What are AS/400 Cloud Service Providers responsible for?

Abacus Solutions uses its Responsibility Matrix to help customers determine how much “IBM i as a Service” is right for them.


Companies that are seeking to transition their AS/400 to the Cloud might be discouraged with questions about what they’ll need to continue supporting after the move. Who manages system high availability? Where do backups go? The logistics surrounding who handles what can beg the question, “What are AS/400 Cloud Service providers responsible for?”

“That depends,” says Patrick Schutz, Chief Sales Officer of Abacus Solutions.

“When discussing customers’ environments, we like to ask, ‘Where do you want to live?’ What we’re really asking is what services do they want to relinquish? We talk about the different service options via our Responsibility Matrix and challenge them to think about what Abacus can take off their plate.”

The Abacus IBM i Operations Management Responsibility Matrix

Observant readers of the Abacus blog have already seen a version of the Responsibility Matrix in last month’s post on Abacus’ concept of IBM i as a Service. But when not being used to compare enterprise IT to pizza, the infographic is expanded to differentiate between Production and Target environments. The result is a distilled representation of the options that Abacus can provide through its Platform as a Service. Services shift from the customer to Abacus as they move from a Premise solution (left) towards the Cloud (right). While some customers may want to maintain a certain level of control over their environments, most desire less responsibility. Shifting to the cloud can provide that for them.

infographic of Abacus Responsibility Matrix

“Five years ago, the Cloud was ambiguous and more expensive. Staying on-premise was the more affordable and desirable option for customer,” Schutz reminisces. These days, he says, the secret is out: Moving to the cloud actually saves money. Through economies of scale and a general acceptance of the technology, Cloud is now the favored choice for many customers. “With all things taken into consideration, it’s ultimately more economical,” he adds.

Overcoming Cloud Migration Challenges

So, why would a customer not choose the most economical choice? In its time as a service provider, Abacus has noticed several consistent factors that affect a customer’s decision:

    1. Connectivity – Reliability and ease of use is a big deal breaker for many customers when considering a cloud migration. And if they operate in a rural or remote area without good network connectivity, it makes moving to the cloud an impossible activity. That’s why Abacus has an expert networking team to help companies implement the various networking options we provide. And with more employees transitioning to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reliable connectivity has become the new top requirement for many companies.


    1. Traditional Mindset – Some customers might think, “This is how we’ve always done it,” when opting for conventional solutions. Others like to physically touch and see the hardware they’re buying. They like knowing what the hardware is, where it lives, and how it’s running – something they can’t do with the Cloud. For customers that are of this mindset, the Abacus hardware sales or MSP options are a great fit.


    1. Pricing – As previously suggested, the Cloud is more economical, but only when doing an “apples to apples” comparison of services. “If a customer puts their tape in their trunk and calls that backup or disaster recovery, they’re technically doing it cheaper, but let’s be honest, it’s just not best practices,” says Schutz. Though the example is a bit of an exaggeration, the risk brought upon the business must be considered when opting for “more affordable” services. The Cloud is a fast pass to best practices.


  1. Timing – Customers ultimately do want to move to the Cloud, but because of various aspects of their business they’re not ready make the transition today. They’re putting it on their roadmap. For these customers, Abacus provides attractive hybrid options so that they can start with some Cloud and begin their journey to an all cloud infrastructure.

With such tricky obstacles, how does Abacus convince its customers to act? “You start with some services and then let it grow. Our platform is historically patient, slow, and methodical, but it’s tried and true,” answers Schutz. With this approach Abacus customers can start small and gradually step up their service engagement as they gain confidence.

Finding the Right Partner

The Responsibility Matrix is a vehicle of choice for determining what services a potential customer might trust to hand over responsibility for. And whether they become clients or not, Abacus always imparts this wisdom to the businesses it talks to: The kind of partnerships that you should be looking for are the ones where the partner can do the work better than you can do it yourself. Schutz explains, “By finding the right partner, companies are free to focus on what they do best, their business. The Abacus Responsibility Matrix highlights that.”

Now that Abacus Solutions has been acquired by Fresche Solutions, the portfolio of IBM i solutions and services available to our customers has expanded. This changes the Responsibility Matrix a bit and means that Abacus can now offer customers Application solutions and support via Fresche. We’re excited to highlight what that means for our customers in our blog post next month. Stay tuned!