Need Apps for IBM i 7.2? Check the GSD
July 8, 2014 Alex Woodie
IBM i version 7.2 has been out for about a month now, providing more than 100,000 users of the midrange server with a variety of helpful new features, not to mention all fixes to date. While IBM doesn’t run a certification program for the new OS, ISVs are expected to begin listing their IBM i 7.2-compatible applications on the Global Solutions Directory (GSD) website.
IBM runs the Global Solutions Directory effectively to provide a searchable index of solutions designed to run on its various platforms. Business partners maintain their own listings in the directory, so it’s not the same as a certification program. But IBM does verify some of the listings, especially for more recent releases of its platforms.
A search of the directory in late June revealed 1,324 different software products designed to run on IBM i and i5/OS systems. That’s a bit less than the IBM claim that there are more than 3,000 solutions available for IBM i from more than 2,500 ISVs, but that’s likely because participation in the GSD is optional.
The breakdown of IBM i application listings by OS release on the GST is as follows:
According to Cheryl Renner, who runs the Systems and Technology Group ISV enablement program, IBM was just getting the IBM i 7.2 listings up on the GSD external website in late June.
“This took a little longer than anticipated to be published on the GSD External website,” Renner says via email. “It was there as part of the registration process for ISVs, so they were already registering for 7.2 support and as of Friday [June 27], the 7.2 search criteria is in place on the external search website.”
As a general rule, applications listed as being supported for IBM i 6.1/7.1 should also be supported on IBM i 7.2, “with only a few exceptions,” Renner says. “So far, our experience with the early adopters of 7.2 and the ISVs who have declared support for 7.2, has been that applications running on 6.1 and 7.1 move very easily to 7.2. ISVs of course, will do the testing to ensure that their code moves seamlessly, but in most cases, this should be as easy as the move from 6.1 to 7.1.”
IBM i 7.2 has been a “very strong release, with good reception by clients–ISVs and customers,” Brenner says. “Moving from 6.1/7.1 to 7.2 was not the same hurdle experienced when moving from 5.4 to 6.1. As a result, most ISV applications easily move to 7.2 with little/no updating work required. This has been the experience of our client base as well; little-no work required to move to 7.2.”
So if you’re a Power Systems user and you’re upgrading to IBM i 7.2 from a recent release, you can feel confident that most of your third-party applications should run as before. Of course, you should test them yourself before putting them into production, just as you should with IBM i 7.2 itself.
You might also want to check out the GSD website to see the breadth of applications for 7.2. ISVs are developing and supporting a plethora of apps designed to run on this fine business platform, and you may just find an app that fills a need you knew you had–or provides innovative capabilities that you didn’t know existed.
And all you ISVs should take advantage of the publicity that IBM is offering via the GSD. The IBM i platform is a tight-knit group that doesn’t always get the mainstream attention it deserves, and therefore users have to do a little digging to find information about it. Some regional ISVs don’t seem to be aware of the GSD, Brenner says, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, please do so.