Reader Feedback On What’s Up In The IBM i Marketplace . . . Don’t Miss the IBM i Marketplace Webcast . . . COMMON Is Coming, Linux and VIOS Get Top Billing
March 23, 2015 Hey, Dan
Reader Feedback On What’s Up In The IBM i Marketplace
Your article on the HelpSystems survey of IBM i shops states: “For any IBM i advocate, this survey brings good news. By a wide margin, it demonstrates that organizations have no imminent plans to leave the platform. Nine out of ten are staying put. “This seems to me to be a marketing spin by HelpSystems.
The 89 percent of shops that “have no imminent plans to leave the platform” includes 23.8 percent that are talking about leaving the IBM i platform, and 11 percent that are not sure about leaving the IBM i platform. One could equally say the customer base is not stable, since 35 percent are talking about or planning to leave the IBM i platform and another 11 percent are unsure about remaining on the IBM i platform. Only about half (53.8 percent) of shops are firmly committed to staying on the platform.
I don’t know if the information I found about IBM business segment revenues is real or accurate, but the information claims IBM i revenues dropped from $1.3 billion in 2006 to $100 million in 2010. That’s a drop from 5.9 percent to 0.6 percent of total System and Technology Group revenue. Why would IBM make the IBM i a major part of its System and Technology Group strategy when the IBM i brings in such a small amount of system and technology revenue? How long does it make sense for a company to continue selling a product that brings in less than 1 percent of revenue in its segment? I found the revenue information at this link from industry analyst Bob Djurdjevic:
My point is that the future of the IBM i platform does not seem to be stable to me, given that: (1) Only half of current IBM i shops are firmly committed to the platform, and (2) IBM might be seeing a rapid decrease in revenues from the IBM i.
Thanks for listening.
Don’t Miss The IBM i Marketplace Webcast
by Dan Burger
Loyal IT Jungle readers who have come to know Timothy Prickett Morgan through years of reading his IBM midrange analyses and insights have a rare opportunity to hear TPM expound on IBM i, IBM Power Systems, and the far-reaching ecosystem that challenged us, charmed us, frustrated us, and more or less defined us as IT professionals. Thursday, March 26, he will be part of a webcast panel discussion that reviews the recently released IBM i Marketplace Survey that was conducted and compiled by HelpSystems, a vendor in the IBM i community for more than 25 years. Joining TPM on the panel will be IBM’s Ian Jarman and Alison Butterill, along with HelpSystems’ Tom Huntington.
The Marketplace Survey provides a snapshot of IBM i and Power Systems use based on the responses of 350 IBM i shops. It yields data on such topics as the number of Power Servers and partitions in use at each shop, which Power Servers and which versions of the operating systems are most common and how often are these servers also running AIX and Linux. It also recorded top concerns that rank projects such as modernizing applications, the database, and the skills of IBM professionals. There’s a boatload of material to sift through including responses on topics such as disaster recovery, high availability, and business intelligence. Migration and return on investment are also part of the mix.
Hard data that reflects the activities in the IBM i community is practically non-existent, or perhaps it’s kept in a vault in Rochester, Minnesota, and those who have access to it take a vow of silence and signed non-disclosure agreements that extend 50 years beyond the grave. The first Marketplace Survey (HelpSystems is already planning MP Survey v2) supports some of what we think is true and provides evidence that some of what we hear is mostly hot air.
“HelpSystems and others in the marketplace have been wondering what IBM i customers are thinking and if they are interested in maintaining the system,” says HelpSystems’ Huntington. “These demographics help companies make decisions. Knowing that 60 percent of the companies are planning modernization projects, and 89 percent of the companies have no plans to leave the platform, and only 9 percent have implemented any type of cloud computing, are all valuable insights into what is actually going on.”
It has often been said that IBM i is one of the IT industry’s best kept secrets. This survey pulls back the curtain of secrecy just a bit and provides everyone with a clearer vision of what’s taking place. As is the case with any data, it needs to be analyzed and questioned and verified as much as possible. It’s not uncommon for statistics to be twisted and used to support both the pro and con perspectives. To some degree this webcast panel discussion will take a few steps in the direction that provides a better view of the community and the ecosystem.
