1. Science / Technology

IBM i History and Timeline: From System/38 to AS400 to IBM i

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In the ever-evolving landscape of information technology, few platforms have stood the test of time like the IBM i, formerly known as AS400. This robust and versatile system has undergone several transformations over the years, reflecting the advancements in technology and the changing needs of businesses. From its roots as the System/38 to its current incarnation as IBM i, this platform has not only maintained its relevance but has also paved the way for modernization while continuing to support its loyal user base.

System/38: The Beginning of an Era

The history of the IBM i dates back to the late 1970s when the System/38 was first introduced in 1978. It was designed as a successor to the System/3 line of computers, with the goal of providing enhanced data processing capabilities and improved scalability. The System/38 brought about revolutionary concepts, including a single-level store, object-based architecture, and integrated database management.

One of the key features that set System/38 apart was its focus on simplicity and ease of use. The integrated database management system allowed users to interact with data using high-level languages like RPG (Report Program Generator) and SQL (Structured Query Language), reducing the complexity of data management tasks.

AS400: A New Name, Same Dedication

In 1988, the System/38 was succeeded by the AS400, a platform that continued the legacy of its predecessor while introducing significant improvements. The AS400 brought with it enhanced processing power, expanded memory capabilities, and improved compatibility with industry standards.

The AS400 also introduced the concept of “single-level storage,” which abstracted the underlying hardware complexities, making it possible to address both program instructions and data using a unified address space. This innovation simplified application development and deployment, as developers no longer needed to worry about memory management intricacies.

IBM i: Modernization and Adaptation

As technology continued to advance, the AS400 evolved into what is now known as IBM i. This renaming reflected IBM's commitment to keeping the platform relevant and aligned with modern IT trends. IBM i retained its core features while embracing new technologies, such as cloud computing, virtualization, and web services.

One of the key strengths of IBM i is its unwavering support for legacy applications. Many businesses rely on critical applications that were developed decades ago, and IBM i ensures that these applications continue to run smoothly, thanks to its backward compatibility and commitment to preserving investments made in previous iterations.

IBM i's Continued Relevance and Support

The IBM i has proven its longevity by adapting to changing business requirements and technological advancements. Its robust architecture, which includes an integrated database, security features, and ease of management, makes it an ideal choice for businesses that value reliability and stability.

IBM AS400 Support: Nurturing the Past

While the technology landscape has shifted dramatically, the demand for IBM AS400 support remains strong. Many businesses still rely on applications running on older AS400 systems. These applications often underpin critical business processes, and any disruption can have far-reaching consequences. Therefore, having reliable AS400 support is essential to ensure the smooth functioning of these legacy systems.

Modern IT service providers understand the importance of maintaining and optimizing AS400 environments. They offer services ranging from system maintenance and performance optimization to security enhancements and application modernization. By leveraging their expertise, businesses can ensure that their AS400 systems remain stable, secure, and capable of meeting today's demands.

AS400 Server: A Pillar of Stability

The AS400 server, now part of the IBM i family, continues to provide businesses with a stable and secure computing platform. Its architecture, built upon decades of refinement, offers unparalleled reliability and ease of management. The AS400 server's ability to seamlessly integrate with modern technologies and cloud services has enabled businesses to extend their existing applications into new frontiers.

For organizations looking to leverage their AS400 investments while embracing modernization, the AS400 server acts as a bridge between the past and the future. This compatibility ensures that businesses can gradually transition to newer technologies without sacrificing the stability and functionality of their legacy systems.

AS400 Modernization: Bridging the Generation Gap

As businesses evolve, so do their technology needs. While the AS400 platform has stood the test of time, modernization is often necessary to take advantage of emerging opportunities and to meet changing user expectations. AS400 modernization involves revitalizing existing applications, enhancing user interfaces, integrating with web and mobile technologies, and optimizing performance.

Modernization doesn't mean abandoning the legacy applications that have served businesses faithfully. Instead, it involves breathing new life into these applications, making them more accessible, user-friendly, and adaptable to contemporary requirements. By modernizing AS400 applications, businesses can harness the power of their core systems while staying competitive in today's fast-paced digital landscape.


The journey of the IBM i, from its origins as the System/38 to its present-day status, reflects a commitment to innovation, adaptability, and continuous support. The platform's evolution from AS400 to IBM i demonstrates IBM's dedication to maintaining its relevance in the ever-changing world of technology.

While newer technologies have emerged, the demand for AS400 support remains strong, and businesses recognize the value of its stability and reliability. The AS400 server continues to act as a pillar of strength, providing a bridge between legacy systems and modern technologies. AS400 modernization, on the other hand, offers businesses the opportunity to rejuvenate their applications, ensuring they remain in step with the demands of the digital age.

As we look ahead, it's evident that the IBM i will continue to play a pivotal role in the IT strategies of many organizations. Its rich history, combined with its adaptability and support, ensures that it will remain a force to be reckoned with in the world of enterprise computing.

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