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The iSeries: The Once and Future King

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I can't tell you how excited I am! If I were any more thrilled, I'd probably be under investigation. This month, MC Mag Online is focusing on careers, and the timing couldn't be more apropos. Recent events make it clear that the midrange server is the rising star of the IT industry, and the iSeries is the most exciting server in the business.

In this article, I'm going to recap some of the major events that have occurred in the last several weeks. Make no mistake: These are some of the most momentous changes to occur in our community since...well, since I can remember, honestly. And I'm a dinosaur, as you well know!

I'll include summaries of two major announcements, as well as my recent conversation with Doug Fulmer, whom I consider the leading evangelist of that most misunderstood document, the iSeries Developer Roadmap. I'll bring in some comments I've culled from the Internet and recount some real events that have occurred recently. And after I'm done, I hope you'll agree with me that this may be the most exhilarating time we've ever seen.

Talking the Talk

IBM recently presented two Webcasts. The first, held on February 24, centered on the iSeries Initiative for Innovation. Broad in scope, this announcement was almost an item-by-item recap of the iSeries community wish list. And while the Webcast included a ton of good stuff, a couple of specific issues just have to be addressed.

Unleashing Innovation--February 24

The very first bullet point was "Improve Market Presence of the iSeries Brand." This one sentence completely negates the current conventional wisdom of IBM's position on the iSeries. First, it specifically mentions the iSeries brand--not as simply another eServer, but as its own specific entity. Second, it talks about marketing the iSeries. Did you hear that? It's the sound of ice skates in the netherworld, because IBM is actually talking about advertising our beloved box. And then just a couple of slides later was a bullet point talking about "Java, .NET, RPG, or COBOL." RPG, folks! And even COBOL! The fact that RPG is actually on an IBM slide is cause for great cheer. And it wasn't a fluke, as I'll explain a little later.

In essence, this first announcement was sort of a setup for the next announcement. But in between, something wonderful happened: IBM actually advertised the iSeries. The box was advertised in a four-page spread in The Wall Street Journal. I'll revisit this and other marketing moves a little later, but I think even IBM realized that what they were saying was perhaps not going to be accepted at face value by a community that has become jaded over the years as they saw their box diminished and their skills disparaged (yeah, it was seven or eight years ago, but it's going to take some work to get past that burger-flipping ad).

iSeries Tools Innovation--March 9

At the same time, IBM motored forward. The original announcement introduced three different initiatives: the Application Innovation Program, the Tools Innovation Program, and the iSeries Innovation Program. Until recently, small ISVs like me had to rely pretty much on our own marketing efforts. In order to be mentioned by IBM in a sales cycle, we had to be what is known today as a "Premier Level Partner," which involved basically selling lots and lots of hardware or software. Not only that, but there were even stories of outright poaching, where an ISV would be in the process of closing an account and then suddenly IBM would get involved, with one of their "preferred" solutions. The gist of these announcements is that this will be no more. Instead, even the smaller ISVs are to be given help in getting their products to market. According to Buell Duncan, IBM is "not in the application business," and presumably that also applies to tools that lie outside the primary middleware arena.

There were some great sound bites. Mark Shearer talked about "reigniting the iSeries ecosystem" and unleashing more innovation in the SMB marketplace. My favorite was Peter Bingaman saying that IBM must be like Proctor and Gamble; their job is to make "shelf space" for the iSeries, which in turn lets the ISVs in the door. And Rick Warren chimed in with the idea that these initiatives were to have "no ISV left behind."

