Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA)

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

And in the Elder Days, when the Internet was Young, there was HTML, and Computers could talk to Humankind, and it was Good. But then Computers began to speak to Computers, and HTML was cast aside as bulky and inappropriate. Thus HTML begat XML, and XML begat SOAP, and SOAP begat Web Services, but still there was Discord among the Computers, and they could not speak. And then came SOA, and Light shone upon the World, and any Computer could talk to any other Computer. And soon thereafter, the Computers banded together and formed Cyberdyne Systems, and we all know what happened after that....

No, really, that didn't happen. And neither has Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) become the silver bullet that magically allows any two computers to speak to one another. In fact, SOA is already under pressure not only from competing techniques but even from its own adherents. And in order to understand what SOA is and how it works, you have to be clear about some of the other pieces of the whole Web Services world and how it is supposed to work. Thus, this article will be a bit of explanation, starting with some really basic pre-history of inter-computer messaging, moving on through XML and the various ways it is communicated, and ending up at SOA and some of the even newer technologies already spinning off of it.

And at the end, I'll tell you a little story from the Days Before the 'Net.


Let's quickly review how we got to where we are today. A long time ago, computers talked to one another using simple, hard-coded formats. These formats often included binary data for a number of reasons, the two most prominent being that numbers were stored more efficiently in binary and that executable machine code was stored in binary. If you had to send numeric data to someone, it was much faster to do it in binary. If you had to send executable code, you had to send it in binary as well.

Interestingly enough, back in those days we sometimes had 7-bit connections, which meant we were limited to ASCII characters. In that case, we often used a technique called 2-for-1, in which we turned each binary byte into two ASCII characters, such as "C3" (which translates to a binary byte whose decimal value is 195). Those of you with a UNIX background or heavy email experience will recognize that the concept of uuencoding something is very similar.

While binary data is great when one machine is talking to another of the same type, such data is rife with unpleasantness when dissimilar machines talk. Do you store an integer value in one, two, or more bytes? With multiple bytes, which byte is first, the most significant or the least significant? Do you use floating point, and if so, which format? Or maybe you use packed decimal or binary-coded decimal. And even when binary wasn't being used and everything was done in pure text, there were issues. Are fields and records fixed-length or comma-delimited (or some other delimiter)? How about non-standard code pages, double-byte characters sets, or EBCDIC vs. ASCII?

It really was a Tower of Babel situation, and there was no easy way around it. By the time of the advent of the Internet, the closest the IT industry had come was Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and if you've ever worked with EDI, you know that it isn't exactly nirvana.

XML Comes to Pass

But then came the Internet and the World Wide Web, and its lingua franca, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). Several years later came Extensible Markup Language (XML). The two are closely related; both are subsets of the larger and much older specification known as Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which can model just about anything. There is even a sort of hybrid called XHTML which is HTML syntax modified so that it follows XML rules. The primary difference between HTML and XML is that the tags in HTML are predefined, while XML can be extended (thus the "X") by the user to include whatever application-specific tags might be needed.

With XML, one simply surrounds each data element in a tag:


You can group any number of tags within a larger tag and group those tags under even larger tags. Tags can have attributes as well, although there is still heated debate among XML experts as to whether or not attributes are a good thing, especially in data transfer documents. Quibble aside, XML looked like a nice way for two machines to talk, and there was excitement except for a couple of issues: format and discovery.


While it is useful to be able to create any tag that you need, it is also problematic. For example, if I call my tag ACCOUNTNUMBER and you call yours ACCOUNTID, we are not going to be able to communicate (unless there is a mediator and some sort of meta-definition, which I'll touch on a little later). Not only that, the entire issue can get political; what if your partner company is Lithuanian, and they want all tags in their native language? This gets really nasty when the language in question is a multi-byte language such as Japanese.

There are also still issues of how you represent data, especially numeric data. Are "-7" and "7-" both valid? What do you do with leading or trailing spaces? Can you handle fractions?

This issue is not a simple one. SOAP was the original attempt to address the issue by imposing an external structure upon the XML document, at the cost of a lot of additional overhead. Am I the only one who sees the irony of using more overhead to force structure on a format that added overhead in order to remove hard-coded structure? To me, it seems that if we must agree on the names of all the tags, then there really isn't a lot of difference between tagged and hard-coded messages, except that tagged messages require many times the data to do the same thing. Yes, you can omit fields, and the sender and the receiver are a little less tightly coupled, but that sort of communications overhead is a pretty steep price to pay.

