Welcome to another edition of Talsco Weekly
- IBM i: Reasons to be Thankful for the IBM i.
- Development: How to use VS Code to develop C, COBOL, and RPGLE.
- Digital Transformation: Digital Transformation: Be a leader.
- Trends: The Edge Computing Revolution.
You may have your own list, but here are seven key reasons to be grateful for the IBM i.
The Installed Base of IBM i
The installed base of IBM i is smaller than it formerly was. It has gone from about 250,000 to fewer than 100,000 installations globally.
And while the “IBM i continues to be misunderstood by younger IT professionals,” it “still demands allegiance from those who have stayed with it, who view it as the unparalleled IT asset that it truly is.”
Did you know that “the IBM i outperforms standards-based systems in terms of total cost of ownership.”
IBM i Specialists
“The platform is renowned for its uptime and resilience, but it would be useless without the skilled individuals that make it all possible.”
IBM i professionals are a rare breed in the IT industry, as they contribute a diverse skill set to their daily activities. They are equal parts developer, business analyst, operator, and IT emergency responder. They were “full-stack” before the term became fashionable.
IBM I User Groups
“One of the benefits of the IBM I community is the variety of user organizations that serve to unite IBM i professionals.” This includes major regional organizations such as OCEAN and WMCPA, as well as COMMON and LUG (Large User Group).
IBM i’s Technical Roots Run Deep
The IBM i server can be as sophisticated or as basic as the user desires. While it is capable of running the oldest apps, it can also “run some of the most cutting-edge applications in the world” if given the opportunity.
The IBM i is renowned for its extraordinarily robust architecture, in part because of its single-level storage system.
It was precisely this that drew the attention of a number of high-ranking individuals in 2020 who approached Dr. Frank Soltis for advice on how to expand supercomputers and AI systems. Yes, there is a reason why this architecture has survived for six decades.
New Web and Mobile Software
The investment protection in code for IBM and its midrange customers is a double-edged sword.
“On the one hand, code developed forty years ago is still capable of running on the platform.” However, code developed forty years ago continues to operate on the platform.”
Therefore, it is time to be grateful for the development of new web and mobile applications. To develop new web and mobile apps, IBM i businesses are using open-source technologies, such as PHP, Node.js, and Python.
The IBM i Supplier Group
Although the IBM i independent software vendor (ISV) ecosystem has diminished over the past 10 to 15 years, a core group of ISVs has persisted.
The good news is a new generation of leaders is rising among the vendor community.
International Business Machines possesses one of the longest and most illustrious corporate histories in the country. IBM continues to build cutting-edge hardware, such as the Power10 CPU, which has memory bandwidth that X86 chip manufacturers can only dream of. IBM has dominated the world in the number of newly issued patents for the past 29 years, and there is no reason to expect that will change when the next list is published in January 2023.
Is there anything else for which you are grateful?
Did you know you can work with your IBM i (AS/400) directly from VS Code?
Watch Liam Allen give a brief history of IBM i, COBOL, and RPG and the unique power of the IBM i platform.
He dives deep into the nuances of “Code for IBM i Extension.”
Who is this for?
- Legacy RPG developers.
- Modern RPG developers.
- Developers who are unfamiliar with the IBM i.
IBM i shops are not alone in the push towards digital transformation; however, across industry and technology stacks, many digital transformation programs fail to meet the desired outcomes.
While “lack of direction and clear vision” increase poor outcomes, the real reasons are not always that easy to identify.
IT & Business Partnership.
IT alone can’t drive Digital Transformation. Key business resources, along with IT must be fully engaged because “you don’t want to just get the job done – you want it to be done the right way.”
Consider the following tips as you design your approach:
Data integration, not system integration.
“System integration is an antiquated way of thinking. Data integration, will provide real-time business insights, intelligence, and analytics. The result is increased efficiency and return on investment (ROI).”
Digital transformation isn’t always rooted in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation. While these technologies are useful, they can lead you to chase something unattainable.
Keep it simple by asking: How can we simplify core business processes?
Beware of unrealistic deadlines.
“Deadlines can put you “in a box” when what you really need is the freedom to think creatively. Set deadlines but remain realistic about the true impact they’ll have on your project and organization.”
Takeaways for the IBM i community:
What is often missed is the assumption that the move to modernize and digitally transform needs to be a major initiative. It doesn’t.
You can achieve this by assembling a dependable group of business and IT users. Find a small, but highly visible business process to automate. Rinse and repeat.
Depending on the industry you are in, the Edge might not be something you will be directly involved in; however, it is very likely that it will impact you indirectly more than you might think.
Here is a quick summary of the different types of edge computing providers and the edge applications that are most likely to succeed in the market.
The six different categories of edge computing companies:
1. Public cloud providers. The edge is a natural extension for public cloud platforms, “combining the cloud’s computing and storage capacity with the edge’s hardware and connectivity into a hybrid cloud.”
2. Hardware and chip manufacturers. These companies have a natural and nearby opportunity to develop sensors, gateways, and other devices for the edge. Think about devices installed in harsh conditions or remote locations.
3. Industrial goods companies. “These companies are pursuing approaches similar to those of hardware manufacturers.” They are embedding edge capabilities into their products and expanding into applications and platforms.
4. Content Distribution Networks. These networks “have been in the edge business longer than most companies.” They will move beyond their core capability of caching video streams to offer other services, such as cloud management and security, for customers.
5. Telecom companies. The rollout of 5G networks may catapult telecoms into leadership roles at the edge. They may also partner with cloud companies to gain an edge foothold.
6. Startups. “The venture community has been actively investing in the IoT and edge computing.
The Six Edge categories.
- Connected transportation. “This includes private vehicles, public transit, trucks, and bicycle sharing.
- Remote monitoring and maintenance. Many large manufacturers are already fairly advanced in automation and are pioneering edge architectures built around real-time machine-learning algorithms.
- Augmented and virtual reality. Use cases are found in retail, manufacturing, and health care.
- Smart grid. Smart grid-connected power plants and systems used for “outage detection and energy routing—is one of the most mature components of the edge.”
- Robots and automation. Robotics and automation, which are driven by Industry 4.0 and machine learning, depend on both human-like latency and always-on connectivity.
- Video analytics. The cost of sending live video streams to the cloud can be high, despite the low cost of remote video cameras. By processing data within the device or on-premises, the edge can help lower costs and reduce latency.”
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