For the past week, I have been in Berlin, Germany, participating in the 2019 COMMON Europe Congress (CEC). For me, it was truly one of the hottest conferences I have attended in some time, with temperatures soaring into the 90’s. The venue was a hotel in the heart of Berlin with a spectacular 7-story high fish tank in the middle of the hotel atrium, complete with many varieties of fish and plant life with an elevator down the center for viewing. As I am always interested in how other engineers patch things together with bailing wire and paperclips, I was fascinated that they had applied duct tape to seal said aquarium in the hotel lobby and not a drop of water was to be seen.
For me, one thing that is very different from my participation at the North America POWERUp Conferences, is that at the CEC, I have some time to attend sessions and learn, not just present sessions and attend meetings. Additionally, with the time zone change, many of my colleagues and customers are still asleep while I am in class learning – no urgent calls or email!
By far, one of the most interesting aspects of attending the COMMON Europe events is that I have an opportunity to hear ideas and thoughts from European speakers and attendees. Their perspectives bring in their cultural and marketplace experiences which in many cases are quite different from an American point of view.
I met with many of the IBM Champions from Europe as well as other committed community members, many with great ideas not just about pushing technology into the future and testing the limits of IBM i, but also thoughts about building stronger community spirit and friendship. Every champion whom I’ve met, is a Champion of the platform. This was especially visible at CEC as they converged from many countries from America to Russia and Sweden to Italy to Spain and all points in between. Everyone spoke of contributions and successes. It’s truly invigorating to meet, discuss, think and imagine. IBMers and IBM Champions showed more and more customer stories… they just keep coming!! The stories are about companies from everywhere; from small to big, local to international, and in businesses across the spectrum.
At the CEC, just as at POWERUp 2019, IBM spoke about the number of consecutive quarters of growth. It was recently announced that for the eleventh year in a row, Power Systems have been named as the most reliable server family.
I would like to share a more personal experience. After many years of working in the marketplace, talking to IBMers, customers and other partners, I thought I “got it”. I have seen the charts with new release roadmaps for both hardware and software. I have seen the architecture growing into the future. While I have always believed those charts, I felt that the reason for the long life was a combination of steady improvements delivered by IBM, new features and options from our vendor community and of course, both of them aided by the world’s most supportive user community. Straight forward and reliable, but perhaps not really exciting.
While I was in Berlin, my “Aha!” moment arrived! Over the 31 years (more if the S/3x machines are included) that led to today’s platform, there have been many, many improvements to IBM i. There were new opcodes and new functions added here and there as the languages got more modern capabilities. New editors were announced, based on open standards. The database got more capabilities and even a name! The system got new communication capabilities and many new services. New file systems and new security bits were added. The hardware got faster and faster and as our amazing O/S allows the adoption of new technology quickly, frequently IBM i could use it before anyone else! We got cool new hardware stuff, and you know me, I love new hardware stuff!