What is AS400 Modernization (IBM i)? Tools & Application (2023)

AS400 Modernization
AS400 Modernization

AS400 modernization is recognized as a process that helps transform the green screen of the IBM i 5250 application into the specific modernized graphical interface without involving zero or the least amount of change in the business database and logic.

Such modernized apps are capable of functioning on different smartphones, in cross-platform operating environments, and in several browsers. Such an AS/400 modernization process includes an in-depth assessment of the already-present system, after which the modernization plan is created. The development of a modernization plan is beneficial in outlining the various steps required to implement system upgrades.

It is inclusive of upgrading the different kinds of apps and operating systems, replacing outdated equipment, and integrating various technologies. The latest IBM i systems integrate the most updated machine learning-based processes, artificial intelligence, CPU architecture, and powerful software enhancements. In addition, they provide the prerequisite support to various open source and native programming languages, like PHP, .NET, Java, RPG, and C.

Why do Companies need AS/400 modernization?

In this section, you can understand the reasons why business enterprises need AS400 modernization:

Reducing IT department productivity

A misconception people have about IBM i digital transformation is that the integration of everyday operations involving different modernization needs restricts the productivity of the developer. IBM i modernization offer an ideal environment for IT, which plays an integral role in producing different kinds of business solutions.

 IBM application modernization helps enhance the implementation teams and IT departments during the transformation process. In this regard, it is essential to give priority to different orders, thereby creating the system, and responding to the questions, as they help make AS400 modernization a grand success.

Faster changing of different market conditions

Technology is evolving at an enhanced speed. Without the involvement of the AS400 modernization, the IBM i platform cannot meet modern needs. AS400 apps boast a monolithic architecture. Hence, it becomes challenging to adapt to the changing marketing conditions faster. It comes with two different options.

The first option is to stay up with the competition, whereas the second option is to go out of business. Hence, you should avoid having a massive production failure before you begin the IBM i modernization process.

Lack of sufficient talent

The modernization of the already-present IBM i monolithic system needs more time for implementation. Besides this, business enterprises do not have sufficient talent for the AS400 application modernization of different legacy systems.

The developers should learn the prerequisites and the latest technical skills, which are necessary for IBM AS400 modernization but challenging to obtain. There are wide assortments of developers who fail to modify the latest IBM i green screens within the modernized look. It leads to different risks for a bunch of vital processes.

Complex Integration

If you want to offer business value, the majority of business apps depend on different kinds of third-party services. Direct IBM i Cloud Solutions or API integration is effective in completing the task successfully. There are a variety of businesses that adopt APIs or 3rd party software to create different functions, like IBM i monitoring or user authentication, to ensure effectiveness.

It allows them to focus on their primary business needs. In most cases, these modern solutions require integration. There are different businesses that encounter challenges as they incorporate a modern solution, like isolated data systems and monolithic data systems within the legacy infrastructure. The use of IBM i monitoring tools and different legacy modernization processes help in the incorporation of different kinds of modernization solutions within the legacy apps.

Difficult innovation

A wide assortment of business enterprises looks forward to beating the competition. However, there are a wide assortment of businesses that are responding faster to customer requests and employee requests.

It indicates that business enterprises are innovating consistently to keep up with the business pace, thereby facilitating innovation. It is challenging to try to innovate without the modernization of different IBM i applications. Owing to the higher maintenance costs, enhanced technical debt, and monolithic structure, this becomes the case.

Complex scaling

 As the business enterprise is expanding, the needs are also increasing. In easy terms, the scaling of the monolithic IBM i infrastructure is complex. Due to the increased technical debt, the integration of IT with business needs is challenging. The potential audience creates the work environment when the changes in the business occur without core system delay, data stopping flowing, and the support of IT.

It is possible for business enterprises to scale different IBM i app development by deploying the apps faster. It helps with the consistent delivery approach. Thus, it is useful for business enterprises to provide different app upgrades faster, as they try to design different solutions to handle different business challenges. Thus, business enterprises enhance the features of their new customers.

Higher maintenance costs

Implementation of the modern project involves a huge cut to the pocket. However, it is necessary to perform business investments for the app modernization, or else the IBM i apps increase the technical debt. The term technical debt refers to a term that is used in the IT sector to describe the obsolete code quantity and the unsupported platforms in the business enterprise.

There is a wide assortment of business enterprises that are scaling IBM i app development, thereby deploying such apps faster and thereby transforming the continuous delivery approach.

There are different kinds of business enterprises that provide different kinds of app upgrades faster, regardless of whether they will design the solutions to handle different kinds of business challenges and offer the latest features to the customers.

