April 2011 Newsletter
i can do anything with iTech Solutions
That is what our customers are finding out! That their IBM i (AS/400, iSeries, i5) can do anything when they work with iTech Solutions. If you aren’t, you can call our customers and they will tell you why you should.
Each month our newsletter brings to light tips and techniques that help many System Administrators in their job, as well as managers know what is happening in the IBM i world. We are happy to be able to help so many people in the IBM i community. The number of iTech Solutions customers is growing each month, and that is due to our commitment to our customers, our services, and the support that we provide. Find out for yourself what it is like to work with a business partner who cares about you and your success.
If you are still on a Power5 machine, that machine’s upgrade path to Power6 (ability to upgrade and keep the same serial number) is expiring on May 27th, 2011. Please email Glenn for a quote on what that upgrade would cost. Remember that Power6 machines can run V5R4M5, 6.1, and 7.1. While Power7 machines can only run 6.1.1 and 7.1.
In honor of all our taxes being due this week, I thought I would provide a little chuckle on a rule in our tax code. On page 95 of Publication 17, the IRS has very nicely stated the tax rule on stolen property. No, not if you have property stolen from you, but rather if you steal from someone else.
“Stolen Property”. If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it, unless in the same year, you return it to it’s rightful owner. I sure hope no one reading this newsletter will find that tax information useful, but we have packed a lot of information into this newsletter, and I hope that you find that useful. This issue of our newsletter has six articles. In the first, I want to present to you our Cloud-connected Backup and Recovery solution that is fast, affordable, and safer than tape backups. Our iTech Solutions Vault is a backup and recovery service that provides secure, reliable, encrypted, off-site backups. The second article is on the latest Technology Refresh for IBM i 7.1. The third article is on the April 12th IBM announcements. The fourth article is on Automatically expiring passwords. The fifth article lists some of the upcoming events in which iTech Solutions will be participating. The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information.
You will also read about a replacement for the HMC, which is the Systems Director Management Console (SDMC). Don’t worry, if you recently purchased an HMC, you still made the right choice for two reasons. First, the new SDMC will be able to run on the newer HMCs (7042-CR6). Secondly the SDMC isn’t quite ready for prime time in my opinion. Remember, when the HMC was first announced it had a few bugs, and I am hearing that the SDMC does as well. Eventually, the SDMC will be what we need to run our Power8 hardware on, but until the SDMC has a few releases under it’s belt, you made the right decision purchasing an HMC. The HMC is a fantastic option for more easily managing your Power Systems, and when all the functionality and stability of the HMC is in the SDMC, then I will recommend that option to you.
Of course, if you are still on V5R4, send Pete an email and he can help you upgrade to V6R1 or V7R1, with over 300 V6R1 upgrades done to date you know iTech Solutions has the expertise and know how.
iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, upgrade i5/OS, perform security audits, implement a High Availability solution, Health Checks, Systems Management, Remote Administration, PTF management, Blade installations, iSCSI Configurations, Backup/Recovery, upgrade an existing machine, or upgrade to a new machine. If you are thinking of LPAR or HMC, then think iTech Solutions. We have the skills to help you get the most out of your System i.
Cloud-Connected Backup and Recovery.
iTech Solutions Vault, Powered by EVault®, is a premier online backup and recovery service that provides secure, reliable, efficient protection of your organization’s critical data. The service gives you a professional-grade data protection infrastructure that safeguards your data without additional capital or IT expenses-the same top-tier cloud infrastructure, team of storage experts, and state-of-the-art technology that powers backup and recovery for over 32,000 companies worldwide, as well as the online data protection services used by some of the world’s largest managed service providers.
iTech Solutions and EVault offer proven best-practice deployment of industry-leading technology and a team of data protection experts to follow through on our commitment to your backup and recovery requirements. iTech Solutions operates, manages and fully supports the EVault service from our data center, and encrypted backup data is replicated to a secondary vault in a top-tier data center, providing 99.98% availability. You get the reliability of the EVault cloud with iTech Solutions broad service offerings, local expertise, and business know-how. The iTech Solutions Vault, Powered by EVault solution provides a perfect fit for companies with limited IT resources who want a complete backup and recovery managed service, and who prefer a “pay as you go” business model.
