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Tech Trends for IBM i (System i, AS/400)


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Tech Trends for IBM i (System i, AS/400)

  1. 1. Tech Trends for IBM i (System i, AS/400)Tech Trends for IBM iDeutsch: IBM iSeries Modell 270 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)I recently read an interesting article on the website about the Tech Trends for IBMi and I have re-published it below for your convenience,Top 10 IBM i Tech Trends for 2013Published: January 8, 2013by Alex WoodieThis is a great time to be an IBM i shop. Whether your shop is hands-on with the latesttechnology or prefers to “set it and forget it,” there’s an abundance of new products andservices available that will help your organization run smarter and with more efficiency. Check 1/6
  2. 2. out Four Hundred Stuff‘s take on the top 10 IBM i technology trends for the new year.1. Cloud ComputingThe number one IBM i trend for 2013 is cloud computing. IBM may have been late to the cloudparty with its midrange platform, but Big Blue is now coming on strong, with new cloud-enablingtechnology, like Live Partition Mobility (LPM), as well as new marketing plans aimed at attractingmanaged service providers (MSPs) to the platform, and giving them the tools to be successful.A couple of years ago, just a handful of companies had positioned themselves as MSPs to sellaccess to IBM i resources using the public cloud, or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), model, ala Amazon Web Services (AWS). This doesn’t count the many datacenter firms offering hostingservices, a rudimentary form of cloud computing, or software as a service (SaaS) firms, of whichthere are just a few in the IBM i world.Today, there are nearly two dozen MSPs offering public IBM i cloud services, and new MSPsare opening shop every week offering public cloud IaaS, which, on the whole, was a $12 billionindustry in 2012 and was growing at an annual clip of 45 percent, according to Gartner. Many ofthe MSPs in the IBM i world started out as AS/400 and iSeries server resellers, and while sellingboxes and services accounts for the bulk of their businesses, they foresee a day when the MSPside of their business becomes predominant.This new cloud model is a radical departure from basic server babysitting, and is a criticalelement in the shift to utility computing. Thanks to high-speed Internet that’s nearly ubiquitousacross the country, and advanced IBM i virtualization offerings like PowerVM, LPM, and VirtualI/O Server, organizations can get access to the same IBM i platform they know andlove–indeed, they can access their own IBM i environments, and move it wherever theylike–without incorporating the financial burden of physically possessing the hardware.IT Jungle predicts that 2013 will mark the first year when it will be common for small andmidsize IBM i shops to consider an IBM i public cloud as a legitimate option as part of theirupgrade considerations. The advantages in cost and processing flexibility with renting a slice ofIBM i in the cloud versus taking physical ownership of the hardware are becoming too great toignore, and are beginning to outweigh the risks of cloud computing, which mostly has to do withsecurity of data.2. MobilityWho knew that the launch of the iPhone five years ago would have spawned such amonumental upheaval in how we use computers? Just about every RFP being made for Webinterfaces today also contains a mobile element, interface modernization vendors tell IT Jungle.Luckily, thanks to cross-platform technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript, it’s a relatively easystep to adapt a new Web interface to display in the Web browsers of smartphones, too.Analysts predict that, in 2013, mobile devices (including smartphones and tablets) will surpassPCs to become the most common way to access the Web. In some businesses, mobile devices 2/6
  3. 3. have already overtaken PCs. Tablets, in particular, appear to be favored in white collar andfactory environments, while smartphones are the mobile device of choice for road warriors.The big challenge facing developers this year will be figuring out how to best utilize mobiledevices to accomplish particular tasks at hand. It’s kind of dumb to try to squeeze a full 5250screen onto an iPhone. It can be done, but with all the precise finger movements required tonavigate the app on a 3.5-inch screen, it might be easier to teach a pig to use chopsticks.Instead of repurposing existing IBM i interfaces to fit on mobile devices, a better approach willbe to develop new IBM i interfaces that are tailor-made for tablets and smartphones. This allowsthe developer to rethink application workflow, and to highlight essential data and actions whilehiding or eliminating superfluous screen elements. The old adage “keep