Features of AS/400 Modernization

The AS/400 modernization process refers to the process of upgrading the capabilities of the platform to accomplish enhanced technological advancements and business requirements. Now, we will tell you about the crucial features of the AS400 application modernization:

Mobile integration

The modernization of AS400 allows the integration with different mobile technologies, like mobile applications, and offers a standard mechanism to exchange data between various platforms and apps.

Cloud Integration

The AS/400 modernization offers a helping hand in incorporating the latest cloud-based technologies like computing and cloud storage. It offers scalability, improved flexibility, and accessibility.

Upgraded hardware

The modernization of AS400 is inclusive of upgrades to the hardware, including the improvement of scalability, reliability, and performance, as well as the replacement of outdated equipment.

Security enhancements

The AS400 modernization includes the strengthening of the security features of the platform, which include data protection, access control, and encryption. It plays an integral role in the mitigation of potential risks and threats.

Integration with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

AS400 modernization is useful for integrating different machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. The combination of these technologies offers a helping hand in offering data analysis capabilities and intelligent automation.

GU modernization

 The modernization of AS400 includes the updating of the user interface. It offers an enhanced intuitive experience and a modern experience for the potential audience, like the graphical user interface.

Web services integration 

The AS400 integration helps with integrating with different kinds of web services. It offers a standardized mechanism that helps exchange data between various platforms and apps.

AS400 Modernization Steps

AS400 has become the latest buzzword, along with IBM i. It contributes to the legacy system, which has been in extensive use for several decades. At present, a wide assortment of business enterprises is using AS400. There is an enhanced need to modernize different systems to keep up with the latest technological advancements and enhanced business needs. Now, we will discuss some steps that should be taken to ensure effective AS400 modernization:

Assessment of the latest system

The primary step involves the evaluation of the existing AS400 system. It plays an integral role in recognizing the weaknesses and the strengths. It is useful in finding the areas that need extra improvement. Besides this, it helps improve the technologies that are integrated into the system.

Creation of the modernization plan

 According to the assessment, it is recommended to come up with a specific modernization plan, which helps outline the steps necessary for an AS/400 system upgrade. Resource availability, timelines, and budgets are the factors that should be taken into consideration.

Upgrading the software and hardware

Upgrading the software and hardware is considered an indispensable part of the AS400 modernization. It involves the replacement of outdated equipment, upgrade of the database and AS400 operating systems, and different kinds of apps.

Incorporation of the latest technologies

AS400 modernization includes integration of the latest technologies, like mobile apps, cloud computing, and web services, to name a few. It brings an improvement in the system’s scalability, flexibility, and functionality.

Retaining of staffs

It is necessary to retain the staff for the latest processes and technologies, which is incorporated in the AS/400 modernization process. It is useful in adapting to the latest changes, thereby ensuring that the system is functioning flawlessly.

Testing and deployment

After the completion of the modernization process, it is of the utmost importance to conduct a thorough test of the system before its deployment. It is effective in ensuring that the system is reliable and stable.

AS400 modernization happens to be a complicated process, which demands careful planning and proper execution. But, it is useful to the business enterprises in keeping up with the latest business needs. It helps to maintain the competitive edge in the fast-paced business environment of the present.

AS400 Application Modernization Benefits

As you try to work using old and obsolete AS400 and IBM i systems, it might lead the businesses to run into different issues, as such systems are not aligned with the objectives. The legacy systems are known to accumulate errors and different kinds of problems over the course of time. It is difficult to integrate such legacy systems with cutting-edge technologies.

The AS400 modernization provides a suitable choice to the business enterprises in beating the competitive edge within the ever-evolving business environments. In addition, it provides a suitable choice to the business enterprises in pivoting with the latest changing customer needs and using the emerging technologies so that it becomes more efficient and agile. Now, we will tell about the reasons why business enterprises are adopting AS400 modernization on a wide scale:

Improved user experience

The presence of UBM i apps on the 5250-based green screens is considered an eyesore for the targeted audience. Such kinds of apps boast a monolithic architecture, owing to which they do not have flexibility.

It becomes challenging to introduce such change. AS/400 modernization brings a transformation and change in the user interface, the automation of different manual processes, and the incorporation of the latest services and features. It is effective in improving the user experience.

Revenue improvement

The code base features a monolithic nature, owing to which modifying AS400 apps is extremely challenging. It is possible to integrate the latest services, functions, and features within the modernized app. It allows business enterprises to serve the customers’ needs effectively. In addition, it allows for an enhanced user experience, improving the bottom line.

