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5250 to the Web--A Primer for the Perplexed

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Numerous compelling finance, functionality, and productivity reasons exist to move 5250 green-screen applications to a GUI Web browser, yet many shops keep procrastinating. Why? Besides other IT priorities and economic uncertainty, the biggest reason is the confusion caused by an avalanche of information, techno-speak, and conflicting claims from a plethora of vendors.

This doesn't mean you should stay in deer-in-headlights mode and do nothing. You know you need to move forward, but how best to break the inertia? How about starting by reading this article? Here, I'll provide a simple, high-level view of this often perplexing subject. In doing so, I'll help you clarify your business case for a 5250-to-Web initiative, present a variety of important considerations when researching any vendor solution, and give you a quick look at the different types of available vendor solutions.

Reasons for Moving from 5250 to the Web

Some reasons to move applications to the Web are obvious, while others are not. See how your own needs match up, and don't be surprised if you discover reasons for getting graphical that you didn't expect.

User Expectations

Many users, especially those who have entered the job market during the past 10 years, expect an application to have a graphical look and feel. Although the business logic of a green-screen application may be cutting edge, it will likely be judged as ancient technology.

For practical reasons, it is critical to support the users who can relate to software only while resting their hand on a mouse, and in many organizations, these folks are becoming the majority. First, training is faster when staff is using a familiar interface; second, graphics on the screen can enhance software's ease of use, which may translate into increased user productivity.

But it's not just daily users whose productivity can improve because of a GUI. Managers and executives are more prone to dive into the application when it has a GUI interface, thereby getting to know their business processes better and extracting decision-critical information in ways they never expected.

Better Data Presentation

Browser-based screen presentations can consolidate data from multiple screens (or even multiple applications) onto a single page, because the data isn't constrained by 20 rows and 80 columns of fixed-size characters (27x132 if condensed). This, of course, can make information access more efficient, especially when graphics are added to organize and navigate the data. For instance, with consolidated information, customer service reps can view comprehensive information about customers and their orders on a single screen, eliminating the need to jump between screens.

In addition, in a business world where financial, manufacturing, and distribution operations are rarely under one roof and on one system, seamless integration from disparate systems and locations has become a necessity. With a graphical presentation, information from a variety of sources is more easily consolidated and presented.

E-Business Opportunities

Whether you're developing a complete online e-commerce site for customers to create, change, and view orders or you're designing function-specific portals for vendors, partners, and staff, e-business is high on the list of why companies need browser-based functions in their applications. New opportunities and efficiencies can be realized when you include selected data from your legacy applications in a Web portal.

E-business can provide significant cost-savings by lessening the frequency of manual intervention when transactions occur. The manual entry of information from emails, faxes, and phone calls into your applications is always a point of vulnerability for errors. When information can be input directly into an application, the potential for error (and the costs associated with errors) drops dramatically.

With an online presence, not only can transactions be created and changed online, but a broad geographical presence is made available for your roving staff. Your salespeople can review orders and solve problems (or prevent them) while they are on the road, and staff can update data from remote locations.

Centralized Application Delivery

Rather than install every application on every machine that uses it, you can deliver and maintain the application from a central location via a Web application server. The benefits include a single point of software maintenance, simplified security and data backup, easy integration of data from multiple locations, and less use of resources on your remote servers. And if you also sell your applications, delivering them via the Web on a "subscription" basis can open a whole new pool of potential customers.

Reduced Interactive Workload

Green-screen 5250 applications require the use of interactive processing, for which IBM, of course, charges a premium, and it is likely that this premium will just keep rising. For instance, the newest entry-level iSeries 810 with the Enterprise Edition option, giving you all of the interactive processing that you want, costs $44,000 more than the machine with the Standard Edition, in which you pay extra for any interactive processing that you want.

Many of the tools that turn 5250 applications into a browser-based interface move the interactive processing to batch subsystems, which means that you can either forego adding more interactive CPU on your existing machine or completely skip it on a new machine. In some cases, this can more than pay for your 5250-to-Web initiative.

Considerations When Evaluating 5250-to-Web Solutions

Once the business reasons for moving to the Web are clear to you, it's time to consider your specific needs and to assess your limitations; these include costs, skill sets, and time constraints. Many products can help you move from 5250 to Web, and each was built to solve some particular need, although it may not necessarily be your need. Avoid a black-and-white approach to these solutions, and don't let vendors push you. As is the case with most areas of IT, there is no magic bullet.

