2019 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

Current Events & Commentary
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Welcome to the fifth installment of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. In fact, the survey is now revealing long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

By HelpSystems

Past surveys have sparked many thoughtful conversations about IBM i, and we’re thrilled to be part of such an engaged community. 2018 was a big year for the platform, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in June with fond memories from longtime users and a look toward what’s next, along with the launch of POWER9.

More than 750 people from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

Thank you to everyone who participated—we couldn’t have done it without you!

Tom Huntington

Executive Vice President of Technical Solutions


Survey Highlights

Although security is a top concern for 69% of respondents, many fail to put even simple remedies in place.

No organization is immune to the threat of a data breach from internal or external sources. Despite this reality, many haven’t implemented technologies such as antivirus software, database encryption, and multi-factor authentication. The reason could rest within the other top challenges—namely the ever-changing security threats and reported lack of cybersecurity knowledge and skills. If this is an area of concern for your business, it may be worth exploring managed security services to fill the gap.

IBM i 7.3 is now the most popular version of the OS.

For the first four years of this survey, IBM i 7.1 was the frontrunner—but no longer! Version 7.3 usage rose 26% year over year and now leads the way, likely due to the fact that IBM ended support for 7.1 in April 2018. Organizations clearly seek to maintain this technology over the long term as evidenced by their investment to stay current.

POWER8 and POWER9 gain traction, and 71% of respondents are running multiple partitions.

With its high-performance capabilities, the POWER9 server has come onto the scene with a bang, and POWER8 continues its steady upward trajectory as the backbone of choice among this group. In addition, many organizations are running multiple partitions on virtualized Power servers to improve resource utilization and reduce power consumption, among other benefits. For those looking for a consolidated view of performance data in a virtualization scenario, automated, real-time monitoring helps prevent business disruption with a proactive approach to maximizing availability.

Nearly half of respondents rely on high availability for disaster recovery.

Slowly but surely, reliance on tape backups is shrinking as IBM i shops look to HA and VTL options for maintaining uptime and availability. It’s not surprising this continues to be a trend in the wake of high-profile outages, and this shift will no doubt continue. For IBM i shops in search of HA resources, the IBM i High Availability Handbook is a great first step.

Capacity planning is a sticking point, and 46% have concerns about their approach.

While the majority of respondents have no concerns about capacity planning, a large number indicated they lack the right tools or expertise internally or are unsure whether their vendor has assessed their needs accurately. In light of potential investments in new Power servers, this could cause organizations to over- or under-invest in technology, with each causing its own set of scalability and budget issues.

Development on IBM i continues to evolve, and open source development tools are common.

There is active development on IBM i as evidenced by the fact that most organizations rely on it to run at least half of their core business applications—and 64% of these are written in-house. RPG remains a go-to technology, but open source development tools such as Apache, Node.js, and Python also support modernization projects, a trend that will likely continue.

What to learn more? Download the complete 2019 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results from the MC White Paper CenterIt's Free!