The second announcement was even more focused, primarily targeting the tool vendors like me. A number of very specific comments detailed the programs that tool vendors could get involved in. I'll talk a little bit more about those momentarily, but first I want to focus on the tone of this second announcement. It was clear--obviously and abundantly clear--that IBM recognized that it completely miscalculated when it tried to make the iSeries yet another Java eServer box. John Quarantello went out of his way to identify changes in the iSeries Developer Roadmap that were put in specifically to steer people away from the idea that IBM wants us to be all Java, all the time. This meshes with discussions I've had in the past and just recently with Doug Fulmer regarding the Roadmap. Even as originally designed by Greg Hurlebaus, it was never intended to be a single-destination directive; unfortunately, a vocal group inside of IBM moved it in that direction. We sometimes think of IBM as a monolithic entity, and nothing could be further from the truth; there are definitely factions with completely different ideas about the future of the iSeries. However, common sense (and dollars and cents) finally won out, and IBM is embracing the idea that legacy is good, RPG is great, SMBs are the untapped market, and the way to reach the SMB is through partners with unique solutions, not through a gigantic one-size-fits-all Java campaign. Scalability and portability are no longer the big buzzwords; integration is the key, both at the application and the business process level. Legacy is good; legacy plus new technology is better.

Walking the Walk

So we're all thrilled that IBM actually admits that perhaps it missed the boat on the iSeries. Diluting the identity of a brand with the fiercest consumer loyalty this side of Harley Davidson maybe wasn't the smartest marketing move to make. Ignoring the SMB market was a numbers snafu; while a given account may not be in the millions, multiply that account by tens of thousands and suddenly billions appear.

But IBM has paid lip service to us in the past. The WebSphere 4.0, Tomcat, and WebSphere Express fiasco isn't far behind us. And we're waiting to see how the relationship between WDSc and Rational shakes out. So it's not unreasonable for us to expect something a little more concrete than a PowerPoint presentation.

The Advertising

And it's happening. It started with a little shot across the bow back in December. You probably heard about the iSeries advertisements running on primetime television during shows like LOST and Boston Legal. They also ran during the playoffs. They were OK ads, but as we are wont to do, we immediately deemed them inadequate. At the time, they seemed like just a blip. They were out of context with what we were still hearing from some IBM execs, so I don't think it really registered with us that IBM was finally advertising the iSeries. And I think that's how things stayed for awhile; the ads were cool, but just a one-shot deal. Move along, people; nothing to see here.

But after the announcements I mentioned, IBM did something unusual. It actually followed up on its promises. The start was the four-page spread in The Wall Street Journal. This was to be repeated in major C-level executive publications like Forbes and Fortune in the coming months.

Then March came in like a lion with radio advertising. Back in the beginning of the month, radio spots began appearing in major markets. Talk radio and sports stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York started airing iSeries spots. And this will continue, along with more print ads.

This is no fluke. Peter Bingaman, the new vice president of iSeries marketing, stated at the COMMON Town Hall meeting, "You will see today, if you haven't seen it in the last months, that we are really beginning to step it up in this business in a big way. We are going to make a real statement about the iSeries in 2005."

The Roadmap

I've said for some time that the iSeries Developer Roadmap was seriously misconstrued by a certain segment of IBM, and these misconceptions were echoed so often as to gain a life of their own. But the truth, at least according to the author, Greg Hurlebaus, is that the Roadmap was never meant to be about just moving to Java (and eventually off of the iSeries). But now IBM has codified that by changing the focus of the Roadmap. The five pillars now focus first on a better experience for both developers and end users and then emphasize integrating legacy systems with other technologies, including leading-edge features like RFID.

The part that I was most gratified to hear was IBM specifically stating that platform-independence is not a goal and that products designed to migrate users off the platform are not part of the Roadmap. Is that clear enough? So, if anybody says that IBM is sanctioning moving legacy systems off of the iSeries, they're simply wrong.

In fact, in a recent conversation with Doug Fulmer, he made it clear to me that RPG and native I/O are still base parts of the IBM strategy. First, just take a look at the amount of money spent on RPG in the last 10 years, from ILE support to Java interoperability to free-format. None of this would have been done for a language destined for the trash heap.

In response to the statement that SQL seems to be receiving more attention and more dollars than native I/O, Fulmer explained that SQL advocates are asking for more things than native I/O users are, so when development dollars are allocated, they're not necessarily allocated evenly. This only makes sense; IBM fixes the squeakiest wheels, and native I/O is such a mature and powerful technology compared to SQL that there just aren't as many demands for enhancements.