The first thing to remember with any kind of IT purchase is that vendor service is a critical consideration and should carry a good deal of weight when making a purchasing decision. Before buying, ask for references and speak to customers who have solved challenges like your own.

Also, when looking for a solution, make sure it satisfies four critical considerations in light of your business needs: functionality, user acceptance, system compatibility, and accommodation of future needs. Let's take a closer look at these.

Functionality

It's critical to evaluate the level of presentation that you want from the browser before looking at solutions. One application may only need Web-accessed terminal emulation, while another just needs simple screens in which function keys are converted to buttons and prompt fields are transformed into pull-down lists, while a third requires the delivery of a true "Web" look, feel, and functionality.

You also need to consider whether your applications need to concurrently support a green-screen presentation. If so, be sure to understand whether the solution will require you to maintain two sets of source code.

It is important to know at the outset whether all or just some of your applications need to be enabled for browser access. Of the ones that do, does the entire application need a makeover or only portions? Understanding this can make a big difference in the kind of solution that you choose. There are tools and even suites of tools that can support a variety of needs.

Finally, within the realm of functionality, you need to consider how well the solution interacts with whatever Web application server you intend to use. If you don't have a Web application server and the solution that you choose requires one particular server, make sure you are willing to be bound by this.

User Acceptance

It is critical when selecting a solution that you consider the skill set of those who are to implement solution. How much will your IS staff have to learn? If you have only RPG programmers, depending on the type of solution you need, you may need to consider whether you want to spend the time and money to have them learn Java or other skills.

Keep in mind that some available solutions can utilize the existing skill set of your RPG programmers and will often provide a mechanism to batch modify your source code, if needed.

If your programmers need to add new skills, it is vital that the vendor be available to support them during this process. You also need to consider the general skill set of the end-users of your applications. Perhaps the bulk of your customer's users are satisfied with your green-screens because they only have to key data into a few simple fields, or maybe most users simply scan and verify information. Despite all the reasons to go to GUI, there are still applications where this still may not be a necessity.

Finally, if you are buying a solution that also provides tools for new development, consider how the solution fits into your application development cycle. And don't forget to consider how the tool will fit into your change management procedures.

System Compatibility

The final straw that often pushes companies to a browser-based presentation is the necessity of adding expensive interactive processor capacity. As mentioned previously, moving to a browser-based interface can fully cost-justify the 5250-to-Web transformation process, because many of the tools that "reface" them move this processor load to batch processing. This means that you can put off adding an interactive processor, and if you are looking to upgrade to one of the newest iSeries machines, you may be able to get away with buying the Standard Edition rather than the Enterprise Edition, thus saving thousands of dollars.

Even if you are able to dramatically reduce or eliminate interactive processing by moving to a browser-based presentation, you also have to consider whether you have enough CPW to do the job. Different tools will require different amounts of CPW capacity.

When selecting a solution, also keep in mind whether the converted application will require a fairly recent version of OS/400 in order for it to become GUI. If your newly "Web-ified" application needs to run on other iSeries machines that have an older release of the operating system, this may present a problem.

Accommodation of Future Needs

Before looking at solutions, think about what you might need to achieve with the Web delivery of your data in the foreseeable future. For instance, you may soon need to interface with data from other applications--even applications that are not your own (e.g., data from partners, suppliers, governmental agencies, etc.).

Also consider that different user interfaces (UIs) might be needed down the road. Different UIs have come and gone over the years, and who knows what the next hot UI will be. You may not want to buy a solution that locks you into one particular UI, as this could mean having to purchase a different solution later in order to accommodate a whole different UI.

It is important to understand that the interchangeability of UIs can typically be accomplished only if the business logic layer is separated from the presentation layer in your applications. Some available solutions can retrofit your code with some amazing universal adapters; however, the source of your programs will likely need to be modified. Solutions are available that can batch convert your source to make this modification. Still, such a retrofit can require a great deal of extra work, and some solutions require that you support two sets of source code if green-screens are still required.

General Categories of 5250-to-Web Solutions

Now that you know why you might want to go graphical, and now that you have a basic understanding of the crucial considerations of such an initiative, let's look at some of the different types of 5250-to-Web solutions that are available. For the purposes of comparison, these solutions can be loosely grouped into four major categories:

  • Emulation offers simple Web access to a 5250 data stream. The characters on a green-screen are presented in a Web browser, so the look and functionality of the screen is essentially the same as if it were being accessed through standard terminal emulation.
  • Reface (non-intrusive transformation) turns green-screen output graphical without the need to change the source code. Function and Enter keys are typically replaced by buttons, prompts are replaced by pull-down lists, etc. This option is often chosen when source code is not available.
  • Replace (intrusive transformation) allows the output portion of the source code to be "replaced" by a high-speed messaging function that acts as a "universal adapter," letting you have the display output sent to just about any kind of user interface that you want. Replace solutions always require some source code modification.
  • Rewrite completely recodes existing applications or creates new applications to natively include the new graphical presentation layer.


