August 2015 Newsletter

Dear Mike,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

I hope you are enjoying the summer, and getting time to take some vacation and enjoy this beautiful weather. The year has certainly been a busy year for us, and August has been even busier. Everyone who seems to have waited to upgrade from IBM i 6.1 to 7.1.or 7.2 called us last month. Seriously, I think everyone called.  We have a packed few months ahead doing upgrades, as well as installing new Power8 machines. Power8 upgrades are a no-brainer for anyone on Power5 and Power6 hardware.  Even if you are on Power7 hardware, you will be amazed at what a great deal it can be.  Contact one of our sales guys at sales@itechsol.com  if you have been Anchored to one business partner for a while, it might be time to throw the anchor away. Get more from iTech SolutionsCheck us out on the web for all we can do for you and your company.

At iTech Solutions all we do is IBM i and we are growing.  This year we have created 4 new positions and have filled 2 more this month.  I would like to welcome Dave Horanzy and Yvonne Enselman to our team.  Dave will be a Sales Executive locally in the Connecticut area, and comes from IBM with many years of experience in helping customers.  Yvonne will be working in Customer Care insuring that the high quality you have been used to with iTech Solutions continues to improve, along with coordinating our growing managed services.  I am looking forward to working with both of them to provide our customers with whatever they need for their IT success.

Last month we talked about all the cool new features in the two new Technology Refreshes for both 7.1 & 7.2.  In our fourth article this month, be aware of the problems installing 7.1 Technology Refreshes if you are more than 2 Technology Refreshes behind, upgrade with caution.  See the May iTech Solutions newsletter for details on what was announced. The cool new functionality being brought to IBM i is amazing.

Would you like a presentation on the benefits of Power8 or IBM i 7.2?  Then contact iTech Solutions and we can schedule a presentation and discussion on how we can help you get the benefits of this new hardware and operating system.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article we discuss “The end is coming for 6.1”, and it is time to upgrade.  The second article is about quality and our new Customer Care surveys that we will be performing after each engagement.  The third article is on Ruby, Node.js, and Python how to install them on IBM i. The fourth is on the new version of IBM i Access Client Solution. 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. Please note that for all 7.1 customers that are on the Quarterly or Semi-annual iTech Solutions PTF maintenance plan, we will be installing 7.1 Technology Refresh 10 for you on your next application of PTFs. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 2.

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

 

pmassiello_BPMark_web_base

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, blade installations, 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.

___________________________________________________________________________

V6R1-End-is-coming

The end of regular support for IBM i 6.1 is coming 09/30/2015.   

We had so many new customers asking about 6.1 upgrades last month, that I thought it was worth repeating this article from last month.  If you are still on 6.1, it’s time to upgrade.  Let us help you.

What came out January 29, 2008?  IBM i 6.1.  If you are still on 6.1, or 6.1.1 then it’s time to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 or 7.2. The end of regular support is September 30, 2015. If you decide to stay on 6.1 it is going to cost you much more in an extended support contract. The time is now to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 or 7.2. There have been so many new features and functions put into 7.1 and 7.2, that you really want to upgrade to take advantage of them.  After all, 7.1 has been out since April 2010, and 7.2 has been out since April 2014. We do more upgrades in a week, than most people do in their life time.  We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to perform your upgrade for you without any worry.

If you don’t have the resources to do the upgrade, can’t find the time, or just don’t know where to even begin?  No problem, just contact iTech Solutions and we can perform your upgrade.  If you want a business partner who helps you get the most from your IBM i, then give us a call at 203-744-7854 or email us.  We don’t just sell hardware; we add value for our customers by helping them.


Customer Care Surveys are coming

  Surveyimage

Commitment to customer care has always been the core of iTech Solutions philosophy. Our customers and their success is what drives iTech to improve our products, services, and offerings. Quality Assurance is the foundation of this commitment and iTech Solutions continues to move forward enhancing how we support our customers.

From the initial meetings through delivery of services, iTech customers are treated with respect and know they have access to anyone in the organization. Commitment to personal interaction and attention is evident in every delivery and a point of pride for the company.

To maintain the highest standards of responsiveness, iTech Solutions has added the position of Customer Care Coordinator to our team. This person will be responsible for ensuring our customers receive the best service we can provide and that we continue to improve. Using surveys and direct communication, we will be reaching out to our customers, proactively making sure they are getting all they need from our organization.

By gathering responses regarding our engagements via surveys, we will determine anything additional we can do to improve your experiences. We intend to remain the best option to be your business partner supporting the most POWERful business solution available. Our Customer Care initiates will allow us to bring our expertise to the organizations we serve in new ways.

This will benefit our customers because there is a dedicated contact tasked with ensuring our engagements run smoothly and support is responsive and prompt. In addition to the account managers and technical staff there is another iTech employee committed to their needs they can contact at any time. The questions and responses will allow us to address any concerns quickly. It will also provide for internal evaluation of our resources placing those with specific talents on projects that showcase that ability. Therefore we bring the best of our team to every customer we serve.

There is no end to the services and support iTech Solutions offers our customers. By enhancing our team in this area, we ensure we will continue to be the best team to support your IBM i and Power System needs. We value your opinion, and your opinion matters to us.  So, please let us know how we are doing when Yvonne reaches out to you as we complete our upcoming projects. You can also reach out to her if you wish.

 


What do Ruby, Node.js, and Python have in common?   .

iStock_000019030607XSmall

They all run on IBM i. No, you didn’t wake up in some alternative universe this morning. It is true. This isn’t your grandfather’s AS/400 anymore. Now, don’t go asking me questions about these languages. I am writing this article from a System Administrator’s perspective. Ok, then why do we care? As System Administrators we are responsible for the infrastructure. You should be loading this for your developers so that they can start using these languages. You can install this for either 7.1 or 7.2.

