What’s in a name? The title of this post is a bit unusual as the AS400 have been available from IBM and IBM resellers for over 28 years. I have tried to identify the myriad of different ways someone looking for information on this product might search for it.  From here on out I will just use the term AS400 to refer to AS400, iSeries, System/36, etc.

If you Google AS400 VMware or any of the names above you will get 390,000 results in less that half a second.  Chances are good after reading a number of them you will give up as you will find that none of them answer the question you actually want answered.

If that question for you is “how can I create a VMware virtual machine on one or more of my servers that are running VMware and then move my current applications to it so that I can run them and back those applications up with the same process that I use to backup everything else I have?”

On the surface this may seem like a reasonable question.  On the VMware website compatibility matrix as of today you can run 138 operating system families from 20 different vendors including IBM.  For some reason when you drill down into the current comparability matrix OS400, AS400, iSeries are not listed in the drop boxes and do not even show up in a key word search.  See http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?

If “how can I create a VMware virtual machine on one or more of my servers that are running VMware and then move my current applications to it so that I can run them and back those applications up with the same process that I use to backup everything else I have?” is your questionPlease read on. From your view you may see several potential advantages to being able to do this migration:

  1. I can get rid of my IBM AS400, i Series hardware and stop paying maintenance on it.
  2. I can use the exact same backup and data protection on my IBM AS400 environment that I use on everything else
  3. Although the applications on my AS400 are very critical and time tested the amount of data is actually quite small when compared to other systems we have so it should be very low cost to add the processor and storage capacities needed to my data center or cloud environment.

If you reach out to VMware (of Microsoft if you use HyperV or Citirix if you use XENserver) you will likely either get one of 3 responses:

  1. An answer to a question other than the question you asked.
  2. A “we will check into that and get back to you.” response.
  3. A “we will check into that for you and get back to you” followed by no response.

The simple reason for these 3 responses is that when you dig into the details of  your question you will find out that you can not do what you are asking to do.  Sorry about that.  You cannot move a copy of the OS400 operating system running on your IBM AS400 to a VMware Virtual Machine and have it run a copy of the same application software running on that same AS400.  Again, sorry about that.

A number of people will respond to this post saying that you can move your IBM AS400 applications to a standard Windows, Linux or VMware Virtual Machine.

That might be true if :

  1. you have all of the source code to all of the applications running on your AS400. Most people do not.
  2. and if you are willing to license RPG and/or COBOL compilers that will create code that will run in a Linux or Windows environment
  3. if your application software license allows you to do so
  4. and if you are have someone who understands the application currently running on your AS400, Some people are able and willing to do this.  Most people are not.

If you are still using applications written for and running on an IBM AS400 ecosystem it is probably because:

  1. the people using those applications know how to use them
  2. and the applications do the job reliably or “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”

So does this mean that I can’t move the applications currently running on my IBM iSeries (AS400) to the cloud and take advantage of the ability to both scale up and down their environment as needed and also get the reduced costs and other benefits of being in the cloud?

Actually, I didn’t say that.  You can do so and it can work very well, helping you cut costs, improve performance and give you the other benefits/outcomes you are looking for.  Because it does not fit in with the desire for a cookie cutter approach move hyper visor companies offer they do not want to talk about and would prefer that you go through great effort and risk to move from a tried and proven IBM AS400 ecosystem to their hypervisor environment. Our name, Outcome Management Group, says it all.  We is focused on delivering the business outcomes you want and need so we focus on a solution that does what you want with low risk at reasonable cost other than requiring you to change your world to fit our environment.

If you are open to talking about this in more detail please shoot us an email at info@outcomemanagementgroup.com or give us a phone call at (312) 548-1336.  Determining if what we offer is something you should dig into further typically only a 10 minute conversation.