Overcoming Obsolescence With AS400 Migration to Cloud - A Complete Guide

Overcoming Obsolescence With AS400 Migration to Cloud - A Complete Guide
9 min read
11 December 2023

It is well-known that AS400 systems have been a stalwart in the world of business computing for decades. Its reputation for stability and reliability is unquestionable, and it has long been the backbone of numerous organizations. However, as technology evolves, so do the requirements of businesses.

Cloud computing has emerged as a game-changer in the IT landscape, and many are wondering if it's time to implement AS400 migration to Cloud. This well-curated guide highlights the importance of migration, and time-tested approaches, and helps enterprises understand whether migration is the right choice.

Is it Effective for Enterprises to use AS400?

The practicality of using an AS400 depends on specific business needs and circumstances. AS400 is a line of midrange computer systems developed by IBM that has been around for several decades. While it may not be as widely used as it once was, it still has a place in certain industries and organizations. AS400 is often used for running legacy applications, especially in industries like manufacturing, finance, and healthcare.

If an organization relies on critical applications that were developed for the AS400 platform, it may be practical to restructure its core by migrating to the Cloud. IBM has made efforts to modernize the AS400 platform and integrate it with more contemporary technologies. It can be a reliable option for AS400 application users, but it's essential to consider the right migration approaches to ensure that the application better aligns with future goals and technology requirements.

3 Factors Prompting the Need for AS400 Cloud Migration

  1. Resistance to Modern Tech Integration - Modern integration often relies on middleware, APIs, and tools designed for contemporary development environments. AS400 systems lack direct integration options with these technologies, requiring custom development to bridge the gap. By refactoring AS400 applications, enterprises can make them more compatible with modern technologies, programming languages, and development practices.
  2. Cost Optimization - AS400 systems are built on proprietary hardware and software, and this can limit the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of resource allocation. These proprietary components can be expensive to purchase, maintain, and upgrade. Whereas, investing in Cloud-based migration, enables enterprises to leverage virtualization technologies and improve resource utilization and scalability.
  3. Limited Scalability- Around, 80% of business experts say that scaling AS400 systems can be complex and expensive. Adding more processing power or memory often involves purchasing additional hardware and the process may require downtime or data migration. Based on workload patterns, enterprises can determine the appropriate migration plan to scale easily and make applications perform well under growing demand.

Why Go for Cloud-based AS400 Migration

Enhanced Scalability

One of the primary advantages of AS400 migration to the Cloud is the enhanced scalability that Cloud platforms offer. On-premises AS400 hardware has limitations, and expanding it can be a costly and time-consuming process. With Cloud solutions, organizations can easily scale their resources up or down as business needs change. Whether you need more processing power, storage, or additional virtual machines, the Cloud allows you to adapt swiftly and efficiently.

Cost Savings

Traditional AS400 hardware can be expensive to purchase, maintain, and upgrade. By migrating to the Cloud, you can eliminate the upfront capital expenditures associated with hardware procurement and reduce ongoing operational expenses. Cloud providers offer various pricing models, including pay-as-you-go and reserved instances, which allow you to optimize your costs based on your usage patterns.

High Availability and Disaster Recovery

Cloud platforms are known for their built-in high availability and disaster recovery capabilities. AS400 systems can also benefit from these features in the Cloud. With the right Cloud setup, you can achieve near-continuous uptime, and in the event of a disaster, your data and applications are better protected. This reduces the possibility of process interruption and information loss.

Security and Compliance

Cloud providers incorporate reliable security functionalities and compliance mechanisms. By migrating your AS400 to a reputable Cloud provider, you can leverage the security expertise and robust infrastructure that these providers offer. This is especially important for organizations in regulated industries that must adhere to strict compliance requirements.

Let’s look at how a leading financial organization improved security functionalities with AS400 migration:

International Monetary Systems, Ltd. Is a US-based financial leader who is actively helping millions of clients to manage and operate trade exchanges. They were using a green-screen trading application built and hosted on an AS400 server. Due to the changing IT environment and regulations, they decided to migrate to Cloud and expand the automation functionalities. By obtaining assistance from recognized migration experts, they implemented the transition project.

