IBM Says ISV Adoption of iSeries Was Strong in 2003
January 6, 2004 Alex Woodie
IBM sought to improve the iSeries’ image as a stodgy legacy server over the Christmas holiday, when it announced that more than 300 applications were ported to the iSeries by independent software vendors during 2003. While traditional RPG and COBOL applications make up the vast majority of workloads on the OS/400 server, the 300 new applications IBM helped bring to the iSeries are Java and Linux applications, including a new transaction processing system from S2 Systems.
At one point, the AS/400 was reported to have something on the order of 30,000 applications, a number that IBM touted as the highest for any computer. As the industry changed, that number diminished and new concerns over lack of ISV enthusiasm and support for the OS/400 server arose.
One of the ways IBM is combating the shrinking number of applications is by forming new comarketing programs with regionally prominent ISVs. Big Blue’s programs typically require the ISV to support IBM’s middleware, which includes WebSphere, DB2, Domino, Tivoli, and the Linux operating system. Support for the iSeries has also been a requirement in these programs.
The latest ISV to make its software available on the iSeries is S2 Systems, a Plano, Texas, company that develops enterprise payment and transaction software for the financial services, retail, and telecommunications industries. The company had previously supported OpeN/2–a scalable Java-based OLTP payment processing system that plugs into existing apps–on zSeries Linux. Now it supports OpeN/2 on iSeries Linux as well.
Enabling OpeN/2 to run on iSeries Linux environments will help companies get more out of their OS/400 server and software investments, says Stephen Clark, president and chief executive of S2 Systems. The iSeries’ advanced workload partitioning and capacity-on-demand capabilities should give S2 customers the flexibility to tailor their server to their application needs, IBM says.
IBM did not provide a list of the 300 Linux and Java applications that were ported to the iSeries during 2003.
IBM also announced that GH Young International, a North American brokerage house, is using iSeries Linux to run various imaging, print, and file serving applications. The company was struggling just to keep up with the demand of its growing e-business processes. One option for meeting the growing demands was to add nine more Intel servers to the seven it already had. Instead, the company chose to consolidate those different applications onto a single box: an iSeries Model 820 running Red Hat Linux.
Nigel Fortlage, GH Young’s vice president of IT, says the new system saved money while boosting customer service. “Linux on iSeries is a compelling alternative to the cost and complexity of managing separate, Intel-based servers,” he says.
Cecilia Marrese, IBM’s vice president of marketing for the iSeries, says that what GH Young and S2 Systems are doing shows IBM is working to meet the needs of midsized businesses. “The number of ISVs bringing new solutions to the iSeries server is driven by customer demand, as more of our customers are finding ways to leverage the ease of use, inherent security, and flexibility of the system,” she says.