Welcome to another edition of Talsco Weekly
- News: IBM warns POWER8 users to upgrade before it’s too late.
- Training: 5 Principles for Scaling Change from IBM’s High School Innovation.
- Remote Work: Office, What Office? How Our Concept Of Work Is Changing. Build a cloud culture to attract and keep skilled people.
- Modernization: Video: Application Modernization in Baby Steps.
- Cloud: AWS Offers Mainframe Migration Service. Is IBM i Next?
For those of you who are running POWER8, “beginning in January 2022, IBM will stop marketing the upgrades for POWER8, before the effective date of withdrawal post which customers will not be able to order upgrades for components covered under Miscellaneous Equipment Specification (MES) such as memory, adapters, and internal storage.”
“School within a school” is an interesting concept that IBM has been pushing with it’s P-TECH initiative. You can read more about it in this article.
I think Jim Buck’s online education company, imPower Technologies, is doing something similar. There are countless IBM i shops around the country that have used his online courses to train and retrain a whole new generation of RPG developers. What makes his method unique is the students are embedded within the organization: it’s like a school within a company.
“In August, only 19% of organizations planned to have their workforce operating fully in person this fall; most are taking an approach that combines in-person, remote and hybrid work.” This is consistent with what we are seeing. The RPG developer community has longed for remote work. Without question, the ability to work remote overall has been very positive.
With some organizations considering moving back to the office part-time, most of the IBM i developers that I speak with have fallen in love with the option to work from their “home office.”
However, working remote, as this article points out, does have it’s drawbacks. Developers who work from home can miss out on critical collaboration, knowledge sharing, and team building that helps define the corporate culture. In addition, declining productivity due to increased meetings and collaboration calls is becoming an issue.
This article might be better titled, “Build a remote culture to attract and keep skilled RPG developers.” The majority of the IBM i market has embraced remote work. IBM i developers for years have requested the option to work from home and now they have it. However, it is not to say that it does not come with its challenges.
On the company side, I think the biggest challenge is creating a culture that supports remote work. It’s one thing to allow everyone to work remotely, but what happens when only part of the team works remote? It can become problematic. The lack of collaboration and feeling of being part of the team can cause issues.
On the developer side, when working remote, it is important to engage the team and make the extra effort to collaborate with the rest of the team, regardless if they are remote or not.
There are no shortage of opinions on how, why, and when you should modernize your RPG applications. While this article focuses on modernizing a Java application and moving it to the cloud, the idea of taking baby steps when modernizing seems to be wise advice.
“Modernizing and re-factoring your own code is difficult. Modernizing legacy code from other developers is even more difficult. That’s why application modernization needs to be planned accordingly. The bad news is that application modernization doesn’t happen overnight magically. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. Application modernization is a journey with multiple steps where every step adds value. The best advice is: Take baby steps! Incremental updates help manage the complexity.”
AWS “last week unveiled a new service to help IBM mainframe customers modernize their workloads and move them to the cloud.” The question is, will they release a “similar service for midrange workloads running on the IBM i?”
Amazon Web Services is not the first cloud provider that has its eyes on the IBM i. Microsoft, as well as Google, have both flirted with a similar type of cloud migration service in the recent past. As Alex Woodie, concludes here, the IBM i market overall is different in terms of it’s make-up compared to the large mainframe COBOL markets. And it will take some time for the cloud service providers to sort out their service offering for the IBM i.
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