The IBM System i is IBM's previous generation of midrange computer systems for IBM i users, and was subsequently replaced by the IBM Power Systems in April 2008.
The platform was first introduced as AS/400 on June 21, 1988 and later renamed as the eServer iSeries in 2000. As part of IBM's Systems branding initiative in 2006, it was again renamed to System i.
In April 2008, IBM announced its integration with the System p platform. The unified product line is called IBM Power Systems and features support for the IBM i (previously known as i5/OS or OS/400), AIX and Linux operating systems. Power4 or older hardware ran OS/400 exclusively.
The IBM System/38 was introduced in November 1979 as a minicomputer for general business and departmental use. It was replaced by the AS/400 midrange computer in 1988 which was rebranded as the eServer iSeries in 2000 (in accordance with IBM's new eServer initiative). Later in 2006 it was renamed the IBM System i which lasted until April 2008 (almost 20 years after being introduced) when it too was—finally—replaced by the IBM Power Systems line.
It uses an object-based operating system called IBM i. The operating system has undergone name changes in accordance with the rebranding of the IBM server line. Initially, it was called OS/400 (following the name schema that gave birth to OS/360 and OS/2). Later on became known as i5/OS in line with the introduction of the eServer i5 servers featuring POWER5 processors. Finally, it was called just IBM i coinciding with the 6.1 release.
Features include a DBMS (DB2/400), a menu-driven interface, multi-user support, dumb terminal support (IBM 5250), printers, as well as security, communications and web-based applications, which could be executed either inside the (optional) IBM WebSphere application server or in PHP/MySQL using a native port of the Apache web server.
While in Unix-like systems “everything is a file”, on the System i everything is an object, with built-in persistence and garbage collection. It also offers Unix-like file directories using the Integrated File System. Java compatibility is implemented through a native port of the Java virtual machine.
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