Many existing vendor solutions include one or more of these categories. Although I've listed below some in each category, the list is not all-inclusive. To begin finding out about more vendors, see the MC Press Vendor Directory.

Warning: When you're evaluating a vendor solution, you're likely to see a snazzy demo in which some of your display-only-data screens are rapidly transformed into graphical presentations. Before being too "wowed," be sure to have the vendor transform a few of your more complex screens so you can see how these will behave.

Emulation

For those situations where the goal is simply to eliminate thick-client software, like Client Access, and have all internal users access applications through a Web browser, an enhanced terminal emulation product with Web access capabilities can be the answer. The benefits are simpler workstation configuration and easier access of applications via LAN, WAN, and VPN. When looking at emulation solutions, make sure they will emulate function keys.

Products
Mochasoft 5250
Teamstudio Screensurfer
CABEL AS to Web
Seagull BlueZone
IBM Host On-Demand
IBM iSeries Access for Web
ADVANCED BusinessLink GUIStyle
Jacada Terminal Emulator

Reface (Non-intrusive Transformation)

Reface tools essentially transform each screen in a legacy application into a graphical presentation by taking the character-based output specifications of each screen and converting them on the fly into HTML and/or JSP equivalents. With solutions that fall into this category, there is no need to modify source code; therefore, developers can manage a single set of code and let the refacing tool do the rest.

You might think this is the same as the screen-scraping tools of the 1990s, but reface technology has evolved a long way from the laborious, tedious, and functionally limiting process of yesteryear.

Reface tools either work from the DDS or take the actual 5250 display output. With few exceptions, these tools require an interactive processor because the 5250 output is still being generated.

With reface tools, developers don't need to have Java or Visual Basic skills. In fact, modern reface tools typically define the output with an intuitive design template or style sheet (also called a graphical style repository) in which you define a set of rules to guide the look and properties of the screen. Many tools also include a WYSIWYG design function.

The upside of reface tools is a quick, non-intrusive facelift for your applications that requires few if any additional skills and doesn't require you to have or change source code. The downside is that they still require an interactive processor, they typically require a fairly large footprint on the host, and if you want to significantly modify the browser-based screen output of the tool beyond what can be achieved with the design template, you are on your own to know at least HTML and possibly Java.

Products
BOScom Jadvantage
California Software BABY/iSeries
IBM Host Access Transformation Server (HATS)
IBM WebFacing
Jacada Integrator
Linoma aXes
looksoftware newlook
ResQNet ResQNet
Seagull JWalk

Replace (Intrusive Transformation)

Replace tools require that the existing legacy source code is modified to have the output portion of the code (the 5250 data stream) "replaced" by a high-speed messaging API that acts as a universal adapter. In other words, the display file I/O requests are replaced with API calls within your source code. In order to accomplish this, the business logic is separated from the presentation logic in the code.

Of course, the downside of replace tools is that you need to modify the output portion of all of your application's source code, although most replace tools include utilities to help you automate this. Still, there can be a fair bit of up-front maintenance required. Additionally, if you also need to support green-screen users, depending on the tool that you choose, you may find yourself managing two sets of source code.

The benefits of using this kind of tool, however, can be significant:

  • Eliminate the application's interactive workload by replacing the 5250 data stream. This is about the only way to achieve this without a full rewrite. The exception is IBM's WebFacing solution, but only when running on the newest model iSeries machines.
  • Use just about any kind of existing user interface as well as any other that comes along. This is especially useful if your current or future requirements include sending application data to various kinds of information portals.
  • Achieve a true Web look and feel, which is often not available in a reface tool.
  • Minimize the hit on system resources when you need to make data available in an event-driven environment (e.g., the general public via the Web). Because the code is modular, as each request for data occurs, the required fields are passed, data is processed, a response is sent to the requestor, and the job terminates.