How It Works
The iTech Solutions service centralizes the backup and recovery of data distributed throughout your organization: headquarters, branch offices, and even laptops. Agents automatically back up your data over the Internet to a highly secure data center. You monitor and manage everything within a web browser. Recovery is just as easy: when you need to restore data, simply navigate to the recovery point via an intuitive user interface, then click. EVault Reports provide a detailed look at the status of your backups.
Secure, Reliable Data Protection Infrastructure
EVault manages more than 35 petabytes of data in nine geographically dispersed, state-of-the art data centers. This ensures that your data is stored at the highest level of classifications for data center reliability and performance Independent audits, completed every year through SAS 70 Type II Certification, guarantees our facilities and processes conform to industry standards FIPS approved AES encryption locks your data before it leaves your computer, and ensures that only you have the key to unlock it.
Transfer Data Quickly and Efficiently
One of the few storage solutions offering both source-side (Agent) and back-end (Vault) data compression and deduplication, EVault can reduce transmitted data volume by more than 99 percent, dramatically minimizing storage space and bandwidth requirements.
Easy Deployment and Management
Ensure Compliance with Data Protection Policies, Regulations, and Governance
If you are interested in the iTech Solutions Vault, powered by EVault, please send an email to Pete.
Technology Refresh 2 for IBM i 7.1.
I can summarize this up in one word. Exciting! Perhaps one of the most sought after requests for 7.1 was the ability to share the internal tape drive virtually from partition to partition when doing virtual partitioning (the same as you can with the DVD). In fact, I think if you are thinking of setting up virtual partitions this one fix is worth its weight in gold, and a great reason to move to 7.1.
Some of the other features and functions that come with TR2 is the ability to suspend a partition and resume it from the suspend point through PowerVM. This great feature does require you to have VIOS. I think this is a shortfall in that it should be available for IBM i natively. Especially since on the 720 almost nothing is concurrent maintenance in the CEC. I am hoping that the next release will be native IBM i.
Additionally, there is support for new hardware: 571GB Disk, EXP24S I/O Drawer, Power 795 177GB SSD, and more. Plus enhanced support of existing hardware.
Are you staying current on PTFs? Perhaps you would prefer to have iTech Solutions handle all your PTFs. We currently have programs that bring customers machines up to the latest PTFs either quarterly or semi-annually. While putting the PTFs on, we also do a mini health check to make sure everything is configured and working correctly. Contact Pete for more information.
|Latest IBM i Announcements.|
Below are the recent IBM i & Power Systems hardware announcements from April 12th. If you have any questions, or require more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IBM i is enhanced with:
IBM Systems Director Management Console (SDMC) V6.73 supports managing IBM POWER6™ and POWER7™ technology-based systems running IBM i.
IBM Rational® Developer for i for SOA Construction V8.0 provides a comprehensive application development and modernization solution, providing development tools for today’s IBM i development teams.
IBM i 6.1 with 6.1.1 machine code and IBM i 7.1 support BladeCenter PS703 and PS704 Express Servers. BladeCenter PS703 Express with POWER7 processor is available in a 16-core configuration. BladeCenter PS704 Express with POWER7 processor is available in a 32-core configuration. The IBM BladeCenter family of products is a set of integrated platforms with a high degree of deployment flexibility, energy efficiency, scalability, and manageability. The BladeCenter PS703 Express and PS704 Express are two comprehensive new blade additions.
Redundant VIOS capability is now provided for POWER processor-based blades and can provide enhanced availability. Similar to the existing multiple VIOS capability already on rack/tower Power Systems™, IBM i partitions on a POWER6 or POWER7 processor-based blade can be configured with multiple paths to connect to the same IBM System Storage® device.
