Recently, Search400 reported on IBM's efforts to revitalize the iSeries. What do users have to say about Big Blue's investment? While some readers are hopeful, others say it's too little too late. Here is a sampling of the responses.
The end of an era
Well this is great news, but a little too late for us. We've just found out that our Payroll/HRMS software vendor is dropping support for the iSeries. Sadly this means last call for our IBM iSeries.
For 33 years, I've developed applications on the IBM System34, 38, AS400. My personal opinion is that there isn't an operating system comparable to IBM iSeries.
I'm in academia. I think Unix has always had a strong edge. Our institution favors unix (lots of them), for the main administrative system(s) and MS for the smaller. There have been several other attempts to eliminate the IBM.
I feel fortunate to have worked with the IBM midrange these years.
It is too late for us
After 13 years, we will be abandoning our iSeries and moving to Oracle's E-Business Suite. There are a number of reasons why corporate decided to do this, but some of them, I think, are related to the iSeries itself:
1. Lack of a good, native GUI (we are still on green screens).
2. Lack of a simple, easy way to access/pull/link iSeries data into Microsoft Office products and databases.
3. The perception of the iSeries as an obsolete, proprietary platform.
4. The perception of the iSeries and its software as being "expensive" (although I wonder if that is really true).
There are a number of other reasons as well, which have more to do with executive decisions over the years and with our company culture than with the above considerations, none of which IBM has any control over.
I am sad to leave such a reliable platform (no downtime in 10 years, exept for a power supply that went bad on us once). I will miss RPG, CL, and OS/400, but, thankfully, the company I work for plans to re-train me, in various aspects of Oracle.
San Joaquin Valley, CA
The iSeries helps me sleep at night
Your editorial comments raise excellent points in regard to the future of the 400. The good, and the bad, of the 400 is that it lends itself to being an almost Chameleon-like system in that it can appear to be almost anything the user needs it to be from a PC-sized server all the way to a main-frame-sized piece of iron. And, like the PC, the 400 has been used for everything under the sun when it comes to small business needs but, like a true main-frame, it has also been used for many things, especially in the most recent past. Some could say that the 400 doesn't know what it truly wants to be when it grows up especially since it continues to grow in capabilities on both the small and large ends of the spectrum. But the truth is, the beauty of the 400 is that it continues to allow user companies to use a system from the very small end all the way to the very large end without needing to replace its application mix/development.
And, in my opinion, IBM has dropped the ball in expressing the broad spectrum of the 400 as far as application capabilities go. But worse than that, IBM has dropped the ball in expressing the dependability of the 400. For example, in over six years at this company, I've only seen the 400 go down one time for a true hardware failure that "brought it to its knees."
During that same time, our company has gone from no Wintel servers to over 30 and there's not a day that goes by that we don't end up having to IPL one or more of those servers.
It's nice to see IBM "talking" with their wallets about the 400 but I would like to also see them step up the advertising surrounding all the good points of the 400. Maybe by doing so, we would see more tech schools and colleges with various aspects of the 400 in their tech curriculum. It's always sad to get new people coming in applying for a job who have never even heard of a 400.
Fortunately, for now, this company swears by the versatility and dependability of the 400. I know that those two qualities are constantly being improved in the Wintel world so it's hard to say how much longer we will hang on to the 400 but for now, I love being able to sleep at night knowing my main applications are running on an AS400.
Thanks for your coverage.
Crete Carrier Corporation