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Coming Soon: IBM i Milestone and Architecture Webcast

Steve Will writes about an upcoming webcast where you can watch an extended version of a popular presentation, as well as 12 years of IBM i.

Illustration of people working together at a table with text that says "You and i" blog

There is a big IBM i milestone approaching, though you might not have known it. What is it?  Keep reading!
There is also a webcast coming up – one I’d like you to be aware of.  What is it? Keep reading!  
The two are somewhat related.

The Webcast

A few years ago, I built a presentation about the evolution of the IBM i architecture.  I created the presentation because there are people in the community who insist that “IBM i is just AS/400 with a different name.” Them’s fightin’ words.
OK, not “fightin’” maybe. But clearly a challenge.
I decided I had to create a presentation to describe the evolution of the IBM i operating system architecture—from its very beginning (before AS/400) through the current release of IBM i. 
After I presented it at a COMMON conference, Tom Huntington from HelpSystems suggested we create a webcast so that more people could get the chance to hear it. His marketing folks decided to call it something like “IBM i—it’s not just AS/400.” At first, I balked at the title.  Why? Because in general, I don’t like using the AS/400 name when I’m talking about today’s platform. But in this case, the title accurately described the message I was trying to get across.  
So, for the past several years, I’ve been doing a version of that presentation in a webcast sponsored by HelpSystems. This year, the webcast will happen on July 16. If you’d like to attend, here's a registration link.
Each year, I have to revise this presentation. I do so partially because the original presentation was over 90 minutes in length, but I never have that much time. Consequently, each time I deliver it, I need to get as much as possible into the “fewer than 90” minutes I have. This time, however, HelpSystems has set it up as a 75-minute webcast, so I can present more of it than I normally do. Hurray! 
Of course, I also have to revise it every year, because over time, bits of the architecture evolve.  So, this year, I will have the chance to restore some of the history of the evolution, and I will get the chance to add some more recent information. (Wow, this is sounding like a lot of work! I had better get started!)
The point is: If you have heard the webcast in the past, this version will be longer and will have more—past and present—than you may have heard before.  If you have not heard it, you will get as complete a tour through the evolution of IBM i as I’ve ever done. From pre-AS/400 to IBM i 7.4. An architecture evolution that shows how much we owe to the System/38, System/36 and AS/400, but also shows how much we’ve added and changed over the years. I hope you join us.

An IBM i Milestone

OK, now, if you’ve kept reading, it’s time to remark on the upcoming IBM i milestone.

Back in 2008, IBM Power Systems™ was born as a convergence of what were then called System i and System p – two hardware platforms based on POWER® technology, but with differing base operating systems (i5/OS at the time, and AIX®). It was with the creation of Power Systems that the operating system we know and love got its name.

So, 2008 was 12 years ago. Hmmmm. 12 years? Does that sound familiar to anyone?

Well, the AS/400 was launched in 1988.  And it was followed, architecturally, by the iSeries, which was introduced in 2000. That’s 12 years later!

I’d been meaning to figure out exactly when, in 2020, we would reach the point where our platform has been called “IBM i” for as long as it was called “AS/400” but I hadn’t gotten around to it. Then, this past week, I was meeting with an ISV, and one of this company’s leaders told me he had done the historical digging and had already marked his calendar.

On July 14, 2020, IBM i will be exactly as old as the AS/400 was when it was replaced with iSeries!  That means, every day that passes after July 14, the “IBM i” product will be longer-lived (officially) than the original product (again, officially).

Back in 2008, when we launched IBM i and Power Systems, plenty of people were skeptical we’d hold onto the new name. I had been Chief Architect for less than a year, and I had been around for the name changes our platform had undergone. I understood where the skepticism came from. But the leaders we had in 2008, and the leaders we still have today (some of whom are the same—Alison Butterill, Dave Nelson, Steve Sibley, and myself among them) were and are committed to making the “IBM i” “brand” stand for something, and to keeping it strong well into the future.

So, I’m going to celebrate a bit on July 14. And then, two days later, I’m going to give the most complete, up-to-date version of the IBM i Architecture Evolution presentation I’ve ever done. From Single Level Store to Teraspace to Db2 Mirror. From subsystems and jobs to threads and servers to services and clouds.  

It’s going to be a good July! I hope you join me.

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