Register to attend the event, which will begin at 10 a.m. Central time, at this link. Attendees will be emailed a copy of the IBM i Marketplace Survey report.
COMMON Is Coming, Linux and VIOS Get Top Billing
by Dan Burger
Winter is for planning. Spring is for taking action. The COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition is for both. The annual migration of IBM midrange computing professionals is just about a month away and the gathering of one thousand or so IT professionals takes place in Anaheim, California, at the Disneyland Resort. At first glance, you wouldn’t recognize this as a conference for investors, but these are people investing in their careers and they represent companies that are investing in their IT departments. Some folks are just always looking for an advantage. Education is a pretty smart investment.
As always, there is no shortage of investment schemes. You can feed your brain from an educational smorgasbord of more than 300 sessions, labs, and all-day workshops. The educational sessions take place April 26 through 29. The workshops are scheduled on April 25 and require a separate registration fee from the general conference. The sessions are largely grouped into categories called courses of study, which allow for targeting specific topics. There are 25 courses of study options including topics such as application development, developing business skills, database, IT leadership and management, mobile and modernization, IT strategy, Web applications, and system management.
Two courses of study that will be emphasized at this conference are Linux and VIOS.
COMMON president Pete Massiello underscored the significance of Linux and VIOS.
“IBM is pushing out information about companies that run on Linux. And I see that in my day job,” Massiello says. “Power Systems is a great way to run Linux. It’s less expensive than running it on X86 and many companies have processors that are not being used. We want to bring that message to the table. We want to promote an understanding of Linux and an understanding of what Power can do for Linux.”
There will be some new Linux sessions at COMMON and some new initiatives being talked about. There will be some real technical sessions and some “Why should I care about Linux?” and “What Linux can do for you” sessions.
“The majority of IBM i shops that have Linux are running it on X8,â€� he continues. â€œMost don’t realize Linux can run on Power. It’s probably not even run by the same group of people who run Power. The IBM i on Power users don’t know a lot about Linux and the Linux experts that are tied to X86 boxes don’t know much about Power.”
With regard to VIOS, Massiello sees a potential trend in virtualization and IBM i shops should raise their level of awareness on this topic. “I see more companies virtualizing.” Massiello says. “A few years ago people were afraid of the virtualization concept. That has changed. Virtualization has the ability to lower the total cost of ownership of Power Systems. Whether you are virtualizing with IBM i hosting IBM i or whether you are hosting with VIOS and serving IBM i as client partitions. Both work. VIOS is a little complicated for the IBM i person who is not used to external storage, switching, and fibre channel connections. Those skills are not necessarily what an IBM i sys admin has. But I believe these are skills that they will need and will migrate toward. IBM i professionals need to learn more than IBM i.”
The emphasis on Linux and VIOS will begin in the Sunday Opening Session and the session schedule throughout the week will begin with basic introductions to the subjects and progress toward deeper technical discussions as the conference rolls on.
The COMMON promotional literature invites you to “hear a new speaker in the morning, attend a user-experience session in the afternoon, and network with the experts in the evening.”
Massiello also noted that IBM will be making some significant IBM i and hardware announcements at COMMON. Non-disclosure agreements prevent him from spilling the beans, but my bet is on the pre-announcement of the next IBM i Technology Refresh and some storage news. TPMâ€™s guess is that there will be the final rollout of the full-on Power E880 at the high end. Last year, IBM and COMMON co-hosted two webinars just ahead of COMMON to announce IBM i 7.2 and the Power8 “scale-out” machines. Massiello would not confirm or deny whether webcasts would be used again this year to make announcements.
He was also tight-lipped about the current pace of registrations for the 2015 conference. The discount for early registration ends March 26 and a flurry of activity is expected this week.
The number of vendors registered for the exposition hall is short of the 2014 conference total, but seven new vendors are in the lineup. A list of the participating vendors is available at this link.