Throughout the 1990s the AS/400 was the pre-eminent workhorse of America's IT infrastructure. The line was refreshed in 2000 and renamed the eServer iSeries and was again renamed the System i in 2008. This generation of midrange servers was phased out in 2008, to be replaced by the IBM Power Systems range in 2008. The newest POWER System is the IBM POWER9 series released earlier this year.
The AS/400 and its immediate descendants were designed to last and built solidly, so a good number of them are still in excellent working order and playing their part in fulfilling the needs of America's small- and medium-sized businesses. However, times change, and an AS/400 from the early 90s or a iSeries from the mid-2000's, may no longer be up to the challenge of coping with the sheer quantity of information storage and processing required for 2018 and beyond. For businesses interested in upgrading their information processing capabilities there are many options available.
IBM, itself, no longer provides direct support for upgrading AS/400s and older iSeries servers. However, there are companies that can help. The first option, and often the lowest cost option, is to extend or expand the capabilities of an existing server with refurbished expansion units, increased memory capacity, larger capacity disk drives, and in some cases an upgrade to solid state drives. These can be bought with installation and support contracts, and may extend the useful life of existing infrastructure.
If an existing server has already reached the maximum capacity of hardware and expansion units, the second option is to upgrade to a newer model in the iSeries generation. Again, IBM no longer offers these servers but they can be bought refurbished at a reasonable price, and a late model iSeries system offers a significant boost in performance when compared to AS/400s from the early 1990s. A refurbished Power System 8202 can easily out perform many, if not most, of the previous iSeries or AS/400 systems and have lower operating and maintenance costs.
The third option is to replace aging servers with a modern model from the Power Systems range. Technology has advanced considerably in the last two decades and Power Systems, especially those with the new POWER9 chips, bring with them a host of revolutionary improvements in server technology. A POWER8 or POWER9 System can bring you much more substantial computing power/CPW for a fraction of the maintanence costs and space requirements.
Whichever upgrade option a business chooses, Midland Information Systems can help with advice, support, and hardware. We have extensive experience in IBM systems from older AS/400s to the cutting-edge Power systems.
Resources and Futher Reading:
POWER9 Announced Systems Chart
POWER9 Benchmarks and Reference Guide
POWER7 Vs POWER8: What to Know.