I work at looksoftware, we make software for the IBM i market (and iSeries, System i, and AS/400 :-) ). This blog will sometimes mention products or projects that we are involved in but it is not a blog about our company - it is a blog about what we find interesting on the platform.
I have been traveling quite a bit of late and visiting IBM i users in all sorts of companies, industries and geographies. Despite plenty of other things to fit into my itinerary, I genuinely enjoy these conversations and they always provide new insight into the present and future of the IBM i platform. It is these conversations that will inspire most of the entries on my blog, purely because I find them so interesting.
The first and strongest message that I get from traveling the world and talking about the IBM i is that this platform is passionately loved by virtually everyone who actually uses it. The loyalty and devotion of IBM i customers is very impressive. I sometimes hear people talking about the IBM i platform as if it is struggling but that simply does not match what I see when traveling the world and talking to current owners.
One of the interesting facts to emerge recently [link to i Believe landing page] is that the IBM i platform within IBM has grown over the last four quarters in both revenue and number of servers. These are very important numbers and the combination of growth in both these measurements demonstrates a platform that is solving real business problems.
It is not all blue skies though. There are many current devotees of the IBM i that are concerned for its future. Many of those are concerned because of the perceived limitations of the platform.
Everyone seems to see the strengths very clearly - IBM i is incredibly reliable, scalable, maintainable and has a very low total cost of ownership. However, even among many of the platforms devotees, there is a perception that the platform has a difficult transition ahead.
Many applications running on the platform are still using the architecture introduced with the System 3 (or even earlier). This does not need to be the case and everyone active on the platform has a plan to progress. Unfortunately for some, this transition is daunting and for others it is so difficult that they are considering leaving the platform altogether.
I believe that IBM i applications can meet (or exceed) the expectations of modern users, and doing so is far simpler than many people imagine it to be. The platform's foundations are the envy of every other architecture, The delivery and presentation can be easily completed to the same level.
This blog will not have a theme as such but it will regularly reflect upon the ways that people are using the IBM i and other platforms in innovative and inspiring ways. I hope that this helps to counteract the negative attention that the IBM i platform sometimes receives. While it is true that negative information often gets the most attention that does not make it the most realistic or relevant. I hope to see positive messages and action getting equal attention.Brendan