The AS/400 - formally renamed the "IBM iSeries," but still commonly known as AS/400 - is a midrange server designed for small businesses and departments in large enterprises and now redesigned so that it will work well in distributed networks with Web applications. The AS/400 uses the PowerPC microprocessor with its reduced instruction set computer technology. Its operating system is called the OS/400. With multi-terabytes of disk storage and a Java virtual memory closely tied into the operating system, IBM hopes to make the AS/400 a kind of versatile all-purpose server that can replace PC servers and Web servers in the world's businesses, competing with both Wintel and UNIX servers, while giving its present enormous customer base an immediate leap into the Internet.
The AS/400, one of IBM's greatest success stories, is widely installed in large enterprises at the department level, in small corporations, in government agencies, and in almost every industry segment. It succeeded another highly popular product, the System/36 and was itself based on a later, more sophisticated product, the System/38. AS/400 customers can choose from thousands of applications that have already been written and many have been "Web-enabled." IBM points to the AS/400's "uptime" of 99.9%.
According to IBM, these are some important new uses for the AS/400:
- Data warehousing: With multi-gigabytes of RAM and multi-terabytes of hard disk space, the AS/400 can be a repository for large amounts of company data to which data mining could be applied.
- Java application development: With its closely integrated Java virtual machine and new tools designed by IBM for building commercial applications with Java, the AS/400 can be used as a development system.
- Web and e-commerce serving: Equipped with a Web server and applications designed to support e-commerce (taking orders, tracking orders, providing service to customers, working with partners and suppliers) and with firewall capabilities, the AS/400 can handle Internet serving for a moderate-size company.
- Corporate groupware services: Assuming that Domino and Notes have been included with the system, it's designed to quickly provide a corporation with sophisticated e-mail, project file sharing, whiteboards, and electronic collaboration.