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Manta Technologies: Your Resource for IBM i Training

Manta offers a complete library of courses for programmers, operators, system administrators, and users of the IBM i operating system, which runs on IBM Power Systems.

All of our courses are web based and run in all popular browsers.

Save 25% on any Manta Combination Pack!

Every month, Manta offers a combination package on sale at a huge discount. In celebration of our 21st birthday, we decided to let you choose which package you'd like. For all of June and July, you can get any Manta combination pack — including the complete IBM i Training Library — at 25% off.

Why Manta? Because life is not a multiple-choice question.

Suppose that you send a new employee through a week-long IBM i operations class. How can you tell whether the employee is ready to run your production system? Would you be satisfied if he or she passed a 32-question, multiple-choice exam? Neither would we.

Every one of Manta's 103 courses has a corresponding Competency Exam that tests the published course objectives. The exams are built around realistic, on-the-job situations in which the student must enter commands, select menu options, write code, and perform other system-related tasks using Manta's exclusive IBM i simulator. At the end of the exam, the student is directed to remedial training, if needed, and the results are logged for reporting via our built-in Student Administration function.

Check us out. This site includes our complete catalog, as well as a sample session from each of our 120 courses and exams. You'll like what you see.

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From the President

Bifurcation: the division of an object into two paths or divisions.

I have been avidly following the discussions in the trade press that suggest bifurcation is exacting what is happening to the IBM i marketplace. According to my friends at IT Jungle, the number of AS/400 systems in service peaked at over 600,000 in 2001. While the number has gone down since then, the decline has tapered off in recent years, leaving 130,000 to 150,000 IBM i customers worldwide. That's only part of the story, however.

Every vendor who sells to this marketplace has noticed that there now seems to be two kinds of IBM i shops. Timothy Prickett-Morgan, the Editor in Chief of IT Jungle and its related publications, notes that roughly 30,000 shops are what he calls active customers. They have recently upgraded their hardware, they stay up-to-date with their software, and they have ongoing maintenance contracts. These shops are writing new applications and modernizing their old ones.

The other 100,000 to 120,000 shops are a puzzle. While they rely on their IBM i systems for essential applications, it is not clear whether they have given any thought to the future. Are they waiting for their existing hardware to die before moving to Unix or Windows? Or will they put in an emergency call to IBM, asking for a new Power 8 System to be delivered ASAP? Nobody really knows, and its driving IBM and the vendor community crazy.

As a training vendor, Manta is seeing interesting changes. We get calls from the inactive IBM i customers when someone retires or gets a better job. They are generally in a panic to train their PC tech on the care and feeding of the IBM i server that is sitting in the corner, quietly doing its job year after year. Manta's IBM i Training Library is just what they need, although they tend to ignore the newer courses like PowerVM Concepts and Implementing Single Sign-On.

The active IBM i customers present different issues. They have always valued training, and a large number have renewed their Manta licenses for ten years or more. Many are implementing web-based applications using personnel who came from other environments. They don't need training in Java, PHP, or Ruby, but only in how to interface their applications with the DB2 database or RPG programs. When it comes to learning traditional IBM i topics, however, they demand bleeding-edge content. These shops moved from SEU years ago, and want to learn what IBM added to RDi yesterday. When free-form H, F, D, and P specifications were added to RPG in 2014, a leading RPG guru stated that the typical shop would not used these enhancements for 5 years at least. This was consistent with what I've seen for IFS, ILE, and other technologies where Manta had the first course in the marketplace but few people cared. This is no longer the case. The active shops are pushing the market and free-form RPG is the new standard. If you don't already know it, don't bother applying for a job.

While you are enjoying you summer vacations, I'll be developing a new course on free-form RPG that I hope to have ready by the time you are ready to get back to serious work in the fall. May you live in interesting times.

Keep learning,


William A. Hansen, Ph.D.