I had the opportunity to hear Steve Will, Chief Architect IBM i at IBM, present “IBM i Trends and Directions” and “V7R3 Overview” at NESTU in Parsippany, NJ recently.

The AS400 was announced in 1988.   Since then, IBM has continued to improve the platform. Currently three O/S releases are supported, V7R1, V7R2, and V7R3.  Two releases are currently under development.

Doug Balog, General Manager Power Systems at IBM has said, “Many of our largest clients run their critical workloads on IBM i, and I don’t see that fundamentally changing. We have a long roadmap that goes out at least 10 years from a development standpoint, and it is only 10 years because I can’t see beyond 10. We will keep innovating and providing capabilities around IBM i.”

Here are some of the new features:

V7R3 DB2 allows access to historical data using Temporal Support.  Before this feature, journaling and trigger programs had to be used to access this data, both cumbersome and slow. To enable, columns are added to current tables which are used to reference history files.

Another feature is DB2 OLAP.  On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP) specifications provide the ability to return ranking and row numbering as a scalar value in a query result. Today RANK, DENSE_RANK, and ROW_NUMBER are supported.

Authority collection is a new security feature.  Discover the authority being used, the source of that authority and the minimum authority needed to get the job done. Additionally, determine who performed the table update, when the last row was updated and at what I.P. address.

Modern RPG changes include no column restrictions and leveraging other languages like Python, JSON, and SQL.

Stay tuned for more future enhancements.