Products
Jacada Interface Server
System Objects JACi400
Linoma Envoy
Pluta Brothers Design PSC/400
Seagull Transidiom

Rewrite

Rewriting involves recreating existing applications from scratch or building brand new applications that allow your choice of a graphical presentation layer to be natively included. Various development products can also transform legacy source code (e.g., RPG, COBOL, etc.) to another language (e.g., Java), which helps when migrating apps--although the automation of source code migration can be a tricky process.

Rewriting tools are useful not just for developing larger applications, but especially for smaller browser-based initiatives that include pieces of legacy data. In these cases, XML, SOAP, and other protocols are often used to port data from a variety of applications residing on different platforms into the end product. Again, depending on what you want to do (either now or in the foreseeable future), be sure that the tool you choose can accommodate your needs.

Products
ADVANCED Businesslink Strategi
BCD ProGen WebSmart
Computer Associates Advantage 2E
Freestyle-400 Freestyle-400
Genexus GeneXus
Jacada Studio for iSeries
System Objects Jbuilder for iSeries
LANSA for the Web and LANSA Integrator
mrc mrc-Productivity
Profound Logic RPG Smart Pages
Relational-Data RelationalWeb
Seagull LegaSuite
IBM WebSphere Development Studio

Go Forth

Now that you've taken in the 30,000-foot view of the 5250-to-Web world, you should be able to constructively explore your business reasons for this initiative and more closely understand your own constraints. With this knowledge, you can begin to absorb more of the details on this subject both from industry resources and by picking the brains of vendors who can be an extremely valuable resource of information and education on the subject--especially when you know what questions to ask. As you expand your understanding, you will be able to more objectively assess vendor solutions and find the right tool or combination of tools that will be both affordable and suitable to your needs.

Best of all, you will confidently leave the crowded ranks of the "5250-to-Web perplexed" and begin to realize all of the benefits that these technologies have to offer.

Some additional resources:

Bill Rice is an information technology writer and marketing consultant. He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bill Rice

Bill Rice is a technology marketer and founder of Humanized Communications, a digital marketing agency. He is a former editor of MC Showcase, is a former marketing communications director for Vision Solutions, and even did a stint as an IT manager for a shop that had an AS/400 model C10 (this just dated him). He can be reached at billr@humanizedcommunications.com.

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  • The Truth About Viruses on IBM i

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Protecting your data from viruses or malicious code is not an unfamiliar concept, but understanding how these threats can affect your Power Systems server may not be as easy to grasp.
    There are many myths about viruses and IBM i—including the belief that the system is immune. Many Power Systems managers still don’t see viruses as a risk because they see them as a Windows threat. While this was once true, today’s connected environments operate under different rules.
    It’s time to take action and protect IBM i and the network that connects to it. This on-demand webinar will help you gain an understanding of the relationships between:

    - Viruses and the integrated file system (IFS)
    - Power Systems and Windows viruses
    - PC-based anti-virus scanning vs native IBM i scanning
    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. Learn the facts to ensure you're fully-protected.

  • Business Process Automation with Robot

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Automate Process Flow Through the Data Center
    Typical “computerized” business processes are a combination of multiple schedulers, operational scripts, CL programs, and manual file checking, all backed up with the trusty runbook.
    Is there a better way to manage business processes?
    It is a common misconception that a business process cannot be automated if it’s too complicated or requires that someone verify each step. We’re here to tell you there is a better way to manage your business—process automation is possible!
    Take 30 minutes to learn the options for automating your business process flow and how they fit into your data center processing, including cases of:
    - Complex or iterative schedules
    - Event-driven dependencies
    - Multi-platform dependencies
    - Dynamically calculated parameters
    - Exception notification
    - SAP and Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne integration
    How do I know business process automation is effective?
    If you have any doubts that automating complex business processes will improve your level of service, you’ll also hear a success story from the senior systems administrator at Trident Seafoods who embraced automation using the Robot solution and is reeling in the benefits!

  • Find Out Why You Should Keep Data on IBM i

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    It’s simple. IBM i is the most reliable, securable, and powerful platform to house your critical business data.
    IBM i was built for business and has added features and functionality over the years to keep up with modern business needs. You can trust it to run your business, access your data in real-time, and keep your data secure. Plus, IBM i can scale to your business and handle all of your critical data.
    Can your other platforms do that?
    We didn’t think so.
    Watch this 30-minute webinar to learn why you should keep your data on IBM i, including:
    - IBM i is reliable
    - IBM i offers fast and secure real-time data access
    - IBM i helps your business prepare for tomorrow
    Plus, we demonstrate how Sequel Data Access helps you modernize IBM i data access and meet your business needs.

