Four Major Trends That Affect The IBM i (iSeries/AS400) Market

The purpose of this is to highlight four major trends that affect all us. While some my tease me about having the gift to state the obvious, some may find my look ahead with interest. Let me know what you think. 

Disclaimer: IBM i is an operating system. iSeries and AS400 are servers. I use these terms interchangeably to make it easy for folks to find this kind of information on the web.

We live in interesting times.

We are coming out of the Covid lockdown. In my lifetime, I have never experienced a pandemic. I have never seen world countries with such restrictions to contain this virus from spreading. I have never seen country and local governments compel restrictions. These steps have had a huge impact on our lives, our careers and how we conduct business.

We have experienced several consequences:

1)     Inflation,

2)     Supply disruptions,

3)     Parts constraints,

4)     Shortages of skilled people to help adapt to the expansion after the Covid restrictions.

So, How Do These Trends Affect The IBM i Market?

For starts, we have already seen IBM increase prices for servers, features and support services. In some cases, these price increases have been surprisingly high. This is a predictable response to unexpected inflation.

Second, in the last 6 months I have experienced unexpected delivery and parts shortages from my major IT suppliers. Not the end of the world but my clients would have preferred smoother and more timely notifications. While we were often surprised, we passed on the news as fast as we learned of it to help our clients adapt to the unexpected changes. This can also be expected with supply chain disruption and parts constraints.

Third, the shortage of skilled people is a trend that has been with us for a while as more IBM i experts retire or leave the market. However, lately I am hearing more about skilled people shortages as more IBM i experts retire and companies move to different technologies.

IBM Power10

Going forward, I think we can expect delays of the IBM Power10 announcement so IBM can provide more predictable deliveries for the expected high demand for this new server.

Additionally, I believe the new IBM server may be more expensive than many had expected. I feel this is understandable for IBM to recover some of its R&D and software enhancements.

Expect IBM i Hosting Growth

While I anticipate high demand and success for the new entry and enterprise Power10, I believe we will also see a pickup in IBM i hosting for two key reasons:

1)     Hosting helps IBM i users deal with a shrinking pool of affordable IBM i experts.

2)     Hosting can help offer IBM i resources at a lower cost.

IBM i Hosting Benefits

Hosting offers IBM i skilled talent at each provider location, so the client need not struggle to search for, train and retain critical skills.

What I find particularly fascinating is, even with more expensive IBM hardware, software and support services, hosting allows multiple tenants to share a fraction of a server’s resources. Because most users’ needs are relatively small compared to the capacity and performance of newer servers, when you divide up the cost with multiple tenants, the cost of hosting is less than the total cost of server ownership … hands down.

Clearly, this is because the total cost of server ownership is more than the cost of the server.

Hosting Satisfies Other Requirements

Hosting has provided users many other requirements for their total solution, including a secure and reductant data center, consistent backup, disaster recovery, and highly skilled people.

My Sense Is That Hosting May Be Less Affected By These Four Trends

Will hosting be affected by inflation, supply disruption, parts constraints, and shrinking pool of experts? Yes, because I do not think anyone is immune to these trends.

While I believe these trends affect all of us, my sense is the ripple of these trends will be less on hosting than with the acquisition and implementation of new hardware.

Optimistic Future

In closing, let me add that I am optimistic about the future. In the last few decades, we have lived through wars, stock volatility, the Great Recession, and Covid 19. We are resilient and adaptive and we will work our way through all of the trends.

Need Help?

Call me at 714-593-0387 or email me at blosey@source-data.com. Let us know how we can help!

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