PowerVM includes support for an IBM i 7.1 partition to be suspended, and later resumed. Using Suspend / Resume, clients can perform long-term suspension of partitions, which frees server resources used by that partition, and later resume operation of that partition and its applications on the same server. PowerVM has been enhanced to include the N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) attachment of DS5100 and DS5300 Storage Systems with IBM i 7.1. Setting up configurations to share adapters is easier with NPIV. This support also allows the use of a Lab Services toolkit to access copy services for the DS5000 storage.
A simple, cost-effective virtual tape solution provides the capability for an IBM i 7.1 server partition to be used to share a tape drive among multiple IBM i 7.1 and 6.1 client partitions without the use of VIOS.
IBM i now supports the new EXP24S SFF Gen2-bay drawer, which has a higher physical density, fitting 24 hard disk drive (HDD) disks in the space that used to fit just 12. This drawer can be used in conjunction with existing SAS adapters.
IBM i now also provides support for the new 571 GB SAS disk drive, which provides a lower cost per gigabyte and more gigabytes per 2U rack space.
IBM i now provides expanded SSDs hardware support for previously announced PCIe RAID and SSD SAS adapters and their 177 GB SSD modules. This SSD option previously required IBM i 7.1 or required VIOS with IBM i 6.1.
For IBM i clients who want to move more performance-sensitive workloads to external or VIOS-attached storage, advanced multipath algorithms are now available in IBM i 7.1 that can improve performance in certain multipath configurations.
Systems Director Navigator for i, 6.1 has been enhanced to allow clients to work with multiple systems from a single interface. It includes a 5250 emulation portlet and new Disk Response Time bucket perspectives and an IBM Technology for Java™ Memory perspective. New options have been added for managing journals, integrated servers, and network and disk management features.
IBM Systems Director Management Console (SDMC) V6.73 is the next-generation Hardware Management Console (HMC). For IBM i customers who currently use System Director, SDMC incorporates the IBM Systems Director software to provide consistency with IBM Systems Director.
IBM Rational Developer for i for SOA Construction V8.0 provides a comprehensive application development and modernization solution, providing development tools for today’s IBM i development teams.
IBM Web Enablement for i now includes WebSphere Application Server – Express V8.0, which builds on over a decade of market leadership to offer Java EE 6 and broad programming model support, enhanced developer and administrator productivity, and improved security, installation, and maintenance.
The integrated DB2 database for IBM i is enhanced with advanced SQL functionality in its XML and recursive query technology support as well as offering additional performance improvements to a wide range of customers.
PowerVM now includes support for an IBM i 7.1 partition to be suspended, and later resumed. Using Suspend / Resume, clients can perform long-term suspension of partitions, thereby freeing server resources that were in use by that partition, and later resume operation of that partition and its applications on the same server. During the Suspend operation, the partition state (memory, NVRAM, and Virtual Service Processor state) is saved on persistent storage. The Resume operation restores that saved partition state to the server resources. Suspend / Resume can be used to save energy or to allow other partitions to make use of the resources from the suspended partition.
Requirements for Suspend / Resume:
IBM i to IBM i virtual tape support
An IBM i server partition can now be used to share a tape drive among multiple client partitions without the use of VIOS. With an IBM i 7.1 server partition and either an IBM i 7.1 client partition or an IBM i 6.1 client partition with 6.1.1 machine code, IBM i now supports virtualizing LTO3, LTO4, LTO5, DAT160, and DAT320 tape drives, including drives in a TS2900, TS3100, and TS3200 tape library when the tape library is in sequential mode. See info APAR II14615 for a complete list of supported devices and required PTFs.
