Wednesday, December 19, 2012

6.1 or 7.1?


No question, No contest...

I am just returning from two weeks in Asia (Taipei and Shenzhen specifically). While there, I had the opportunity to engage and interact with a number of medium and large companies who are using IBM Power Systems, IBM i and DB2 for i to run their core business.

Needless to say, our beloved system is alive and well in so many major institutions around the world. As a side note, it would be really interesting (and thoroughly impossible) to know just how much electronic money flows on daily basis through the so called "legacy" systems designated by the simple letters of "i" and "z". Mind boggling I'm sure.

While interacting with my clients, I came to the realization that very few of them are using IBM i 7.1. For some strange reason they are planning to move, or have recently moved to 6.1. When I dug a bit deeper, I found that the general conscience was that 6.1 is "stable", and that 7.1 might not be. The rationale being that 7.1 is the most recent, thus "newest" code base. It needs time to be broken in. Frankly, this is old and outdated thinking.

After much head scratching on my part, I politely told my clients (and their anxious IBM counterparts) "you are mistaken, AND you are missing the boat".

The notion that IBM i version 7 release 1 is somehow not stable, not ready for action, not worthwhile, is simply ridiculous.

The code base has been available and in production for well over two years! The effort and energy to upgrade to 7.1 is the same as 6.1, yet the return on that investment (i.e. moving to 7.1) is way higher in my opinion - especially when it comes to DB2 for i and data centric programming. Add to this the steady cadence of IBM i 7.1 technology refreshes and you have a clear choice, either:

a) keep really current with the latest features, functions and benefits


b) continue to fall further and further behind in capabilities and your ability to meet requirements

Furthermore, if you find yourself in a position to explain and/or defend DB2 for i against competitive technology, you better be talking about what's current, not what is 5, or even 7 years old.

The Bottom Line

If you are not already running IBM i 7.1 (and DB2 within), you should have plans on the drawing board to upgrade sooner than later.

If your plans have version 6 release 1 has the final destination, get the eraser (aka "rubber" for the British readers), remove the number "6" and write in the number "7", and be sure to add a line:  "plus TR5".

Keep all your implementation, testing and roll out plans in place, as this is still best practice.

Read and understand the 6.1 and 7.1 memo to users BEFORE testing and BEFORE going live.

Of course, if you need any kind of assistance, or rationale for the upgrade, certainly reach out. If you have some solution or application that for some reason isn't capable of running on 7.1, let us know that too.

1 comment:

  1. I hope that the effort to get to 7.1 is considerably less than it was to get to 6.1! I suspect that the memory of the 6.1 upgrade is certainly slowing some shops down, as well as th extended support timeframe now in place for 6.1