Breaking Down Rocket Software’s Time at POWERUp

Rebecca Dilthey

May 24, 2023

Hosted by COMMON, POWERUp is the largest IBM i education and networking event, bringing together industry leaders and professionals who all share a common focus in IBM and other related technologies. For this year’s event, the Rocket Software team hit the road and headed to Denver, Colorado to host several sessions during the conference. With the steady rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in nearly every IT organization, including those in the IBM i space, the sessions that the Rocket Software team presented highlighted ways IBM i professionals can best optimize and modernize their IBM environments.

Here's a snapshot of what the Rocket Software team had to say:

How AI/ML Drives the Future of IBM i Modernization

AI and machine learning (ML) are unquestionably two of the hottest tech trends with applications in just about every industry. But how do we account for that surge in popularity? Jeroen van Dun and Herman Rensink explained the biggest factors, like more data availability, better algorithms, and more chip processing power, among others. All of those improvements present IBM i professionals with new options to better support their most critical IT infrastructure and functions. For example, AI can be used to predict when a server or network is most likely to fail, making maintenance easier. And AI-powered monitoring and logging tools mean users can gather and analyze more data, helping get at the root of trouble spots.

Later in the session, Rensink and van Dun highlighted that making the most of AI and ML for an IBM i environment requires an effective data strategy. To do this requires educating data teams, investing in infrastructure, and reorienting an organization’s goals toward agility with frameworks like DevOps and ModelOps. Both AI and ML depend on data, so any business that wants to leverage that technology moving forward must ensure their data governance is built to support those needs.

If you missed the session, read the whitepaper.

Are Traditional Licenses Impeding Your Journey to the Cloud?

Next we heard from Harald Braeunlich, who guided attendees through a conversation on the state of cloud licensing today. What makes licensing in the cloud different from licensing in an on-premise environment? Braeunlich explains that logical partition (LPARs) environments run IBM i software based on serial number licensing, and those serial numbers remain the same, unless the hardware involved changes. But in a cloud IBM environment, LPARs are often run on different IBM Power Servers, with the result being a variation in serial numbers. With that variation in mind, Braeunlich recommends IT leaders look at licensing that is specific to the LPARs and not dependent on just the serial number of the hardware. And when it comes to pricing, it should only relate back to the configuration and performance of the LPAR itself.

Moving to the cloud is a great way to add flexibility and reduce dependency on physical hardware. But when it comes to licensing, Braeunlich emphasized the importance of optimizing costs, ensuring businesses only pay for what they need. And getting licensing in check with LPAR-based pricing and licensing is a critical part of that.

How to Introduce Modern Development Tools Successfully

For this session, Rensink walked through two primary challenges that arise in IBM i development – the drive to produce better products in less time, and the prediction that seasoned RPG development skills will be hard to find by the year 2030. There are ways IBM i shops can address that challenge, according to Rensink, though. IBM i developers today have a wide-ranging choice of languages and tools available to them, which can help make IBM i an easier and more attractive platform for new staff to learn.

As for the constant push toward faster production and better product, leveraging modern tools within development teams can make all the difference in addressing today’s top concerns, from automation to compliance to AI and ML. Solving for these newer developments starts with becoming more agile and capable of keeping pace with the latest technologies. As Rensink explains, tools like Git, Jenkins, and Jira all have a role to play in DevOps moving forward. And a well thought out implementation of these methodologies can result in better outcomes for the development process.

Best Testing Practices for Breaking Up the Monolith

There’s been a lot of talk around monoliths, particularly in the context of breaking them down. But, in this session with van Dun, he asked why? Why break up the monolith? Well, with more businesses taking a digital-first approach, many consider their own infrastructure unprepared to handle that new, agile reality. To make that happen, van Dun explains, IT leaders should adopt a ‘strangler pattern’ in their IBM i modernization efforts, something with which IBM’s modernization roadmap is already highly aligned. A strangler pattern examines the capabilities that an older application can provide, creating small strangler services that pull out the logic of those capabilities into independent “bubbles”.

Continuous testing in this environment should happen to help increase software quality and reduce costs. Any testing operations should also be incorporating automation to help manage the volume of work involved. Automating key processes during modernization efforts helps reduce errors, accelerate the time to production, and reduces skill requirements for the IT teams involved in the testing. Ultimately, as digital-first continues to dominate business strategies, investing in an effective DevOps strategy and powerful application modernization tools has become a must for every organization.

To learn more about how Rocket Software can help kickstart your IBM i modernization efforts, talk to an expert today.