AS/400 Shield In From The Start!

As IBM i – AS/400 approaches it’s 35-year celebration the Shield team have nurtured the story from the start.

1994 London England, Midrange EXPO. Chris Hird presenting: Disaster Recovery versus High Availability – Common Europe.

Alison (George) Hird, as Communications Officer with IBM Havant Plant, where the disks were manufactured, attended the UK AS/400 launch in Birmingham June 1988, 35 years ago.

Chris Hird, a consultant with IBM Services recalls setting up the first ever IBM AS/400. At the time he specialized in MSS – Multiple Systems Software, a pre-runner to Mimix. It was exciting times implementing High Availability for early AS/400 installs, leading the way for things to come.

In the early 1990s Chris created Shield Software Services. Based in southern England, the company offered midrange sales and services including Lakeview’s Mimix. In 1997 the Hirds moved to Canada and started Shield Advanced Solutions and developed Shield’s own products – a new simple-to-use High Availability solution HA4i, and a Job Tracking solution JT4i. Known for their above-and-beyond customer support Shield has grown into the successful organization it is today.

“Shield IBM i story……Next generation”

Having been raised with the words “AS/400”, “IBM i”, and “High Availability” as a norm in the household, Charlie, (also of British stock, sporting a strong Canadian accent), joined the team. He brought different aspects and angles, fresh thinking, and a creative skill set to the table. Charlie was instrumental in developing Shield’s latest offerings AAG – a Nagios plugin for monitoring the IBM i and EM4i an Enterprise Messaging solution creating a complete package for Shield clients.

So, as AS/400 grew and developed into IBM i for Power systems, the Shield team have quietly developed into an outstanding provider of simple-to-use and maintain solutions that are robust and reliable. 

Says Chris, “We have supported the midrange platform since the beginning, helping to enhance and give longevity for this magnificent set up. In the early days, it was simple to explain the benefits of a stable AS/400 over networked PCs. Technology has progress significantly since those days, however, IBM i on Power systems remains an excellent investment for any enterprise. We are proud to continue in this field”.

Alison offers, “Often unaware of his broad ranging skills for the system, Chris doesn’t appreciate how valuable his ‘under-the-covers’ depth of knowledge has been to so many clients over the years. With his all-can-be achieved attitude; he easily spots where things are mis-aligned and is sometimes found challenging IBM engineers in areas they have never delved.”

Says Richard Dolewski – fellow Canadian and IBM i SME with Connectria – “I witnessed Chris’s growth of Shield Advanced to becoming an enterprise level solution provider.  He brings holistic business solutions that focus on delivering the highest levels of systems availability. Chris continues to be a true ambassador of the IBM community, sharing his advocacy and in-depth IBM i platform knowledge, British wit with humour, and experience with colleagues and clients. 

It’s a pleasure seeing the growth in the IBM family with Charlie a young inspiring IBM i professional stepping into the fold and bringing youthful professionalism.   We are lucky to see the NextGen of our IBM i community.” 

Plan for the future with IBM i specialists Shield Advanced Solutions – Watch – Notify – Protect.

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