Interesting InfoTech Article: Is IBM i a Dying Platform or Going Strong?

Correction: When I originally posted this piece, I didn’t realize I was talking about an article from 2011. I realized that mistake later. But what strikes me most about this analysis is that the original article could have been written today. Not that much has changed about the subject so I’m not sure if that means the situation has stabilized or whether we’re just continuing down the road outlined here and in the article. Here’s my take on the subject from a 2013 viewpoint. Then go back and read the 2011 InfoTech article and see if you can see anything that’s really changed about this situation. I’d be curious to see if this situation has changed.

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If you’re an IBM i professional, you might want to check out this article from InfoTech about whether the IBM i operating system/platform is going strong or dying.

There are some surprisingly positive comments about how the platform is faring but there is also the usual observation about getting resources for running the platform, especially RPG programmers.

In the Midwest where I ply my trade with IBM i, I’m finding the lack of RPG programmers to be true as my client App teams are constantly telling me how hard it is to find RPG-oriented Apps talent. But I am also seeing a move in the companies I work with to go to Web-based apps and they are also looking at IBM i server-based applications such as JD Edwards Enterprise One.

I also wonder about the author’s observation that the ISV market for IBM i is still going strong, with 850 ISVs and 2300 applications for IBM i 6.1 and 7.1. I would guess there are even fewer vendors today. The big issue that others have pointed out is that the ISV market is significantly down in the last 10-15 years and that we continue to see massive consolidation in this market. The ERP market is pretty much consolidating to just a couple of vendors and other IBM i markets (such as utility and administrative apps) are following the same trend. The solutions are starting to become concentrated with just a few vendors controlling the marketplace. So that part of it concerns me as well.

Anyhow, it’s a good read and thought-provoking. There’s also a lively discussion going on about this in the LinkedIn AS/400 professionals group, if you want to read more.

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About Joe Hertvik

Joe is the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a service company providing written white papers, case studies, and other marketing content to computer industry companies. He is also a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column for the past ten years. Follow Joe Hertvik on Twitter @JoeHertvik. Email Joe for a free quote on white papers, case studies, brochures, or other marketing materials.
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