The iSeries Blog

Jul 29 2007   8:55PM GMT

IBM’s System i strategy is a stumble in the right direction

Adam Trujillo Profile: Atrujillo

The following is a response from one of our readers, John DeCoville, to Mark Fontecchio’s article IBM System i division filing for divorce. Thanks for the insight, John.

I think that IBM only has it partly right. The perception has been for a long time that IBM allowed its i-Products to lag behind its competitors.

First: WDSc 6.1 and 7.0 do not have a good “Fit and Finish” compared to the expensively developed MS Visual Studio for VB.NET. WDSc takes a long time for initial loads of source members.It is Balky and not integrated.

Second: DB2 has lagged behind Oracle and even MS SQL-2000. MS SQL-2005 is integrated into MS’s Studio. Unlike MS SQL-Server and Oracle, the developer cannot place an index on a view. Indexes not only improve performance in the Oracle and MS world but allow the DB developer to make views available to more traditional developers where they can work with an access they are familiar with.

Using a cursor is a bit of a leap for developers, not yet retired, who have difficulty using proto-types.

Lastly: The i5xx/ AS/400 has now some new features that do not have good “Fit and Finish” nor good integration that the older AS/400 used to have and Microsoft Developers now does have.

Appearances and Perception are 90% of reality and management is not buying.

Please, IBM, work to dispel the impression that WDSc is incomplete! Please integrate DB2 into the whole mix! Get your Client-Access turbo-charged! Please give the i-family a good fit and finish so it doesn’t come off like Colombo’s Dorky 60’s Peugeot!

I also think that IBM has been poorly represented by their Sales Management and Staff who are plainly clueless.


Now get to work!

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  • Christo
    IBM have blown it for me. I have worked with AS400 for nigh on 20 years and they have failed miserably to keep public perceptions in line with the reality of the systems and now the reality is catching up with perceptions. For years I have struggled with the idea planted in management minds that IBM is OLD technology but Micro$oft/Intel is NEW technology. At the end of the day better marketing and advertising won out over superior engineering and now the engineering may be suffering (Could it be that IBM's best are also disillusioned?)
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  • Ed Garrett
    I don't doubt that WSDC could get better. However, I've been hearing for years that the AS/400 is a great system (I agree) that is not marketed very well. If marketing is the most fundamental issue, the iSeries split makes sense. Packaging and marketing for the SMB community has always been different from dealing with large-system types. The predecessor systems (S36 etc) were successful in part because they had dedicated marketing, even though this created intramural competition between the IBM large/small marketing divisions. Could happen again?
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  • Chris
    I have worked on the i5 (aka AS/400) for 20yrs (yes before it was announced) and unfortunately I see it going the way of OS/2. Yeah, we (the current users) know how good a platform it is but the impression of those now in college and just graduating is that this system is a "Legacy" system. Corporate management beleives this too. IBM needs to focus on a grass roots revival. I am an SAP Netweaver Consultant and find the i5 an excellent platform for SAP in the SMB Market as it requires fewer people to manage it.
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  • Johnson Thomas
    I have worked on the As/400 since 1994. Must say this system has been the most stable i have worked on. The same is also acknowledged by the users using it. The As/400 has just begun its journey into India, and has impressed everyone who has worked on it, however it is hardly known in the market here. IBM's marketing Team does have a job on its hand as far as making the As/400's true ability known in the market.
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  • John Roberts
    I believe a problem (in the making) for IBM is the creation of too many variations of the system. The split discussed above is a good thing - but keep it simple. Let's not have the split have 20 different systems in each part - making 40 systems in total to have to maintain and understand the different applications for. The new i5 business model where you can purchase only the parts/software you needs sounds great. Have a high-end and low-end corporate model and a high-end and low-end small business business model and that's it. Work on taking out any problems and improve integration between the subsystems of each of these and smooth out the interaction between i5 and other systems such as windows, unix, linux, sun, etc. In short, increase (to keep) the reliability aspect and decrease the fanfare and the length of silly names.
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  • Dan
    Good Bye AS400 I don't think you have 30 years left in you and I have to think about the future.
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  • Dan
    With more years than I care to remember, I have tried to position the S38, AS/400, i5 with small and large customers. I no longer believe IBM has the will or desire to retain this system which is very sad. This system is toast. Deal with it and move on to something that will keep you employed.
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