2024 IBM i Predictions Part 3 – The Final Chapter
February 5, 2024 Alex Woodie
Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog who forecast an early spring on Friday, is said to have a long-term success rate of about 31 percent with his forecasts. What’s the accuracy rate of the IBM i experts who contribute to these yearly predictions? To borrow a line from the Magic 8 Ball, the answer is hazy at the moment. But one thing is clear: The IBM i ecosystem as a whole maintains an unabashedly optimistic and sunny disposition.
One of the brighter stars in the IBM i galaxy, Connectria regional sales director Peg Tuttle sees several trends emerging in the new year, including the continued growth of open source software.
“The adoption of open source technologies on IBM i systems will likely continue its upward trajectory,” Tuttle says. “Tools like VSCode will be crucial in facilitating this growth by making it easier for organizations to integrate open-source solutions into their existing IBM i environments. As more businesses realize the benefits of open source, we expect to see a broader range of open source applications and tools available for IBM i users.”
Application modernization initiatives will also kick into high gear in 2024, Tuttle predicts. “Many organizations using IBM i systems have legacy applications that must be updated and transformed to meet evolving business needs,” the Incredible i Show podcast host says. “Application modernization will involve refactoring, rearchitecting, and migrating applications to newer technologies while preserving the core IBM i infrastructure. This will be driven by the need to enhance agility, improve user experiences, and reduce operational costs.”
Clouds have gathered for open-systems customers for years, and they will start building for IBM i in greater numbers this year, Tuttle predicts. “Businesses will continue to migrate their IBM i workloads to cloud environments, leveraging platforms like IBM Cloud, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and others,” she tells IT Jungle. “Cloud offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency benefits, making it an attractive option for hosting IBM i applications and data. The hybrid cloud approach, which combines on-premises IBM i systems with cloud resources, will also become more prevalent.”
Growing IT complexity will drive more interest in education and skills development in the coming year, Tuttle says. “Organizations will invest in training programs to ensure their IT teams have the expertise to manage and optimize IBM i systems effectively,” she says. “With its longstanding reputation for providing high-quality education and resources in the IBM i community, COMMON will continue to be a valuable resource for professionals seeking to enhance their knowledge and proficiency in IBM i technologies.”
Security and compliance will also remain top priorities for IBM i shops, continuing a trend that’s been ongoing for several years. “Organizations will invest in robust security solutions and practices to protect sensitive data and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Continuous monitoring and threat detection will become essential for IBM i security strategies,” Tuttle says.
“In summary, 2024 will likely be a year of growth, transformation, and adaptation in the IBM i space,” she concludes. “Open source, application modernization, cloud adoption, education, security, and integration will be key drivers of change in this space, helping organizations leverage the full potential of their IBM i systems in a rapidly evolving IT landscape.”
Jim Fisher, operations manager at SoftLanding Systems, says past is prologue in IBM i Land – but with a big, AI-sized caveat.
“In previous predictions that have aired through IT Jungle, I’ve talked about driving innovation through digital transformation initiatives,” Fisher says. “I anticipate much of the same for 2024 and, in particular, expect IBM i shops to harness AI to facilitate the transformation of IBM i applications from monolithic structures to agile microservices. As we’ve seen with other languages and platforms, AI-driven code analysis tools can be extremely effective at intelligently dissecting monolithic applications to separate business logic from user interface programs. I’ve no doubt those capabilities will soon extend to the IBM i platform and, when they do, I believe it’ll be another significant step forward for the platform and its fantastic community!”
“Artificial intelligence has become and will continue to be a hot topic for many organizations as they explore new ways to find competitive edges,” Fisher continues. “Of course, AI transcends traditional boundaries, but when you consider the reliability and scalability of IBM i, interfacing AI with IBM i has to make it a more formidable contender in the world of enterprise computing.”
Puneet Kohli, the president of application modernization at Rocket Software, says that in 2024, IBM i shops will take an infrastructure approach that has been adopted by many organizations in the open systems realm: Hybrid cloud.
“In 2024, we will see more customers moving workloads to cloud with both hybrid cloud and cloud native deployments,” Kohli says. “A driving factor will be the desire to avoid the complications that come with needing to rewrite or refactor core business applications. A hybrid cloud approach makes it easier to modernize without sacrificing efficiency or causing major disruptions along the way.”
Clouds – including pure-play, multi-, and hybrid varieties – play heavily in the 2024 predictions of Richard Dolewski, the vice president of hybrid cloud solutions at Connectria.
“Organizations will increasingly embrace hybrid and multi-cloud strategies, leveraging both the IBM i and public cloud for transformational business modernization,” Dolewski says. “We see hybrid cloud significantly advancing business workflows with AI and machine learning at scale. Automated hybrid cloud deployments will better support application observability, governance, security, and availability, bringing proven IBM Power workloads closer to where they best extend to the public cloud with low latency response times.”
When it comes to data protection in the cloud, Dolewski sees a need for better policy controls. “Recovery and availability will be the key strategy for the emerging needs in the cloud data model,” he says. “Organizational priorities to rethink traditional backup infrastructure and solutions: Please turn on encryption for backups, and invest in technology/managed services that provide the best possible RTO [recover time objective] and RPO [recovery point objective] and systems availability. Cyber threats are growing exponentially, and data protection strategies must respond to this challenge.”
The intersection of modernization and the cloud will be a fruitful place for IBM i shops as well as the companies providing them technology and services, Dolewski says.
“Capturing the value of hybrid cloud, companies will develop strategies to modernize their applications,” he says. “Customers are telling Connectria they need help bridging the current IBM i with the adoption of the public cloud. They need help connecting the existing applications/systems that today run core apps with the stability and maturity of the IBM i to leverage low latency connected workloads. Hybrid IBM solutions will provide the best-in-class infrastructure to be the catalyst for modernization and what remains best on IBM i.”
“In 2024, I expect hybrid cloud will be a priority and reality for many CIOs,” Dolewski concludes. “It will be essential that hybrid cloud for IBM Power on cloud is recognized as an architectural state in which their organization will leverage for the foreseeable future.”
That’s it for 2024 IBM i predictions! Now let’s go out and make them come true.