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Developing Mission-Critical Applications with IBM i

developing mission critical applications with IBM i

CSI has a rich history of running complex and regulated workloads on IBM i systems for organisations who trust the platform with their mission-critical applications.

Over 30 years ago, IBM designed a turnkey platform with an integrated relational database that redefined upward compatibility. Previously AS/400 or iSeries, today IBM i is still at the core of many businesses.

With little or no change, a program created for an AS/400 in 1988 can run on the latest IBM POWER9 server today – on-premise, in our CSI PowerCloud or the public IBM Cloud.

Mythbusting with IBM i

Even with the growing popularity of hyperscale x86 public clouds, we see very few companies planning to move away from their IBM i systems. In fact, many are looking to add resources, although growth isn’t always measured in new systems shipped – capacity can be increased through powerful on-demand technology.

To meet this growth, we’ve recently enhanced the CSI PowerCloud’s POWER9 systems with IBM’s Power Enterprise Pools 2.0 to offer even more flexible and cost-efficient IBM i capacity with granular utility pricing.

With PEP 2.0, all installed processor cores and memory are aggregated across a single pool and can be made available to any workload without manual intervention. This allows CSI PowerCloud users to meet spikes in usage by seamlessly bursting into additional capacity and returning to a cost-optimised base level when excess demand drops.

To read our previous blog on PEP 2.0 written in August 2020, click here.

Our experience reflects the findings of the latest HelpSystems IBM i Marketplace Survey.

Now in its seventh year, this influential survey reviews the global trends that are shaping the IBM i market.

HelpSystems found that 79% of respondents have no plans to replace their IBM i systems and 25% of respondents are planning to increase the capacity of their IBM i systems.

While on-premise presence is still strong, many organisations are also using IBM i in the cloud.

More than half of cloud adopters in the HelpSystems survey reported that they have migrated production IBM i systems to a cloud environment, while others are using the cloud for specific roles: or disaster recovery and for test and development.

Migrating IBM i to the Cloud for Test and Development

CSI recently announced our “Test as a Service” solution to accelerate application development on IBM i. In a demanding market, developers – including Independent Software Vendors – have significant challenges in:

  • reaching new users by developing innovative new applications,
  • retaining current users by introducing new or improved application features,
  • and doing both while controlling costs.

CSI’s Test as a Service can be used to efficiently test new features and support proof of concept demonstrations.

Temporary partitions can be quickly set up using IBM Cloud-based Power Virtual Servers and when the test cycle is complete, the PowerVS LPAR is shut down and deleted with no further charges.

Once a test configuration is established in the CSI Test as a Service image library, users can invoke a test environment at any time, paying only for the resources used by the test cycle.

Disaster Recovery and High Availability for IBM i

The CSI PowerCloud protects IBM i users with DR and HA options working closely with Equinix, an industry-leading provider of global colocation data centres and interconnection services.

For organisations still operating on-premise platforms, the CSI PowerCloud can provide secure secondary target systems for their IBM i systems. When companies are running production systems in the CSI PowerCloud, high availability is offered as part of our standard subscription model.

In agreement with our clients, CSI regularly tests all HA systems to ensure that failover to a secondary environment will be successful in the event of a real-world need for resilience.

Hybrid Cloud Models running IBM i for Production Systems

We are busy migrating production IBM i workloads to the CSI PowerCloud to fundamentally transform the delivery of applications. With a hybrid cloud approach, our clients can hand over the operational burden, retain all the benefits of an on-premise IBM i platform and add flexibility to meet unexpected surges in demand.

During the Covid lockdown, online transaction levels reached unprecedented levels and for many financial and retail businesses, their busiest trading days ever were in 2020.

CSI PowerCloud systems saw no degradation of performance and users successfully managed their business through the most volatile period in their history.

Security is Top Concern for IBM i

For the past five years, the HelpSystems IBM i MarketPlace Survey found that security has been top of mind for IT environment professionals. In the 2021 survey, 75% of almost 500 respondents stated that security was still their number one concern with a lack of security knowledge and skills topping the list.

CSI works with organisations in highly regulated industries like financial services where an extra level of compliance is required by authorities including the UK’s FCA and PRA. Our robust approach to both technical and procedural aspects of service delivery are underpinned by ISO27001, ISO9001 and PCI DSS certifications. This is supported by suitable policies and a structured approach to managing access to client environments.

Workload Modernisation for IBM i users

IBM i users are at the forefront of a drive to modernise application workloads.

CSI ensures that organisations can deliver mission-critical applications effectively and efficiently by implementing leading IBM and open source technologies: Red Hat OpenShift, IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management, Ansible and Terraform.

With new DevOps options including cloud, containerisation, open-source, and AI, we ensure that IBM i platforms have a long, healthy, and modern future.

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If you would like to discuss anything from this blog in more details please contact us today.

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