  • Mobile Apps for IBM i Monitoring

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    Overnight and weekend support can be a minefield for operations teams tasked with attempting to maintain system availability, especially when they must rely on laptop-based VPN access—where a delayed response can prove costly.
    With over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to use the BYOD movement to your advantage and start managing your IT infrastructure from the palm of your hand. Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how Halcyon has modernized this crucial layer of support by introducing mobile applications for IBM i monitoring.
    You’ll hear how one company has used the Enterprise Console mobile app to provide a valuable audit trail and speed up response time. You’ll also learn:
    - The benefits of mobile apps
    - How to respond to critical messages within seconds
    - How to get notifications your way on your device
    - How to set up escalation, ensuring alerts are always handled in a timely fashion
    If your team is responsible for managing IBM i applications and services after regular business hours, you won’t want to miss this one!

     

  • Speed Up Your Manufacturing and Distribution with Paperless Processes

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Your ERP system —whether it’s JDE World, Enterprise One, Infor, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics, VAI, or anything else—is essential to maintaining your company’s key business information and processes. But you’re constantly generating and receiving paper and electronic documents, too, and it’s hard to keep everything straight. So, you wind up chasing documents and data around—and keeping your customers and vendors waiting.
    It’s time to make life easier and make your customers happier. With an electronic document management system, you can integrate with your ERP to keep all of your key documents and data in one spot.
    And when all of your documents are stored digitally, you can speed up your processes and get key documents (like purchase orders and invoices) approved faster.
    Watch the webinar and learn how to:
    - Integrate a document management system with your ERP
    - Capture all of your key shop floor, order, and shipment documents in one central repository
    - Improve customer, vendor, and employee response times
    - Accomplish more work without adding additional staff
    It’s time to deliver your shipments faster and keep your customers happy by streamlining your paperwork processes.

  • Dock Door Signing Made Easy

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    How long does dock door signing take your organization? Too long if you’re still using manual processes and paper.
    From generating to collating to printing to routing to signing, manual processes and paper slow down your organization—and your delivery times. Electronic documents and digital signature capture can change all of that. And your organization will be able to create, route, approve (with digital signatures), and retrieve documents faster.
    Learn how digital signature capture helps you:
    - Eliminate steps in your approval processes
    - Improve auditability
    - Reduce customer service time to resolve questions
    Plus, we’ll demonstrate how digitizing signatures and documents will reduce your organization’s costs over the long haul.

  • 5 Reasons Developers Love Robot Schedule

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Why AppDev Should Embrace Automation
    Your application development team is an expensive resource that works hard to improve business processes, yet more and more IBM i shops are putting AppDev in charge of managing day-to-day system operations.
    Instead of taking their attention away from the website, business analytics, mobile, security, SQL data access, and more, streamline operations with automation and build in notifications so your teams have visibility into processing when they need it, and can manage the rest by exception.
    In just 30 minutes, our experts will show how AppDev teams can take advantage of Robot automated operations on IBM i and beyond so they can:
    - Stop programming for multi-platform job and file event dependencies
    - Stop struggling with incorrect parameter values
    - Stop wondering where to fit a process into daily, weekly, or monthly cycles
    - Stop the on-call headaches, the firefighting, and the lack of progress cycle
    - Go ahead, give your AppDev team a productivity boost!

  • Affordable Query Tool for Software Developers

    SB NGS WC Generic

    NGS’ Software Developer Kit (SDK) gives IBM i developers comprehensive query, dynamic mobile reporting, analytics and Web report design features at an affordable cost. Install and create meaningful outputs for managers in one day! Web page and portal integration, email, FTP are included.
    The $895* SDK includes a one user license, online training, user manuals, one year of software maintenance; toll-free support and online incident reporting.
    - Want to modernize beyond Query/400 and PC files transfers?
    - Need a Web reporting solution without the learning curve and overhead of DB2 Web Query?
    - Have many reporting needs, but a tight budget and small staff?
    View the demo and request a FREE TRIAL of the SDK.
    * Limited time offer.

  • Your introduction to RCAC and Authority Collection

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    IBM has provided us with two powerful and very exciting security enhancements in the last two versions of IBM i.

    Scott Forstie of IBM joins Carol Woodbury to demonstrate and describe the V7R2 feature called Row and Column Access Control (RCAC), which extends how you define which users have access to specific rows in a database file. RCAC also provides a way to mask data for all or selected users.