Now our clients are experiencing 24/7 seamless service with 100% security and compliance, says, Smith.

Access to Modern Technologies

AS400 systems, while reliable, may have limitations when it comes to integrating with modern technologies and applications. By moving to the Cloud, you can integrate your AS400 applications with other Cloud-native services, APIs, and microservices. This opens up new possibilities for innovation, automation, and integration with the broader IT ecosystem.

Flexibility for Development and Testing

Cloud environments provide flexibility for development and testing. You can create isolated environments to develop and test new applications, updates, or changes without impacting your production AS400 system. This agility can significantly improve your software development and testing processes.

Global Reach and Accessibility

Cloud providers have data centers in multiple regions, enabling you to reach a global audience more effectively. This is crucial for businesses that serve customers or users worldwide. Cloud-based AS400 systems can provide low-latency access and responsiveness to users across the globe.

7 Ways to Approach AS400 Cloud Migration

When migrating AS400 (IBM i) workloads to the Cloud, there are several approaches you can consider. The choice of approach depends on your organization's goals, the state of your AS400 applications, and your preferred Cloud platform. It is also advisable to team up with a recognized AS400 migration company to find the right strategy and organize the transition.

Here are some common AS400 Cloud migration approaches:

  1. Rehosting (Lift-and-Shift)

Rehosting, also known as "lift-and-shift," is the simplest migration approach. It involves moving your AS400 applications to the Cloud with minimal or no modifications. The goal is to replicate your existing environment in the Cloud while retaining the same application code, data, and configurations. Rehosting can be a quick way to get your AS400 workloads into the Cloud, but it may not take full advantage of Cloud-native features.

  1. Replatforming

Replatforming involves migrating your AS400 workloads to the Cloud with some level of optimization. This approach may involve updating the operating system, database, and other components to versions supported by the Cloud provider. It can help improve performance and reduce ongoing maintenance costs while preserving much of your existing code.

  1. Refactoring (Rearchitecting)

Refactoring, or rearchitecting, involves making substantial changes to your AS400 applications to make them more Cloud-native. This could include breaking monolithic applications into microservices, adopting modern development practices, and leveraging Cloud services like serverless computing, containers, and managed databases. Refactoring offers the greatest potential for taking advantage of Cloud benefits, such as scalability and cost-efficiency.

  1. Rebuilding

Rebuilding is a more radical approach where you rebuild your AS400 applications from the ground up in the Cloud. This approach can be chosen when your existing applications are outdated, inefficient, or not compatible with modern Cloud platforms. It allows you to start with a clean slate and design applications to fully leverage Cloud-native capabilities.

  1. Hybrid Approach

In certain scenarios, a hybrid methodology may be effective. This involves maintaining some AS400 workloads on-premises while migrating specific applications or components to the Cloud. It can provide flexibility, allowing you to gradually transition to the Cloud and synchronize data between on-premises and Cloud environments.

  1. Data-first Migration

In a data-first migration, the focus is primarily on migrating your AS400 data to the Cloud while keeping the applications in your on-premises environment. This approach allows you to take advantage of Cloud storage and analytics services while keeping your applications where they are.

  1. Full Cloud Replacement

In this approach, you replace your AS400 workloads with Cloud-native alternatives. For example, you might replace a legacy AS400 ERP system with a modern Cloud-based ERP solution. This approach is appropriate when your AS400 applications have become obsolete, and a complete replacement is more cost-effective and strategic.

Summing Up

AS400 migration is a critical step for organizations to adapt to the dynamic technological ecosystem and uncover several benefits. By migrating AS400 applications, enterprises can improve scalability, enhance user experience, boost security, and future-proof their processes. However, as said before, careful planning, collaboration, and applying a user-centric approach are critical to perform successful migration.

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Elena Mia 20
Elena Mia is a Technical Consultant, avid writer, and blogger. She has vast knowledge and expertise in Software/Mobile/Web products and frameworks and works wit...
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