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A Very Good Year for IBM i

October 25, 2018

What a year this has been!

I know, I know. Usually, people wait to write an annual retrospective until December, and it’s only October.  But I have some good reasons to write this now, and the first of them is that there are multiple definitions of a “year,” and by one of those definitions, we already have reason to celebrate a year of success for IBM i.

IBM recently announced its results for 3Q 2018. It was reported that Power Systems revenues were up 17 percent from the same quarter last year, which is really good for IBM, and good for IBM i, since Power Systems is the “parent” unit for IBM i.


The best part of this, though, is that IBM i was a very strong contributor to those results. And an even better story is that IBM i has been growing for four quarters in a row. Four consecutive quarters is a year—so by that definition, it’s time to celebrate a year of very good news for IBM i.

One amazing part of this growth story is that, while we (IBM i) are part of Power Systems, the Power Systems family did not have new systems driving the growth for the first two of those four quarters; POWER9-based systems were not available during that timeframe, so the growth IBM i saw was not specifically tied to refreshing of systems to new technology. Existing clients are buying more IBM i capacity as their businesses grow or they move workloads from other environments onto IBM i; ISVs are selling more of their solutions as a service, based on IBM i, to their clients; ISVs and business partners are getting new customers on board; and yes, some clients were upgrading into POWER8-based systems, even as POWER9 was on the doorstep. It all contributed to four quarters of very strong growth for IBM i, and that’s worth celebrating.

Speaking of celebrating, the celebrations of the 30th Anniversary of IBM i are another reason this has been a very good year. The 30th Anniversary site continues to get a few more stories added to it, which is fun, but even more importantly, the IBM i team is still traveling the world, celebrating with clients all over. I was at IBM’s Technical University in Florida on the same week others were at COMMON’s Fall conference—the 30th anniversary was part of each event. Next week, I’ll go to a Business Partner event in Florida, then head to the annual conference of IBM i users in Japan (now called NEXT 2018), and then will make a stop at an event in Germany—and at each of those venues, I’ll share IBM i 30th anniversary stories. I imagine similar celebrations are going on in Rome this week, and in various parts of Europe and Scandinavia this week and next—I know many of our team members are involved.

This year has also seen a strong influx of young talent into the IBM i community. It’s not exclusive to 2018, to be sure, but whether you work for a client, a partner, an ISV, or even IBM i development itself, Fresh Faces are appearing to work alongside us, bringing new skills and a desire to make a difference in their careers, just as so many of us have throughout ours. In fact, as I’ve told the story I wrote about in the blog a couple months ago—about IBM hiring such a large number of developers into the IBM i development team—I’ve seen the extremely hopeful and positive reactions from people in our community. There is no better demonstration of the company’s commitment to the future of IBM i than hiring people whose job will be to keep moving the platform forward.  

And that makes it a very good year, indeed!

I have every expectation that the good news will continue into the next calendar year.  Even more of our clients will evaluate and then adopt POWER9 technology. Plus, we have other good things planned for next year. But no matter what happens in the future, the IBM i community has reason to celebrate the very good things happening right now.  

Thank you for being part of it!

Posted October 25, 2018| Permalink