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Blog April 26, 2022

5 Challenges Facing IBM i Customers in 2022

The IBM Power Systems platform has been a mainstay in IT departments around the world for decades. Its impressive longevity aside, nothing lasts forever. This year may bring about change in some or all the elements of your IBM i infrastructure.

In this article, I’ll discuss five key challenges facing IBM users this year and in the immediate future. I’ll also share some ideas which can help you choose the right path forward for your infrastructure.

1 Application Dependency

Application dependence occurs when your applications, servers, or other technology components rely on one another in order to function. Gartner predicts that 51% of IT spending for application software, infrastructure software, and system infrastructure will shift from traditional on-premises systems to the public cloud by 2025.

Application dependency complicates these potential shifts from on-premises to public cloud. At Connectria, we encounter many customers who typically favor rehosting or “lift and shift” solutions for bringing mainframe applications to the cloud.

Connectria’s hybrid cloud enables IBM i users who were previously unable to solve or connect on options around their IBM i environments. Our hybrid solution, paired with our extensive IBM history and expertise, helps users embrace the cloud with a simplified path forward.

2 Cloud First Initiatives

We continue to see more and more IBM i dependent organizations watch as cloud solutions loom closer each year. This prompts CIOs and CTOs to start weighing the pros and cons of sunsetting their IBM platform and moving to the cloud. However, digital transformation is more than a trending buzzword; it’s a lengthy and involved process.

So, what does that mean for IBM (AS400) users? Well first, it’s caused tension around terms like “IT modernization”. This has become something of a touchy subject for some organizations. However, it’s important to think of the bigger picture. Not being open to discussing modernization, could potentially lead your organization to failing to update business-critical systems and applications. Ultimately, this could compromise your organization.

At Connectria, we organize the digital transformation process into phases all dependent on completing one before the other. Some might call it baby steps, while others simply call it cloud strategy. The key here is approaching your transformation realistically. If the process moves too quickly your business could suffer.

So how do you work with your CIO who wants to move to the cloud? Start with by asking these simple but important questions:

  1. What are the business impacts?
  2. What methodology is going to be used to transform?
  3. Are there known methods in place or are you venturing into uncharted territory?

3 Data Center Expenses

In a traditional IT model, businesses buy or lease hardware and software that sits idle most of the time. Data center (DC) hardware, software, and people power are an investment upfront as a capital expense (CapEx).

With the public cloud, businesses only pay for what they use. This enables businesses to spin instances (virtual machines) up or down as needed. Here, hardware and software expenses act as operational expenses (OpEx) rather than a hefty upfront investment as it is when managing your own DC. Since Connectria manages 6 DCs, we like the saying that “friends don’t let friends build data centers.”

Why invest your time and money managing an on-premises DC when you could focus that time and energy on more strategic initiatives? And instead, let a managed services provider, like Connectria, do the heavy lifting for you.

Trending data seems to agree. HelpSystems 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey shows a year-over-year increase in people using IBM i in the cloud. It also shows a 5 percent increase in respondents saying they run their IBM i workloads in a hybrid environment—both cloud/service provider and on-premises.

Read our article: Key Business Benefits of the Public Cloud

4 Hardware Refresh

When IBM announces hardware End of Life, what are you to do when that hardware is the system running your mission-critical data? Do you contract with third-party organizations to try and get a few more years out of your hardware? Or do you bite the bullet and upgrade your Power hardware to the next iteration?

As systems grow increasingly outdated, the cost to modernize also grows. Here, accumulated technical debt can start to harm your business as IBM Power Systems users are especially susceptible. As one generation of hardware or software replaces another, IT executives engage in a balancing act, wavering between either leaving older technology in place or making the decision to replace or even replatform.

There are certain advantages to upgrading to newer IBM hardware, such as improved security and performance. Hardware upgrades can also enable you to serve more customers while also reducing the number of servers it takes to do so.

Another way to enjoy the advantages of the latest hardware and reduce your overhead costs is by migrating your IBM workloads to the cloud. However, a private hosted IBM cloud might be a more secure option in the event you’re facing the first two challenges mentioned above.

5 Skillset Dependency

IBM i systems administration is a unique skill that gets harder to fulfill each year. While you may not need a full-time administrator, you need somebody who understands the ins and outs of IBM i to keep your systems secure and available.

If you think your SysAdmin will be retiring soon, you should know that finding a replacement with the right IBM expertise can be challenging. The rarity of the skillset also drives up the cost of an in-house SysAdmin.

Here is where Connectria’s remote IBM monitoring services can help you. Our team of IBM experts can fill in IBM skillset gaps. We have strong training inside of our headquarters where we prepare folks to manage these systems as effectively as possible. This can also free up your team to focus on other strategic projects.

IBM i Support

While we’ve moved in new directions in recent years following shifts in demand through the market, we also know that Power Systems don’t travel alone. They’re dependent on other technologies, applications, and platforms.

Are you an IBM Sysadmin overwhelmed and underutilized for strategic projects? Or are you a CTO or other C-suite decision-maker trying to plan the right next step for your infrastructure? Connectria can help by offering consulting and assessment to address skills gaps and fill unoccupied critical support roles with expert support. We can also help you properly plan the next steps for your infrastructure while also managing and monitoring your current IBM i environment.

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