To avoid the issue of tag names, you must move up yet another level of abstraction and incorporate message metadata. Just as SQL result sets contain both data (the actual rows and columns) and metadata (such as the names and types of the columns), message metadata contains information about the messages in an XML document. Some of this information is contained in the XML Schema Definition (XSD), but even that is not enough to overcome the issues that arise when documents come from different sources that adhere to different rules. In WLDJ magazine, Coco Jaenicke has an excellent article addressing this very issue; while the magazine is specific to WebLogic, the article is germane to anybody who wants to commingle disparate XML message formats, especially those who want to move from point-to-point to many-to-many service configurations. I'm going to leave this issue for now and move on to discovery. Meanwhile, Jaenicke's article is a great resource.


The other issue is far more difficult to address, and from an old-time programmer's standpoint, more bizarre. One of the main goals of Web Services and particularly SOA is the creation of reusable software components. And while the two are a little different in their approach to achieving these goals, the problems they face are similar. To me, the entire issue is a little bit of a solution looking for a problem, but you be the judge. As far as I can tell, the primary business goal for these discovery technologies is to locate services that may or may not exist. There are two scenarios: intra-company services and inter-company services. Neither is for the faint of heart.

First, let's review intra-company services. The idea is that people throughout the company write services and these services can be invoked by other people. This next part is a little scary to us old-timers, so bear with me as I work through it:

A programmer is given a task. I guess these are functional requirements. As far as I can tell, nobody has really analyzed the requirements or done any sort of design work; instead, there's been some sort of request, and the goal is for the programmer to fulfill that request as quickly as possible. In order to speed the task, the programmer begins looking through a central registry to see if somebody else has written components that meet the requirements. And then (this is the scary part) I guess the programmer just starts using those components. Until this point, I don't see any way for the person who wrote the service to know who is using the service, which means there's no clear way to perform an impact analysis if the service requires modification.

It's even more fun with inter-company services. I guess the idea is that you just go out and look for whoever can service your request. Without contractual obligations in place, guaranteeing levels of service and correctness of replies, I'll be darned if I can see who would use this in a mission-critical system, but I suppose this might make sense for some non-critical tasks. I understand that this subject at least has a name among the designers (Quality of Service, or QoS), but there is no real agreement or implementation. David Longworth's recent article in Loosely Coupled magazine addresses the issue quite well. On the other hand, a more human-readable directory structure might make sense to allow you to identify possible vendors for various services; you choose one, and after coming to a legal agreement, you incorporate that service into your application.

But let's say that, for whatever reason, you embrace this idea of finding some unknown service and incorporating it into your design.

Dude, Where's My Service?

First, there are the dual contenders of UDDI and ebXML. UDDI is the original concept, and it goes something like this:

  1. Client queries UDDI registry for a service.
  2. Registry returns location of WSDL document.
  3. Client reads WSDL document.
  4. Client uses WSDL to format SOAP request.
  5. Client sends SOAP request to service.
  6. Service returns SOAP response.
  7. Client uses WSDL to decode SOAP response.

Everybody talks like this is an automated process. Unfortunately, the automation story has a couple of huge holes. First, how in the world do you query the registry? How do you know what you're querying for? What is the format of the query? How do you handle a situation in which multiple services exist (or none!)? Second, if you've used a WSDL, you know that you must use a tool to generate a stub, which in turn allows you to communicate with the service. I'm no expert, but the idea of dynamically generating classes on the fly and then using them in production seems like a pretty risky technique (not to mention the fact that it doesn't seem likely to get past the SOX auditors).

OK, it's bad enough that UDDI sucks. The next problem is that it already has a competing technology, ebXML, that threatens to make UDDI obsolete. This standard has a lot of international support and includes a number of features not found in UDDI, including security and guaranteed messaging. Furthermore, other initiatives out there may impact discovery, such as WS-Inspection, which is a lightweight directory capability that allows a consumer to query a specific Web server as to its services.

So What's the Role of SOA?

Finally, we get to where SOA fits in. If you were to listen to the industry pundits or to the "blogsphere," you might get the idea that SOA is a new concept based on Web Services. However, the truth is that SOA as a concept has been around for decades. Recent technologies you may recognize that are SOA variants include Java's Remote Method Invocation (RMI), the Open Group's Distributed Computing Environment (DCE), and OMG's Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). And while it's true that the exact phrase "Service-Oriented Architecture" is probably specific to the implementation using SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL, this will probably change because UDDI is going to have to coexist with other technologies (provided it doesn't become entirely obsolete). Not only that, but there are other methodologies besides SOAP for communication between computers over the Internet. Two important ones are XML-RPC and REST.

Regardless of the definition of SOA, however, we can still get an idea of why SOA is an important architectural step. The idea is that SOA sits a little higher than the Web Service in two important ways. First, Web Services are a little more granular in nature; a Web Service might allow you to get an account balance or update a customer email address, while an SOA service is at the level of adding an entire order. This is hardly a hard-and-fast rule, of course, and nothing in either standard enforces such distinction. The second difference has to do with basic design philosophy. Web Services are more specific and technical, with little infrastructure above the basic request/response protocol. SOA services, on the other hand, perhaps due to the fact that they really have been around for a long time, look to be more amenable to enterprise-level functions like monitoring and security. This means we may see the ability to route messages dynamically to a newly located service without having to create and compile a new object; this to me is the biggest hurdle to any sort of automated discovery procedure.

