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AS/400 market segment (was Re: "Webulating" RPG)


  • Subject: AS/400 market segment (was Re: "Webulating" RPG)
  • From: qappdsn@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 00:41:56 -0800

fixed



Chris Rehm wrote:

> ** Reply to note from "Guillermo Andrades" <Gab@CPIsoftware.com> Mon, 23 Feb 
>1998 17:19:25 +0100
> <<snip>>
>
> It is true that applications once implemented are very seldom changed.
> However, the market share of older technology is dwindling. The reason is
> that there are more and more new areas where technology can be implemented.
> As a result, there is a growing market for technology. New implementations
> which in the old days would certainly have been host based are more and
> more being brought out on distributed systems using network servers.
>
> If the AS/400 doesn't want to run out of room to grow, it needs to appeal
> to the same market segments.
>

Chris,

IMHO there are two markets for the AS/400.

soapbox(*on)

The first, at about half of the installed base, are legacy systems which were 
running fine on the
old hardware (S/3x) but needed the added head room.  And they are not dwindling 
as fast as you may
think.  They are stable market share companies that were brought into the IBM 
fold by a S/36 and ran
it without a hitch for 10 years. (Some still are!)

The second are corporate or departmental servers where reliability is the key 
selling point.

I believe what you are talking about is a historically PC based application 
with the ability to
access LAN data, serial devices, communications servers, etc. where the "real" 
data base is being
stored and managed on an AS/400.  If I'm seeing things correctly, in your 
situation, the shift is
away from the AS/400 as the application processor to more of a secure file 
server.  And this goes
far beyond just putting a pretty face on a green screen.

I believe this may be a trend for new shops that install the latest and 
greatest apps or some of the
larger shops, but it still leaves about 200,000 or so small shops in the gap.  
These types of shops
don't have an IS staff.  They've been spoiled by a machine they could run for 
10 years and get
reliable, acceptable performance from.  And they want to know how making it 
look better makes it run
better (cheaper).

Here is where IBM has to do some reality checks to bring these people into the 
new order.  I can get
a Pentium 200, 32M ram, 2 GB disk, WinNT, network card, twinax card for one 
third the price of
adding an Ethernet card to a CISC AS/400.  With the money left over you can 
give the sysop a salary
raise to cover the OT. :) Fax adapter for a 400? Don't think so.  Even a IPCS 
costs twice the amount
of a stand alone PC. These dollar based decision FORCES a company to accept 
solutions which continue
to erode the importance of the 400 as a small business solution.  But I'd guess 
that half the
installed base is in <$50M/yr companies.

In this environment it's hard enough to sell them on the idea of using 
something better then a
garage made clone as a server.  They just don't know how bad it can get!  
They're spoiled!  And
don't even tell them that the 386 that's receiving the shipping information and 
tied into their
scale is going to shut down shipping in two years...why it hasn't given them 
any grief...so far.

soapbox(*off)

Maybe I'm just in the small end of IBM's 80/20 rule (80% of the AS/400's are 
installed in 20% of the
clients, the remaining 20% of the AS/400's are spread out among 80% of the 
clients...heh! 80/20 is
just the name of a rule...let's not quibble over absolute numbers), and I've 
rambled for so long
I've lost touch of the point. :)  Oh, I remember, the target market of the 
AS/400.. it's such a
great machine with such scalability I think it's losing it's "nitch" and can 
serve your situation
and mine.  Yet be different in each case.  The new 170 can be file server, in 
an environment of
multiple servers, and be a small companies main computer and sole server.  Both 
markets can be
served and served well.  Now if I could get my hands on a Nway processor......I 
could remind the
world that HAL and the AS/400 are both 9000 series! ;-)

Regards,
James W. Kilgore
qappdsn@ibm.net



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