In the Wheelhouse: An IBM i Success Story That Needed to Be Told

Analysis of News Events
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

This week, I feel compelled to dissect a great IBM i customer success story. Plus, I'll fill you in about a new smartphone app for managing your IBM i.


IBM i Getting Some Well-Deserved Press...From IBM

Steve Will, the Chief Architect for IBM i, has a great blog called You and i. Last week, Steve told a great story about a company in Japan called Nishii Paint Industry Co. Ltd. that had 20-year-old Visual Basic applications that needed to be rewritten and an NEC PC server running sales and warehouse systems that needed replacement. One of the major requirements was that the next solution they had wouldn't have to be, among other things, recompiled when hardware or operating systems got updated. They investigated numerous big-name vendors before settling on a cloud-based IBM Power Systems 720 running IBM i and a solution built with a backbone of rock-solid RPG and a PHP front-end.


As Steve explains, "Though it required a significant investment in software development, they are seeing monthly costs for their current solution that are 20 percent below their prior solution. The project took about 18 months, but the customer is very happy with the results. They expect to make back their investment in five years or less."


Why is this important? For starters, Steve Will did not have to write this story. With all due respect to Nishii, IBM didn't win the business of a top 20 worldwide brand with the potential for huge fanfare. There was no big announcement or press release. This is not a Power 795 displacing a major competitor's big iron. With that being said, it's actually more important than that because this type of story needs to be told more often. Nishii is IBM i's bread and butter customer: a small to medium-sized business. The company has about 270 employees and $200 million in annual sales. Furthermore, Nishii is investing in a brand new RPG- and PHP-based solution on IBM i.


Any time IBM Power Systems and IBM i win business over solutions from companies like Hitachi, Fujitsu, and NEC, then I want to know about it. As per the COMMON Europe Top Concerns survey, you want to know about it too. We'd love to see IBM toot its own horn when it gets a "win" for IBM i. Well...


This is IBM succeeding in marketing and selling an IBM i solution to a new SMB customer up against top-tier solution vendors and then letting the community know about it. Examples like this help justify IBM i to decision-makers in the future if need be. Examples like this help existing customers feel like they're doing the right thing by investing in modern RPG techniques and learning newly supported languages like PHP to build graphical user interfaces. Examples like this help show that IBM i is being adopted by new customers, not kept alive solely on the backs of existing customer maintenance agreements supporting legacy code.


Maybe most importantly, and although IBM has a roadmap for IBM i to at least 2026, examples like this show us all that new customers believe there's a future in this wonderful technology. When long-time IBM i advocates come out and spread the gospel at conferences or Twitter or LinkedIn, you expect to hear from them that the platform has a stable future. But when new customers have been convinced by IBM that there's a long future for IBM i, then that says something more than any IBM i evangelists could ever say. These are new customers who can look at the IBM i big picture from an impartial view. When those customers take action and commit to IBM i, well, those actions speak louder than words.


Perhaps Steve wrote the story because, according to the Top Concerns survey, that's what the IBM i community wants to hear about. It gives us reassurance that there are new believers born every day and our community is growing. It may not be a huge win worthy of fanfare and big press releases, but it's a huge win for the reasons I've stated.


By the time this article gets published, I'll have been to two days of meetings with the COMMON Americas Advisory Council (CAAC) in Rochester, Minnesota, where I'll hopefully have a little time to talk with Steve Will. I will let him know personally how much his blog entry about Nishii means to the IBM i community and ask that he please share again when possible.

IBM i Management? There's an App for That

CNX Corporation has recently released Valence Nitro iAdmin 1.1, a smartphone app to manage many commonly used IBM i functions. While I'm a big fan of IBM Navigator for i on tablets, the market has been light on awesome smartphone-sized apps until now. I will admit, on my first use of iAdmin, I was hooked. It's a very nicely done app, as shown by the example figures below.









I downloaded the GUI installer to my laptop and installed it on IBM i. It's only about 50MB, so it's a lightweight install. The install process took only about 10 minutes, and once complete, I had a brand new IBM HTTP Server instance running and ready to accept connections. It's very simple to set up, and you only have to ensure remote commands can be accepted and your FTP server is running before running the installer.


You can work with disabled users, display jobs in a MSGW status, show active jobs in CPU utilization in descending order, and work with print queues and other useful functions. By design, it's not overloaded with features. You're not going to get a full management suite like IBM Navigator for i. iAdmin gives an administrator a good set of working tools while maintaining the easiness and cleanliness of a mobile app. All in all, it's a very useful tool for $995 (per server) until the price jumps to $1495 at the end of the year. Upon install, you get a 30-day "functional" licence so you can have a little fun and test it out. After the trial expires, it's a read-only tool.


One interesting feature is the red IPL button. It's tempting. So...very...tempting.


I had to push it to see what happened, albeit on my test machine. Sure enough, they built in an "are you sure?" prompt. I have small kids who like to swipe my iPad and iPhone and play around a little bit. They've accidentally hit a function and then answered "yes" to whatever prompt they were presented with. I'm thinking someone at CNX has little kids and accounted for that as this feature isn't functioning by default. The little red "power" button exists, but you need to make a settings change on IBM i and then restart the IBM HTTP Server instance in order to activate it. You can't have it both ways. Functions exist on this app to manage IBM i, even the potentially hazardous ones when in the wrong little hands.


Mobile apps are for quick and dirty work combined with an extreme ease of use. It's a powerful tool, so don't log in as QSECOFR and put the phone down without locking it, capisce?



Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly


Support MC Press Online





  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things

    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!


  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!


  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.


  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.


  • UPDATED: Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    FortraIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact


  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using as a pre-built development environment



  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.



  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.



  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails


  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    SB Profound WC GenericHave you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.
    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.
    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    FortraRobot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    FortraRobot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.