iTech Solutions - for all of your IBM i System needs

iTech Solutions - for all of your IBM i System needs

August 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

We are coming to a city near you, if you live in the Northeast of the US.  Starting Sept 28, we will be once again presenting our Power8 and IBM i 7.3 roadshow.  We invite you to come and hear all the latest information on Power 8 Servers and details about what is in IBM i 7.3.  There is no charge for registration, so we hope to see you there.

As you know we have been upgrading customers all year, but I just wanted to share what a customer wrote to us today, after doing an upgrade last weekend.  They were running a Power6 with LTO-4 tape technology, one of the problems they were having was their full backup each weekend was taking over 11 hours.  We installed a new Power8 machine with Solid State Disks, and also 4 times the memory.  In addition, we upgraded their tape technology to LTO7 with the new high performance tape adapter.  Their backup went from over 11 hours to just under 2 hours. That is one heck of a difference.  In addition, this upgrade was justified on the maintenance savings.  Of course, regular batch jobs are seeing the same performance improvement.  If we can help you, just contact our sales team.

In March we released our first IBM i State of the Union and the positive comments and the number of downloads has been phenomenal.  We just completed updating this to include everything from the first half of 2016, you can get a copy on our website.

As we have been publishing our monthly newsletter now for almost 9 years, we continue to help our customers and members of the IBM i community get the most from their IBM i and Power Systems investment.  If your current business partner isn’t providing you with the same value, switch to iTech Solutions by calling our sales team at 203-744-7854 then press 3 for the sales team.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article we tell you about our Power8 and IBM i Roadshows coming to the cities in the northeast US. The second article is from Yvonne on what Managed Services are, and how they can help you. The third article on selected IBM products being withdrawn from maintenance coverage, and the dates.  The fourth is on IBM i Open Source, and the option available to you.  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 11 for you on your next application of PTFs. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 3.

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 or iSeries 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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

iTech Solutions Power8 and IBM i 7.3 roadshows are coming to you.

Join us for an IBM Power8 and IBM i 7.3 Roadshow sponsored by iTech Solutions Group, where you will learn about the exciting new announcements that emphasize IBM’s continued commitment to the Power Systems platform and the IBM i operating system.

The Roadshow is about what is new and exciting with the IBM Power8 servers and the latest level of the OS. If you are operating any of IBM’s iSeries, Power5, Power6, or Power 7 servers these Roadshow presentations will have everything you need to know about how the new Power8 servers can vastly improve your IT environment and reduce operating costs.

Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions Group, an IBM Premier Business Partner, will present two sessions at each of these roadshow locations.

Session Highlights to include:

  • IBM Power Systems Roadmap and Commitment to i
  • How Organizations are running mission-critical workloads on Power8 with reduced TCO
  • Understanding of IBM Power8 processors, enhancements and new features
  • Discussion of IBM i 7.3 newest enhancements including: DB2,  Security, and System Management
  • Reducing system downtime with High Availability and Backup options

 

iTech Solutions Roadshow Schedule: Session Time

(Registration 30 min prior)

Location
 Wed – Sept 28, 2016  2:00pm –   5:00pm  Ramada Plaza, Portland, ME
Thur – Sept 29, 2016 9:00am – 12:00pm The Yard Restaurant, Manchester, NH
Thur – Sept 29, 2016 2:00pm –  5:00pm Onyx Hotel, Boston, MA
Thur – Oct 6, 2016 9:00am – 12:00pm Providence Marriott Downtown, Providence, RI
Thur – Oct 6, 2016 2:00pm – 5:00pm Sheraton Tara, Framingham, MA
Wed – Oct 12, 2016 9:00am – 12:00pm Norwalk Inn, Norwalk, CT
Wed – Oct 19, 2016 2:00pm – 5:00pm Albany, NY
Thur – Oct 20, 2016 10:00am – 1:00pm Burlington, VT
Wed – Nov 2, 2016 9:00am – 12:00pm Holiday Inn, Fairfield, NJ
 Wed – Nov 2, 2016  1:00pm – 5:00pm  Westbury Manor, Westbury, NY
Thur – Nov 3, 2016 9:00am – 12:00pm IBM 590 Madison Ave, New York City, NY

We don’t have all the hotel locations, as you can see  Albany, and Burlington don’t yet have a hotlink.  They will shortly.

To register for one of these sessions, choose from the locations listed and click the date of the event in your area. For more information you can always contact sales@itechsol.com or dial 203-744-7854 press 3 for sales.

 


 

Managed Services by Yvonne Enselman 

Since joining iTech a year ago as the Managed Services Coordinator the question I have been asked more than any other is, “What are Managed Services and why do they require coordination?”

