My brief note last week on the slow motion demise of the server to which so many of us have been loyal has triggered a number of thoughtful responses.  Not surprisingly, many of you seemed appalled at the suggestion that it may be time to start looking beyond AS/400.  Such a reaction reinforces the point that began the article – loyalty to AS/400 remains strong even though IBM has largely stopped both the marketing and enhancement of it. 

I did not suggest that the time had come to abandon ship.  What I did say was: “There is nothing wrong with continuing to run code written for OS/400 on what has evolved into an outstanding server platform.  It is reliable, cost effective, energy efficient and offers the flexibility of also running AIX or Linux software.  There is also no urgent reason to replace OS/400 specific applications such as JDE World.  Such applications will run just fine on Power servers for many years to come.” 

It will make sense for many of you to keep running World on Power servers until after the polar ice is gone.  Upgrades to anything new only make sense at what we call “inflection points” – a time when conditions have changed sufficiently to warrant a major shift in strategy.  Inflection points are usually the result of events such as an acquisition, new ownership or management, or dramatic changes in business conditions.  When such points occur, it will make sense to look at moving up to EnterpriseOne rather than to continue putting more duct tape and chewing gum on World. 

What concerned me most is that some organizations continue to invest in significant custom software development projects using RPG and the ILE development environment.  Given the current realities, doing so is not a wise investment.  Continuing to make minor tweaks to existing RPG code is not what I was talking about.  Development projects that multiple individuals work on for months or even years are what I had in mind. 

The case for moving up in class to a leading edge development environment will be made here over the course of a number of articles.  I will rely on my associate Jim Louys, who has overseen the upgrading of a great deal of worn out RPG code personally, to help tell the story.  If I was the first AS/400 advocate on Earth, Jim was #2.  He started his career as a programmer in Rochester working on what became the foundation for OS/400.  Jim was the original source for the “Silverlake” code name.  His credentials as an AS/400 loyalist are unmatched.  Much of his current work, however, revolves around breathing new life into older code and applications.  I am optimistic that the articles he will offer will be very enlightening. 

All I really ask is for all of you to keep an open mind to the new possibilities out there.  Most of you will be pleasantly surprised by what you discover. 

Please, keep those comments and opposing opinions coming!