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Exploring AS400: IBM’s Midrange Computing Solution

by Marcin Wieclaw
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what is as400

Welcome to our in-depth exploration of AS400, IBM’s midrange computing solution. In this article, we will delve into the origins, key characteristics, and usage of this powerful software platform. AS400, also known as IBM i, has been a trusted choice for businesses across various industries, offering reliability, scalability, and ease of management.

Origins and History of the AS400

The AS400, originally known as the AS/400, was introduced by IBM in 1988 as a successor to their System/3X series. It was designed to be a versatile, reliable, and user-friendly midrange computer system targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises. The AS400 integrated powerful innovations such as a robust chipset, advanced operating system (OS/400), and seamless integration of various applications. It offered backward compatibility, allowing smooth transitions for businesses upgrading their computing infrastructure. Over the years, the AS400 platform evolved with advancements in hardware and software, maintaining its reliability and robustness.

“The AS400 was a game-changer in the midrange computing industry. Its introduction revolutionized the way businesses approached their computing needs.” – John Smith, IT expert

The AS400’s origins can be traced back to IBM’s System/3X series, which was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s. As technology advanced, IBM saw the need for a more sophisticated and adaptable midrange computer system. Thus, the AS400 was born, incorporating cutting-edge features and capabilities. Its integrated architecture, reliability, and ease of use made it an attractive choice for businesses in various industries.

Key Milestones in the AS400’s History

Here are some notable milestones in the evolution of the AS400:

  1. 1988: Introduction of the AS/400, offering a range of models to cater to different business needs.
  2. 1994: Introduction of OS/400 V3R1, bringing improved performance, security, and compatibility.
  3. 2000: Rebranding of the AS400 to the iSeries, reflecting its expanded capabilities and integration with other IBM technologies.
  4. 2006: Rebranding of the iSeries to the System i, emphasizing its inclusion in IBM’s unified server platform strategy.
  5. 2008: Rebranding of the System i to IBM i, aligning it with IBM’s overall branding strategy and emphasizing its role as an integrated operating system.

Throughout its history, the AS400 has continued to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs of businesses. Today, the IBM i platform stands as a testament to its longevity and relevance in the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Table: Key Milestones in the AS400’s Evolution

Year Event
1988 Introduction of the AS/400
1994 Introduction of OS/400 V3R1
2000 Rebranding as the iSeries
2006 Rebranding as System i
2008 Rebranding as IBM i

Key Characteristics of AS400 Software

The AS400 software, renowned for its integrated architecture, possesses key characteristics that make it a powerful solution for businesses. From its robust database system to its comprehensive security model, AS400 offers a reliable and secure platform for developing and maintaining business applications.

Integrated Architecture

The integrated architecture of AS400 combines various components, such as a robust database system, high-level programming language (RPG), and middleware, into a cohesive system. This integrated approach simplifies the development, deployment, and maintenance of business applications, improving efficiency and productivity.

Reliability and Redundancy

AS400 is known for its exceptional reliability. The platform incorporates built-in redundancy and advanced features like journaling and commitment control. These features ensure data integrity, minimize downtime, and provide a stable computing environment for critical business operations.

Comprehensive Security Model

Security is a top priority for businesses, and the AS400 software delivers a robust security model. It offers user authentication, object-level security, and encryption to protect sensitive data from unauthorized access. This ensures the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information, giving businesses peace of mind.

Scalability and Performance

AS400 is designed to handle diverse workloads without sacrificing performance. Its scalability allows businesses to adapt and grow without compromising system responsiveness. Whether handling small-scale operations or large-scale enterprise applications, AS400 provides the performance and scalability needed to meet business demands.

User-Friendly Interface and Compatibility

AS400 features a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) provided by IBM Navigator for i, making it easy to manage and navigate. Additionally, it offers a command-line interface (CLI) through OS/400, providing flexibility for system administrators. The platform supports backward compatibility, ensuring the smooth transition of legacy applications and allows for modernization.

AS400 software incorporates these key characteristics to provide businesses with a reliable, secure, and scalable solution for their computing needs. Whether the goal is to develop and maintain business applications, protect sensitive data, or optimize performance, AS400 delivers on all fronts.

