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IBM is the world’s largest IT consulting firm, the largest system manufacturer and the second largest software company. The midrange market which is encompassed by the AS/400 and iSeries platforms is a significant component of IBM’s services, software and hardware business. In recent times, customers have asked for solutions to meet their desire to provide proven applications on open platforms such as Linux.

The situation

Significant numbers of IBM midrange customers have sought the counsel of IBM Global Services in an attempt to provide their AS/400-based software on alternative platforms such as AIX or Linux. While many of the IT professionals are very pleased with the stability of the platform and the solid performance of the applications, their end-users, customers and trading partners have sought alternatives.

Desire for open platforms drives project

IBM is a provider of IT consulting services to midrange clients on a global basis. While we are the manufacturer of the AS/400 and iSeries platforms, we are compelled to meet client objectives. Customers have requested our assistance in helping guide them through a process to allow them to execute their software on Linux and AIX. In order to meet these objectives, we looked at several options. We could rewrite the applications from the beginning, we could migrate the software using certain tools, or we could begin looking for applications that would meet the client’s needs but could be deployed on multiple platforms.
For budgetary and time constraint purposes, the rewrite option was quickly dismissed. There were clear benefits by building a new system, including the ability to incorporate new capabilities into the system that their current system didn’t provide. The tools option seemed as if it would create more problems than solutions and new applications seemed to be best solution.

New Applications Prove Too Time Consuming

Where we really felt that new software that could run on Linux or AIX might be the best plan, the more we began looking at possible alternatives, the more we didn’t believe we could implement them in time to meet the client goals. Another major problem is that while several of the systems we compared provided capabilities the client desired, some of their inherent system capabilities weren’t there. We felt that customization to provide some core elements would lead to high programming costs, the inability to maintain system support and might not meet our time constraints.

Looking at Migration Tools

We began searching our data and realized that INFINITE Corporation had jointly developed its products with IBM teams. We looked at their BABYiSeries and a competitive product. In evaluating the two companies, we had developed an extensive list of requirements. Some of them are listed below:
  • The tool must have the ability to produce RPG/400 object code that can run on Linux.
  • The tool must be able to run database triggers on Linux.
  • The tool must be able to run native AS/400 software under Oracle on Linux.
  • The tool must have its own or be able to function with a third party GUI product.       
  • The tool must provide the ability to run as many as 500 concurrent users.

The decision

BABYiSeries was really the only choice. The INFINITE Corporation Business Services team assisted in a proof of concept migration that met all of our primary criteria. Their delivery was timely and the functionality was obvious. BABYiSeries was our choice.