions per second during the Black Friday sales period. 

Take a look at more solutions for modernizing legacy systems like the IBM iSeries, IBM mainframes, and SAP databases.