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Since the late 1980’s, the IBM AS/400 has been a popular mid-range computing platform for many enterprises, particularly in banks, hospitals, manufacturers, and retailers. According to one study, over 100,000 companies currently are using AS/400 technology as it exists within IBM I to power their most mission-critical applications.

While RPG remains the most dominant programming language on the IBM i, aka AS/400, platforms, IBM has been adapting to the changing technology environment by bringing some new languages, including Java, Python, and Perl, to the box. Also, thanks to AS/400’s reliability, some cloud services use the platform for cloud support. In addition, AS/400 is often used to support Windows in terms of preventing malware and viruses due to its strong security mechanism.

Though AS/400 is far from being dead, some companies have decided to migrate to cloud platforms from the AS/400 systems in their modernization efforts.

In either scenario, companies are facing a daunting challenge when it comes down to the understanding of their AS/400 environment, to efficiently unlock the value of their data assets.

The difficulty originates from their inability to automatically parse the scripts of the legacy code written in RPG or COBOL on one hand and of the more modern technologies such as Python and Java on the other. As a result, there is no visibility into either the intra-system connections (how Db2 for IBM i is connected with applications developed in RPG or Python) or the inter-system connections (how data assets in the AS/400 environment are connected with the rest of the enterprise data landscape). Without this visibility, there will be no end-to-end data lineage and an enterprise data catalog will not have a complete and accurate inventory. In other words, comprehensive data observability, discovery, and traceability become impossible.

EIIG Supports AS/400 (and more)

Here is how Orion’s Enterprise Information Intelligence Graph (EIIG) can make a huge difference. To start, EIIG covers all the key technologies within the AS/400 environment. Since the majority of the applications are developed in RPG and COBOL, and executed in CLLE, EIIG has dedicated scanners to ingest metadata from them. If an organization uses Java and/or Python, EIIG provides code level visibility. Besides DB2 for IBM i, EIIG can also parse scripts of ERP software such as SAP built on the AS/400 platform.

Helping Enterprises Achieve Better Outcomes

In short, EIIG can visualize a variety of data assets from system of records, transactional data, to applications such as scheduling and order management in a knowledge graph with end-to-end data lineage. EIIG provides businesses with an understanding of the transformation details, traceability and the ability to catalog the assets. With this comprehensive coverage, enterprises can more efficiently unlock the value of their AS/400 data assets and achieve desirable business outcomes. For example:

  • Enterprises can optimize cost by minimizing manual efforts to manage their AS/400 data landscape and assuring efficient data operations.

  • Retailers can assure the data operations of their unified commerce platform by rapidly identifying root causes with real-time observability to prevent loss of orders and inaccurate inventory prediction resulting in customer dissatisfaction and profit loss.
  • Insurance companies can achieve regulatory compliance with end-to-end data traceability.

  • Banks can leverage transaction data to conduct more targeted marketing campaigns.

  • Healthcare providers can tag all PII assets no matter where they are located.

  • Manufacturers can assure the proper operations of their business workflow with detailed data lineage and impact analysis.

  • For those customers who are modernizing and migrating to a cloud platform, they can more effectively assess their migration readiness by identifying duplicated assets, popularity and usefulness of the data, sensitive data etc. and thus prioritize the migration in a cost optimized manner.

What is more, EIIG enables enterprises to achieve all these outcomes with zero impact on their production data.

Want more information about EIIG? Contact Orion Governance today.

About the author: Niu Bai, Ph.D. is the Head of Global Business Development and Partnerships at Orion Governance, Inc. Follow Niu on LinkedIn here.

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