E-Jump Expanded for V4R3

Earlier this year, IBM debuted its e-Jump program, promising to make it as easy as possible to get customers stuck on V2R3 of OS/400 moved up to the latest AS/400 technology.

At that time, V4R2 was the destination. With V4R3 of OS/400 now available, IBM has extended e-Jump to the rest of the CISC crowd, enabling customers on V3R0.5 and V3R1 to jump directly to V4R3 – assuming they’ve upgraded their hardware from CISC to RISC – without having to stop at V3R2, as they had to do previously.

“There’s a number of customers on those early V3 releases,” says Hilary Melville, manager of life cycle operations for the AS/400 at IBM. “When we put out e-Jump to begin with, we focused on the most urgent need, which was V2R3. We had a short runway. In the meantime, people on V3R0.5 and V3R1 said, ‘I want to upgrade directly too, what can you do for me?’ So we now offer them the capability to go straight to the new RISC release without having to upgrade to the final CISC release, which was V3R2.

“The big advantage is when doing CISC-to-RISC upgrades, you can skip a task, which usually involves a weekend’s worth of time. It’s a big time-saver.”

The only customers left out under the new e-Jump are V3R6 users who will still have to stop at V4R1 first before stepping up to V4R3. Melville explains that this is because upgrades typically use an “n-2” model, meaning that direct upgrades only go back two releases from the latest release. While e-Jump covers direct upgrades from V3R2 and below, V4R3 otherwise only goes back as far as V3R7 for direct upgrades. The n-2 model was extended an extra level to V3R7 since there were three V4 releases in the span of a year.

“V3R6 is not one of our biggest installed releases,” says Melville. “They were the early adopters of RISC and usually the early adopters are the ones who keep moving forward.”

While e-Jump eliminates some upgrade headaches for more CISC-based users, IBM remains concerned that many users still haven’t budged from V2R3, the last non-Year 2000 compliant release of OS/400.

“E-jump is a tool to encourage people to move, but it doesn’t force them,” says Melville. “The Year 2000 is certainly a motivator [to move from V2R3], but not everybody has bit the bullet and decided to do it yet. We want them to move on to something that’s Y2K ready, even if it’s only V3R2. [Unawareness] is a problem. We’re doing some things to get the word out to our known customers.”

In a February interview with MIDRANGE Systems, IBM representatives estimated the number of V2R3 users at 40,000. Melville says he doesn’t know what that number is now, but concedes that it’s still significant. And IBM can’t track how successful e-Jump was in moving customers from V2R3 since it has no program number of its own, but is part of the CISC-to-RISC Upgrade Kit, which also covered upgrades from V3R2.

However, Tom Jarosh, general manager of IBM’s AS/400 Brand, believes that 80 percent of the AS/400 installed base will be on a Year 2000-compatible version of OS/400 by the end of 1998. A thornier issue for IBM remains the S/3X installed base.

The CISC-to-RISC Upgrade Kit remains a no-charge licensing program. It includes an updated edition of the AS/400 Roadmap to PowerPC Technology, which helps guide customers through all the steps necessary for a CISC to RISC upgrade. Customers should contact their IBM representative or business partner for information about the program.