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 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 enterprises. But times change, and an AS/400 from the early 90s may no longer be up to the job of coping with the sheer quantity of information storage and processing required in 2012. If a business is considering upgrading, there are a number of options they can consider.

Firstly, although IBM no longer provides support for upgrading AS/400s and iSeries servers, there are companies who can help. The lowest cost option is to extend the capabilities of an existing server with refurbished expansion units. These can be bought with installation and support contracts, and may extend the useful life of existing infrastructure. An iSeries IBM 9406, #5095 Storage/PCI Expansion Tower contains seven PCI-X IOP/IOA slots and supports up to 12 disk units. If your business's needs can be accommodated by the simple addition of an expansion unit, you may well get a few more years out of your old AS/400 system.

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 iSeries Model 810 will easily outstrip an earlier model AS/400, and they are eligible for IBM maintenance contracts.

The third option is to replace aging servers with a modern model from the Power Systems range. Technology has advanced considerably in the last decade and Power Systems, especially those with Power 7 chips, bring with them a host of revolutionary improvements in server technology. A Power 7 system like the IBM i Power7 8231 E2B Model 710 is equipped with up to 8 cores and has a CPW rating (IBM's benchmarking score) of 51,800, as compared to the maximum 2700 CPW of a top-of-the-line iSeries 810.

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.

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