The simple answer is they are a way of using the talents and resources of iTech to supplement an IT department.

However, that lends itself to even more information and detail.

My favorite answer is, “you know when you get to that one area where things never go simply and you think to yourself, I wish Pete (or one of his technicians) were here to help me…” They can be.

As with everything relating to IBM i on Power Systems installations and teams vary widely. Likewise, the level of knowledge and ability needed to maintain the system and administer is diverse. Add to this the usual staffing and resource concerns and the need for a Managed Service Provider is easy to understand.

The services that iTech can provide are customizable and unique to each partner we work with. (Hence the need for coordination.) Things like PTF maintenance and support is a common service we provide; taking care of updating the image catalogs, applying, scheduling and supervising the IPL on a quarterly basis. Another area is backup and replication; from setting up the utilities and tools, monitoring same, and providing the cloud based solutions. Other examples get more involved and use more of the advanced skill sets iTech has to offer.

The services mentioned above make sense to a lot of organizations. It takes a task away from a resource bound team and brings in expertise to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Even in shops where there is a full time administrator or team outsourcing routine functions can result in cost saving.

However, when IT departments are faced with more limited administrator resources there are additional services we offer. For many of our customers we partner more closely and actually perform the actions of a IBM i administrator. In these cases, Pete, Nate, Matt, Chris, and Kevin monitor the health of the system daily and are on hand for all IBM i needs. PTFs, Disk Usage, message monitoring, printer issues, communications, back-ups, replication all can be handled. It is commonly described as time slicing a system administrator for organizations that need someone all the time but don’t have a resource with the skills, time, or experience to effectively support this system.

One of the best things about partnering with iTech is our responsiveness to your system. Monitoring software is in use in many organizations but is only as useful as the professionals responding to it. The technicians at iTech have over 100 years of experience between them and these are the guys responding to your help desk requests.

Of course every customer has different needs and that is where iTech can shine. The guys have in depth knowledge of just about everything that needs doing on an IBM i and for one reasonable monthly cost our customers get all of that experience. This year we have worked on projects as diverse as FTP monitoring, single sign on, backup procedures to every type of OS upgrade combination imaginable. All of this is done by working closely with the departments we supplement and communicating regularly.

In the past year I have gotten to know our MSP customers well and understand their needs. From meeting scheduling, report writing, and note taking I make sure everyone involved has the needed information and can review what has been done lately. Then we provide project support and management for larger initiatives and plans. We truly partner with these customers and become a team within their department to assist as needed.

If you would like to discuss how iTech Solutions can help you, please send me an email.  Our Administrators have the skills, knowledge, and experience to perform any other IBM i System Admin functions.

 


Discontinuance of maintenance services for select IBM machines.

Last month, IBM announced that it was giving customers notice that it would terminate maintenance for certain older machines.  Some business partners ran around telling everyone the sky was falling. First, I would say relax.  You have time to get things resolved, as the old Power5 9402, 9404, and 9406 machines are being withdrawn from service effective 1/31/2019.  Now, don’t wait until the last minute, but if you start your project now to upgrade to a newer machine, you should have plenty of time to get a new machine, and upgrade the Operating System.  With the age of these older machines, you will certainly also need to get to a new release.  Note that some of the older HMCs will be discontinued from maintenance services 1/31/2018. Contact our sales team for help and guidance. Below is the official list and dates.

Periodically, IBM® provides notice to customers of plans to terminate services for machines under an IBM Agreement. At this time, we are providing notice that selected machine types, models, and features will be discontinued from maintenance services. IBM will send no further correspondence of this nature for these machine types, models, features, or RPQs

Services withdrawal: Declaration of plan to discontinue lease, rental, and maintenance services for selected machines

IBM machine types and models

IBM will withdraw from its lease, rental, and maintenance agreements the Power® products listed below.

List A

Effective September 30, 2016

Machine type Model
8492 DW2
8492 DW3
8493 CR6
8493 RS3
8493 SV2
8493 SV3
8493 SV6
8493 T42

List B

Effective January 31, 2017

Machine type Model
7318 S20
8844 31U
8844 51U
8844 31X
8844 41X
8844 51X
8844 E3U
8844 E5U
9076 303
9076 30A
9076 550
9406 P01

List C

Effective June 30, 2017

Machine type Model
7015 R24
7017 S7A
7017 S70
7017 S80
7017 S85
7024 E20
7024 E30
7025 F30
7025 F40
7025 F50
7025 F80
7025 6F0
7025 6F1
7043 140
7043 150
7043 240
7043 260
7044 170
7044 270
7046 B50
7047 185