it simple stupid,” orKISS, retains its significance here.3. Power7+ and PureSystemsIBM gave us new toys to play with in 2012, and 2013 will prove to be the year that many of usget to put them into action. The new Power7+ servers give us more of a good thing, and will bethe go-to boxes for many small and midsize IBM i shops with modest computing needs. But thenew PureSystems platform is something different altogether, and demands some extra thoughtand consideration.IBM sold more than 1,000 of the PureSystems servers in 2012, a number that will be dwarfed in2013. In particular, the PureSystems platform will be adopted by a good number of MSP cloudproviders, who will value its capability to run Windows and provide Windows environmentsalongside the three Power Systems amigos–IBM i, AIX, and Linux.The software side of PureSystems has a ways to go. IBM has a vision whereby enterpriseapplications are treated much the same as apps on an iPhone–where apps can be selectedfrom a menu, downloaded, installed, and configured in a very short amount of time. Currently,the PureSystems Centre (sic) serves more as a marketing tool for vendors who have certifiedtheir wares to run on the PureSystems platforms, rather than the actual embodiment of the“point, click, go” future that IBM visionaries have envisioned for us. Enterprise software is stillcomplicated. Getting it to work efficiently in customer sites still requires a good bit ofcustomization. It’s not cookie-cutter, and attempts to make us believe that it is aredisingenuous.4. AnalyticsBusiness analytics continues to grow faster than the IT industry as a whole is growing.According to IDC, business analytics will grow at a 9.8 percent compound annual growth rate(CAGR) through 2016, when it will be a $50.7 billion business. The IBM i component of this isextremely small, largely due to the fact that the IBM i ecosystem is extremely small compared tothe IT world as a whole. But among IBM i shops, there seems to be a preference for usingWindows or Unix servers to run data warehouses instead of keeping it on the IBM i server.There’s no reason this trend will change in 2013, to the chagrin of vendors providing data 3/6
  4. 4. warehousing and BI tools on the IBM i platform.But thankfully, data moves quickly in the enterprise and opportunities for analyzing dataoriginating on the IBM i will continue to grow and expand in 2013. Big data and in-memoryprocessing platforms will continue to eat up market and mindshare among the largestenterprises. Smaller shops will benefit from the continued commodiziation of BI and analyticscapabilities, and hop on the raft of new BI and analytics as a service (BIaaaaS?) offerings thatare making their way to the market.5. Social mediaSocial media has become ubiquitous in our lives, but its place and use in the enterprise hasn’tbeen adequately defined yet. On the one hand, some ERP and BI vendors have startedincorporating social media feeds into their sales and marketing apps. This is basically treatingone’s Facebook or LinkedIn connections as another email list to be mined.IBM is taking another approach with its Notes/Domino (formerly Lotus) platform: helpingenterprises to set up their own social media communities, and to use social media tools likeforums, easy file sharing, “like” buttons, following friends, and mobile support to bolstercollaboration. This will be a winning play, to the extent that IBM makes this platform extensibleand available for integration into other enterprise apps. IBM still has some work to do to supportIBM i with this platform, but it’s off to a decent start with the recent decision to support Traveler.Here’s hoping it will also support IBM Connections and Sametime Mobile Manager on IBM i in2013.6. ERP WarsThere was a lot going on in the enterprise software market last year, and there’s no reason itwill end in 2013. Traditional ERP vendors are coming under growing pressure from software asa service (SaaS) ERP vendors, like NetSuite,, and Workday. While the SaaSvendors can’t yet offer the same combination of functionality and customizability that thetraditional ERP vendors can, there’s no reason to think they can’t or won’t in the future, whichmeans traditional ERP vendors are living on borrowed time. Expect to see the old ERP guardmake some kind of movement–or at least pay lip service–to ERP’s cloud and subscriptionfuture.The ERP market as a whole grew at about a 4.5 percent rate in 2012, according to Gartner. Butif you’re Oracle and SAP, you’ve got to be worried about keeping your share of any increase inspending in 2013. In addition to attacks by the SaaS ERP vendors, they face pressure fromsmaller best-of-breed ERP vendors, like Infor, and those companies who question whether theyeven need ERP, according to Panorama Consulting. And of course, there are the third-partymaintenance firms, like Rimini Street and Spinnaker Support, which grew tremendously in 2012and will continue to poach disaffected customers away from SAP and Oracle in 2013.7. DR and HA as a service 4/6
