Before I write this an am labeled an ANIT-IBM i or AS/400 or iSeries person, please remember my background! It was I with Bleddyn Williams in the UK that created the IGNITe/400 eBusiness User Group back in 1996 which we grew from zero to over 8,000 active members and covered every aspect of using the iSeries (name at the time) for all types of Internet work. We were and remain huge advocates of the platform.
I am also a realist and see clearly that the system has seen its day and IBM is no longer supporting, marketing, or selling it. It is in fact encouraging customers to move away from the IBM i operating system (formerly OS/400) to LINUX which is now IBM's strategic direction on all platforms for operating systems. Here are a few startling facts demonstrating the steady decline of the platform.
Common Europe just announced that it is canceling its annual conference there are apparently less than 45 customers signed up to attend. (see: http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh052013-story03.html
Common US has declined from well in excess of 2500 attendees to under 800 at the last conference (see: http://www.itjungle.com/tfh/tfh052013-story03.html
There are now less than 1000 IBM i customers in the Nordic's where once there were as many as 10,000 (http://ow.ly/i/2e6ni?goback=%2Egmp_59314%2Egde_59314_member_244993834
In addition to the decline in user group participation (note that most Common attendees have traditionally been technical people, i.e. system administrators or programmers) IBM has had some rough times recently since placed under Ginny Rommetti's leadership. IBM is looking to sell off its xSeries (x86) server business to Lenovo (see: Lenovo deal
) and has been steadily divesting itself of several of its hardware components (disk drives, printers, retail point of sale equipment, etc.) for the past several years. IBM is looking to cut corners and expense everywhere and if a product line is not generating both growth and profitability, it will be cut!
I've said it before and will say it yet again and again when I get more data to support what I am saying: Its time to plan to move away from IBM i based machines! The biggest problem is the RPG language which locks you into the platform! Pick Java, pick COBOL, pick any of a dozen modern languages including PHP and RUBY, but pick something and move. Perhaps its time to look at software vendors with solutions in the LINUX or Windows environment?
The bottom line is companies need to take a close look at their existing systems, the value of the systems, the organization that supports them and take some action to move away from IBM i based Power Systems. You can leverage your existing hardware if you move to Linux!
Does anyone ever wonder why IBM does not allow RPG to run on LINUX? It is certainly technically possible and the decision is a deliberate decision by IBM management!
Read the original at Bob Cancilla on IBM i.