IBM i 7.1 Supported by 120 ISVs with 300+ Apps, According to IBM Directory
October 27, 2010 Alex Woodie
There are 343 applications from 121 independent software vendors (ISVs) that run on and officially support IBM i 7.1, according to a recent tally from the IBM Global Solutions Directory. The list indicates that developers of IBM i management tools and utilities have been quick to adopt the new OS with their wares. But the absence of big-name ERP packages on IBM i 7.1 raises questions.
It’s been six months since IBM i 7.1 became generally available, which is not much time at all in the server OS adoption game. Nevertheless, with the big annual fourth-quarter buying binge about to infiltrate our collective corporate and consumer psyches, it’s worth taking a step back and seeing what kind of applications are available for System i and Power Systems shops preparing to undergo the move to IBM i 7.1.
The searchable listings on the IBM Global Solutions Directory show that many popular utilities and management tools are already there on IBM i 7.1. Many ISVs that are dedicated to the IBM i market are officially supporting the new OS with multiple products. RJS Software Systems has the most with 28, followed by: Halcyon Software (19); Raz-Lee Security (19); Help/Systems (16); Business Computer Design Int’l (11); LANSA (10); Gamma Software (10); Vision Solutions (9); New Generation Software (9); TrilliCom (9); FINEOS (9); Gumbo Software (7); Quadrant Software (7); S4i Systems (6); ASNA (5); Data Design Associates (5); Linoma Software (4); and AURA EQUIPMENTES (4).
Many other vendors have taken the time to support between one and three products on IBM i 7.1. A partial listing of these vendors (which also are based in North America or target North American organizations) include: 10ZiG Technology, Bsafe Information Systems, Cilasoft, Coglin Mill, Curbstone, Goering iSeries Solutions, Innovatum, Information Builders, Island Pacific, MKS, Micro Focus, Patrick Townsend Security Solutions, PKWare, Real Vision Software, Safestone Technologies, Seagull Software, Shield Advanced Solutions, Silvon Software, SkyView Partners, Stratum Global, Valid Technologies, and Zend Technologies.
Wherefore Art Thou ERP on IBM i 7.1?
When it comes to ERP and other enterprise applications, the pickings are a bit slimmer. HarrisData, which develops an RPG- and PHP-based ERP package used by about 2,500 small and mid-sized businesses, supports IBM i 7.1 with four products, which are listed under its parent company’s name, Harris Business Group. OpenPro , a Southern California developer of a LAMP-based ERP stack that is sometimes deployed on the IBM Power Systems platform, has a whopping 26 products listed as supporting IBM i 7.1. IBS, the Swedish ERP developer than wants to move from predominantly selling RPG-based software to IBM i shops to selling Java-based software to Windows shops, has a single product listed: its IBS Enterprise suite.
Conspicuously absent from the list of IBM i 7.1 supported applications are Oracle‘s JD Edwards products, all of Infor‘s IBM i ERP suites (including BPCS, MAPICS, System 21, PRMS, and others), and Lawson Software‘s M3 suite. You also won’t find other enterprise-strength packages from big-name vendors with huge IBM i installed bases, like Fiserv, Fidelity National Information Services, Kronos , JDA Software Group, or Manhattan Associates.
Five of the eight new IBM i Solution Editions that Big Blue touts on its IBM i website do not yet officially support IBM i 7.1. The three vendors that do support IBM i 7.1 are IBS, Jack Henry & Associates, and SAP, according to IBM’s Global Solutions Directory.
IBM i Solution Edition vendors who don’t support i 7.1, according to the directory, include Healthcare Management Systems, Infor, Lawson, Oracle, Rippe & Kingston, SolarSoft, and VAI. Considering that ERP applications are the primary software products that customers run on IBM i servers–and are the main reasons they even have an IBM i server in the first place–the fact that these ERP system are not supported on IBM i 7.1 is pretty much a deal-breaker when it comes to a customer’s decision whether to upgrade to the new OS.
IBM i 6.1: Still Moving On Up
However, if a customer is looking to move to IBM i 6.1 the menu of applications is quite a bit wider. IBM i 6.1, which debuted two years before IBM i 7.1, is a more difficult release for developers to support, with program conversion required for many applications (IBM i 7.1 brought changes to the Java Virtual Machine that caused some headaches for some IBM i software vendors, but not nearly in the same numbers as IBM i 6.1 program conversion did).
For this reason, an argument can be made that support for IBM i 6.1 is a better barometer of a vendor’s commitment to the IBM i platform. A search for IBM i applications on the Global Solutions Directory turns up 1,191 IBM i 6.1-supported products from about 490 unique vendors. (The number of actual developers is probably less than that, because IBM allows resellers to re-list products that they sell, but do not develop).
Some well-known IBM i vendors that, according to the directory, support IBM i 6.1 but not yet IBM i 7.1 include: Agilysys, Attachmate, CA, Clear Technologies, Computer Guidance Corp., Computer Keyes, Databorough, EMC, EXTOL, Fiserv, FIS, Infor, JDA, Kisco Information Systems, Key Information Systems, Kronos, Lawson, Manhattan Associates, McKesson, Michaels Ross and Cole, Original Software,Powertech, Rippe & Kingston, Softlanding Systems, and VAI.
By comparison, for i5/OS V5R4 (which IBM erroneously insists on calling IBM i 5.4), there are 878 products listed in the Global Solutions Directory, while for i5/OS V5R3, there are 944.
There are other vendors in the GSD that we haven’t listed in this story. Some listed re-sell products developed by others. Others are based overseas, or are companies we have never heard of (but definitely look forward to learning about!). You can search the Global Solutions Directory listings yourself at www-304.ibm.com/partnerworld/gsd/homepage.do.