Blog: Bridging the skills gap with the Meridian Power Cloud

By Andy Haley, Director of Managed Services & Cyber Security, Meridian IT UK

For at least the last five years, there’s been a conversation rumbling on about skills shortages in enterprise IT. As a generation of software engineers reach retirement age, it’s becoming harder to hire people with expertise in older languages such as RPG. And as the dominance of Linux as a server operating system increases, admins with an intimate understanding of environments such as IBM i and IBM AIX are becoming thin on the ground.

This may be a controversial opinion for some members of the IBM Power Systems community, who argue that the problem is not a lack of skills, but the fact that companies have allowed old, undocumented code to become technical debt, instead of modernising it gradually over time.

Nevertheless, it’s still a concern for IT decision-makers: if the engineers who know how the code works are leaving the business, and the new generation of developers aren’t ready to take over, that’s a significant risk for the business.

There are several ways to address the problem. The first—and most drastic—is to move away from the Power Systems platform altogether, rewriting your core business systems on a totally different technology stack using the most popular modern platforms and tools.

However, that’s a hugely complex, expensive and risky move. You’re throwing away years of investment in a battle-tested system that has evolved over time to match your precise business needs—and replacing it with a new system that is a completely unknown quantity. When the business depends on it, most companies simply aren’t willing to take that risk.

A better option is a more gradual approach to modernisation. The Power Systems platform can run almost any set of technologies you need it to—so if you want to start building applications in Java, Python or JavaScript and running them on Linux, you can host them side-by-side with your core RPG or C systems on the same box. This makes it easier to replace legacy code component by component, avoiding the need for a “big bang” move to an entirely new application and significantly reducing risk.

Nevertheless, if you can’t—or don’t want to—maintain a team of Power Systems specialists in-house, you still need someone to look after the platform, handle patches and security updates, and develop enhancements for your older applications to ensure they can interact seamlessly with newer systems. That’s where the Meridian Power Cloud comes in.

The Meridian Power Cloud is one of the largest privately owned IBM Power Systems infrastructures in the world, supporting over 400 clients at six data centres in the UK and many more across Europe and North America. By choosing to host your IBM i, IBM AIX and Linux applications in the Meridian Power Cloud, you can not only take advantage of the latest-generation IBM Power Systems hardware, but also guarantee access to the skills and expertise you need to maintain and evolve your business-critical systems.

As an IBM Platinum Business Partner, Meridian IT is acknowledged as having one of the strongest IBM Power Systems technical teams in the UK. As part of the Meridian Power Cloud, you will have priority access not only to our system administrators and support teams, but also to our software developers, who can help guide your modernisation journey and eliminate technical debt.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Meridian Power Cloud can help you overcome skills shortages, why not watch our new video, or take a deeper dive by reading our white paper on the latest cloud trends. And if you’d like to discuss how Meridian IT can help your business modernise its IBM Power Systems landscape, please reach out to us at info@meridianit.co.uk

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