“We partnered with Google because Google wanted to partner with us and Amazon didn’t want to partner with us,” IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will said during a panel discussion at the inaugural POWERUp conference in San Antonio, Texas, in June 2018. “So hey Google is going to succeed with Power. Now I have Amazon calling, asking us.”
Making the financial case:
“This is going to sound silly,” he says. “The hardest part isn’t necessarily the refactoring. The hardest part is convincing people to do this. Because, let’s be honest the upfront cost can be very scary, man. It can be frightening. The business is going to say, ‘We just put in X amount of dollars last year to support these kinds of environments.’ You kind of have to ask the question, what’s going to happen five years from now?”
While the legacy application may not be “broken,” forward-looking companies will consider the lost opportunity costs that are inherent when an existing system is not agile enough to support new opportunities and initiatives.
“You’re going to have to have the conversation where you can’t integrate with cloud at all, or you can’t integrate with data analytics, or you’ve failed to do cognitive system and your competitors are because RPG can’t support this stuff?” Kleyman says. “But just because it’s working doesn’t mean necessarily it’s bringing value back to the business.”
It’s easy for an executive to identify problems when servers are down, the application is throwing errors, and the day-to-day business is being impacted. It’s much harder for the executive to be able to identify the ways in which a legacy system could put hamper growth in the future.
“Honestly that’s one of the best approaches, when things aren’t on fire, to start asking some of these difficult questions,” Kleyman says. “It’s kind of like in a relationships. When everything’s going great, you don’t want to bring up any sore points. But realistically speaking, you don’t want to start arguing when everything’s wrong and you start bring up the pain points.”
“Windows Server 2019 is a case in point, and going through the highlights shows it. Back in the day, when a new Windows Server release came out, everyone was obsessed about its scalability and reliability and how it compared to alternatives such IBM i, a slew of Unix variants (including IBM’s own AIX), and the IBM mainframe platforms: VSE, OS/390, and VM. We all dug through the manuals to see how many processors or cores or threads it could span, how much memory it could address, what the impact of SMP or NUMA clustering was on performance, how the I/O was architected to match whatever new gizmos were on the PCI-Express bus. No one really worries about these things. It is a given that any operating system will exploit hardware, and that most hardware is more than enough for most customers. This is not just an IBM i thing. Certain customers, to be sure, can make use of as many cores Intel can cram into a two-socket server, but for most companies, they are nowhere near the top bin parts and they have much less capable processors running at a lot lower cost and with plenty of excess capacity. It doesn’t matter if it is Windows Server or Linux. The basic workhorse server does not look that different from a Power8 or Power9 machine, and in many IBM i shops, there is far less compute dedicated to IBM i on a single instance than on a Windows Server or Linux machine. The database jobs that most IBM i shops have are fairly modest.”
Original source: The Platform Matters More Than Ever, The Operating System Less So