IBM i Community Predictions For 2022, Part 3
January 17, 2022 Alex Woodie
Due to an unprecedented response from the community, we are running a third installment of 2022 predictions. The third (and final) round of predictions kicks off with an optimistic prophecy from Charles Guarino, the president of Central Park Data Systems, who has a very bright outlook for the year ahead in IBM i land.
“As business confidence and optimism rallies, IT budgets will become less restrained,” Guarino tells IT Jungle. “Even those with the least maintained and enhanced legacy systems will experience modernization pressure. This will come from all sources, internal, external and industry compliance, all demanding swift new features and functions.”
“Another motivational factor will be the realization of technical debt, its effects on application flexibility and the dwindling supply of senior developers capable of maintaining an outdated codebase,” he continues. “Companies can look to existing proven digital transformation roadmaps to help solve even the most demanding requests and workloads.”
“With the ever-expanding pervasiveness of open-source solutions, more non-traditional developers will find a permanent home on the platform,” Guarino concludes. “Finally, third party offerings will experience a robust surge in demand of their services and solutions.”
Marinus van Sandwyk, the founder and CEO of TEMBO Technology Lab, gives us no fewer than five predictions for 2022.
“1. There will be growing recognition of the importance and value of data quality and integrity in our heritage (legacy) application assets during the exploration of AI and ML initiatives.”
“2. 2022 may prove to be a watershed for launching fundamental modernization of heritage software assets or being forced to replace the line-of-business applications to stay relevant and competitive in the swiftly changing digital commercial world.”
“3. The rate of acquisitions and consolidation in the ISV space will intensify, especially in the middleware and tool space.”
“4. The retirement and health of the aging IBM i development resources will force IBM i installations to take an intense look at sensible approaches to renew their development teams. Attracting and educating young developers will be a significant differentiator in the medium to long term.”
“5. There will be growing recognition and effort of leveraging the treasure trove of native IBM i operating system functions and architecture and the price paid for PASE-based solutions.”
It’s been a topsy-turvy couple of years, to be sure. What are the odds that things will return to normal in 2022? According to Robin Tatam, the director of security technologies at HelpSystems, they’re not good.
“The world was turned on its head at the onset of the global pandemic, but with expectation that life would eventually return to a pre-COVID normal,” Tatam writes. “The reality is that there is now a new normal and life will likely will never return as we previously knew it.”
When it comes to security, security teams had to pivot quickly to face new threats in 2021. In 2022, Tatam predicts these things will happen:
“1. Criminals will continue to attack the expanded device and connection landscape they were gifted in March of 2020 when many organizations transitioned to a remote workforce.”
“2. Power technology, along with the IBM i operating system, enjoys (arguably unrealistic) expectation of total immunity from attack afforded by the protection of electronic borders. Security staff will no longer be satisfied by this one-dimensional layer of protection. In 2022 securing IBM i will mean both securing the Power Systems server itself as well as securing systems that connect to it.”
“3. Cybersecurity insurance providers will increasingly mandate basic security hygiene or clients will face dramatically increased policy costs, or a complete denial of coverage.”
“4. The Great Resignation will continue throughout 2022. Organizations will be challenged to hold the line as ‘silverback’ employees become increasingly harder to retain and qualified replacements become more difficult to acquire. All of this while facing an increasing volume of threats from an increasingly capable enemy.”
The world of application development is a fast-moving one, and 2022 will be no exception in that regard, according to the folks at LANSA, who see more strategic workplace transformation, a stronger focus on mobile development, low-code tool adoption, and security.
“Due to the early effects of the pandemic for businesses in 2020 and the first half of 2021, we saw a demand increase for tactical application modernization tools,” LANSA writes. “For the second half of 2021, we saw a shift toward more strategic application modernization investments for longer-term solutions. These solutions have better adaptability to the business environment dynamic changes with more automation and integration options.”
