BPCS Infrastructure

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RPG vs. RPG from AS/SET

Once upon a time 100% of BPCS was written by human beings, then AS/SET was invented to support BPCS able to run on other platforms than the 400, such as UNIX. Over time, less and less of BPCS was written in 400 programming languages, so that access to AS/SET became more critical. In later versions, SSA does not release the RPG CLP etc. source code, whether it comes from human programming, or is generated thru AS/SET.

As we move to later versions of BPCS, we have to decide whether we need what source code, and also get AS/SET.


In addition to new versions of the BPCS software having features not available in earlier versions, much of the software gets re-written to use newer programming languages.


The Security that came with older versions of BPCS was perfectly fine at time of release, but as the computer world evolves, the older security arrangements are no longer satisfactory. We either need to move to a later version of BPCS in which the security has been rethought and made better, or do a security conversion on our old BPCS version to fix the problems that did not need fixing when the old version first came out.

Green Screen vs. Client Server

BPCS can run in a variety of different Infrastructures:

  • 100% Twinax Green Screen
  • Mixture of Twinax and access thru PC GUI such as Client Access
  • 100% Client Access used to access the Green Screen software
  • A version of BPCS in which some or all of the programs have been re-written to function such that some of the application software runs on the PC and some runs on the 400.
    • This is called Client / Server
  • A version of BPCS in which some or all of the programs have been re-written so that instead using Green Screen appearance, or look and feel of Windows, they are e-commerce Web-based.
    • This is normally done using 3rd party software in which some programs, whether they would otherwise run on Green Screen or Client Access or Client/Server, they are also available in an e-commerce version.
    • If the e-commerce version is to be used by personnel from outside the company, there are security requirements over and above those imposed on internal personnel.
    • e.g. We not want personnel from customer-A seeing what we are doing for customer-B.
  • Full Client Server is the name for version of BPCS in which 100% of it is that way.
  • Mixed Mode is the name for version of BPCS in which we support Twinax Green Screen and JOBQ and can access BPCS via PC GUI that emulates the Green Screen
  • We can also have a mixture in which some of the software is running Mixed Mode and some is running Client Server.
  • Whatever mixture is on a particular 400, this imposes Infrastructure demands on the 400, and there is a large challenge involved in converting from one reality to another.

When contemplating switching from one mixture to another, which typically orrurs in a conversion to a more advanced version of BPCS, it is important to understand the significance of the infrastructure differences.

What is Client / Server ?

Client / Server computing is the splitting of an application into tasks that are performed on separate computers, one of which is a programmable workstation.

  • Client is the computing resource that is USING some resource provided by a Server.
    • When the Client is a PC, it nees more resources on board than when it is functioning purely to emulate a dumb terminal of teh 400.
  • Server is the computing resource that is PROVIDING some resource to Clients.
    • Additional resources needed on the 400 to keep track of this stuff.
  • There can be a linkage or hierarchy of multiple Clients of Servers, in which the Clients are in turn Servers to other Clients.

Client/Server Computing is NOT

  • It is NOT some specific software.
  • It is NOT some specific hardware.
  • It is NOT a solution for all applications.

What is Client Server Infrastructure ?

This is a set of principles, guidelines, and rules used by an organization to direct the process of acquiring, building, modifying and interfacing with IT resources throughout the enterprise.

Resources needed
  • Cable Systems for interconnecting equipment
  • Equipment
  • How much disk space and other 400 resources we need
    • BPCS sizing questionairre
  • How connect PCs to 400
    • spend $150 per PC and PC printer to connect to twinax and know next to nothing when something goes wrong or spend much more $ on a better quality interface
    • network PCs to a PC-based server then network the PC server to the 400
    • mix and match IBM and 3rd party solutions
  • Software
  • Communications protocols
  • Remote site support
  • How we connect thru ma bell
  • Application development
  • Methodology
  • Data base systems
  • Shared pool of documentation
  • Security
  • IT Organizational structure
  • IT professional skills
    • GUI software updates
    • Relational data base concepts
    • SQL
    • Network management
    • Integrate new technologies with base software applications such as BPCS
      • e-mail
      • fax
      • EDI
      • bar coding & data collection
      • Internet access
        • re-think security where before it was Ok to assume 99% users trustworthy, now we have a world of hackers and malware out there
  • Help Desk services

What ERP Version is best?

BPCS Choices

Decisions decisions

  • Mixed Mode or full Client Server?
    • Fat and Thin Clients
    • Mixed Mode
      • Client Server for which applications
        • Accounting
        • Customer Service
        • Supply Chain
      • Green Screen for everything else
      • Need Netsoft Router
    • Full Client Server
      • Fat Client for which applications
        • Accounting
        • Customer Service
        • Supply Chain
      • Thin Client for everything else
      • Need TCP/IP
    • UserVision has some Windows minimum requirements
      • UserVision is a BPCS GUI Business Intelligence Application
  • Client setup
    • 16 bit or 32 bit
    • What versions of Microsoft Windows
    • Are SSA minimums appropriate?
  • Network
    • Ethernet or Token Ring if Client Server
    • Twinax r IBM Cabling System for Mixed Mode
    • Examine Network Segmentation Growth Constraints
    • Network Management
      • Wireless opens another door into Security hassles
  • Network OS - Windows NT follow-on or Netware?
  • Network Server - BPCS FSIOP or separate server?
  • Different 3rd party support vendors are more attuned to different mixtures of solutions
    • If you go with one mixture, and use a tech support place whose expertise is in a different mixture, expect problems down the road

Preferred Turnkey solution

Get a consultant to:

  • figure out what we need;
  • provide cost estimates for the conversion;
  • get them improved;
  • implement it;
  • conduct training so our people can function in the new reality.

Normal Insane Planning

  • Project Organization, as with any other conversion
    • Define Objectives, Schedule (a moving target)
    • Management Approval, Budget Commitment
    • Team Membership
      • Key IT leadership
      • Application Design management
      • IT Operations Support management
      • Consultants
    • Set hierarchy ... team leader
  • Assess exisitng infrastructure inventory
  • Four layers
    • Logical Architecture
      • What MIS does to support the business
      • What the users need
      • Business vision
    • Physical Architecture
      • Site specific
      • technologies that define or limit what we can do
    • Enabling Technologies
      • Operating Systems
      • Middleware
      • Systems and Network management
      • Security
      • Configuration
      • Trouble-shooting
      • Performance
    • Support
      • What it takes to meet regulatory constraints
      • Planning
      • Development
      • Different kinds of support
        • Hardware
        • Network
        • Application
        • Training new users
        • Skill sets ... same person
          • AS/400 and PC and telecom
        • Documenting
  • Design
    • Diagrams that make sense to everyone
    • Testing
  • Implementation