Springing Anew: IBM i Tech Refresh Expected Soon
April 13, 2022 Alex Woodie
If you’ve been waiting for the spring IBM i Technology Refreshes, you’re not alone. We’re nearly a month into spring, but IBM has yet to embark upon the bi-annual pilgrimage of operating system enhancements. The good news is that the good news is nearly here.
“Big IBM i Announcements Coming Soon,” Steve Will, the chief architect of IBM i, wrote in 22.5 point font on his “You and i” blog, which was recently resurrected on TechChannel, the online successor to the now-defunct IBM Systems Magazine, where his column ran for years.
“It’s time to hint at things that I can’t come right out and say now,” the Rochester, Minnesota, resident wrote. “Ready?”
Oh, you betcha we’re ready, Steve.
It’s an unwritten rule that major IBM i announcements should not be pre-announced. Heck, IBM mostly doesn’t even pre-announce relatively minor enhancements (although there have been exceptions to that rule over the years). When something big is looming, IBM resorts to the cryptic “i Next” and “i Next+1” verbiage to signify, well, whatever big thing comes next.
Keeping the secret a secret is tough to do, but it’s made easier for IBM lawyers through the use of non-disclosure agreements, which may not be legally binding in all jurisdictions but nevertheless encourage most IBM partners, beta testers, confidents, and their mistresses to keep mum on the i word.
So whether the “big IBM i announcement coming soon” is IBM i version 7.5 or — gasp! — IBM i version 8.0, we’re not quite sure. The IT Jungle has not signed an NDA and also has not been formally briefed by IBM (yet), so we’re free to speculate. That is made a whole lot easier when Will shows that the timeline between major IBM i releases is between two and three years, and that the last major release, IBM i 7.4, was made in 2019.
The two-year gap between IBM i versions 7.2 and 7.3 gap was the exception, not the rule, Will wrote. “I also often tell my audiences that our community was pretty clear that two years was too short, and four years was too long,” he continued in his blog. “Consequently, our strategy is to produce a major release every three years, unless something significant makes us change that.”
The exact timing of the announcement can be further nailed down by looking at the calendar. IBM doesn’t always time its major midrange platform announcements to coincide with COMMON’s annual conference, POWERUp 2022, which is being held in New Orleans, Louisiana from May 22 to May 26 (not to be confused with PowerUp 2022, which the company Finvi is holding June 13 to June 15 in New Orleans. Small world). But it usually does, so that’s another positive indicator that the major announcement will be made that week.
It’s the content of the announcement that remains a big surprise. Will teased his readers with a reminiscence of the launch of Db2 Mirror for i, which debuted with IBM i 7.4. “So, when we announce our next major release of IBM i, you might expect another big thing,” Will wrote, “and you’d be right. I can hardly wait to start talking about it.”
Well, we can hardly wait to start writing about it.