Of course, a corollary of this statement is that if we in the user community want to see new features in native DB2, then we need to tell the folks at IBM. For example, I'd love to see support for things like UDFs in native I/O. But I'm unlikely to see that unless a lot of you also think it's a good idea. In the meantime, there's a full list of enhancements to the SQL engine that are required in order to keep DB2/400 on the iSeries competitive with its other incarnations. But now more than ever, I think it's clear that IBM is indeed listening to the iSeries community, so we need to band together to identify our business needs and communicate those needs to IBM.

By the way, one thing you have asked for is more documentation for WDSc, and I think you'll be happy to see what's coming. In the latest release, 5.1.2.4, the help documentation is completely revised and includes some great tutorials. Word has it that the 6.0 release due out later this year may include all the relevant COMMON labs; that would be a great addition!

The Programs

IBM is making a number of programs available to all their Business Partners. These programs were typically reserved for bigger Partners, many of which frankly didn't need them as much as the smaller guys did. It's amazing how many there are, and you can get lost in the various offerings. The Virtual Innovation Center (VIC), one of my favorite groups, looks to be in charge of coordinating a lot of that. By enrolling in the Tools Innovation Program, my name got sent over to Jim Hyde at the VIC, who was nice enough to explain some of what was going on over there. The VIC is now in charge of letting people know what is available. For example, a program called "Business Partner Connections" is designed to connect iSeries end users with iSeries tool and application vendors, thereby cross-pollinating the market. So now, it's easier for IT managers to show the benefits of the iSeries to the corporate executives. At the same time, ISVs can see the value in continuing to develop solutions for the iSeries. This cross-pollination is going to be crucial to the platform's growth.

The Next Steps

IBM announced other programs as well, and over the coming months, I'll highlight those programs and bring you the details. Whether you're a vendor looking to reach a greater marketplace or an iSeries user struggling to justify the box to upper management, these new programs should provide you with some much-needed support. Vendors need to join PartnerWorld immediately. I'm less clear on what customers need to do to get involved in these programs, but I'll try to get more information as soon as possible. Please, if you have any question on these programs, post a message in the forums so everyone can see the answer. But right now, the bottom line is clear.

  • IBM finally recognizes the SMB marketplace for the value it can provide.
  • IBM knows it's not the only company going after the SMB marketplace (thank you, Microsoft, for waking up IBM with your Midrange Alliance Program!)
  • IBM recognizes the iSeries as the premiere platform for that marketplace.
  • IBM realizes that the iSeries needs to showcase solutions instead of technology.
  • IBM acknowledges that it needs the iSeries community to provide the tools and applications to serve that market.

IBM knows it needs solutions, and it knows that the quickest way to make solutions available is to take advantage of the ones already out there, the ones provided by the "little guys" who were traditionally ignored. More importantly, it needs to get application vendors and tool vendors to work together to provide technologically advanced solutions. And finally, IBM needs to provide "shelf space" for the iSeries, to create a place to get the vendors and the users together.

If all this happens, it will be fun. "i5 in '05," indeed. I'm telling you, this could be a year to remember.

Sidebar: A Cautionary Note

It's clear to me and most other people I've talked to that this is indeed an exciting time to be a member of the iSeries community. Yet, despite all the signs, not everyone agrees. And while I'm used to opposing viewpoints (read the comments on one of my outsourcing columns!), I was caught off guard by some of the responses, particularly the "ho hum" attitude that some people are taking, despite the fact that these announcements and the accompanying actions are unlike anything we've heard or seen in a long time. Upon reflection though, it seems that the very nature of the events may be the problem. I think what's happening is that the change at IBM is so overwhelming, so completely counter to previous history, that some people are simply stunned. They're like deer in the headlights, unable or unwilling to believe this is happening.

