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Archive for February, 2014

Bob Cancilla on IBM i › More news on the demise of IBM Hardware

February 25th, 2014 Comments off
Here is an InfoWorld article (click here)  that takes a close look at IBM revenue and looks at the very near future and present within IBM.  You should also look at IBM's Results (click here) as posted by IBM on their own Web Site (you get both Q4 and 2013 full year results).

I have previously posted links to articles indicating that IBM is looking to sell off its chip fabrication business.  The article above points out that IBM never really wanted to get into the chip business in the first place but needed to do so as their mainframe and midrange systems were emerging and needed the support.  It does not seem likely that IBM will sell off its R&D and chip engineering and design groups but will instead license their designs to partners to manufacture for them.

According to the article above along with other articles, IBM is changing.  The primary sources of income at IBM today are Services ($38.6 billion) and Software ($25.9 billion).  Compare that to total hardware revenues from Systems and Technology Group (mainframes AND all Power Systems) of $4.3 Billion which was down 26% from prior year.

Then take a look at Cloud revenues at $4.4 Billion (greater than hardware sales) with a growth of 69% year to year from about $2.9 Billion with a continued outlook for growth!

Perhaps Watson, Sr. was right when he said that the world would only need 3 or 4 computers...  maybe no one needs a computer and everyone should rent resources in the cloud!

I am told from reliable sources that Ginny Rommetty is telling employees that Cloud, Services, and Software are where IBM is headed!

So if you are an IBM i customer, what are you doing to move forward and prepare should IBM withdraw the system and the IBM i operating system?  My advice:  BE PREPARED, get rid of your RPG apps and be ready to move off the platform.


Read the original at Bob Cancilla on IBM i.

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Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise › Performance Tweet chat Monday, online workshop Thursday

February 24th, 2014 Comments off

Join me for two events this week sponsored by COMMON, a Users Group:

Details on Tweet chat: http://www.common.org/index.php/component/content/article/16-education/234-twitter-chat-php-performance-on-ibm-i

Details on online workshop: http://www.common.org/index.php/webinars.html


Read the original at Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise.

DB2 for i › The ABC of Social

February 21st, 2014 Comments off
Analytics
Big Data
Cloud

Social

Are you wondering why constant and measured Social interaction via the web (and soon simple text messages) are such a big deal to business?

Hint: it's not necessarily about sharing your latest vacation picture with friends and family.

For a simple answer (ok, maybe not so simple) I encourage you to check out a behind the scenes look at how Analytics, Big Data and Cloud are used to drive and exploit Social behavior; watch the recent PBS FRONTLINE documentary "Generation Like".

As a fifty-something who grew up with one rotary phone in the house, I found it amazing.
As a data centric professional, I found it interesting.
As a business person, I found it profound.
As a parent, I found it disturbing.

I pose this rhetorical question: what do you think of the ABC S?

Of  course, multifaceted and "all of the above" answers permitted.


Read the original at DB2 for i.

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Angus' Blog › What does it take?

February 20th, 2014 Comments off

Last night at a user group, I was given the excuse “It is still named Windows!”, in response to a discussion about the correct branding for the IBM i platform. And, this particular complainer was quite sincere. There seemed to be no purposed for this ‘excuse’, but a tired old platitude that had not quite worn itself down to nothing.

Having thought about it for a while, I realized something important. That complaint is about branding. It is about whether or not IBM should have rebranded. And quite simply, that argument is out of date. IBM ~did~ rebrand our OS to IBM i in 2008 to match their Power Systems branding. It is done, over, fait accompli.

It is time to stop using that excuse. One down, four million to go.


Read the original at Angus' Blog.

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Bob Cancilla on IBM i › Time to move away from RPG!

February 18th, 2014 Comments off
A friend of mine working for a major retailer with IBM i based systems told me of an incident that just happened in his shop.  He is a Java developer hired to migrate the company away from RPG to Java, but they were in the middle of finishing a major project written in RPG leveraging XML.  The work was done almost exclusively by the company's lead RPG programmer who quit when many serious problems and defects arose during the final pre-implementation testing.  He literally just walked out!

While the case of an RPG programmer walking off the job is unusual, it does raise a serious concern for business managers today with an aging and diminishing population of RPG programmers. The facts are the facts. There are millions of Java developers out there and a very tiny pool of RPG folks. Java developers are available in all age groups while the RPG folks are aging and young people are rare. Every college teaches Java, very few teach RPG any more.

No one knows how many RPG developers there are and the major industry analysts like Gartner, IDC, Forrester, etc. have stopped trying to come up with estimates.

Look at indexes of programming language usage like: 

What is notable is that COBOL has a tiny presence in these analyses, but RPG is not even on the charts.

My point is that based on programmer population has become so small and overall usage of RPG compared to alternatives (almost all of which run on IBM i) RPG usage places IBM i customers dependent on RPG at an increasing risk.

I think that in the case above we see a typical scenario. Most shops have an RPG hero or star programmer that gets the most important or challenging projects. That person tends to work alone and is the only one who knows what they have done. They put their companies at risk should they cease to be available for any reason. Finding someone to replace them becomes an even bigger challenge.

I continue to argue that IBM i customers need to migrate away from RPG to other languages that are popular and have a large population of developers.