PowerVM N_Port ID Virtualization attachment of DS5000
IBM i 7.1 partitions on POWER6 or POWER7 rack and tower systems now support N_Port ID Virtualization attachment of DS5100 and DS5300 Storage Systems. Setting up configurations to share adapters is simpler with NPIV. This support also allows the use of a Lab Services toolkit to access copy services for the DS5000 storage.
New I/O support
EXP24S SFF Gen2 24-Bay Drawer (#5887)
The PCIe2 Riser Card (Gen2) (#5685) is an optional feature, providing four PCIe Gen2 low-profile (LP) slots for Gen1 or Gen2 adapter cards. It is physically very similar to the PCIe Riser Card (Gen1)(#5610).
IBM i now provides direct support for this previously announced PCIe Riser Card (Gen2), without the use of VIOS, with IBM i 7.1.
The previously announced PCIe-based SSD Offering is now available on IBM i 6.1 with 6.1.1 machine code.
PCIe RAID and SSD SAS Adapters and their 177 GB SSD modules (#2053, #2054, #2055, #1996, #4377) are supported on IBM i 6.1 with 6.1.1 machine code on POWER7 servers. Previously, IBM i 7.1 or IBM i 6.1 with VIOS was required.
571 GB 10K RPM SFF Disk Drive (#1916, #1962)
A new 571 GB 10k RPM SFF-1 and SFF-2 disk drive is added to SFF disk drive options, offering a lower cost per gigabyte and more gigabytes per 2U rack space.
IBM Systems Director Management Console (SDMC) V6.73 is the next-generation HMC. For IBM i clients who currently use System Director, SDMC incorporates the IBM Systems Director software to provide consistency with IBM Systems Director on other platforms. The SDMC will support managing POWER6 and POWER7 systems.
The SDMC is available on physical hardware that is identical to that of the current HMC, with additional memory and disk resources. SDMC is also available in a virtual appliance format for managing small-tier servers. The SDMC offers several advantages over the HMC, including the ability to manage both Power Systems servers and IBM BladeCenter blades based on Power Architecture.
IBM i Access for Windows 7.1 for IBM i 5.4 clients. Clients who want to remain at IBM i 5.4 and who have a Software Maintenance agreement can acquire IBM i Access for Windows, 7.1 by ordering 5722-SS1 refresh feature 6287. This feature delivers the PC installation media.
IBM i Access Family 7.1 for IBM i 6.1 clients. Clients who want to remain at IBM i 6.1 and who have a Software Maintenance agreement can acquire the 7.1 versions of the following products by ordering 5761-SS1 refresh feature 6287:
IBM i Access for Windows
IBM i Access for Web
This feature delivers both the PC and server installation media. Formerly, these version 7.1 IBM i Access products were available to IBM i 6.1 clients with 5761-XW1 feature 6221 but instead are now available with 5761-SS1 feature 6287.
DB2 for IBM i enhancements
SQL Query Engine (SQE) has been enhanced in IBM i 6.1 to further optimize SQL performance by adding functionality previously available only in IBM i 7.1.
Ability to process SQL queries that reference common types of logical files. This support includes logical files used for controlling user access via object authority or to rename or remap physical files and fields. This change provides considerable enablement for many IBM i 6.1 customer environments previously hindered by this restriction, allowing them to take advantage of the many features of SQE.
SQE can now detect and react to additional queries with fluctuating performance caused when users change criteria for search results that dramatically affect the quantity of results processed.
Ability to preserve plan cache settings across IPLs. This simplifies the work for those clients who have changed or want to change their plan cache size by removing the complexity of resetting the value after each system restart.
PTF enablement for these new IBM i 6.1 DB2 functions:
DB2 for i in IBM i 7.1 adds the following new features:
Expanded leadership in SSD optimization by providing more granular database object placement on SSDs, down to the file member level, and by enhancing the SQL Query Engine to further recognize and exploit SSD placement for database objects. Limitations were also lifted to allow the object placement changes to concur concurrently with database production activity.