List D

Effective January 31, 2018

Machine type Model
7026 6H0
7026 6H1
7026 6M1
7026 B80
7026 H50
7026 H70
7026 H80
7026 M80
7028 6C1
7028 6C4
7028 6E1
7028 6E4
7310 C03
7310 C04
7310 CR2
7315 C01
7315 C02
7315 C03
7315 C04
7315 CR2
7315 CR3
7955 01M
7955 02P
7988 J21
9110 510
9110 51A
9111 285
9111 520
9115 505
9118 575
9131 52A
9133 55A

List E

Effective June 30, 2018

Machine type Model
7038 6M2
7040 W42
7040 61R
7040 671
7040 681

List F

Effective January 31, 2019

Machine type Model
7029 6C3
7029 6E3
7311 D10
9113 550
9116 561
9119 590
9119 595
9402 730
9402 740
9404 730
9404 740
9405 520
9406 520
9406 730
9406 740
9407 515

List G

Effective October 31, 2019

Machine type Model
9117 570
9411 100

List H

Effective January 31, 2020

Machine type Model
9404 720
9406 170
9406 720

List I

Effective October 31, 2020

Machine type Model
9402 820
9404 820
9404 830
9404 840
9406 250
9406 270
9406 525
9406 550
9406 570
9406 595
9406 800
9406 810
9406 820
9406 825
9406 830
9406 840
9406 870
9406 890

 

Again, contact our sales team and together with our technical team they can help you migrate to newer, faster, less expensive IBM Power Systems running IBM i.

 


Open Source on IBM i

People are always asking me what Open Source options are available on IBM i.  I think that IBM i has become an incubator for the many open source languages that are available today.  Below is a list of the options and what you can be running on your IBM i.

 

5733-OPS Option 1 Node.js  V1
5733-OPS Option 2 Python  3
5733-OPS Option 3 GCC & CHROOT
5733-OPS Option 4 Python 2
5733-OPS Option 5 Node.js  v4
5733-OPS Option 6 Git
5733-OPS Option 7 Tools
5733-OPS Option 8 Orion
5733-OPS Option 9 cloud-init
5733-OPS Option 10 TBD
5733-OPS Option 11 TBD
5733-OPS Option 12 TBD
5733-OPS Option 13 TBD
5733-OPS Option 14 TBD
5733-OPS Option 15 TBD

For help installing Open Source Languages on your IBM i, please contact Pete.

 

 


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.    

 

September 28 – November 3, 2016 – iTech Solutions Power8 & IBM i 7.3 roadshows http://www.itechsol.com

  • IBM Power Systems Roadmap and Commitment to i
  • How Organizations are running mission-critical workloads on Power8 with reduced TCO
  • Understanding of IBM Power8 processors, enhancements and new features
  • Discussion of IBM i 7.3 newest enhancements including: DB2,  Security, and System Management
  • Reducing system downtime with High Availability and Backup options

September 19-22, 2016 – IBM Edge 2016 MGM Grand Las Vegas NV   http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/edge/

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

October 24 – 26, 2016 – COMMON Fall Event, Columbus OH  www.common.org

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

December 7 – 8, 2016 – COMMON Forum – Systems Management, Orange County, CA  www.common.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 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
  • Rapid Fire Admin

 


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 16085 16127 16120 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh 3 11
Grp Hipers 12 71 175 210 204
DB Group  2 13 40 33 33
Java Group 2 10 25 36 34
Print Group 3 12 31 49
Backup/Recov. 4 26 60 61 57
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 3 16 41 46 36
TCP/IP 3 9 17 22
Security 5 36 60 60  33
High Availability 2 5 11  5
Hardware  2 17 28  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 16120. We can determine that it was created on the 120th day of 2016, which is April 29th, 2016. Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be.

HMCs

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

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.5 MH01617 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)

MH01649 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)

HMC V8R8.4
  1. MH01560 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  2. SP1 MH01576 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  3. MH01639 (must be installed from classic GUI or from command line)
HMC V8R8.3
  1. SP2 MH01584
  2. MH01638
  3. MH01647
HMC  V8R8.2
  1. SP2 MH01488
  2. MH01646
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9
  1. SP3 MH01546
  2. MH01587
  3. MH01628
HMC V7R7.8
  1. SP1 MH01397
  2. SP2 MH01432
  3. MH01570
or V7R7.7
  1. SP3 MH01379
  2. SP4 MH01415
  3. MH01516
HMC C03 V7R3.5 SP4 MH01277

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_172_038 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_172_038 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_172_038 last
9119-FHA EH350_172_038 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_152_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_080_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_161_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-112_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_112_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_112_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_075_040
Power8 8408-E8E, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, or 8286-42A SV840_113_056
9119-MHE or 9119-MME SC840_111_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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