One of the most notable features of IBM i has been its ability to support virtually every major programming language and development tool. Again I don't see a long future for IBM i, but it is a great system and I think companies can wisely leverage it to its last days if the software they run on it is portable and if they move away from a dependence RPG.

Once again, I am not knocking the quality of RPG as a language, but the facts are the facts: it only runs on IBM i and nowhere else. The population of developers is diminishing. Staying with RPG is an extreme risk based on these factors.

I would totally change my position on RPG if IBM supported it on Linux or AIX on Power which they could do in less than one week worth of work! They won't therefore I cannot.


Read the original at Bob Cancilla on IBM i.

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Mike's IBM i PHP blog and more... › More IBM i PHP than ever before!

February 16th, 2014 Comments off

Like voting in Chicago, upgrade early and often!


So the other day Zend announced Zend Server 6.3.  As per their commitment level, they released it for Linux, Windows and IBM i!  Woohoo!  It is nice to be on the same release sequence as the other major products so thank you R&D!

What’s in it for me? 

Zend Server 6.3 has a load of good stuff for IBM i PHP enthusiasts.  This is the first time Zend has announced support for 3 major release levels of PHP, PHP 5.3, 5.4 and brand new PHP 5.5.  In addition, Zend Server for IBM i also supports cross version upgrades.  This means you can update the Zend Server 6 PHP stack from PHP 5.3 to PHP 5.5 with only a PTF.  In previous release this was only supported by uninstalling Zend Server and reinstalling it.  A HUGE time saver but beware of deprecated features as you move from 5.2 to 5.3 to 5.4 to 5.5

Also new in Zend Server 6 is support for the Open Source toolkit as a library.  This feature makes updates virtually painless and you can easily select which toolkit version you want to use by clicking an option on the library screen.  


Many of your favorite PHP extensions are also updated as a result of the new version of PHP.  These and performance improvements can provide tons of reasons why you should consider updating your PHP stack.   

Stay current

The latest PHP version is out called PHP 5.5.  This new release contains support for new features like generators and list function in the foreach clause.  There are 37 bug fixes, performance improvements to the PHP Engine and much more. 

As always, the basic edition of Zend Server is ready and waiting for you to install on IBM i thanks to the great partnership with IBM.

How do I get there?

Downloads are available on the Zend.com website and installed via the PTF process. Keep in mind that PTF’s can be installed and removed so you have a way out if there is a problem.  Ideally, Zend recommends a separate LPAR for development where these discoveries can be made before finding out the hard way.  

Are you on Zend Server 5? You can install Zend Server 6 side by side with Zend Server 5 and run them simultaneously on the same LPAR.  There is a single conflict in the port definitions of the Java Bridge, but that can be remedied quite quickly  (/usr/local/zendsvr6/etc/conf.d/jbridge.ini ). 

We’ve come a long way since Zend Core and PHP 5.2.  And there is no end in sight!


Read the original at Mike's IBM i PHP blog and more....

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ile rpg programming: tips and techniques › IBM i related smartphone apps

February 11th, 2014 Comments off
Some of these apps are for Android, some for iOS, and some have versions for both. MAINFRAME IBM INTERVIEW QA This page has numerous categories including "IBM AS400", "IBM DB400", "IBM SQL" and...

Visit site to read full content and more


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Bob Cancilla on IBM i › Is IBM Getting out of the Hardware Business?

February 7th, 2014 Comments off
It is a bit hard to imagine, but with the recent new that IBM is selling its Intel based server (xSeries) business to Lenovo, and then we see the following article:


It seems that IBM is looking to sell off its chip manufacturing and therefore it would also sell off its Mainframe and Power Systems sales units.  

Where it seems that IBM is looking to sell its chip manufacturing operations, this does not bode well for IBM Power Systems or IBM i.  The following article points out that not only the Intel based x86 systems are off, but IBM mainframe revenue declined 25% and Power Systems dropped 31%


Keep in mind that IBM's claim to fame in the Power sales unit is the chip!  If other vendors can buy or build machines using the IBM technology, IBM no loner has a lock on the market.  Note also that Power Systems are no longer an exclusively dominate machine and that other vendors such as Oracle/Sun, HP, and others are now building competitive and in many cases faster processors.  

What this all means to the IBM i customer is that if IBM sells off its chip manufacturing and its hardware manufacturing units, then it is unlikely that IBM i can survive.  Linux is the OS of choice for the type of chips sold on Power Systems.  Even IBM's staple of AIX has declined and is rapidly disappearing.  What will be left in this business are machines built to run LINUX (including super computers like Watson and others).  The remaining vendors will compete in a commodity based market with the low price dictating the winner.  

It is hard to imagine an IBM without machines to sell, but that is certainly where it seems to be headed.  Think back.  IBM sold off its disk division, its printer division, the personal computer business, its retail POS division, then just a week ago its x'86 server business.  There is a major trend here and its all based on the fact that IBM cannot compete in a commodity price driven hardware marketplace.  If Power Systems are sold, why would the buyer want to keep IBM i around?  That requires specialized human support that Linux does not.  Whoever ends up with the chips or the Power System will dump IBM i in a heart beat!  

Its time to move and time to move now!  Do something to get off of RPG (runs only on IBM i) and insure that you can move whatever your using to another platform.  I'd advise staying on IBM i until that last possible day, but be sure you can move... 


Read the original at Bob Cancilla on IBM i.

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