2023 IBM i Predictions, Part 1
January 16, 2023 Alex Woodie
What will happen in the IBM i world in 2023? Your guess is as good as ours, which is why we have corralled some of the most respected names in the industry to gaze into their crystal balls and give their prognostication for the year to come.
Donnie MacColl, the senior director of technical support and GDPR data protection officer at Fortra (formerly HelpSystems), kicks off this year’s batch of predictions with an expectation of more automation, thanks to a lack of skilled employees.
“Automated operations will accelerate along with migration to the cloud,” MacColl tells us. “Automation is key in operations, job scheduling and regular complex and simple tasks, but the resources for skilled IBM Power Systems people are scarce and becoming even scarcer as a generation of IBMers retire and there are fewer skilled people around to replace them.”
“Automation will help with succession planning and may even help slow down the trend of people retiring,” he continues. “For example, by automating say 40 percent of a person’s tasks, they can work less over a longer period of time, as they leverage automated solutions to do more and more.”
“Growth within the community,” she says, “in particular the N2i side of things. I am seeing growth within the new to IBM i side of the community and I see that continuing throughout this year.”
“It seems that IBM in Rochester is gaining more and more attraction from the ‘big’ IBM and with that comes more funding,” he says. “From my position in CEAC, I can feel a trend. CEAC is the Common Europe Advisory Council whose purpose is to prioritize, promote and invent ideas aka. RFE’s that give the most bang for buck for the platform from the IT industry’s perspective. In CEAC we can see that IBM is investing a lot of time and effort in Db2 for i services, RPG, open source, management, and security. This is a trend that has already begun some years ago, and now it is scaling up.”
“But also in the industry in general,” Liisberg continues. “Companies are no longer looking for replacement of the platform with other technologies for the simple fact that it is not modern. Simple calculations of TCO (total cost of ownership) makes it now – more than ever – a healthy decision to integrate the platform into modern infrastructures, such as DevOps, microservices, and cloud. The tools are there now – in many shapes and forms. This market will grow in 2023, and so will modernization and transformation projects in general. It will be a huge thing in 2023.”
“From my personal perspective,” he says, “I can see that this is true with the use of the open source project I am working on and providing for the platform – ILEastic and noxDb are gaining more and more attraction these years and will grow in 2023. The same can be said about commercial products and solutions like OpenShift and IceBreak, simply because of the need of microservices and heterogeneous environments in the future.”
Liam Allan, a software developer, speaker, and advocate – who started a new job at IBM last year – has his eye on a few items for 2023.
“For 2023, I do hope that it will be the year for open-source contributions,” Allan says. “2022 really exposed open source for people on a larger than previous years in my mind – as in, people really using open-source in production. I want this year to extend that, where people not only use open source, but also contribute back to open source projects. As well as that, I hope to see continued growth in the Visual Studio Code for IBM i user base,” he continues. “It had grown two-fold in 2022 and as new features come in that more people will enjoy, I hope to see that number increase.”
2023 will be the year that companies get their development infrastructure in line, says Donna Westmoreland, CTO of Midrange Dynamics North America.
“In 2023, we see businesses taking greater advantage of integrated solutions that enable development teams to evolve and adopt new technologies, and IDEs at their own pace,” Westmoreland says. “This year, we anticipate that companies will make an investment in their development infrastructure. We foresee them adding tools and productivity features, embracing new IDEs like VS Code, becoming more agile in their development efforts, and interfacing directly with their enterprise CI/CD pipeline.”
“We are excited to see how our clients are implementing a hybrid approach to modernization,” she continues. “They are staking a claim that the IBM i is the system of record and utilizing Rest APIs for application enablement in a 24/7 marketplace.”
Puneet Kohli, the vice president of engineering at Rocket Software, sees the looming recession having an impact on IT spending.
“As we step into 2023, we’re already seeing the IT sector gearing up to face a challenging year on IT spending,” Kohli says. “With large IT companies doing staff optimizations and recession fears looming, we’ll see many IT projects looking to optimize costs. In the IBM i space, these will lead to more automation and modernization projects vs. re-platforming or rewrites. Hybrid cloud will play a key role in the IBM i space. Business users will look to invest in tools on the platform (IBM i) to help move workloads to cloud/hybrid cloud environments. Legacy platforms historically have been recession proof, since IT leaders slow down the projects which require re-platforming. Platforms like IBM i will benefit from this trend and we’ll see more projects leading to modernization on the platform.”
Tom Huntington, the longtime executive vice president of technical solutions for Fortra (formerly HelpSystems), sees 2023 as the year that IBM i shops will upgrade and move to the cloud.
“With the final rollout of Power10 in 2022, we now expect more IBM Power customers to be evaluating announcements and choosing a direction for their upgrade,” Huntington says. “2023 will mark a year where customers finally make the move to cloud-based hosting of their IBM i environments. This has been a slower trend in the IBM space, but 2023 will see more energy around these decisions as workload targets like Skytap, Google, and IBM become more popular around the globe. This movement helps to augment the continued shortage of workers to monitor/automate/secure IBM i.”
Richard Dolewski, vice president of enterprise solutions for IBM i private cloud provider Connectria, sees a renewed effort on making sure that systems can withstand disruption.
“Business resiliency is everyone’s job no matter what industry you’re in,” Dolewski says. “Our focus in 2023 must be to accelerate our IT Service delivery and availability capabilities. From cyberattacks and global health hazards to environmental disasters, the list of potential threats only validates our need to reduce our business risk profile. We are tasked to ensure our Power Systems are ‘always on and available’ to deliver on our customer uptime promise, no matter happens. With an effective HA/DR tested solution, your organization will be protected against serious disruptions that can impact your corporation’s brand and reputation. Prioritize resiliency over recovery by implementing cloud-based solutions to increase operational resiliency in 2023.”
Jack Woehr, who’s affiliated with Seiden Group and Absolute Performance, has an eye on the future, such as quantum computing. But he’s a bit wary about what the AI technology du jour may do to warry Web explorers.
“In 2023, it’s going to get harder to search accurate technical information on the Web as pages of word salad authored by ChatGPT successfully game SEO,” Woehr predicts.
Chuck Losinski, the director of technical solutions for Fortra, sees 2023 being a good year to do some succession planning and gain fresh perspectives.
“I am seeing this first-hand and expect it to accelerate in 2023,”Losinkski says. “Experienced Power Systems developers and administrators, often who share the same role, are desperate to leave their systems in good hands. They are working with management to bring in IT talent with zero IBM i experience and mentoring them. To quote one such effort, “Once they are hooked, they don’t want to leave the platform.” This brings a fresh look at bringing a modern end-user interface using today’s development tools, while the back-end database is leveraged using a familiar tool, SQL. In turn, the veterans are looking at the systems’ automation tools they already have in place and are taking steps to review setup and “make things right” before turning over the reins to the up-and-coming ‘rising stars.’”