Thirty years ago, I completed a college degree and joined the millions of people who discovered that a college degree is completely useless and I want my money back. But that's not what this blog post is about.
My alma mater ran just about everything on a Burroughs A-9 mainframe. Burroughs was later acquired by Sperry-Univac and at some point they upgraded to a Unisys A-12 mainframe. Whatever. Today, they are still keeping track of class enrollments, grades, tuition, housing, and all the other day-to-day minutiae using the same software, but on "Unisys ClearPath" -- which of course runs on bog-standard AMD64 hardware and emulates the old mainframe.
Unisys people have accepted this fate. IBM people have not. Because they are morons.
From a purely subjective level, you know a platform is dead when the information stupidhighway is saturated with articles written by people who insist that it is not dead. Oh, it's so MODERN now, they breathlessly chant to anyone who is willing to listen (which is nobody, so they then move on to bothering people who don't want to hear about it). It has files and pipes and internet and cloud and rainbows and unicorns and all sorts of modern wonders!
This is very true with regard to AIX (sorry, "IBM p") which is so dead that IBM has sacked all of their AIX developers in the United States and moved support-and-maintenance to an offshore sweatshop. But it's *extremely* true with regard to System/38, which eventually got renamed to "AS/400" and is now known as "IBM i" and runs on the same hardware as AIX, using the same CPU that Apple abandoned two generations ago.
There's a litmus test. Simply ask yourself, "Would I build a brand new (greenfield) workload on this platform?" And I'm not talking about some bank or insurance company that has a bunch of old AS/400 stuff already running and just needs to add one more task. If you're opening a new organization with a new IT department and all new software, are you going to build them on "IBM p" or "IBM i"? No, you would get fired for that, and you would deserve it.
Anything from IBM is, without question, a legacy platform. You might be supporting existing workloads for a few more decades, but as a go-forward play it's dead. It's technical debt. Call it what it is, and stop trying to pretend otherwise. You sound like an idiot.