Today’s chapter in the IBMi25 story is all about how two very different platforms – the System/36 and System/38 – came together to make the AS/400. It turns out that, inside IBM, it was as much about integrating our people as it was about integrating our technology.
Before the AS/400 launch, I was working on the Midrange Support Team in the National Support Centre for IBM Canada. In the team were two very distinct groups of experts - those who worked with System/38 customers and those who worked with System/36 customers. The S/38 team was made up of people who focused on technology. They understood the integrated database, integrated security and single level storage. The S/36 support team was more focused on business solutions for manufacturing, distribution and construction industries. The System/36 team also reached out to application vendors, building the portfolio of business applications, helping them to exploit new opportunities. Note only was the S/36 from Venus and the S/38 from Mars, the people were also avid Venusians or Martians.
In bitterly cold early January in Rochester, my entire team was sent to an education class. After twoweeks, if became apparent that the new machine, Silver Lake, was going to blend the architecture of the S/38 with the usability and applications of the S/36.
The S/38 people soon came to value the fact that solutions were vital to success. The S/36 team quickly came to admire the power of a virtualized and technology independent architecture. And, so it was that on announcement day, our team was united as AS/400 experts. Included were people who could explain hardware, operating system, performance and yes, the multitude of business applications. Venus and Mars had collided; Venusians and Martians came together too. Still today, you can ask people in IBM about their heritage and they will be able to tell you if they came from the S/36 or S/38 heritage. But they all agree on one point, they are very happy to celebrate twenty-five years of IBM i.