    The recently released V7R3 adds Authority Collection. Authority Collection provides organizations and vendors with the ability to know exactly what authority is required to perform a task, eliminating the guesswork. Gone is the need to set *PUBLIC authority on database files to *ALL or to automatically grant service accounts *ALLOBJ special authority just because you’re unsure of what authority is required.

    Watch Scott and Carol as they discuss these and other new security features delivered in V7R2 and V7R3.

  • ​Getting Started with IBM i Security: Event Auditing

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Learn why event auditing is necessary and how to configure it
    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.
    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.
    This second session of the series introduces event auditing, with Robin Tatam covering the basics and more:
    - Why auditing is necessary
    - Determine if IBM i auditing is currently active
    - How to configure auditing with one simple command
    - What audit events are recorded (and which are missed!)
    - How high availability (HA) applications often make critical events disappear
    - Event reporting and real-time alerting

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: Securing PC Access

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Protect your system from unauthorized network access through readily available PC tools

    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.

    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.

    This on-demand webinar will show you how well-known services like FTP and ODBC enable users to access sensitive data without oversight or restrictions. Robin Tatam will also explain what exit programs are and how you can use them to protect your organization.

  • No Time for IBM I Security? No Problem

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    “Security” is definitely on your IT staff’s to-do list, but how often does this item get checked off?

    IT doesn’t have enough time for security—the 2016 IBM i Security Study proves it. The trouble is that data security isn’t a set-and-forget project. Data security on your IBM i requires on-going attention and expertise.

    In this on-demand webinar, you’ll learn how to save time and work more effectively. We’re cutting to the core of IBM i security by outlining the simple strategy developed by our experts.

    You’ll see a straightforward approach to understanding and addressing risk to your IBM i data. We’ll also show you how our world-class security services help people protect business-critical data when they don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to tackle IBM i security on their own.

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: System Values

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Set the tone for data protection with security-relevant system values

    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.

    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.

    The series opens with an introduction to security-relevant system values.

    System values are one of the fundamental elements of IBM i security. The security system values enable you to “set the tone” of security on your IBM i, enforce password composition rules, and enable auditing. Watch this on-demand webinar to see Carol Woodbury describe these system values and provide guidance on their best practice settings.

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    The IFS is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of IBM i security
    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.
    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.
    This recorded session has Robin Tatam introducing IFS security:
    - Defining IFS
    - How the IFS is configured
    - Common IFS security mistakes
    - What a virus can do to IBM i through the IFS
    - Tracking user activity

  • ​7 Habits of Highly Secure Organizations

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Everyone knows that cyber security is important, but getting started on the road to data protection and compliance can be confusing and intimidating. Understanding common vulnerabilities helps you focus your attention and resources on the areas that need the most help.
    We all want “best-practice” security, but what are top organizations doing to achieve and maintain it?
    Watch this webinar to learn the details about how to develop the seven habits that are part of daily life for secure organizations. You’ll learn how to:
    - Break the Ostrich Syndrome
    - Develop a Security Policy
    - Assess Current Standing
    - Perform Security Event Logging and Review
    - Use “Best of Breed” Technologies
    - Monitor for Ongoing Compliance
    - Plan for the Future
    This on-demand webinar examines what each of these habits means to IBM i, and helps you make sure that you don’t become the next security statistic.

  • An Introduction to PCI Compliance on IBM Power Systems

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    "From the world's largest corporations to small Internet stores, compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is vital for all merchants who accept credit cards, online or offline, because nothing is more important than keeping your customer’s payment card data secure.” — PCI Security Standards Council
    Complying with the PCI standard is a normal part of doing business in today’s credit-centric world. But, PCI applies to multiple platforms.
    The challenge becomes how to map the general PCI requirements to a specific platform, such as IBM i. And, more importantly, how can you maintain—and prove—compliance?
    Watch this webinar to understand:
    - How PCI requirements relate to IBM i systems
    - IBM i-specific barriers to compliance
    - How PowerTech security solutions help you fulfill PCI requirements, meet compliance guidelines, and satisfy auditors
    You’ll leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to evaluate PCI compliance requirements and prepare your IBM i system for today’s regulatory challenges.

  • Implementing Multiple Layers of Defense

    SB PowerTech WC Generic

    Your IBM i holds a massive amount of data. In most organizations, that data constitutes a mission-critical and high-value asset.

    How do you adequately protect the data residing on your IBM i, given its value to your organization? IBM has provided us with many options for protecting our data, but it’s now always clear how to select and implement the best options for your circumstances.

