More IBM i Predictions For 2017
January 25, 2017 Alex Woodie
The great thing about crystal balls is everybody gets their own view. One man’s (or woman’s) view of the future is different from the next. When prophesizing about the IBM i platform, people tend to have different viewpoints, which is part of what makes this exercise so much fun (well that, and all the extra coffee and donuts we editors enjoy while letting you do all the work).
We gave you a taste of things to come with our first installment of 2017 IBM i predictions. Back by popular demand, here’s round two of IBM i predictions, beginning with the CEO of HelpSystems, Chris Heim, who starts with the three words every IBM i professional will be hearing a lot of in 2017.
“IBM i users are increasingly aware that their platform is securable vs. secure. In the 2017 IBM i Marketplace survey, 71.3 percent of respondents shared that security is their top IT concern. This percentage more than doubled from last year.”
“The increased focus on security is coupled with a shortage of top-flight IBM i security professionals. This has led to high demand in managed security services where a combination of software and experienced professionals are deployed to regularly audit security on the IBM i platform and keep organizations safe.”
Next up is a prediction from David Gibbs, principal software engineer at PTC (formerly MKS for those of you keeping score at home).
“IBM i users will recognize that software change control and application lifecycle management involve far more than just managing source code. While GIT & SVN can be useful tools, change control on IBM i involves far more . . . such as access control/separation of duties, object attribute management (authorities, ownership, adoption, etc.), program compilation, related objects, data retention, failure rollback, auditing, just to name a few.”
Andy Kulakowski, the CEO of Fresche, has a prediction that may sound like an offer to some in the IBM i marketplace.
“Expect a continuation and even an increase in the vendor consolidation we’ve seen over the years. Independent companies with small product footprints will be looking to merge and/or sell as a means of equity conversion. Larger companies will be looking to expand their offerings creating acquisition opportunity.”
Patrick Townsend has a crystal ball that is locked down with two-factor authentication, 256-bit encryption, and a really mean German Shepard. After finally logging in, the Townsend Security CEO discovered his crystal ball was stuck in “hard truths” mode.
“Continued migration away from IBM i platform. Customers will continue to migrate away from the IBM i platform for a number of reasons, but mostly because of the lack of talent and the perception of the IBM i platform as a legacy system. That perception may not be fair, but IBM has not done enough to counter it and won’t make the investments needed to accomplish that. While migrations will continue, there will be a dedicated group of large enterprises who will remain loyal to the IBM i Power platform.”
“Migration to cloud/hosted solutions will accelerate. The lack of adequate numbers of new IBM i technical talent and the loss of existing talent through retirement will continue to drive customers to outsource their systems management to third-party IBM i hosting companies. This will accelerate in 2017. This behavior is not restricted to the IBM i platform–Windows and Linux users are migrating to cloud–but the pressures are stronger in the IBM world.”
“More open source applications will be implemented on IBM i. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good part is that new open source applications make the IBM i platform more attractive to newer talent and more modern applications. The bad part is that this will open new security vulnerabilities and it is not clear that the IBM i open source community is resilient enough to handle this. Sorry to cast some shade on the open source initiatives–there are good people in this group–but I have the scars of dealing with applications that do not have a deep field of developers to support them.
“The IBM i security bubble will burst. The IBM i has a good reputation as a system designed from the ground up with security in mind. But cyber criminals are very smart and know how to attack the platform. The IBM i server typically sits on a vulnerable network (any network is a vulnerable network), and its security is only as good as all of the systems and PCs that attach to it. We’ll see more data breaches in 2017.”
“Power Linux will gain some ground, but not explosive growth. The Power Linux platform is truly amazing, but I can’t see it really taking off. There will be very specific point solutions that do well on Power Linux. I am thinking of MongoDB and some other applications. Wherever a solution can leverage the strengths of the processor, there will be use cases for it. But Intel architectures will continue to dominate in this space.”
