IBM Pulls Plug on Systems Magazine, Pushes Community Site
November 4, 2020 Alex Woodie
IBM Systems magazine will cease publishing at the end of 2020, ending a two-decade-plus run as an IBM-backed magazine serving the IBM i, AIX, and System z communities, IBM announced this week. In its place, Big Blue plans to ramp up the IBM Community website, which, you will remember, absorbed the old developerWorks content earlier this year.
IBM Systems Magazine has been produced by MSP TechMedia, a division of MSP Communications, under a license from IBM. The media partnership between the two companies, which has been ongoing for at least 22 years, included two magazines: the monthly IBM Systems magazine, Power Systems, and IBM Systems magazine, IBM Z, which was published every other month.
In addition to product news and feature articles written by staff member and outside contributors, the magazines and associated websites hosted a variety of columns by prominent IBMers, including IBM i Architect Steve Will’s monthly “You and i” column, the “Open Your i” column from IBM i Business Architect for open source Jesse Gorzinski, and Paul Tuohy’s “iTalk” podcast.
In their “Dear Reader” letter, Meg Murphy, the CMO for the IBM Systems and partner ecosystem, and Jessica Murillo, the IBM Systems vice president for systems client experience and quality champion for IBM, explained the rationale behind the change.
“For many years, IBM has partnered with MSP TechMedia to publish IBM Systems magazine. During this time, the ways in which the IT infrastructure community interacts has transformed radically.
“We’ve listened to your feedback and have evolved to provide you with valuable digital and interactive resources – like the IBM Community site – that allow you to connect with your peers, learn at your own pace, get advice from experts, access new technical content, and discover how other IBM clients achieve their goals…
“As a result of this digital transformation, we will be retiring the IBM Systems magazine for IBM Z and Power Systems at the end of 2020. We remain fully committed to our IT infrastructure clients and to our IBM Z and Power Systems platforms as IBM continues to drive the innovation in hardware that your enterprise relies on for your most mission-critical computing needs.
“See you in the digital IBM Communities.”
Like many publications in the IBM midrange, IBM Systems magazine has experienced declining readership. In 2011, the magazine said it reached approximately 50,000 people who work on Power Systems servers running IBM i, AIX and Linux, while the Mainframe edition reached approximately 25,000. Currently, the magazine says it reaches 30,000 readers for Power Systems and 22,000 readers for mainframe.
MSP Communications, which is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, produces an array of magazines, websites, and other content for companies in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area (hence the name “MSP”), including Mpls.St.Paul and Twin Cities Business.
IBM’s decision to kill IBM Systems magazine and associated websites comes a year after it decided to kill a handful of other websites, including developerWorks Connections, which were popular with the IBM i community. In January, IBM completed the consolidation of various legacy websites onto two primary websites: IBM Support and IBM Community.
The IBM i community responded poorly to the decision to kill developerWorks Connection, and many members scrambled to backup and archive the extensive content and code that was stored on that platform. IBM responded by reassuring the community that no content would be lost, and worked with people to migrate it to replacement sites.
At this point, it’s unclear what will become of IBM System Magazine’s extensive archive, although if we had to hazard a guess, the IBM Community website would seem to be the likely target.
In the meantime, the IBM Community website appears to be catching hold, at least with some members of the IBM i community. As of press time on Tuesday, there were 48 members in a new IBM i group formed on the IBM Community website.