And there's negativity, too. Of course you're going to hear negativity. That's to be expected. The iSeries has been ignored and its community mistreated for so long that you'd have to be a real Pollyanna to think that a couple of announcements would change opinion overnight. However, my concern is that the very nature of this announcement, and the clear call that IBM has made to the iSeries, to legacy applications, and to integration with new technology, may be enough to splinter the community.

Raising Cain for Fun and Profit

Along with the standard (and well-learned) leeriness, you're going to hear dissension in the ranks, and you'll see polarization as political blocs begin to form. Political? Unfortunately, I can't find a better term to describe what is already beginning to happen. I believe that at least four factions will arise within the community, all fighting to preserve some bits of the ugliness that has prevailed over the last several years and doing it for their own benefit. And like it or not, sowing dissent for personal gain is what politics is all about today.

It'll Never Work

The first faction will be the "it'll never work" faction. Even in the face of the unassailable facts like the IBM advertisements in the C-level press and the radio ads, some longtime naysayers will insist that IBM isn't marketing the iSeries, that this is just a blip. Rumors will abound. One I've already heard was that the entire announcement was a sop to the COMMON crowd to make sure that Sound Off wasn't as virulent as it has been in the past. If so, it's one incredibly expensive sop, and I find it hard to believe IBM would spend that much money on a few vocal critics in a community that it didn't consider crucial to its long-range plans. This group doesn't have any other agenda except that they've been complaining so long that their vocal cords would actually seize up if they attempted to fashion a pro-IBM sentence.

One Could Eat No Fat

Two other blocs have business concerns that split them cleanly along language lines.
For example, you'll be hearing more about RPG-CGI and how it can do anything JavaServer Pages (JSP) can do. This statement is wrong, and it detracts from the reality, which is that RPG-CGI is the only real solution for companies with limited resources, all in RPG. But it's not the only solution for everyone, despite what these folks are trying to sell. They are adamant about avoiding Java at all costs and rewriting in RPG all the powerful software components already available in Java. For example, every CGI solution has its own template language that is often little more than a variation of JSP. Insistent on reinventing all those Java wheels, the Javaphobes are just as wrong-headed as the Javaphiles. JSP Model II has many advantages that RPG-CGI simply can't compete with (ranging from security to scalability to flexibility to cost), and you need to be aware of those advantages and not make decisions just because industry pundits told you so.

Author's Note: "Industry pundits" refers to me as well. While I hope that what I have to say helps you in your decision-making process, since I don't know your business, I can't possibly tell you what is right for you. When I talk about technological advantages of various approaches, note that I also constantly refer to "business decisions." These are the decisions you must make, which neither I nor any other "expert" can make for you. In order to make proper business decisions, you need to know all your options, and anybody who says one size fits all isn't doing you any service.

One Could Eat No Lean

The other language bloc insists that Java is the answer to everything and that all those pesky things like performance and memory requirements and legacy investment are "old school." They still cling to the idea that software needs to be "platform-independent" so that you can "migrate," but now that IBM has kicked the migration tools out of the temple, that leg has been knocked out from under the platform-independence pedestal. Yes, running pure Java solutions has some benefits, but mostly for software vendors, not end users; and as always, it has to be a business decision, not a religious one. But there are those who have drunk deep of the Java Kool-Aid. Some are consultants and vendors who have bet their companies on Java, while others are IT managers who have convinced their upper management to do the same. To embrace RPG at this point would be corporate or career suicide, so instead you're going to hear constant attacks on RPG and DB2/400 as this group pushes 100% Pure Java solutions using JDBC as The One True Path. Point them to the massive amount of money spent upgrading RPG over the last decade, via both ILE and free-format. Show them the benchmarks that prove that RPG outperforms Java by a wide margin; even IBM's own internal numbers show it.

So Microsoft Picked Them Clean

The fourth faction is the Windows faction. Don't discount these folks. They're desperate. They're so desperate that they're trying to convince you that Windows is as secure as OS/400 (they'll quickly qualify that by saying "a properly configured Windows server is at least as secure as..." even though that has yet to be proven). They're so desperate that they're willing to tell you with a straight face that it makes sense to move from DB2/400 to SQL Server, even though mountains of evidence prove that SQL Server can't scale with DB2/400. And don't forget the additional cost of administering the farms of servers required to host millions of records.