The new License Program Option is 5733OPS – Open Source for IBM i. If you wish to download it, you can download it directly from the Entitled Software Support (ESS) website under 5770-SS1 base FC’s 5817, 5818, 5819, 5827, 5828, or 5829 the package is titled F_MULTI_NLV_110_IBM_i_Open_Source_Solutions. It is a pretty quick install; the only issue is that if you go into “Install Licensed Programs” (Option 11 on the GO LICPGM menu) you won’t see this LPP listed. You have to install the *BASE option, as well as option 1 for Node.js and option 2 for Python. You can do a RSTLICPGM of the product from a DVD (or image of the DVD using an Image Catalog). The products will be updated via normal PTF process once they are installed, and the updates come via the DG1/HTTP PTF Group.

My only disappointment on their implementation on IBM i, is that when you go into Display Licensed Program, you just see options and not the name of the languages. There are 15 options, which IBM states they will update via PTFs with new options as they become available. Ok, I am good with that just change the description as well !!!

Licensed Product
Program Option Description
5733OPS *BASE IBM i Open Source Solutions
5733OPS 1 IBM i Open Source Solutions Option 1
5733OPS 2 IBM i Open Source Solutions Option 2
5733OPS 3 IBM i Open Source Solutions Option 3
5733OPS 4 IBM i Open Source Solutions Option 4
5733OPS 5 IBM i Open Source Solutions Option 5
5733OPS 6 IBM i Open Source Solutions Option 6

So far we have 5733-OPS option 1 which is Node.js and 5733-OPS option which 2 is Python. Look for more to come. The Ruby Binary distribution, actually installs into the PASE environment, so you don’t see that here. If you need some help installing this, updating, or applying PTFs, contact iTech Solutions.

 


How to Download IBM i Access Client Solution.

   IBM i

The windows version of IBM i Access (formally known as PC Support, Client Access, or iSeries Access) at 7.1 is the last client that will be delivered. The client wasn’t refreshed at 7.2, and IBM has stated that this product has been stabilized. IBM i Access 7.1 is supported on Windows 7 and Windows 8, but won’t be supported by Windows 10. Hey, what happened to Windows 9, doesn’t 9 usually come between 8 and 10? Let’s not go down that rabbit hole. So, if you want to go to Windows 10, what would you do? Well, IBM has been shipping a Java based client as the replacement for the past few years. It is called IBM i Access Client Solutions. This works on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. We have been running it for a few years, and have had some pretty good success with it. You know, I just hate anything with Java, as it seems like I get a Java update twice a week from Sun, and if you don’t update then the Java apps don’t seem to run. I haven’t experienced this yet, but I will be annoyed if it happens. IBM i Access Client Solutions provides a Java based, platform-independent interface that runs on most operating systems that support Java, including Linux, Mac, and Windows.

I am writing this article because people keep telling me they can’t find it to download. I think the same people who were in charge of IBM’s stealth marketing program of the old AS/400, must have had a hand in deciding where to put this on the Entitled Software Support (ESS) download site. It is impossible to find, and I have had a few customers ask me where they can download this. I thought, this would be a helpful article for everyone. As long as you have a current software maintenance contract, you can download it from the ESS. You download it under 5761-SS1 or 5770-SS1, from feature codes 5817, 5818, or 5819.

Log into the ESS website, go to Software downloads on the left. Select IBM i, and either version 6.1, 7.1 or 7.2. Press the Continue button and your screen will look like below. Select 5770-SS1 or 5761-SS1, and press the Continue button at the bottom of your screen

 

Press Continue on the next screen and you will see the screen below:

Here is the key, Click hide/show and your screen will show you the additional features as below and click on the hide/show for 5817 feature code. Now you will see the actual client to download. Note the additional two items are for ODBC drivers for Windows and Linux respectively. These are optional.

Maybe next month we should have an article on how to convert your existing sessions to the new Java based IBM i Access Client Solution.


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.

NewsletterApril2013

 

September 24 – VTMUG Eleventh Annual Technical conference  www.vtmug.org   Burlington, VT

  • Visit our booth in the Vendor Expo to learn more about our products and services.

 

October 5 – 7 COMMON www.common.org  Fall Event Fort Lauderdale, FL, Visit Paul & Rick at our booth and/or hear Pete speak on:

  • What you need to know to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, FSP, Firmware: Putting all the pieces together
  • Tips and Tricks to Improve Performance and Save disk space.
  • Cool things on Managing your system with Navigator for IBM

 

October 18 – 20 COMMON Sweden Data3 www.data3.se – Plats: Elite Marina Tower Hotel

  • What you need to know to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, FSP, Firmware: Putting all the pieces together
  • Step by Step guide to creating guest IBM i partitions hosted by IBM i
  • Cool things on Managing your system with Navigator for IBM

October 21 COMMON Belgium www.common.be

  • Various Systems management Topics

 


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.

7.2 7.1 6.1 V5R4 V5R3
Cumul Pack 15135 15142 15063 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 2 10
Grp Hipers 43 146 206 203 169
DB Group 8 36 33 33 24
Java Group 7 22 33 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 14 49 60 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 10 35 45 36 17
TCP/IP 1 8 16 22 16
Security 18 43 58 32
High Availability 2 8 4
Hardware 10 20 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 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.

HMCs

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

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.3 MH01513, then MH01514, then MH01551
HMC V8R8.2 SP2 MH01488
HMC  V8R8.1 SP 2 MH01452, then MH01550
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 2 MH01451, then MH01549
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_146_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_071_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_156_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-101_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_101_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_101_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_071_040
Power8 8247-21L, 8247-22L, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, 8286-42A SV830_048_081

 

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.

Leave a Reply