“We will continue to see consolidation in the IBM i software community. The IBM i platform is a declining legacy platform, and IBM is not going to change this. Any ISV who has not already branched onto other platforms and operating systems is vulnerable. While software support services of these ISVs do not suffer much, we will not see major innovation after consolidation. I would like to be wrong about this, but I don’t see the evidence of my on-going innovation after consolidation.”
“The IBM i platform will continue to be awesome! Let’s end on a cheerful note! The IBM i is an awesome platform from so many perspectives. Many large enterprises benefit from its many advantages and will continue to do so for some time to come. They are going to be the lucky ones! I very rarely see a migration that results in significant benefits to the user. I think a lot of IBM i customers understand this.”
Are you ready for some hardware? The Green Bay Packers beloved by Tom Huntington may be out of the playoffs, but the HelpSystems executive vice president of technical solutions at least has some new IBM iron to look forward to.
“In August 2016, IBM announced Power9 chips. We expect Power9-based servers in the latter part of 2017 and more than likely in the lower-end servers first. The emphasis from IBM will be the attraction of the ever-growing Linux market and to lower the cost of entry across IBM i, AIX and Linux onto Power9 while making virtualization easier with PowerVC.”
“Additional changes to regulations for PCI and GPDR looming for 2018 heightens the pace toward security solutions and evaluations of IBM i systems for appropriate configurations.”
“IBM i continues to grow in popularity for banking, insurance and healthcare organizations as they evaluate their security. These sectors of the market realize the importance of secure customer data and understand the security levels available in this operating system.”
“HelpSystems has seen strong demand at the lower end of the high availability market. Many organizations previously found high availability to be too expensive and too complex. HelpSystems got into this space and is working directly with customers as well as MSPs to help smaller sites get an HA solution that is simple to set up and use–and carries a reasonable cost. Because of this popularity, we expect the number of organizations getting control of HA will jump significantly in 2017.”
Did we mention security? It’s looking like 2017 may finally be the year the IBM i community wakes up to the very real cyber threat. Security is certainly on the mind of Jim Kandrac, the founder and president of UCG Technologies.
“In 2017, companies will get much more serious about cyber security in combination with data protection and disaster recovery. It’s not enough to have software and firewalls in place . . . companies need to provide online enterprise security training for all employees so they will ‘think before they click.'”
Marinus van Sandwyk, the CEO of TEMBO Tech Lab, also took a gander at our IBM i prediction challenge. His predictions go all the way to 11:
- There will be more recognition for the value of our DB2 for i commercial transactional data and leveraging and augmenting that, and using the immense value of our data/information to motivate investment into modernization.
- Authentic database modernization will become the preferred place to start modernization.
- The limitation of screen scraping in all its flavors will become more evident as a short-term tactical solution.
- The rate of consolidation in the specialized IBM i ISV space will increase, especially in the middleware/tool space.
- IBM i capacity in the cloud is about to become more affordable and available. Early investors (suppliers) in this space will be quite happy with the results.
- The importance of database architects or database engineers and the value they can add to DB2 for i shops will motivate many of these installations to allocate resources to this most important function, especially to implement OLAP and integrate big data.
- Enterprise modernization will see a marked increase in adoption. We believe more cooperation (acquisitions) between CCM vendors and modernization vendors will occur.
“It will be especially interesting to follow HelpSystems, Rocket Software, and Vision Solutions in 2017, as they will likely be the primary players in the acquisition space,” van Sandwyk says. “ARCAD and Fresche are dark horses in the acquisition space. If and how they can compete depends on the institutional investors behind them. How well Fresche can integrate and consolidate all its acquisitions of the past 18 months will also be interesting. There will be a lot more acknowledgement for the value of IBM i heritage applications and the current “scrapping or redeveloping it” mentality will lose impetus. ILE- RPG will again become a serious contender, with more people recognizing the integration power with DB2 for i. More installations will analyze open source as an option, but we do not foresee any major adoption for serious high volume OLTP.”
Thank you to all the IBM i professionals and execs who have given IT Jungle your predictions for the New Year. Stay tuned next week for our third and final installment.