Simplified usage of recursive query technology with the CONNECT BY clause addition to the SQL language. This provides for faster development cycles of applications that, for example, generate a bill of materials. DB2 XML also gets a boost with additional features to preserve and control result ordering when processing XML data.
The Shipped procedure portfolio was further expanded to offer developers numerous new options to easily extract database metadata information, including index advice and database job information.
PTF enablement for these new IBM i 7.1 DB2 functions:
– DB group PTF SF99701 version 7
Statement of direction
IBM plans to support the feature 5685 PCIe Riser Card (Gen2) without VIOS in an IBM i 6.1 environment with machine code 6.1.1 in fourth quarter 2011.
IBM plans to introduce a large-cache PCIe SAS adapter in third quarter 2011 for clients with large numbers of HDD or SSD per adapter. It is planned to be supported on POWER7 configurations (Power 720, 740, 770, 780, 795), POWER7 750 servers with 12X PCIe I/O drawers, or on POWER6 servers with 12X PCIe I/O drawers. It is planned to support SSDs or HDDs located in feature 5802/5803 12X PCIe, feature 5886 EXP12S and feature 5887 EXP24S I/O drawers. It is planned to be supported by AIX® 5.3, or later; IBM i 6.1 with Virtual IO Server (VIOS); or IBM i 7.1 with or without VIOS. Support by IBM i 6.1 without VIOS is planned for fourth quarter 2011. The adapter is planned to be configured as pairs of single-wide PCIe cards, much like the existing feature 5805/5903 PCIe adapters.
IBM’s statements regarding its plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice at IBM’s sole discretion. Information regarding potential future products is intended to outline our general product direction and it should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information mentioned regarding potential future products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. Information about potential future products may not be incorporated into any contract. The development, release, and timing of any future features or functionality described for our products remains at our sole discretion.
Hardware Announcement 111-020, dated April 12, 2011
Hardware Announcement 111-032, dated April 12, 2011
Hardware Announcement 111-033, dated April 12, 2011
Software Announcement 211-101, dated April 12, 2011
Hardware Announcement 111-065, dated April 12, 2011
Software Announcement 211-100, dated April 12, 2011
Software Withdrawal 910-203, dated September 14, 2010
Hardware Announcement 110-199, dated October 07, 2010
Hardware Announcement 210-205, dated August 17, 2010
| Automatically disabling user Profiles.
Have you ever had someone come in for a short period of time that required a userid? Perhaps a consultant, an auditor, or even a temp. Well now in 7.1, there is a way to have a user profile automatically expire itself after x number of days or even on a specific date.
We all have the same types of users, and perhaps you might of had this same user in your shop. During a recent password audit, it was found that an employee was using the following password:
When asked why, she had such a long password, she said she was told that it had to be at least 8 characters long and include on capital. Ok, all kidding aside, passwords and userid are a serious business, and these new parameters at 7.1 will help you better manage your environment.
On both the CRTUSRPRF and CHGUSRPRF commands, the new parameters are USREXPDATE (this is the date when the user profile expires and is automatically disabled) and USREXPITV (the number of days between 1 and 366 before the user profile expires and is automatically disabled).
Once you have implemented this, you can run the command DSPEXPSCD. The Display Expiration Schedule command displays the list of profiles, their expiration date, and the expiration action to be taken (Disable or delete the profile). If there are no user profiles set to automatically expire, an empty report will be produced.
For help implementing your password and user-id management, please contact John.