In any case, SOA is here for at least the next 15 minutes. Watch your tool vendors as they switch their terminology from Web Services to SOA over the coming months, just as they replaced SOAP with Web Services and Struts with JavaServer Faces. And no matter what, remember that in the end, this is basically about calling code on another machine. SOA doesn't add any business logic to your system; it just exposes your system to the outside world. And if your original business logic runs poorly, so too will your services.

Finally, A Little Reality Check

I remember back in my early days of programming (this was before the Elder Days, before even the World Wide Web) a project in which PCs all around the country needed to talk to a central system. The PCs were honest-to-goodness IBM PCs, before the term became generic. Actually, I think they were PC/XTs, running at a blazing 8 MHz, with a whopping 256 KB of memory on them. We plopped these down into truck stops all around the country, and they talked via dial-up modem (at 2400 BPS) to another PC at our central office. This PC in turn talked to an RPG program running on the S/38 via terminal emulation. Basically, the RPG program on the S/38 had a single 256-byte input field and a corresponding 256-byte output field. The PC in the field sent a 256-btye request to the PC in the central office, and that PC in turn "typed" the request on the terminal and hit Enter. The RPG program processed this request and returned one or more 256-byte responses, which the local PC relayed down to the remote PC. That was our entire protocol, and we could do anything we wanted to through it.

We used this not just for credit card authorizations, but for fuel tax reporting, for data entry, and even for sending reports back to the remote PCs for local printing. We had collision protection in case multiple remote stations tried to update the same master record, we had communications restart/recovery (believe me, you needed restart capabilities when sending 300- page reports over a crotchety 2400 BPS connection to Enid, Oklahoma), and we even had the ability to update the software in the remote PCs electronically...

...back in 1986...

...without Java...

...and without Web Services...

...on this:

Figure 1: An IBM PC/XT like this with 640 KB of RAM and a 10 MB hard drive cost about $8,000 in 1986.

Why do I bring this up in an article about SOA? Because before we get paralyzed by a flood of acronyms and buzzwords, I want to be sure we are all on the same ground as to what we're talking about: client/server computing, which is simply one computer asking another computer to do some work. It's not brain surgery, it's not alchemy, and it's certainly not something new in the world of computing. In fact, client/server computing probably began right about the time cave-scientists built the second computer.

But in today's world of ever-increasing complexity, you can't just have one computer talk to another. No, in today's world you need a queuing mechanism, a transport protocol, a message standard, a registry service, and a host of other components, all of which are necessary in order to (I love this) make the programmer's job easier. Sometimes, I get the idea that the real reason is to make hardware, OS, middleware, and tool vendors rich, but I don't like to say that out loud. The black helicopters are listening....


Folks, I write these articles to try to enlighten and inform. Sometimes, I get the idea that technology is just flying out of control; I'm sure you feel the same way. So, to keep from simply being drowned in a flood of buzzwords, I go out and read everything I can get my hands on about pertinent topics and then come back and report to you what I've found. What I need from you is feedback: Did this article help? Did it address something you needed to know about? Would you like to hear more about this topic or about something related? Or something completely different?

I already have requests for more information on JSP frameworks and for more information on J2EE and .NET. What is it that you need to hear about? Please, post in the forums and let me know.

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

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

Now On Sale

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

Now On Sale

Eclipse: Step by Step Eclipse: Step by Step
Quickly get up to speed and productivity using Eclipse.
List Price $59.00

Now On Sale



Support MC Press Online





  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile computing is rapidly maturing into a solid platform for delivering enterprise applications. Many IBM i shops today are realizing that integrating their IBM i with mobile applications is the fast path to improved business workflows, better customer relations, and more responsive business reporting.

    This ASNA whitepaper takes a look at mobile computing for the IBM i. It discusses the different ways mobile applications may be used within the enterprise and how ASNA products solve the challenges mobile presents. It also presents the case that you already have the mobile programming team your projects need: that team is your existing RPG development team!

    Get your copy today!

  • Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless Devices

    DDL SystemsDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved!

    Order your copy here.

  • DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!


    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.


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

    SB Profound WP 5539

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

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

    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!


  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results


    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks


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

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

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

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

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

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

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

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


  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.


  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution


  • 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 GenericWatch 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!


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

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, 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.

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

    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.

    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).

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

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou 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 discuss:

    - 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

  • 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 5541Whether 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:

    • 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


    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


    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 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.

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

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

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

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

    Request your trial now!

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

    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.