Skip to content

What is IBM i Merlin for Application Modernization?

Time to read: 5 minutes

IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration (MERLIN) is an application development and modernization environment for IBM i users.

Within the IBM Power portfolio, IBM i is the integrated operating environment for IBM Power servers.

With its integrated IBM Db2® database architecture, IBM i provides a cost-efficient, highly resilient and secure foundation for running a wide variety of popular industry applications.

To reflect IBM’s commitment to IBM i as a critical component to its overall Power portfolio of products, IBM is continuing to invest in the technology.

The IBM i ecosystem will benefit from a focused modernization approach, led and supported by IBM, which helps IBM i clients embrace:

  • Modern Tools & Processes
  • Cloud
  • Services
  • Containers

IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration (MERLIN) is a set of tools running in Red Hat OpenShift containers. The framework guides and simplifies the use of the tools which help implement DevOps and continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) – also referred to as CI/CD.

Developers can add new business value to IBM i applications by leveraging the value of hybrid cloud and utilize IBM ILE languages like RPG and COBOL through a browser-based integrated development environment.

Merlin uses an open source version of Microsoft’s original Visual Studio Code and also takes advantage of ARCAD Software’s DevOps expertise to incorporate support for de facto standard tools like Git source code management and Jenkins for CI/CD pipelines.

This enables a standard enterprise-wide development pipeline for IBM i, Windows and Linux.

Merlin’s Transformer tool offers single-click conversion from RPGLE that modernizes legacy code making it easy to understand for a new generation of developers that are unfamiliar with ILE languages.

Using Merlin, a developer extracts source code from the IBM i system and can then work with modern browser-based graphic tools. When then new code is ready, it is uploaded into the IBM i environment and the application can be re-compiled. Business user access to the application is unchanged.

View summary flyer

Benefits of IBM i MERLIN

Modernized IBM i applications

Automate the conversion of fixed-format RPG to free-form RPG.

Faster provisioning

Spin-up IBM i development environments quickly and take them down when you’re done.

Accelerated developer onboarding

Reduce the learning curve for new developers with modern technologies like Git and Jenkins.

Reduced time to market

Build new IBM i business applications quickly and deploy them faster than ever before.

Single DevOps pipeline

Streamline application development with a single DevOps pipeline from test to production.

Cloud enabled

Allow IBM i applications to realize the value of hybrid cloud with multi-platform CI/CD implementation.

Executive guide to the strategy and roadmap for IBM i

This whitepaper is designed to help IT executives understand IBM’s strategy and roadmap for the IBM i operating environment.

IBM i 7.5 is the latest release of the operating system bringing many new capabilities, including IBM i Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration.

You’ll also find details behind IBM’s strategies for exploiting a hybrid cloud environment and integrating applications with new AI solutions.


View whitepaper

IBM i Marketplace Survey

According to the 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey by Fortra (previously HelpSystems), application modernization is one of the top five concerns facing IBM i users.

Key survey highlight #1:

IBM i remains business-critical for many organizations.

“Given that IBM i is known for its stability and reliability, among other things, it is not surprising to see so many users running the majority of their core business applications on the platform. 70% of respondents use IBM i to run more than half of their core business applications. This speaks to the trust that users have for the IBM i platform. The number of respondents planning to migrate all applications from IBM i over the next two years is still in the lower single digits at 5%.”

Along with cybersecurity, the most pertinent topics in the IBM i community include high availability, disaster recovery, modernization, automation, IBM i skills, and all things cloud.

Key survey highlight #2:

Development on IBM i continues, and RPG usage soars.  

“The amount of development that takes place on IBM i is always a particular area of interest in our research and this year RPG usage has soared to 93%. We are seeing more and more people writing in a combination of languages, especially because modern RPG looks and acts like other languages, which also makes it easier to teach. This is promising for the future of IBM i and can help to close the IBM i skills gap.”

What Next?

Tectrade’s experts can design, establish and manage your IBM i MERLIN platform so that your IBM i developers can take advantage of the application modernization tools without being distracted by the demands of Linux and Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP).

If you would like to connect with our team of IBM i experts, get in touch today and we’ll set up a call to discuss how you can utilize IBM i Merlin to simplify your move from out-of-date, inefficient technology and modernize with containers.

Contact us