IBM recently released its latest IBM i road map. The road map doesn’t provide any surprises, except, for the first time ever (I think) IBM discloses how many worldwide IBM i customers there are. IBM claims that the IBM i is currently used by “more” than 150,000 businesses around the world. The number of actual IBM i boxes deployed around the world remains in play because there are many businesses with multiple IBM i boxes. Although the number of IBM i boxes in use pales in comparison to the number of Linux or Windows boxes in use, it’s still good news to see that the IBM i still enjoys a substantial, faithful following. A recent edition of IT Jungle provides some brief analysis of IBM’s “used by” number.

Although the “used by” number is interesting, the primary reason for the IBM i road map is to reiterate IBM’s commitment to the IBM i. The road map shows a somewhat vague, but at least reassuring, IBM i commitment to deliver new i5 OS software through the year 2020 (which to this old man is getting painfully close to the dystopian year that Zager and Evans warned us about in 1969.) By “committing” to the year 2020, IBM has effectively extended the previous roadmap from a couple of years ago two years—which showed i5 OS software being delivered through 2018.

We here at ASNA are excited about the future of the IBM i and very happy to see IBM being explicit with its plans for the persistence and growth of the platform. Later this year we’ll be announcing what we think is our most exciting product ever to make your IBM i platform and its RPG applications your solve 21st century business challenges. Stay tuned!