Enhanced productivity

The latest technology decreases the burden on IT staffs and developers. It helps them work at their complete potential. The modernization of legacy applications provides a suitable choice to businesses in automating different kinds of repetitive tasks. In addition, it is useful to businesses in focusing on high-value and crucial work. Besides this, modernized app features and improved functionalities help streamline different operations.

Challenges with AS400 Modernization

As AS400 modernization includes different kinds of benefits, it is challenging. Now, we will discuss the steps that business enterprises encounter during the the IBM i modernization:

Absence of knowledge

One of the crucial challenges in AS400 modernization is the shrinking talent pool. Apart from the absence of different subject matter experts, the lack of patchy source code and technical and functional documentation might create a burden for the entire company.

Lack of a clear strategy

IBM i apps are equipped with a wide assortment of code lines. If the business enterprises do not have a proper, robust strategy regarding what needs to be maintained, what needs to be migrated, and what should be upgraded, they might fail to realize the prerequisite outcomes.

Data migration technologies

AS400 modernization includes huge data migration across different disparate files and databases. In addition, the majority of the IBM i systems adopt the EBCDIC character encoding, whereas the latest systems function on ASCII encoding.

Expensive modernization costs

The higher the initial costs are, the more challenging it will be for business enterprises to create a leap within the cloud. The budget estimate for AS400 modernization is challenging, as the business enterprise should accommodate different unforeseen expenses.

Not becoming ready for the change

In spite of the digital interruption, the business staff prefers to continue with the obsolete systems, thereby migrating to the latest ones. The business enterprises encounter stiff resistance from the crucial stakeholders with the occurrence of the major overhaul.

BAU Effect

The cutover gets accompanied for a prolonged period, owing to the higher complications of AS400 systems and the modification of AS400 systems’ source code during the enhancements and bug fixes. In addition, the app’s user interface will undergo considerable changes. It allows for decreased user productivity for some time.

AS400 Modernization Tools

AS400 Modernization Tools
AS400 Modernization Tools

Different kinds of technologies and tools are available on the market that helps modernize the AS400 systems. Among the well-known AS400 modernization tools are

Rational Developer for i

RDi, or Rational Developer for i, refers to the integrated development environment, which offers an outstanding development environment for different IBM i programmers. It offers different kinds of features, like code debugging, code editing, and code integration with different tools.

RPG Open Access

RPB Open Access refers to a tool that provides an excellent option for IBM i developers to modernize the latest RPG apps through the creation of web-based user interfaces. It is possible to access from the devices using the web browser.

Rational Team Concert

It is a popular AS400 modernization tool that offers assistance to IBM i developers in creating the source code, monitoring the changes, and collaborating with different team members.


It has gained high prominence as the latest open-source runtime environment, which provides an excellent choice to IBM i developers to create high-performance and scalable web apps while using JavaScript.


It has become the top choice of business enterprises as an app development platform that allows IBM i developers to create the latest, most modern, and most updated mobile and web apps while adopting a low-code and visual approach. It provides support for different kinds of programming languages, like Java and RPG.

SQL Query Language

It is another popular tool that provides assistance to IBM i users in executing different SQL queries against the databases. It offers a flexible and powerful option to analyze and access the business organization’s data.

Approach for AS400 Modernization

 Assessment of Application

To ensure application assessment, you should have the desired app functional knowledge from the already present system documentation and business analyst. Other app assessment items include app size, case tools, RPG, 3rd party tools, OS version, APIs, interfaces, the involvement of 3rd party systems, routine determinations that should be followed for the migration and modernization, and database assessment.

Research about business

It involves thorough business rule analysis, planned and ongoing enhancements within the app, impact analysis, and target system UI design.

Changes in Migration and Post-Migration

Some of the changes that might be needed during the migration and post-migration processes are target database design, automatic or manual modernization or migration, the removal of unused and obsolete code, post-migration customization, GAP analysis, redesigning of the interfaces, redesigning and enhancing the old architecture, and identification of the reusable parts.

Other changes are the handling of the already present system features, such as data queues and data areas, their placement and maintenance in the target system, and patches of code for customization within the source system that was not found at the time of the migration process.

Data migration strategy

Some of the prominent strategies of the data migration process are database creation, database restructuring, DB table normalization, target system database architecture, database migration, archive data upload, and the migration of test data to the target system from its sources.

Other data migration strategies include handling the differences present in the field attributes. A few of the attributes present within the source system might differ from the attributes within the target system, migration of the active database.

Testing of applications

It is essential to conduct a thorough test while following the defined business rules. Moreover, it includes comparison testing while using the source app.


With the emerging of the latest devices and technologies, there has been a significant change in the way in which businesses are executed. Moreover, there is a rise in demand in different AS400 Modernization application, thereby harnessing their value.

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