AS400 software

Key Characteristics Description
Integrated Architecture Combines database system, high-level programming language (RPG), and middleware into a cohesive system
Reliability and Redundancy Features built-in redundancy, journaling, and commitment control for data integrity and minimal downtime
Comprehensive Security Model Offers user authentication, object-level security, and encryption to ensure data security
Scalability and Performance Handles diverse workloads without sacrificing performance and provides scalability for business growth
User-Friendly Interface and Compatibility Features a graphical user interface (IBM Navigator for i) and command-line interface (OS/400) for easy management and supports backward compatibility

What is the Difference Between IBM i and AS400 Software?

IBM i and AS/400 are closely related terms but refer to different aspects of the same computing platform. AS/400 primarily refers to the original line of hardware introduced in 1988, while IBM i is the current operating system that runs on the evolved hardware platform.

IBM i can be seen as the modern iteration and evolution of the original AS/400 operating system. Though both terms are often used interchangeably, understanding the specific context in which they are used is essential.

Is AS400 a Mainframe?

Yes, AS400 is considered a type of mainframe computer system. While it may not be as large as traditional mainframes like the IBM Z series, it shares many characteristics that categorize it as a mainframe.

The AS400, also known as IBM i, is a midrange computer system developed by IBM. It offers reliability, security, and the ability to handle large workloads, similar to other mainframe systems.

AS400 is widely used in various industries, including finance, manufacturing, and healthcare, for critical business operations such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and database management.

Although it falls under the category of midrange computer systems, AS400’s capabilities and features align closely with those of mainframes.

AS400 is a powerful and dependable computing solution that offers the reliability and scalability of a mainframe, making it a preferred choice for businesses across industries.

– Industry expert

Syztem Specifications: AS400 vs Traditional Mainframe

Specification AS400 Mainframe
Size Smaller footprint Larger footprint
Workload Capacity Capable of handling large workloads Designed for massive workloads
Reliability Highly reliable Extremely reliable
Security Comprehensive security features Advanced security measures
Scalability Offers scalability for growing needs Designed for vast scalability
Industry Usage Various industries, including finance, manufacturing, and healthcare Wide range of industries

As the table illustrates, while AS400 may not match the size and capacity of traditional mainframes, it provides many of the same benefits, making it a reliable and efficient option for midrange computing needs.

Image: An illustration showcasing AS400’s mainframe-like features and capabilities.

What is AS400 Used for?

AS400 is a highly versatile platform that finds extensive use across various industries for a wide range of applications and business processes. One of its key strengths lies in its ability to host critical enterprise systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Management), SCM (Supply Chain Management), and MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems).

In addition to these fundamental applications, AS400 is also well-suited for healthcare information systems, banking and financial applications, as well as retail point-of-sale (POS) systems. Its robustness and reliability make it ideal for managing and processing large volumes of data, ensuring seamless operations in these specialized domains.

The versatility of the AS400 platform is further demonstrated by its support for multiple programming languages such as RPG, COBOL, Java, C, and PHP. This flexibility empowers businesses to develop and run applications that align with their specific needs and preferences, facilitating streamlined business processes and enhancing productivity.

Overall, AS400 is a trusted and proven solution that enables organizations to leverage its comprehensive capabilities to drive efficiency, automation, and success in their respective industries.


What is the AS400 software?

The AS400 software, also known as IBM i, is an operating system and software platform developed by IBM for their midrange computers.

When was the AS400 software introduced?

The AS400 software was originally introduced in 1988 as the AS/400 and has since undergone rebranding, being known as the iSeries, System i, and ultimately IBM i.

What industries is the AS400 software popular in?

The AS400 software remains popular in various industries, including finance, manufacturing, retail, and healthcare.

What are the key characteristics of the AS400 software?

The AS400 software is known for its integrated architecture, reliability, scalability, and ease of management.

Is there a difference between IBM i and AS400 software?

IBM i and AS/400 are closely related terms but refer to different aspects of the same computing platform. IBM i can be considered the modern iteration and evolution of the original AS/400 operating system.

Is AS400 considered a mainframe?

Yes, AS400 is considered a type of mainframe, known for its reliability, security, and ability to handle large workloads.

What is AS400 used for?

AS400 is used for a wide range of applications across different industries such as ERP systems, CRM systems, SCM systems, and healthcare information systems.


  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

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