August 2018 Newsletter

A Word from iTech Solutions President, Pete Massiello.

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The summer went by way too fast, I hope you were able to enjoy it. I could have had a few more months of summer. I am not sure that I have a favorite season, as I like them all, but summer on the lake is certainly right up there.

Summer hasn’t been all relaxing either. We have been busy with POWER9s and OS Upgrades. Quite honestly, I thought when IBM i 7.1 reached end of life, upgrades would have really stopped. We aren’t doing 10 upgrades a week anymore as we were from December to May, but we are still doing 4 to 6 OS upgrades every week.

Just so that you know, IBM recently announced that IBM i Next (the release after 7.3) will not run on POWER7 hardware. If you are on POWER7, we can probably install a POWER9 for the same price as what you are paying for 3 years of maintenance on your POWER7. The nice thing is it will also be about twice the performance for the same cost of ownership. We have been installing lots of POWER9 machines, and have quite a few already scheduled for September. It is a hot machine.

We decided to host POWER9 presentations at Baseball games to learn more about the new features and functions, and enjoy a baseball game. We have had great events with customers and non-customers in Portland ME with the Sea Dogs, Manchester NH with the Fisher Cats, Pawtucket RI with the Paw Sox, Schaumburg IL with the Boomers, Grand Rapids MI with the WhiteCaps, and then Hartford CT with the Yard Goats. It was great to see so many familiar faces, as well as fun spending time just talking IBM i and watching some baseball. We had so many positive comments from customers, that we are starting our planning for next summer.

With the fall approaching, its conference time again. Look for iTech Solutions to be at the Vermont IBM i Users Group, Jack Henry Conference, COMMON Fall, IBM Technical University, and COMMON Sweden. I hope if you are planning on attending these, you stop by either our booth or at one of our speaking sessions and say hello.  It’s always great to meet our customers, and learn more about them.

This newsletter includes:

  • Peripheral Support for MSP Customers by Yvonne Enselman
  • IBM i Support Updates by Steve Pitcher

  • 10 Steps to Prepare for a Security Breach by Phil Pearson

  • Featured Blog: 6 Steps to Execute an IBM i Security Project by Laurie Leblanc

  • Issues with OpenSSH Algorithms on IBM i OS 6.1, 7.1, and 7.2 by Chris Flick

  • Events

  • Release Levels and PTFs

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 the latest PTFs as you are now on Technology Refresh 11. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 8, and 7.3 will be Technology Refresh 4.

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Peripheral Support for MSP Customers

yvonne_croppedFor this installment of my Managed Administration Services series, I am going to talk about the peripheral support services our customers have availed themselves from iTech certified administrators. As always, all services are standalone projects as well.

The following is just a handful of the issues that have come up for our partners and been resolved by the teams.

ACS –

Access Client Solutions is a pretty simple concept that has been around a long time. It delivers TCP/IP connectivity between the IBM i and the window based clients that run the PCs users have to perform their jobs. However, like everything else in the Information Technology universe, complexity expands as functionality evolves. So, it used to be a general way to get a 5250 session, maybe some IFS access for share drives, and printer connections…[CONTINUE READING]

 

Read the Full Article

 

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IBM i Support Updates

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Do you still have an old “System i, “iSeries” or “AS/400” in your shop? Do you know the date it’s going out of support?

January 31st, 2019 you’ll see the POWER5 9405-520 and 9406-520 models go away. That means no more support from IBM. If you have a hardware problem…don’t say we didn’t warn you. For these popular older machines (and there are plenty of them still out there) that means you’ve got 161 days to plan for a hardware refresh to IBM POWER9 servers…[CONTINUE READING]

Read the Full Article
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Phil_cropped-110 Steps to Prepare for a Security Breach

We have to ask ourselves…what can we do to protect our organizations? In his book “Scouting for Boys” (1908), the founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell said:

“Be Prepared … by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.”

It should be our goal to not only prevent security breaches, but to prepare for them, and to manage them to the least possible impact to the organization. It’s critical to be realistic about the environment and to acknowledge that our organizations take risks (to achieve). Security isn’t perfect, but we can all be better and need to take the necessary steps to “Be Prepared.”…[CONTINUE READING]

Read the Full Article
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Featured Blog: 6 Steps to Execute an IBM i Security Project

Laurie_croppedMany companies want to improve the state of their IBM i security, but they often don’t know where to start. They also might not understand the long-term impact of recommended changes. Having a partner who can help you navigate through your security project can be the difference between success and failure. Let’s take a closer look at six steps to properly execute a security improvement project.

Step #1 – First seek to understand

One of the habits highly successful people practice is to first seek to understand, then seek to be understood; this applies to IT projects too. In order to successfully improve your security, you need to first understand what the state of your current security is… [Continue Reading]

 

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Issues with OpenSSH Algorithms on IBM i OS 6.1, 7.1, and 7.2

If you start to have SSH/SFTP/SCP connections fail with error messages in regards to not matching ciphers, that were working, then stopped working, then this is most likely due to: the partner SSH server or client on the connection is running a very old version of the SSH / OpenSSH code, and you upgraded your OpenSSH on the IBM i (knowingly or unknowingly).

IBM i OS 6.1, 7.1, and 7.2, OpenSSH on these releases was 6.6p1. In OpenSSH 6.7 and subsequent releases, changes were made to the default set of ciphers. The following PTFs, or their supersedes, upgrade OpenSSH on the IBM i from an earlier release to 6.9p1:

  • R610 – SI57920
  • R710 – SI57762
  • R720 – SI57771

[Continue Reading]

 

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Upcoming Events

Sept 27, 2018 – VTMUG Technical Conference

Trader Duke’s, Burlington, VT    

Visit Laurie & Paul at our booth and learn how iTech Solutions can help you with your IBM i. Pete Massiello will be speaking on various Systems Management sessions to be determined.

 

Oct 15 – 17, 2018 – COMMON Fall Conference & Expo,

Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, Pittsburgh, PA    

Booth #20

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Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i. In addition hear Pete Massiello, Yvonne Enselman, Richie Palma, and Steve Pitcher speak on a variety of IBM i System administration topics.

 

Oct 15 – 18, 2018 – Jack Henry Annual Conference 

Gaylord Texan Hotel, Grapevine, TX

Copy of 2017 JACK HENRY CONFERENCE

Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i

 

Oct 17 – 19, 2018 – IBM Technical University 

Hollywood, FL

TechU

Hear Pete Massiello speak on a variety of IBM i System administration topics.

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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 18025 18032 17192 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh  4 8 11
Grp Hipers 63 126 226 210 204
DB Group 10 22 43 33 33
Java Group 9 17 32 41 34

[Continue Reading]

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Moving IBM i to POWER9

It’s always exciting when IBM announces new hardware and today is no exception! We have been hearing about the new POWER9 Chip for several months.

Read the Blog

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What are the True Costs of Staying
on Old Hardware?

It’s not news that keeping old hardware will cause your maintenance fees to increase. But what are the true costs?

Read the Blog

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6 Steps to Execute an IBM i Security Project

Many companies want to improve the state of their IBM i security, but they often don’t know where to start. They also might not understand the long-term impact of recommended changes.

Read the Blog

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How to Conquer IBM i Staffing

The use of Managed Services are predicted to continue to increase in 2017. Companies are realizing that focusing on what they do best can provide them with a competitive edge.

Read the Blog

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