    This recorded webinar describes IBM i’s different data security options, along with implementation recommendations and tips for getting started. Carol Woodbury, one of the world’s top IBM i security experts, also provides considerations to help you determine how many layers of security are right for your organization.

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC Generic

    Watch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!
    Watch this Webinar Now!

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491


    Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.
    We will demonstrate how Profound UI:
    - Goes beyond simple screen-scraping to truly modernize your RPG applications
    - Uses RPG Open Access and your own RPG code and development talent to modernize
    - Supports rapid development with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Designer
    - Integrates with our on-the-fly modernization, mobile development, and Enterprise Modernization solutions

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericHigh availability for IBM i has been a hot topic in 2017, jumping 20% from our 2016 survey to take the #2 seat on IT priority lists just behind cybersecurity. And no surprise with these two topics so closely tied to your most valuable asset: your irreplaceable business data.
    With major airline outages last year and the recent ransomware attacks, you must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data?
    Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts—Tom Huntington, Matt Staddler, and Cole Ragland—deliver lively discussion around the top high availability issues of today, including:

    • Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    • Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    • Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    • How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    • High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

    There are no do-overs when it comes to your data. Once it’s gone, it’s gone...unless you have a data replication layer in place to protect it. Learn the value of these strategic solutions and how you can implement them in a hurry—watch now!

     

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Roses are red, your UIs are green...It's time to make your apps proud to be seen!
    Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love.
    In this webinar, you'll learn how you can use both Profound UI and Profound.js to:

    • 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

    This webinar will include a live product demonstration and Q&A with the presenters.

    Download and watch today!

  • 2017 IBM i Marketplace Revealed

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM i is one of technology’s best-kept secrets, with little information available about what IBM i users are doing on this server. Even companies that use this technology struggle to explain to their own teams what IBM i stands for and who else is using it.
    The IBM i Marketplace Survey—now in its 3rd year—was designed to solve this problem. Watch this on-demand webinar for the exclusive results of the 2017 survey. IBM i Champion Tom Huntington is joined by a panel of technology experts to discuss year-over-year trends and new insights. The panel will discuss:

    • What other platforms do you run alongside IBM i?
    • What programming and Open Source languages are you using?
    • What are your top IT issues?
    • What version of POWER and what OS level is most prevalent?
    • Are you expanding your usage of IBM i?
    • Is IBM i a good ROI?

    The expert panel will provide industry insight and comments about the results. When the webinar concludes, you’ll get access to the full results.

  • 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_Generic

    Everyone wants a piece of your business data. But keeping up with data access requests in the era of constantly growing data is a challenge. As a result, your IT department can be overwhelmed, inundated, and constantly needing to play catch-up.
    It’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 in 2018.
    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_Generic

    Let’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 noted 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_Generic

    There’s a better way to run your queries. With an advanced query tool like Sequel Data Access, you can deliver the IBM i data your organization needs quickly and efficiently—without the hang-ups.
    In this session, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access and distribution trends, and help you understand what to look for in a more advanced query tool.
    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
    • Watch the webinar and learn why you shouldn’t just settle for Query/400.

     

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    What happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    Capturing documents means scanning and filing—which takes you away from tasks that actually matter to the business. Managing documents means sorting through an endless sea of shared folders or filing cabinets—and sometimes documents can’t be found. Distributing documents means following a frustrating, manual process for routing documents internally and sending them to vendors and customers.
    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_Generic

    Get 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.

  • Monitor VIOS (and AIX) from Your IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) runs on AIX and allows you to share input/output resources across logical partitions. The health of your VIOS server is critical to the performance of all your Power server partitions, so monitoring it is a must.
    Our 2017 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results uncovered a cool trend: an increasing number of IBM i shops are running AIX instances alongside IBM i on Power Systems servers. We like to see these systems playing nicely together on the same server, though it does shine a spotlight on shared resources.
    During this 30-minute recording, our experts demonstrate the new VIOS and AIX monitoring capabilities in Robot Monitor. You’ll learn about:

    • The top AIX metrics that impact VIOS
    • Real-time monitoring with dashboard displays
    • Threshold and notification options
    • Identifying trends to better allocate resources

    With VIOS/AIX running alongside IBM i, you need visibility into your entire Power environment.
    Watch now to see how Robot Monitor can get you there!

