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Exploring Open-Source Support on IBM i

Jesse Gorzinski, business architect for open source on IBM i, explains open-source support options.

More than ever before, IBM i clients are looking to open-source software for innovative new solutions. After all, open technologies can enable Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), integration with quantum computing, social media, analytics, e-commerce and everything in between. This is great, but many still ask: What about support? Thankfully, it’s easy to obtain support for this impressive new suite of tools.

Community and Vendor Options

For starters, it’s important to understand the sheer power of the open-source community. Critical projects are maintained by skilled, passionate developers dedicated to the success of the software. Plus, a multitude of stakeholders (including countless large companies) donate millions of dollars (and hours of development time) to ensure key projects remain viable and secure. 

Open-source software users can directly leverage this community. Problems or questions can be raised to the project maintainers or other collaborators. This is often a simple process that uses public websites such as BitBucket or GitHub. In some cases, this community support is backed by IBM. For instance, the Node.js packages for integration with IBM i (Db2*, CL, RPG, etc.) are supported by the
IBM i development team.

Of course, community support isn’t the only option. Many vendors will provide support for open-source packages or their premium additives to it. For instance, vendor support is available from PowerRuby and Rogue Wave Software for their Ruby and PHP offerings.  

IBM Premium Support

For some packages, community support alone might not meet the needs of the business. Pursuit of “free” support costs developer time collaborating or otherwise searching for answers. The good news, though, is that IBM is positioned to support this technology. More specifically, IBM Technology Support Services (TSS) provides a comprehensive offering to meet many client needs. TSS brings over 18 years of experience supporting various open-source technologies, including Linux* distributions, as well as commercial and community open-source software. Consequently, even if the need extends beyond IBM i, TSS can serve as a single point of contact for support of your IT infrastructure.

Plus, this is more than just “break/fix” support. People often only think of supporting the scenario where something just broke and a fix is needed. In reality, though, a large percentage of open-source issues originate from either a lack of product knowledge or some environmental/setup/configuration issue. Thankfully, the TSS teams are structured to aid at any stage of the software development lifecycle. Coverage includes help with usage, diagnostics, configuration, installation, compatibility and interoperability.

TSS supports a broad range of open-source software, including over 150 community versions of open-source software across various platforms. On IBM i, this list includes essentials like Apache Tomcat, Node.js, Python, Git, Spring, ActiveMQ, WordPress and many more. 

Deploy with Confidence

All things considered, investing in open source is a sound business decision—and often, it’s a key part of a company’s strategy. The technology itself brings solid business results when used effectively, but the available support options make it a surefire bet. IBM i clients can deploy groundbreaking technology with confidence! Visit this page to learn more

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