I am interested in just what is the AS/400 as it applies to the soft goods industry.
I assume by soft goods that you are referring to the apparel industry. In my experiences with "soft goods" companies, AS/400's are used in every facet of the industry. Most spinning mills, dye plants, and manufacturers use the AS/400 for purchasing, requirements forecasting and planning, processing systems control (controlling the spinning, extraction, knitting, stamping and dye machines), shop floor control systems, sales and order processing, inventory control, warehouse management, shipment processing, accounting (A/P, A/R, G/L), EIS (Executive Information Systems), equipment and plant maintenance systems, printer servers, network servers, EDI, B2B systems and sales reporting and tracking systems. The companies with which I have done business only include about 80-90 companies in NC, SC, VA, WV and Northern Georgia. I am reasonably sure that there are many more.
The AS/400 (iSeries) as an overall product for the soft goods industry represents the most stable operating system on the planet. OS/400 is truly 128-bit capable and operates on 64 bit processors until the 128's come out. UDB/400 is part the DB2 family and part of the overall strategy of IBM to offer a common database system across all platforms. The DB2 Product family runs on non-IBM machines such as Sun and Hewlett-Packard as well as IBM hardware, and operating systems such as Windows, Linux, Sun's Solaris Operating Environment, HP-UX, NUMA-Q, AIX, OS/2, and handheld device operating systems such as Windows CE and the Palm Computing platform. It also supports ODBC, JDBC and JNI (Java Native Interface) portals.
OS/400 also supports multiple storage systems for storing data in OS/2, Windows, Unix and DB2/400 formats on the same drive system. It also supports multiple programming languages including COBOL, RPG, C, C++, ILE versions of each, Java, a System/36 mode, Unix Mode (QSH), Unix support through Unix API's as well as the Native OS/400 environments. Just as a note, I can't think of a single Fortune 500 company who doesn't use the AS/400 (including Microsoft). I would think the AS/400 would be a good choice for any company.