     

     

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    You’re responsible for looking after Windows, Linux, AIX, and VIOS, but you worry that you don’t understand their complexities well enough to make your job effective—or easy.
    No problem! Simplify the management of multiple operating systems and applications without becoming experts in each area.
    In 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 and shows how easy monitoring multiple operating systems and applications can be using point-and-click technology.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    When IBM i disk space pulls its notorious disappearing act, you don’t have time to waste figuring out how the trick is done. You need to know when disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer.
    Looking behind the curtain to keep a close eye on disk space—especially in a multi-partition environment—can have its challenges, but every good admin can have an ace up their sleeve. 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

    Start seeing through the sleight of hand and get instant visibility into disk usage. Add advance warning of potential threats and—abracadabra!—you’ll reduce the risk of disk space depletion and curb the sudden flurry of activity to clean things up.

     

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

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Still following manual processes for extracting and transferring data across platforms? You’re not alone. Many business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation. And that leads to a lot of manual effort.
    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, you’ll see a demonstration of how data automation software from HelpSystems will help you finally stop re-keying data.

     

  • Survey Results: 2018 Top Cybersecurity Risks and Mitigation Strategies

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Protecting your organization from cyberthreats has never been more important—or more difficult.
    IT pros have many tactics to choose from, but time (and budgets!) are not unlimited. The key is prioritizing risks and identifying the most effective ways to mitigate the danger.
    In 2018, HelpSystems surveyed more than 600 IT and cybersecurity professionals to find out what security exploits loom largest and what strategies they’re turning to for protection.
    In this on-demand webinar, our team of cybersecurity security experts analyzes results. You’ll learn about:

    • Security strategies your peers are most interested in implementing
    • How managers and executives prioritize security
    • Who is responsible for cybersecurity at organizations around the world
    • Where IT pros turn for assistance with security

    You'll also get practical tips for using this data to drive cybersecurity conversations at your organization.

     

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

    SB_Profound_WC_Generic

    When it comes to IBM® Rational® Open Access: RPG Edition (also known as RPG Open Access), 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"

    This Webinar features IBM i expert Alison Butterill, and Profound Logic’s Brian May and Alex Roytman.

     

    Watch the On-demand Webinar Now!

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

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Do your users keep paperwork on their desk until it's processed?
    Are people constantly removing documents from filing cabinets?
    What happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Too much paper is wasted—approximately 1,000 pages per month per worker.
    Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets drive your employees crazy.
    And distributing documents to customers, vendors, and business partners 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

    Plus, our experts will provide a live demonstration of how implementing a document management solution will quickly solve your paper-based problems, so you can be more

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

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    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

     

  • TRY the One Package That Solves All Your Document Design and Printing Challenges

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    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. Why support 5 different products, when you can do it all with MarkMagic?

    - Drive over 450 different printer types.
    - Create invoices, statements, checks.
    - Set dynamic rules that transform output on the fly.
    - Conditionally distribute via Email, fax, or PDF.
    - Integrate with your current applications in minutes.
    - Preview printing on screen.
    - Native System i, Windows, AIX, Linux.

    Try MarkMagic today for free

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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413

    Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) 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 5413

    Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. 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
    Keep your critical applications and data available. Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

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

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413

    The thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot 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 5413

    For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. brKey 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.

  • MS Office Connector for Query/400...FREE Trial!

    SB NGS PPL 5130

    NGS' Qport Office enables Windows users to run IBM Query/400 queries to:
    - Create and update Excel spreadsheets and Access databases
    - Create Word documents
    - Send to Windows screen and PC printers
    No query conversion is required. Works with i5/OS V5R1 & above. Installs in minutes!
    If you don’t have a budget to replace IBM Query/400, but want your users to have one click enhanced output of their queries.... Request the online license agreement and product download instructions today!
    Offer good through December 31, 2016.

  • Control and Monitor User Access from Desktop PCs (ODBC, FTP)

    SB PowerTech 5422

    Protect your company by monitoring network traffic to your IBM i servers with the industry-leading exit program, PowerTech Network Security.
    Without visibility into IBM i's exit points, your users could be viewing, changing, or even deleting sensitive data—and you wouldn’t know!
    Network Security lets you monitor and control access to over 30 exit points, including:

    - ODBC
    - FTP
    - DDM
    - Remote command
    - Fileserve (mapped drives to IFS)
    It’s easy to set up custom access rules and get notified in real-time when security events occur.
    Stop “back door” access today. Try Network Security free for 30 days.

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

    SB DDL Systems 5429

    More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. Managing the complexities of today's operating systems, business applications, and networks challenges even the most knowledgeable IT professionals. The cost to an enterprise of unplanned downtime, loss of human expertise during sick leave or vacation, and system/application or environmental failure can be devastating. 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 (and staff) efficiency.