“With the maturity of web technologies such as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), we expect even more growth in mobile apps investments,” the company continues. “Field service workers are in demand of better and more efficient mobile applications. Workforce shortage and social distancing measures will continue to force businesses to invest in employee efficiency to meet demand, service level agreements, and quality expectations.”
“AI and IoT technologies will be the drivers for low-code demand in 2022 for IBM i,” they write. “Low-code has a natural capability to integrate these technologies with reduced time to market. Building custom business applications with minimal coding reduces technical debt and brings IT closer to the business.”
“Log4j’s zero-day vulnerability has affected even the always-safe IBM i architecture, bringing increased attention to security, reminding that it is only as strong as its weakest link. We predict that a renewed focus on security will be on the agenda of all IT managers and CIOs this year.”
Ransomware and cyber-attacks are going to grow and become even more aggressive in 2022, says Amal MacDonald, who works in security solutions at Fresche Solutions.
“Organizations will struggle to identify attacks as they occur and before it’s too late,” MacDonald writes. “We will see a huge rise in breaches of core systems due to security misconfigurations, permission errors and lack of adequate coverage. This is going to trigger an increase in security audits, services and better tooling as organizations scramble to safeguard their most important IT assets and protect their business.”
Over in the personnel department, the departure of IBM i professionals has Fresche CTO John Clark a little bit concerned.
“Twenty percent of IBM i resources will retire in 2022, taking with them critical skills, knowledge, and know-how,” Clark says. “Companies running these systems will need special talent to help them bridge the gap between the technologies they have in-house today with the technologies they need to cultivate to remain competitive. Application, database, and infrastructure are now developed and managed very differently than when many IBM i systems were initially deployed. There will be a massive need for people who can understand these critical business systems and share the vision how to advance – while preserving the value found in these IBM i systems.”
With the refresh cycle beginning anew, happy days are ahead, foresees Ash Giddings, a product manager with Maxava.
“2022 promises to be an exciting year for those running IBM i with the continued rollout of Power10 coupled with the release of V7R5, pushing the platform forward once again in terms of performance, reliability, and hotly awaited features,” Giddings says. “We’ll continue to see an uptick in IBM i cloud migrations but where these have mostly been for development and test partitions to date, we’ll start to see more production and transactional environments workloads make the move. Cloud has changed the landscape for HA/DR and we fully expect to see a further increase in the number of IBM i environments using the cloud for their disaster recovery efforts to reduce their data centre footprints.”
Open source technology in general is flourishing on IBM i. But Mike Pavlak, a senior solutions engineer with Perforce, sees one particular project having a particularly good year in 2022.
“PHP is not only alive and well, but is undergoing a veritable renaissance,” Pavlak says. “There is a tremendous amount of effort to bring in new blood — most notably with the PHP Foundation, which has driven an impressive level of interest in sponsorship and participation.”
“While Web development is the de facto standard for IBM i applications, APIs will support hybrid cloud if the configuration for aspects such as authentication and provisioning can be decided upon,” he says. “In fact, ‘API-first’ architecture is gaining traction with our services team when helping our clients with PHP modernization.”
“IBM is in control and has always been a guiding light in this space, but the landscape is muddied by the organic and flexible nature of open source alternatives,” Pavlak continues. “Open source will continue to dominate the landscape of excitement on the platform by driving new projects and talent. Finally, security will continue to be paramount as remote work remains commonplace.”
Cloud database migrations are up on the upswing. In the enterprise computing world, hybrid cloud adoption for core systems will be the name of the game, says Zeev Avidan, chief product officer at OpenLegacy.
“To satisfy the need for faster digital transformations, enterprises need to embrace their core (legacy) systems in new ways,” Avidan says. “Hybrid cloud infrastructure that incorporates both cloud aspects and legacy systems working together as a unified whole without users needing to care about where one finishes and the next begins.”
“This unified solution only works when the legacy logic and data is easily accessible through cloud-native services in an automated way,” he continues. “Many enterprises now recognize the need to take this hybrid approach and simplify how they work with legacy systems.”