What Will This Year Bring For IBM i?
January 18, 2017 Alex Woodie
A hearty if belated welcome to 2017! In what has become something of an IT Jungle tradition, we’re turning the microphone over to you, the IBM i community, to share your thoughts on what the New Year may bring to the platform, what it may mean to the vendors that play the market, and how it will impact the people who make everything possible.
Trevor Perry, an IBM i evangelist and consultant with IBM i modernization vendor Fresche (which acquired looksoftware several years ago), leads off our new round of predictions.
“We’ll see more talk about blockchain, especially in supply chain applications. Certain industries may move towards building blockchain ledgers and that may motivate companies. Most IBM i companies will be wary of blockchain, but those who are leading edge in using technology will find it improves their security and efficiency.
“Many vendors will jump on the bandwagon of IoT and wearables. There’ll be marketing and claims of success, but companies won’t see the value and it will mostly be noise. I expect more Apple Watch apps at trade shows.”
“Social media may finally be recognized as a valid source of information for IBM i developers. A few more people will emerge from the dark green cave and get a Twitter account.”
“The nonsense name game will continue. There will be at least a dozen misused and incorrect brand names in 2017 and the old guard will continue to complain.
“Modernization will still be a buzzword interpreted differently by every vendor. Customers will still ask ‘where do I begin?’ Database modernization will be more common and RPG developers will (finally) find they can do more with SQL. Modernization missteps will be the same norm as it has been for 25 years.
“Open source (IBMiOSS) will continue to crawl in the first half of 2017. Unless there is an influx of younger developers who have influence (which is a difficult path to overcome in the IBM i community), IBMiOSS will be a gradual acceptance as the traditional development methods are slowly replaced with modern IDEs, modern tools, modern development methodologies, and frameworks. By the second half of 2017, more visibility will lead to more adoption.”
Our next batch of predictions come from Alan Arnold, EVP and CTO for IBM i high availability software provider Vision Solutions. Arnold has three topics in his crystal ball, including cloud, managed services, and IT accountability.
“Organizations will continue cloud adoption for solutions that give their organizations flexibility and scalability they cannot attain on their legacy platforms and to use or protect their mission critical and second-tier applications. But along with cloud adoption will follow legal and technical issues regarding bandwidth, infrastructure control, security and compliance. In Vision Solutions’ 2017 State of Resilience Report, 43 percent of respondents felt cloud providers should be accountable for data security, while 39 percent believed internal IT departments should be accountable. These types of questions will likely dominate the cloud landscape in 2017.”
“Managed service providers will continue to provide a growth engine for the Power Systems industry as organizations continue to address aging and retiring Power talent and reign in spending by paying only for what’s used. Managed service providers can compensate for the decline of IT skills on IBM legacy platforms, and we don’t expect this to change. These systems and applications remain critical to many Global 1000 businesses; so they will likely be in place for a long time to come. At Vision Solutions, our Managed Services business and our partners’ managed services businesses are growing at record paces. We expect this trend to continue.
“High-profile outages of Delta and other organizations in 2016 shined a spotlight on the costs and damages outages can create, and executive teams and boards will increasingly demand better explanations of the costs of downtime. But in Vision Solutions’ 2017 State of Resilience Report, 62 percent of IT pros admitted to never analyzing the cost of downtime as migration failures increased 42 percent and hourly cost of migration climbed; fewer organizations will stand for this going forward. Organizations will increasingly hold IT departments accountable for maintaining or surpassing demanding performance benchmarks related to availability, mobility and security. IT and non-IT management teams will quickly understand the power and importance of high availability.”
Bill Langston, director of marketing and channel development at New Generation Software, had some fun with his predictions.
“A creative IBM managed service provider or hardware reseller will begin a campaign to sell on-premise HA/DR servers to their cloud customers to enable them to keep running their business in the event of a cloud cyber attack.”
“Lenovo will introduce a laptop for the government market called the ‘Wikiless’ that can’t be connected to the Internet or share files with a network. After secret negotiations at the White House, IBM will announce they plan to rehire previously ‘RIFFED’ sales people over 55 to handle sales and support. HPE will produce printers that only use invisible ink for the device.”
Cynthia Fortlage, CIO of GHY International, also brought some levity with her top 10 IBM i predictions:
- IBM i is new market leading environment for social business
- IBM i has an open source version to open up innovation to developers worldwide
- Microsoft admits finally they run their business on IBM i
- IBM i drives 45 percent of global revenues from IBM i
- IBM i on IBM Power dominate all server sales for next decade
- IBM declares IBM i as platform of choice for all software products, available in the next 24 months
- IBM roadmap for next decade shows IBM i as leading platform for all development efforts
- IBM i gets new life as support for MS Windows released
- IBM i market share increases 12 percent
- IBM i continues to be the most beloved platform
IBM i’s future isn’t necessarily bright in the eyes of Bob Cancilla, principal at R.J. Cancilla Consulting LLC in Sacramento, California.
“I have been a huge advocate for the AS/400, iSeries, System i, IBM i, since 1990! I was one of the first people to utilize DB2 for major applications, web enablement on the platform, WebSphere, WebSphere Portal, and Java on the system. At IBM, I was the World Wide Market Manager for IBM Rational Software on the platform responsible for development tools and the compilers on the platform.”
“Sadly, I believe that IBM has been riding two revenue streams since 2007 when it merged System i and System p into Power Systems and stopped selling the System i as a platform reducing the system to one of three OSes supported on Power Systems while it was pushing Linux as the system of choice for Power Systems.
“Just recently we see support for advanced encryption and ciphers to only be supported under IBM i V7R2 with no backward support. They also announced deprecation of AFP/DS which was a main stay for IBM page printing on the platform. Note: IBM’s revenue from service contracts on IBM i OS have declined by over 80 percent since 2007. They have a very small revenue base from service and support contracts. The only significant revenue is hardware upgrades to new machines.”
“My predictions: IBM is making a last ditch attempt to generate some support revenue by forcing customers to upgrade to V7R2 from old releases. More and more customers will move off of the platform as the RPG programmer base continues to decline via death and retirement! Many existing developers are in their 60s and 70s!”
“Customers with a heavy investment in RPG have a huge problem. There are tools and vendors now that will migrate those applications to Java or even off the box to Windows based technology. Keep in mind RPG runs only on the IBM i platform. Oracle is pushing JD Edward clients to move off the platform to other supported platforms and will increase the pressure on IBM i clients to move. SAP is another example of vendors trying to get their customers to move off the platform. Vendors from other platforms are increasing their efforts to target IBM i shops to move to software running on other platforms.”
“While IBM marketing for the IBM i has been a disaster, the customers are equally at fault for failing to adopt modern products and technologies that run on IBM i. Folks continue to use SEU instead of adopting RDI. Customers are limiting support contracts to one test machine to reduce maintenance costs. While customers want everything from IBM they are not willing to pay IBM to keep the platform alive.”
“I don’t know what the breakeven point is, but IBM is reaching it rapidly where they will not be able to continue supporting the OS. They have made drastic crusts, but they have to be very close to the breakeven point at which time they will be forced to discontinue the system.”
What do you think will happen to IBM i ecosystem in the New Year? You can send us your predictions through our IT Jungle contact page.