April 2016 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

  • IBM i 7.3 Overview
  • Release levels and PTFs

Good morning, and its a great morning if you run IBM i.  Today, a new release of IBM i has been announced, 7.3.  There are tons of new and cool things, but I want you to be aware of the highlights that are being announced.  We have been a beta-site since January of this year, helping IBM test the new release.  I have to tip my hat again to the developers at IBM Rochester, another Rock Solid release.  It’s been fun learning and upgrading IBM i on our machines, and we have developed a brochure for your use called “7.3 things you need to know to upgrade to 7.3″.

Steve Will, the Chief Architect of IBM i and myself will be doing a presentation on April 19 & 21, all about IBM i 7.3.  Steve will talk about the new features, and I will discuss what you need to know to upgrade to IBM i 7.3.  We had originally stated this webinar would be on What’s new with IBM i due to the fact we couldn’t mention this release by number before the announcement, but that seminar will be all about 7.3.

This newsletter will just concentrate on 7.3, and in May we will go back to our regular format of 4 articles, events, and PTFs.

Having a business partner isn’t the same as having iTech Solutions. If you are not getting the support, the help, the guidance, and the advice you need to succeed, then you owe it to yourself to contact iTech Solutions for all your IBM Power Systems running IBM i needs. We can help you upgrade your AS/400 oriSeries to a Power Systems running IBM i, or even your existing POWER5, POWER6, or POWER7 machines to POWER8.


iTech Solutions vast experience can help you improve performance, perform security audits, implement a high availability solution, perform health checks, systems management, remote administration, PTF management, cloud-based systems, hosting, replication, and 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 IBM i.

For more information on any of the articles below please visit us on the web at iTech Solutions or email iTech Solutions. We would love for you to let us know any articles that you wish for the future, or if you enjoy any of the articles in the current newsletters.


IBM i 7.3.

Let’s start with the roadmap. iNext has officially become 7.3, and now iNext+1 has become iNext, and there is a release after that.  This shows the solid future of IBM i.  Also, notice that 7.2 will be getting a Technology Refresh on May 20, called TR4.  Important to see that IBM i 7.1, is not getting a new TR, so the writing is now on the wall, that you should be looking at upgrading to IBM i 7.2 or 7.3.




I always talk that successful upgrades require planning, and for this reason we came out with the 7.3 things you need to know to successfully upgrade to IBM i 7.3.  One item on the list is versions of hardware. It is important to remember that some of the older machines like Power6 will not run IBM i 7.3. In addition, IBM i 7.2 will not run on Power5 machines, and it won’t run on any Power6 machines that still have Power5 generation hardware attached to it, like IOPs and HSL loops.  Let’s see a chart on this:


Again, they put some amazing new database features in this release as as they did when 7.2 was announced.  Temporal support allows you to literally look at what the records in your database were at a point in time.

There will be more information coming, but I wanted to bring you up to speed on the highlights. For additional information, here is the IBM Developer Site.

Don’t forget to download the 7.3 things you need to be aware of for upgrading to IBM i 7.3.

If you haven’t yet read our IBM i state of the union, I recommend you download that here. Click to download and read the IBM i state of the Union.



Upcoming Events

Some of the events that we will be speaking at or exhibiting at are listed below. Don’t forget the iTech Solutions web site at http://www.itechsol.com.


Archived available anytime – Steve Will and Pete Massiello host a session on what’s new for IBM i 7.3.    


April 11 to 13, 2016 – NEUGC at the Sheraton Framingham, in Framingham, MA,  www.neugc.org

Visit Dave, Matt, Nathan, Paul, and Rick at the booth.  Hear Pete present on:

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1, 7.2, & 7.3
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space
  • Step by step guide to Creating Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i

April 19 , 2016 – Steve Will and Pete Massiello will host a session on what’s new for IBM i 7.3 and how to upgrade to 7.3.  More details to come.


May 15 to 18, 2016 – COMMON at the Hilton in New Orleans  www.COMMON.org  

Visit Paul, and Rick at the booth.  Hear Pete present on:

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1, 7.2, & 7.3
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space
  • Step by step guide to Creating Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i

May 25 , 2016 – LISUG – Westbury Manor, Westbury LI, www.lisug.org

Visit Dan and Glenn at the booth.

June 12 – 14 COMMON Europe, Stockholm, Sweden,  www.comeur.org

  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1, 7.2, & 7.3
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space


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.

7.3 7.2 7.1 6.1 V5R4
Cumul Pack 15311 15317 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh 3  11
Grp Hipers 60 164 210 204
DB Group 10 39 34 33
Java Group 9 24 35 34
Print Group 3 12 31 49
Backup/Recov. 21 56 61 57
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 13 38 46 36
TCP/IP 2 9 17 22
Security 29 54 60  33
High Availability 3 9  5
Hardware 14 24  17

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 V7R1, the ID is 13287. We can determine that it was created on the 287th day of 2013, which is October 14, 2013. 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 & V5R4, but there are still customers who are on those releases.


If you have a Hardware Management Console (HMC,) you should be running:

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.4 MH01559, then MH01560
HMC V8R8.3 SP1 MH01540, and then MH01565
HMC  V8R8.2 SP 2 MH01488, then MH01590
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 3 MH01546
HMC V7R7.8 SP1 MH01397 then

SP 2 MH01432, then MH01548

or V7R7.7 SP 3 MH1397, then SP 4 MH01415,

then MH01516

HMC C03 V7R3.5 SP4

If we have a model listed above in the HMC column that is the highest level of firmware that model of the HMC can be upgraded to.

  • Note that release 8.8.x does not support any POWER5 servers.
  • Version 7.7.9 is not supported and cannot be installed on HMC models C03, C04 or CR2.
  • If an HMC is used to manage any POWER7 processor based server, the HMC must be a model CR3 or later model rack-mount HMC or C05 or later desk side HMC.
  • HMC V8R8.1 is supported on rack-mount models CR5, CR6, CR7 and CR8; and on desktop model C08. These listed models meet or exceed the V8R8.1 minimum memory requirement of 2GB however 4GB is recommended.
  • If you want to manage a POWER8 machine, you need to be on at least HMC 8.8.1


If you have an Flexible Service Processor (FSP) your firmware should be:

Machine Processor Model Version Notes
Power5 or 5+ 520, 515, 525, 550, 570 SF240_418_382 last
Power6 940x, M15, M25, M50 EL350_166_074 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_166_074 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_166_074 last
9119-FHA EH350_166_074 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_149_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_071_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_159_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-109_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_109_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_109_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_071_040
Power8 8247-21L, 8247-22L, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, 8286-42A SV840_056_056


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.

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