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I have nothing but good things to say about IBM's VLP (Virtual Loaner Program) efforts - it helped me many-a-time and has been a great example of how cool IBMi virtualization can be. To document their efforts, and the effort involved in using their free services, I have written an article on the topic:

Another timeshare worth mentioning is

It is exciting to know that IBM is doing some deeper looking into how IBMi can be utilized "in the cloud" for ISV purposes.

One comment on this Steve. It is a wonderful program but has a couple of gaps people should be aware of.

You have to have a clearly defined _software_ product which will be sold. Educators such as myself cannot take advantage of it because our "product" is educational materials and they do not count. Similarly a group that intends to develop open-source software cannot get membership.

You can also not use the system for production purposes - which forces some ISVs to run their web sites (for example) on other platforms as otherwise they would have to buy another system outside of the program. Of course some of them also "cheat" but we won't tell on them

It is for these reasons that we and others rent time on iDevCloud as there is no vehicle for us to obtain a system of our own other than at full price for everything,


As a long time ISV for the IBM i I have seen the reduction in the discounts IBM provides for ISV's. Not only that but offerings provided in some countries are not provided in others. The individual country also has the ability to deny ISV's the benefits described in the Partnerworld literature. Having said that it is good that IBM recognizes the ISV community in some way. One area I would like to see improved however is the support IBM provides to ISV's for problems, even though we have a support contract for the OS and pay our maintenance we still have instances where IBM passes the buck back to the ISV to resolve some OS issues which should be fixed by the development team. Working as designed seems to be a new mantra for IBM and as an ISV that sometimes causes us to question the "Partnership" status we have. Too many times now we are faced with coding issues to work around deficiencies in the OS which IBM says is working as designed. Being asked to log a DCREQ to fix the design issue is regular response, as a Partnership we should look at what is the most effective way to fix the problem. If you want specifics I will be happy to discuss offline.


Again, thanks for the comments, everyone.

@Aaron - glad you like VLP -- and not surprised. A good program.

@Jon - there certainly are rules which make life harder for partners who are not specifically selling software, and then rules that restrict what these services can be used for. Clearly, this is a tough nut to crack, or it would have been done long before now. VLP is a step. The "renting time on IBM's boxes" is in its infancy, but is another step.

@Chris - glad to still have a "long time ISV" in the mix, and I appreciate the comments. I can tell you there is no order, strategy or hint being laid down to push more requests back as "Working as Designed." We try to throw all the requirements/requests in the big pile and evaluate, but it is true that we have to recognize them as a requirement first of all. I don't know how many of these are truly critical to your (and our) business results, but if you have an example or two which could really help drive revenue or lower costs while satisfying the customers we share, maybe a specific note to [email protected] could start a conversation. We need the DCREQ process to take place first, of course, but perhaps an example or two would help us find things that slipped through the cracks, or expose part of the process which is not working well. We should try to work on improving the channels we have -- because we have many requirements from many sources.

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