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A Closer Look at the IBM i Architecture Evolution Webcast

September 10, 2018

Each year, it seems, I end up creating one or two brand new presentations which become frequently requested for a few years. The presentation I created this year is called “What is a ‘Modern’ Operating System?” One I created last year is now titled something like “IBM i—the Evolving Architecture.” (Titles change depending on the audience and the emphasis. You’ll understand in a couple paragraphs.)
Both of the presentations I mentioned above end up describing parts of the IBM i architecture.  The former compares the IBM i architecture to what other operating systems do, with the goal being to determine whether we can honestly call IBM i “modern.” (Spoiler alert: We can.) The latter, on the other hand, traces the evolution of the IBM i architecture from its predecessors (System/38, System/36 & AS/400 mostly) to what it looks like today.
Both of these presentations give me the opportunity to discuss architecture (in the computer, OSes, IT sense) and for that reason, the technical side of me really enjoys delivering them.
I was thrilled, then, when HelpSystems asked me to deliver a version of the “Evolution” presentation in a webinar during the summer of 2017. I was especially thrilled because I had put a large numbers of hours into the presentation, had involved many experts in its development, and yet had relatively small audiences at the COMMON annual conference and at the COMMON Europe Congress that year. I wanted to get this story in front of many more people, and HelpSystems was giving me the opportunity—so we booked it.  
To draw an audience, HelpSystems asked to name it “IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400” and boy, did we draw a crowd! Hundreds of people joined the webinar live, and hundreds more watched the recorded version.
It was so successful, in fact, that we’ve scheduled another two more sessions. On September 19, I’ll be delivering the presentation again at 8:00 a.m. Central, and again at 2:00 p.m. Central.  These are scheduled to make it easier for people in Europe, Africa and Asia Pacific to hear one of them live. You can sign up for either session here
Among the many amazing attributes of this platform is the longevity of the underlying architecture. And even though it’s lived a long time, it’s also so forward-thinking that it’s been able to evolve as programming has evolved. It’s this combination of stability plus flexibility that I highlight during the presentation.
And yet, make no mistake: In this presentation, I’ll also point out that IBM i is not the AS/400. Or, to be a little more precise, I’ll point out things that the original AS/400 could never do, but which IBM i can. That’s due in part to the amazing architecture which was first laid down in S/38, S/36 and AS/400, but it’s also due to adaptations which were adopted throughout the years.
The presentation moves fast. I have over 30 years of architecture to get through in about 60 minutes. If you were one of the few who saw me present the material in person, come for a refresher and see how I’ve improved it. If you’re someone who never had the chance, now you have two opportunities! And if you saw the webinar last year, you’re still welcome to listen again. The more, the merrier.
And if I’m asked to do this year’s “What is a ‘Modern’ Operating System?” presentation as a webinar, you’ll get to apply what you’ve learned in this first webinar to that material, too.

Posted September 10, 2018| Permalink