Inside The Latest ALL400s Report
February 6, 2019 Alex Woodie
In early 2018, John Rockwell started a survey from his ALL400s website in an attempt to glean more information about the state of midrange community. Many of the questions are about which products IBM i professionals use, but the survey also digs into other aspects of the relationships that people and organizations have with the platform, including plans to migrate off IBM i.
According to the latest ALL400s survey of the midrange community, more IBM i shops say they have no plans to move off the platform. It was a small increase — from 57.5 percent last April who said they had no plans to migrate off IBM i to 59.3 percent reported in last month’s results – but it was a noticeable difference.
What’s more, the January ALL400s report found that nearly 9.0 percent of respondents say their organization has plans to move off the platform within five years. That was down slightly from 9.7 percent reported a year ago who said they had a five-year migration plan. The percentage of survey-takers who responded with a definite “maybe” to the migration question remained practically unchanged (about 14.7 percent), while those saying they will “eventually” migrate dropped from 9.7 percent a year ago to 8.6 percent this year.
The results, while not conclusive, are indicative of a strengthening installed base for IBM i, which is a storyline that’s been documented in the midrange installed base in recent years. The idea goes something like this: While there is always some degree of churn on any platform, organizations that were likely to migrate off the platform have already done so, leaving the community with a more solid core of organizations that believe in the future of the platform.
Most of Rockwell’s 25-question survey was dedicated to IBM i product usage across several categories, including GUI generation, security, backup and recovery, high availability, and cloud hosting.
On the GUI front, the survey suggests that IBM-supplied tools continue to be very popular (used by 20.6 percent), followed by in-house developed tools (used by 10.3 percent). Rounding out the top 10 are Fresche Solutions‘ WebSmart and looksoftware (8.4 percent), CNX‘s Valence (7.1 percent), Profound Logic‘s Profound UI (6.1 percent), Rocket‘s LegaSuite and Jwalk (5.7 percent), Easy400‘s CGIDev2 (4.4 percent), LANSA (3.4 percent) and Infor‘s Lawson tools (3.1 percent).
The top 10 in the GUI category didn’t change from 2018 to 2019, although Profound Logic moved past Rocket Software and CNX fell behind Fresche. Interestingly, 25.3 percent of All400’s survey takers reported they still use green screens and do not using any GUI. That was down quite a bit from last year, when 27.8 percent said they had no GUI.
On the security front, the percentage of IBM i professionals saying they had no security software – either homegrown or purchased from a third party — decreased from 31.2 percent a year ago to 27.6 percent this year. That is a welcome change. However, the suggestions that more than one-quarter of IBM i shops are not invested in security software should still be a major concern.
Nearly 17 percent of survey-takers say they have developed their own security software in-house, a decrease from 20.5 percent a year ago. HelpSystems remained firmly in the number three slot, with 15.8 percent of respondents saying they have one of HelpSystems security producdts (PowerTech, StandGuard, Halcyon, etc.), down slightly from 17.1 percent a year ago. About 6.3 percent said they use IBM supplied security tools, while 6.2 percent report using tools from Syncsort (such as Enforcive, Cilasoft, or Townsend Security’s encryption software), up from about 5.8 percent a year ago. Raz-Lee, meanwhile, came in with a 6.0 percent share, up from 3.9 percent a year ago.
Fewer IBM i shops are writing their own change management software, according to the All 400s survey. A year ago, 29.3 percent said they rolled their own, while only 26.4 percent said they use homegrown today. About 3 percent more (22.0 versus 19.1) say they use no change management software. Rocket’s Aldon leads the third-party charge with a 16.9 percent share, followed by UNICOM‘s SoftLanding (12.2 percent), PTC‘s Implementer (7.9 percent), Remain Software‘s TD/OMS (3.3 percent), Midrange Dynamics MDCMS (2.0 percent), and ARCAD Software (2.0 percent). Use of open source GIT has ticked up from 5.8 percent to 6.1 percent.
