GTA TEC Market feedback

Over the past few months, I’ve spent plenty time on the phone and have had discussions with many of our IBM user community members. In fact, my records say I’m approaching 100 IT managers  that I’ve personally talked to. I thoroughly enjoy this part of my User Group duties, and one of the most fascinating parts of these discussions is the opportunity to observe and record IT trends. Often, our local trends reflect global paradigms. What are the technical and sociological trends of our IBM Power Systems user community concerning the following? :

  • Are customers building or buying applications?
  • Where and how are the applications hosted?
  • What tools are used for development and customization?
  • What OS and platform is used?
  • How is the economy is affecting IT?

Buy vs. build:  ERP vendors now define the Corporate IT landscape. A majority of customers have seen their corporate headquarters (wherever that may be), dictate a global standard ERP and thus cause upheaval to the status quo. The ERP vendors are an oligopoly: they may be Microsoft (MS Dynamics, . net development and Windows OS), Oracle (increasingly Oracle does not just refer to the DB and app but a complete solution stack involving SUN HW and Solaris and Fusion Middleware) or SAP (SAP is often implemented with IBM Power systems). While customer seem to be willing to define themselves by their anchored ERP (“we are wall-to-wall SAP”), but the reality is far more complex and involves integration of variety of new systems such as CRM, Mobile, Business Intelligence, Analytics, Web 2.0 and legacy systems to the ERP core.

What this translates to locally is large cutbacks in local development departments and an emphasis shift from development to integration. Characteristically, customers grapple with how to transition to the new ERP system and how to accommodate or maintain specific features and business process that had been buried in the existing, traditional applications. These projects don’t happen overnight (if at all) and typically have 3-5 year windows.

Recentralization: Datacenters are becoming more centralized. TUG members tell me about datacenters being consolidated,  often in the U.S. or somewhere other than home. This provides the company greater control over IT assets, including: increasing utilization rates, scalability, energy efficiency  and workload management issues, as well as very specific HA/DR requirements. But, for many, it can mean a lottery to see who get to own the datacenter and who does not. If you happen to own operations today, you will care INTENSELY about the topics and SLA. Furthermore, BladeCenter, Cloud computing and IBM Smart Business appliances reflect the selection of operational choices and customers typically also find increasing emphasis on their network and network architecture.

Platform Shifting: IBM i systems tend to “hang on” to existing workloads that have been running there for decades, often procrastinating OS and HW upgrades. In the meantime, AIX and Linux shops are aggressively growing and runnig  exciting new workloads. There is often a “silo effect” amongst different operational groups and they don’t always understand or work with each other. If you are an “i” person, it behooves you either to speed up your retirement plans or you start to expand your platform skills. If you are a UNIX user, you should be looking at AIX as the worlds #1 and #1 growth UNIX system . The good news is that by modernizing your IBM systems, a single POWER system can be virtualized and sliced-and-diced and dynamically reconfigured to run all of i, AIX and Linux at the same time using POWERVM.

Application Development:  Overall, I note a shocking lack of AD tools modernization. Far too many i developers System i still use “old school” tooling such as SEU, PDM, & QUERY/400. AIX users have even less of an identifiable trend and have even older tools and languages. While this may be rooted in experience and long term familiarization, reluctance to modernize one’s AD toolset can no longer been seen as a viable AD strategy. I hear many customers tell me that they have tried new tools (WDSc for instance) in the past, but had some setback or disappointment that has kept them from trying again. I see the interest in tolls modernization as high, albeit with some reservations and hesitation from existing customers that say “Show me, IBM”… even if they are not from Missouri..

Economic and cost woes: The economy is on everyone’s mind and it affects people both personally as they fear for jobs, and professionally. Folks are open to creative use of Open Source. If you really want to cut costs, start thinking of complete open source solution stacks that go far beyond “LAMP” (Linux, Apache, MySql, PHP) and include CRM (SugarCRM),Content Management (DocuWiki), ERP systems (Compiere) BI (Pentaho) Analytics (InfoBright ) etc Cloud Computing. Members tell me they want to keep up their technical vitality to ensure their skills are in demand. They want and need to keep networking with vendors and peers.

How TEC 2010 helps:

  • Shows how to leverage open source to cut costs, using, for example:  PHP, and SugarCRM, MediaWiki.  Highlights include 24A: “Keynote: Enterprise PHP” with Zeev Suraski, co-founder of Zend, and 14A Keynote: “Commercial Open Source: Smart IT in the next Decade” with Larry Augustin as well as a customer-led story , 25E: “Deploying MediaWiki on i”5 with John Brenton from SMT.
  • Dynamic infrastructure with Power 7: AIX, i , Power 7. We have a large number of sessions with excellent speakers. For instance we bring Power Systems AIX guru Joel Tendler for 3, deep, Power7 architecture topics.We have Greg Hintermeister for sessions regarding IBM Director and PowerVM. Jay Kruemcke IBM’s AIX product manager has three sessions on AIX while there are number of i session including OS update with Ian Jarman. We have cool practical sessions such as 13H: “Making testing simple and audit compliance”
  • Get more out of existing systems and integrate them to new ones: We have an entire track work of modernization lectures, reengineering sessions and PHP and networking labs. Highlights session include 13F: “Modernizing apps using design recovery”, 16C: “ RPG XML and Web Services”, 13F: “Refactoring Legacy Applications “ 12C: “PHP for RPG Programmers., 13B “Build your own IPV6”, 12E: “Extend i apps to WebSphere
  • Make a splash: Be a hero. Add real business value by getting on the biggest IT trend: Mobile applications… extend your existing enterprise systems to BlackBerry devices and make it easy by exploiting middleware. Highlight sessions include 15A: “Best practices for BlackBerry App Dev”, 22M: “BlackBerry Apps Customer Case Study” ,21H “Gauging Readineess for BlackBerry apps”, 23B:  “Kryos Velocity Hands-On Labs” 
  • Re –tool you AD. Let IBM show you, the new news on Rational AD products and compiler Highlights include 13A: “Rational for Power Systems”, 16F “Rational Team Concert”,  21G “New Dev tools for AIX”


Our web site is the most current source of info on TEC2010, with tracks, session abstracts and speaker bios. Keep up your technical vitality and ensure your skills are in demand. Network with peers, partners and vendors

Check us out at

See you at TEC 2010!


One Response

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