2021: IBM i year in review, part two

December 15, 2021

Alex woodie

We’re at the end of another busy year of monitoring events in the IBM i community, which means it’s time to sit down and reflect on where we’ve been. The first part of this series covered the first six months of the year, and now it’s time for the second half, which started in…


Ransomware is often thought of as an X86 problem, to which IBM i is immune. It turns out that this is not entirely correct. In July, we shared the news of a close call that an IBM i store had with ransomware.

As IBM prepares to ship the first high-end Power10 systems, it is no surprise that sales of Power9 servers are declining. However, as the lazy days of summer passed, IBM showed that it was in no great rush to release those Power10 cases. Considering the problems he had with Power9, no one is questioning this judgment.

Is the IBM ia platform on which a business can innovate and thrive? You bet your Hardware Management Console (HMC) is! And to prove it, the OCEAN User Group assembled a stellar cast of IBM i characters to discuss what it means to innovate and thrive on the platform for its annual summer conference, which took place virtually. .


After changing the IBM i logo (twice) earlier in the year, IBM marketing executives made more subtle changes this summer. Instead of a “Power Systems” server, IBM servers have been replaced by “IBM Power”. Instead of a “POWER9” processor, it would be “Power10”. Instead of the “POWER” architecture, it is the “Power” architecture. The caps lock key takes a well-deserved break (but if it does, we still can’t find that naughty “IBM e-business logo” button).

In the future, we will all be containerized microservices in the cloud. It seems certain (at least if you believe what floats in the computer winds). But how are we going to get the data flowing? How will we communicate? Why, APIs of course, because in an API world, no one knows you’re an IBM i.

IBM i programmers who work from Mac desktops had a big surprise this summer, when reports began to emerge of an issue in Rational Developer for IBM i (RDi) version 9.6 that was preventing the program from running. run on macOS Big Sur version 11.5.

Since purchasing Red Hat, IBM has pushed a lot of open source software, like OpenShift and NodeRed, not to mention Node.JS, Python, and other languages ​​and frameworks. But for Jesse Gorzinski, the IBM i enterprise architect for open source, an open source offering stands out: Apache Camel, he says “can make it pretty easy to really link anything to anything” .


After four years of waiting, IBM finally delivered the first server based on a brand new Power processor: the “Denali” Power E1080. The new server contains up to 16 of the new Power10 processors, each containing 30 active cores (plus two inactive cores). With up to 64TB of main memory in a single system image, the E1080 delivers stunning 5.27 million CPWs. The delivery of scalable and entry-level machines was to follow.

IBM typically makes a TR announcement in the spring and another in the fall. But this year, IBM Systems Group decided to postpone its fall announcement until the end of the summer, surprising the press, not to mention its own PR team. The big news was support for the Power10 hardware, but that also brought us a wholesale update to IBM i Navigator, ie “New Nav”.

The first LTO-9 drives began shipping this month, with IBM announcing three drives based on the specification, which offer up to 18TB of native capacity and data transfer rates of 400MB per second. Additionally, Sony and Fujifilm also announced that they were shipping LTO-9 cartridges, which was a nice change of pace from 2019, when the two rivals didn’t ship LTO-8 cartridges until one. year after LTO-8 drives became available because they were involved in patent infringement litigation.

Is the IBM i platform doomed to oblivion due to the lack of RPG programmers coming out of college? That was the broad thesis of Roger Pence’s September column, “IBM i and its Decade of RPG Crisis,” in which he states that by 2030 the typical RPG programmer will be 80 years old. Needless to say, Pence’s story struck a chord in the IBM i community.

While the long-term future of IBM i’s work may be a question mark, there is no doubt in the current job market, which is quite robust. One of the new benefits of COVID-19, the ability to work from home, has been a boon for IBM i stores and IBM i professionals, who can now travel remotely from anywhere in the world.


What will the “new” IBM look like after the split of its managed services business, Kyndryl, is completed? During an Investor Day briefing, new CEO Arvind Krishna presented some charts to show what the slim $ 54 billion company will look like.

There is a lot of old RPG code out there, and sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough people willing or able to make it younger. Based on this observation, a group of professionals at IBM i created the Mod Squad, which has only one goal: to bring aging RPG code into the 21st century (and maybe stop some bad guys along the way. ).

In recent years, Fresche Solutions has grown into one of the largest independent software vendors (ISVs) in the IBM i space, rivaling HelpSystems and Precisely in size. It gained momentum this fall with the acquisition of Abacus Solutions, a long-time provider of cloud and managed services.

The global pandemic has shown the best and the worst in people. When it comes to businesses, and in particular IBM i stores, the pandemic has brought real innovations, which were on display at the POWERUp conference that COMMON held virtually this month.

The POWERUp conference had a lot of content as usual. A few more things we highlighted in our newsletter include how IBM i stores can use AI; what IBM i stores have to pay if they plan a modernization project; and advice on how to avoid technical debt.


With ransomware and other security threats gaining more and more attention, IBM has decided to strengthen its IBM i customers and offer them a free security check this fall, thanks to the experts at IBM Systems Lab Services. It’s not the only free security check available for IBM i stores, but it’s the only professional sanctioned Big Blue check in Rochester, Minnesota.

You have heard of IBM Cloud Paks. But IBM offers a different kind of “package” specifically a ServicePac, and in November IBM launched a ServicePac for Power Systems and IBM Storage that will streamline access to IBM technical professionals.

In August, Gartner predicted that global IT spending would grow 5.2% to $ 4.43 trillion in 2022. But thanks to a scorching 2021, in which IT spending rose 9.5% , the analyst firm has decided to increase its 2022 forecast in November to $ 4.47. billion, which would represent an increase of 5.5%.

Legacy modernization and digital transformation initiatives have raised the scale of priorities during the pandemic. But every time you open basic computer systems, there are risks. For UK retailer Travis Perkins, the nightmarish scenario came true after an ERP consolidation project failed involving Infor’s M3 in the cloud.


In anticipation of the availability of Power10 systems, IBM has taken the knife for SSD prices this fall, with cuts ranging from 34% to 47% for 2.5-inch SAS drives. This move was designed to pave the way for the next generation of faster, cheaper and bigger SSDs.

Mainframe stores are grabbing the attention of AWS, which just announced a new mainframe migration program at re: Invent this month. IBM has followed this with its own mainframe migration program. Is this another case where mainframes are gaining attention at the expense of IBM i. In this case, anyway, maybe it is unwanted attention.

Almost exactly one year after the Solarwinds flaw disrupted the IT community, the Log4j flaw makes an ugly appearance. IBM i administrators scramble alongside everyone else to detect instances where the open source utility Log4j is integrated into their Java applications before bad guys enter their networks.


2021: IBM i year in review, part one

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