There wasn’t much change in ERP usage, which isn’t surprising, since they can take years to implement and typically are in place for a decade or more. Infor’s ERP LX (BPCS) remained the top third-party ERP product in the IBM i installed base, according to ALL400s survey, with a 7.5 percent share, followed by Infor’s ERP XA (MAPICS) at 7.3 percent, Oracle‘s JD Edwards World at 5.5 percent, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and SAP‘s Business Suite tied at 4.5 percent, and Infor’s System 21 and Infinium products tied at 3.3 percent. One-third of respondents report using in-house developed ERP software, while 14.9 percent say they use no ERP. That’s mostly unchanged from last year, when 48.5 percent said they used in house or none (Rockwell grouped them together).
When it comes to system automation, about 29.7 percent of ALL400s survey-takers say they use custom programs or IBM’s WRKJOBSCDE command, which was down more than 5 percent from last year. HelpSystems was the top-ranked third-party systems automation company, with a 27.4 percent share in the survey, up from 25.8 percent last year. Software Engineering of America (SEA) reported a 3.1 percent share, up from 2.0 percent last year.
Job scheduling had a similar breakdown, with 42.4 percent saying they use IBM’s native tools, and another 25.7 percent saying they write custom programs or use WRKJOBSCDE. HelpSystems had a 24.7 percent share, while BMC Software‘s Control-M product had a 2.2 percent share and SEA’s absScheduler 1.8 percent.
The percentage of survey respondents saying they use tapes plummeted from 56.5 percent a year ago to 31.3 percent in the most recent survey. It’s unclear what caused the numbers to crash, although it could be due to the large number of potential answers that are included in the question. Customers reported using everything from the BRMS utility and SAVF commands to EVault and the Flashcopy command.
The high availability/disaster recovery category was a little more well-defined, with Syncsort’s MIMIX product leading the way with a 26.7 percent share, up a hair from last year. Syncsort’s iTera came it at 9.7 percent, up half a percent from year while Quick-EDD (now owned by Syncsort) edged up six-tenths of a percent to 5.1 percent. Maxava‘s share of the HA/DR market went from 2.4 percent to 3.2 percent, while Rockee’s iCluster product dropped from 3.3 percent to 2.8 percent, as the old Vision Solutions OMS/ODS product went from 2.1 percent to 1.9 percent. IBM’s PowerHA increased from 0.9 percent to 2.4 percent, while HelpSystems’ RobotHA dropped from 1.5 percent to 1.3 percent in the new survey. iSamBlue had 0.9 percent, while Shield Advanced Solutions‘ HA4i offering dropped from 0.9 percent to 0.7 percent. The percentage saying they used nothing for HA/DR went from 24.9 percent in 2018 to 20.4 percent in 2019.
On the cloud front, it’s no surprise that a majority (50.4 percent) of respondents report using no cloud services whatsoever. However, many IBM i shops do, obviously, use public cloud solutions for x86 workloads, as well as private clouds for some IBM i workloads. So it’s not surprising that Amazon Web Services is used by 9.1 percent of ALL400s survey respondents, followed by 5.9 percent who use either IBM’s cloud or the Microsoft Azure cloud. The Google Cloud also had a showing at 1.5 percent.
Among those offering IBM i services, UCG Technologies led the way with 1.3 percent share, followed by five-way tie 0.7 percent that included Maxava, Cloud400, Sirius, Connectria, and Infor’s System i cloud.
Rockwell updates his survey continuously, providing a running snapshot of the IBM i community and the products that the community uses.
“Several of the sponsors have helped me get some data that will make a significant increase in the size of the ALL400s Company List. I’m in the process of adding at least 5,000 new companies to it, and many that were last confirmed in the 2004 – 2006 range have been re-confirmed this year. Once I’m done we’ll have at least 13 percent of the AS/400 ecosystem on the list, using IBM’s estimate of 120,000 companies on the platform as a guide. We were originally shooting to make it to the 13,000 company mark for the rolling three-year average by the end of the year (2017-2019) but with the new data we should come closer to hitting the 20,000 mark.”