They're so desperate that they've created something called the Midrange Alliance Program (MAP), which blatantly ripped off IBM's Series Developer Roadmap and is unabashedly making pacts with some opportunistic iSeries tool vendors--vendors that might not even exist were it not for the IBM midrange but that are now telling their clientele to jump ship. And Microsoft is making no secret that these are, or were, iSeries stalwarts; instead, they're shouting it from the rooftops. That's because when it was just Bill and his minions telling you to go AWOL, it was an easy message to discount, but when some big iSeries tool vendor tells you that it makes sense to migrate your legacy systems, what are you supposed to think? Well, one thing you can think about is how much money these companies will make if you don't convert your systems as opposed to how much they'll make if you do, and then you can judge for yourself where their loyalties might lie.

What's the Answer?

If you agree with what I've been saying for the past five years, the real answer is simple: Use whatever tools are best-suited for your company. But here's the kicker: Whatever tools you use, run them on the iSeries! Why? Because whatever tools you use, you can run them on the iSeries! Any tool--from IBM's proven, business-specialized languages like RPG and DDS, to just about any open-source tool available--can run on an iSeries. Whether it's under OS/400 and/or PASE or in a Linux partition or even in an AIX partition, it doesn't matter: It will run on an iSeries, with all the server consolidation and management benefits that arise.

If you find yourself in the RPG-only category, you'll need to work within the RPG-CGI world, but please don't let that stop you from at least dabbling in Java. Stay tuned to this space; over the next couple of months I hope to unveil what I like to think of as my "RPG Developer's JSP Starter Kit."

And if you use JSP Model II for your Web UI, you'll find yourself immediately opening up a whole new set of architectural options: You can offload your user interface onto another box (iSeries or other), providing additional horsepower and security without changing your code; you can add all kinds of great Java routines for editing and formatting; you can even take advantage of Web Services to add additional information to your interface.

In fact, the only thing you can't run on an iSeries is desktop Windows software, and who knows? Maybe there's a Macintosh in your future, anyway.

Joe Pluta is the founder and chief architect of Pluta Brothers Design, Inc. He has been working in the field since the late 1970s and has made a career of extending the IBM midrange, starting back in the days of the IBM System/3. Joe has used WebSphere extensively, especially as the base for PSC/400, the only product that can move your legacy systems to the Web using simple green-screen commands. Joe is also the author of E-Deployment: The Fastest Path to the Web, Eclipse: Step by Step, and WDSC: Step by Step. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Joe Pluta

Joe Pluta is the founder and chief architect of Pluta Brothers Design, Inc. He has been extending the IBM midrange since the days of the IBM System/3. Joe uses WebSphere extensively, especially as the base for PSC/400, the only product that can move your legacy systems to the Web using simple green-screen commands. He has written several books, including Developing Web 2.0 Applications with EGL for IBM i, E-Deployment: The Fastest Path to the Web, Eclipse: Step by Step, and WDSC: Step by Step. Joe performs onsite mentoring and speaks at user groups around the country. You can reach him at joepluta@plutabrothers.com.


MC Press books written by Joe Pluta available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

Developing Web 2.0 Applications with EGL for IBM i Developing Web 2.0 Applications with EGL for IBM i
Joe Pluta introduces you to EGL Rich UI and IBM’s Rational Developer for the IBM i platform.
List Price $39.95

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WDSC: Step by Step WDSC: Step by Step
Discover incredibly powerful WDSC with this easy-to-understand yet thorough introduction.
List Price $74.95

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Eclipse: Step by Step Eclipse: Step by Step
Quickly get up to speed and productivity using Eclipse.
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    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.

     

  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • 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 NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • 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.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • 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.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In 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

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

  • 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.

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    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.

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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot 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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot 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.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.