How To Celebrate IBM i Turning 35 This Week
June 19, 2023 Alex Woodie
The balloons will drop and the champagne will flow this week as the midrange community takes some well-deserved time to party like it’s 1988 and celebrate the 35th anniversary of the IBM i platform.
Not every computing community gets to celebrate 10 years of success for their platform, let alone 35, as backers of the venerable IBM i server will have the honor of doing this week. Many of the folks who work on IBM i today were just starting their IT careers back when IBM launched the AS/400 on that hot June day in 1988, so this week will be extra special for them.
Despite all the predictions of the demise the AS/400, the iSeries, the System i, and, for the past 15 years, the IBM i, the midrange computer platform that came out of the IBM lab in Rochester, Minnesota, is still running applications and processing data for businesses, just as it was designed to do back in 1988. That alone is worth celebrating.
But when you consider all the changes that have occurred in the IT business since then – the come and go of minicomputer competitors, the arrival of client/server Windows systems, the explosion of Unix systems based on RISC architectures that formed the early commercial Internet, the rise of n-tier Web architectures on Wintel and Lintel, the ages of big data and now AI – the fact that IBM i is still kicking butt and taking names in the industries for which it was designed – financial services, retail, manufacturing, distribution – is downright remarkable.
The big event will be hosted by IBM and its media partner, TechChannel. Actually, they are hosting three separate celebrations this week, timed to be convenient for IBM i fans living in different regions across the world.
The celebrations kick off in the Asia and Pacific region at 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday, June 20 (which is the morning of June 21 across the International Dateline). You can register for that event at this link. The event for the Europe region kicks off at 7 a.m. PT on Wednesday. You can register for this event here. Finally, the event for North America kicks off at 2 p.m. PT on June 21 Wednesday. You can register for this event at this link. To see a list of all of the recent IBM i webinars that IBM has been running every Wednesday, go to this link.
In terms of the content of the celebration, much of that is being kept under wraps. We understand these events are BYOB – or bring your own champagne, as the case (or two) may be – and that is to be expected in today’s virtual world.
We do know who some of the participants will be. Current and former IBMers Steve Sibley, Ken King, Dave Nelson, Frank Soltis, Dawn May, Scott Forstie, Andrew Ireland, and Carol Woodbury are slated to speak. From the IBM i community, the word is that Juan Manuel Alcudia, Steve Bradshaw, Simon Porstendorfer, Gerard S. Saverimuthu, Heidi Schmidt, and Tom Huntington will be making virtual appearances.
iChime, a virtual IBM i community spearheaded by Charlie Guarino, is hosting an IBM i @ 35 afterparty on Wednesday June 21st “for reminiscing, camaraderie, and shared appreciation for the transformative power of IBM i.” The afterparty starts at 6:30 p.m. ET and you can register here.
The other big IBM i @ 35 celebration is being hosted by TD SYNNEX, the IBM Power distributor based in Fremont, California. The $25 billion company, which merged with Tech Data in 2021 (previously it was known as SYNNEX) will be holding two in-person celebrations in honor of the IBM i’s 35th anniversary.
“Many of our partners started their business with IBM i, helping to grow this platform to over 110,000 end users worldwide,” the company says in an email invite. “Together, we’ll look back at how far IBM i has come, where it is today, and where IBM sees IBM i going in the future.”
Each in-person celebration will span two days, from the evening of June 20 to the afternoon of June 21, and they will take place near the IBM Innovation Studios in Dallas, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois.
The Chicago event will feature two speakers, including Steve Sibley, vice president of IBM Power product management, and TD SYNNEX’s Bob Friske, a vendor business executive, IBM. The Dallas event will also feature two speakers, including Steve Will, the CTO and chief architect of IBM i, and Charlie Foretich, a vendor business executive with TD SYNNEX. For more information on the events, see this link.
Happy 35th birthday, IBM i. Cheers!