Pete Massiello will be presenting in Minneapolis, MN at the Annual COMMON conference May 1st to May 4th the following sessions:
In addition, as President of COMMON, Pete will be presenting the opening session of the COMMON Annual conference on Sunday May 1. The 2011 Annual Meeting and Exposition officially kicks off with the Opening Session hosted by COMMON and IBM starting at 3:00 pm on Sunday. COMMON President, Pete Massiello, will be joined by Tom Rosamilia, General Manager of IBM Power Systems and System z, to welcome attendees to the conference. Pete will cover important highlights for the conference week ahead and brief members on the successes and initiatives that COMMON has undertaken over the past year, and Tom will provide some very interesting IBM highlights, and will also be joined by Eric Brown, key member of the IBM Watson team, to provide a fascinating technical overview of Watson and DeepQA. During this session, Pete and Colin Parris, VP and Business Line Executive for Power Systems, will reveal the winner of the 2011 COMMON/IBM Power Systems Innovation Award, presenting the company with the crystal statue and certificate of achievement.
On May 18th iTech Solutions will be at LISUG in Woodbury, NY. Please stop by and visit us to discuss your needs and requirements, and how iTech Solutions can help you.
Tuesday May 24th, at COMMON Europe in Milan Italy, Pete will present:
|Release levels and PTFs|
People are always asking me how often they should be performing PTF maintenance, and when is the right time to upgrade their operating system. I updated this article from last month with the current levels of PTFs. Let’s look at PTFs. First, PTFs are Program Temporary Fixes that are created by IBM to fix a problem that has occurred or to possibly prevent a problem from occurring. In addition, some times PTFs add new functionality, security, or improve performance. Therefore, I am always dumbfounded as to why customers do not perform PTF maintenance on their machine at least quarterly. If IBM has come out with a fix for your disk drives, why do you want to wait for your disk drive to fail with that problem, only to be told that there is a fix for that problem, and if you had applied the PTF beforehand, you would have averted the problem. Therefore, I think a quarterly PTF maintenance strategy is a smart move. Many of our customers are on our quarterly PTF maintenance program, and that provides them with the peace of mind of knowing their system is up to date on PTFs. Below is a table of the major group PTFs for the last few releases. This is what we are installing for our customers on iTech Solutions Quarterly Maintenance program.
7.1 6.1 V5R4 V5R3
Cumul. Pack 10229 10215 10292 8267
Tech. Refresh 1
Grp Hipers 28 86 151 169
DB Group 7 19 31 24
Java Group 5 15 26 23
Print Group 2 20 43 20
Backup/Recov. 9 22 40 33
Security Group 4 20 15 7
Blade/IXA/IXS 5 19 14 –
Http 5 16 25 17
TCP/IP 2 11 18 16
The easiest way to check your levels is to issue the command WRKPTFGRP. They should all have a status of installed, and you should be up to the latest for all the above, based upon your release. Now there are more groups than the ones listed above, but these are the general ones that most people require. We can help you know which group PTFs you should be installing on your machine based upon your licensed programs. Here is a nice tidbit. The Cumulative PTF package number is broken down as YDDD, where Y is the year and DDD is the day it was released. Therefore, if we look at the cumulative package for V5R4, the ID is 9104. We can determine that it was created on the 104th day of 2009, which is April 14, 2009. Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be. I left V5R1 & V5R2 off the list, because if you are on V5R1 or V5R2, you don’t need to be worrying about PTFs, you really need to be upgrading your operating system. The same can be said for V5R3, but there are still customers who are on those releases.
If you have an HMC, you should be running V7R7.2M0 with Service Pack 1. If your HMC is a C03, then it should stay at V7R3.5 SP3.
For your Flexible Service Processor (FSP) that is inside your Power 5 or Power5+ (520, 515, 525, 550, 570), the code level of the FSP should be 01_SF240_403. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A & 8204-E4A) customers should be running EL350_103. For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM350_103. If you have a Power6 595 (9119) then you should be on EH350_103. POWER7 the firmware level is AL720_090 for 8202-E4B (710, 720, 730, 740), AL710_144 for 750 (8233-E8B) & 755 (8236-E8C) or AM720_090 770 (9117-MMB) & 780 (9179-MHB)..
If you need help with upgrading your HMC or FSP just give us a call. We will be happy to perform the function for you or assist you in doing it. Contact Pete Massiello.