  5. 5. While 2013 will be the year that IBM i shops seriously start to consider running their productionapps on public clouds, there will undoubtedly be even more growth in using clouds to providedisaster recovery (DR) protection, or DR as a service (DRaaS), and high availability (HA) as aservice, or HAaaS.At many of the public IBM i cloud providers, sales and marketing efforts lead with DRaaS orHAaaS, and occasionally turn into opportunities to sell the customer on moving production tothe cloud as well. Major disasters like Superstorm Sandy highlighted the benefits of having ateam of professionals at the ready for the worst day in the life of your business.Costs are also coming down as more managed service providers (MSPs) offer DRaaS andHAaaS. And as the implementations increase, they become more “cookie cutter” andrepeatable, which benefits customers even more.7. Big DataThere was a lot of hype surrounding “big data” in 2012, and it will likely continue into 2013. Thelarge system and ERP vendors are freely spending and making better tools for handling thecontinued explosion of data, which is commonly defined by the four Vs: volume, variety,velocity, and veracity.IBM i shops, just like all businesses, are struggling to adapt to big data, and use it to expandtheir businesses. One hot area to watch in 2013 is the intersection of three trends, including bigdata, social media, and analytics. IT vendors that can help their customers use analytics tomake sense of the big data generated by social media will make a lot of friends and money in2013.8. Data integrationAs the volume and type of data continues to increase and change, so will customers’ needs fordata integration. Year after year, IT architects bemoan the “silos of data” approach, yet thesesilos have become a fact of life, as businesses continue to chase hot technology trends thatmay or may not integrate well with what they already have.As a result of this patchwork approach, there will still be high demand for integration tools thatcan move and transform data at the database level–particularly at speeds above plain JaneODBC and ODBC. Tools that make DB2/400 … er, DB2 for i (prediction number 0: old habits willcontinue to die hard in 2013) … play nicely with other databases will see more interest.And despite its perception as a “legacy” technology, EDI is not going away anytime soon, andis a critical element of the back office IT infrastructure that handles the day-to-day task ofmaking, moving, and maintaining physical things that we buy (you know, the real economy,which doesn’t get a lot of attention in the cloud/social media/big data-obsessed press thesedays).Managed file transfer (MFT) software will continue to be a hot product area in 2013. The 5/6
  6. 6. combination of MFT’s capability to automate bulk transfers as well as provide a managed interface for ad hoc transfers is truly a sweet spot that can’t be matched by other approaches. 9. Open source and consumer software Open source technologies and products are more widely used on the IBM i platform than ever before. Whether IBM i professionals know it or not, they’re using open source products on a daily basis, notably the Apache Web server. Open source is becoming a suitable choice in other areas of IBM i computing too, including CRM, database, ETL and business intelligence, programming languages, and Web publishing tools. (Open source ERP, alas, failed to materialize yet, at least on this platform.) IT staffs in IBM i shops are also using more and more consumer-focused technologies, most notably JavaScript and HTML5, which have become major programming initiatives for IT shops looking to develop cutting-edge Web and mobile interfaces (which is practically every shop, if you believe surveys). The bring-your-own-device movement has redoubled focus on mobile device manufacturers in the enterprise as well. 10. IT Security IT Security is a perennial concern of businesses, and accounted for $60 billion in spending in 2012, a number that will increase to $86 billion by 2016, according to Gartner. The threat of data breaches falling into the wrong hands continues to drive big spending on security compliance initiatives, including services and IT security tools such as anti-malware, breach detection, encryption, and powerful user account controls. In the IBM i world, businesses hopefully will strive to bolster their security, which is woefully poor according to surveys. While the IBM i platform can be one of the most secure on the planet, improper IBM i configurations–including default passwords and users with too much authority–pose a very real weakness in many organizations. 6/6Powered by TCPDF (