Pete Massiello

iTech Newsletter September 2022

September 2022 Newsletter

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I guess it was just a matter of time as we all knew it was coming, eventually.  IBM i 7.3 is going out of support next year, Sept 30, 2023.  I guess the handwriting was on the wall when IBM came out with 7.5 in the spring, as they don’t normally support 3 releases of the operating system at once.  Quite honestly, I was a little surprised they kept the support that long, as I had expected once 7.5 was announced that they would drop the support for 7.3.…

August 2022 Newsletter

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Did you ever hear the saying “The more things change, the more they remain the same”?  Well, that has pretty much been our first two months as part of Service Express. Same iTech Staff, same iTech procedures, same iTech customers, and same iTech commitment to IBM i.  Don’t get me wrong, we are looking at some cool new tools to help us become more productive and efficient, but our commitment to IBM i hasn’t changed.…

July 2022 Newsletter

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Well to say July was the month of all months combined would be an understatement.  First, and foremost iTech Solutions was acquired by Service Express, a leader in global data center and infrastructure solutions, announced the acquisition on July 1st of managed services provider iTech Solutions Group and cloud hosting provider iInTheCloud.…

June 2022 Newsletter

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As we approach the end of June, I just wanted to thank all of our customers for another great record-setting first half here at iTech Solutions. We thank you for allowing us into your environment, we know you had a choice and we are so happy you have chosen us. We take pride in our work, we love helping our customers, and we value the relationships we have with you…

6 Steps to Help Back Up Your Data During Hurricane Season

6 Steps to Help Back Up Your Data During Hurricane Season

The 2022 hurricane season has officially started and the NOAA already released predictions calling the 2022 season “above normal’ with 14-21 named storms expected.

Of course, the first concern is keeping you and your family safe. The Red Cross has excellent resources on Hurricane and Tropical Storm preparedness. You can see those here.

There may come a time when you ask if your business is fully prepared.

[Get the guide: 25 Tips to Prepare Your IBM i for the Unexpected]

Here are some things to keep in mind:

The first question you have to ask yourself is “Do I have a full backup in case my machine or computer room is destroyed or damaged?”.  This is probably the number one issue that I see in our industry today.  Most businesses don’t have good backups that they can rely on.

If you are a regular reader of the iTech newsletter, you have probably heard me stress that you need to test your recovery and that it still holds out.

Take a moment to ask yourself:

  • Am I 100% sure of my backups?
  • Can I put the pieces of my backups together again?
  • Do I know all the pieces of my backup and where they are stored?
  • Do I know where my tapes are?
  • Do I have someplace to recover?

If you have to pause a moment when going over those questions, we will go over some steps below to help.  (Remember, the iTech Solutions team can help you get your machine restored, but if you don’t have a backup tape, there isn’t anything we are going to be able to do to restore your data.)

Your recovery will only be as good as your backup.

Once you have your backup, please take the backup tape off-site.  If the whole area is being hit by the hurricane, then you can ship the tape to iTech Solutions (27 Mill Plain Rd. Suite 3, Danbury, CT 06811). Only put your tape in the mail if it is encrypted. Make sure you put your name on the tape. This is the second most important step to perform.  Most likely if your machine is destroyed and the tape is inside the tape drive (Don’t laugh, I see this all the time), or the tape is on top of the computer, that tape will most likely also be destroyed.  So, move that …

May 2022 Newsletter

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IBM announced IBM i 7.5 with a host of new features and functions at the beginning of the month.   Plenty of security enhancements, DB2 for i enhancements, general OS improvements, DB2 Mirror for i, and of course Merlin.  Merlin stands for Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration.…

April 2022 Newsletter

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Well from reading Steve Will’s blog this month, we know the next release of IBM i is very, very close to being announced. That is great news for IBM i customers. There are a lot of really cool features that have been added to this next release, and I can’t wait to tell you all that I know on Announcement day. In fact, we will show you just how easy it is and everything you need to know to upgrade to the next release of IBM i as soon as it is announced. I think the other benefit for the whole community, is that the roadmap gets updated and we will still have at least 2 more releases of IBM i still to come out after the one this year. That pushes IBM i support probably out to around 2035ish by simple math applied to the current schedule.…

How Good Are Your Backups?

How Good Are Your Backups?

How good are your backups?

Wait, don’t answer too quickly.

Today March 31st is World Backup Day.  It’s probably a good day to review your backup strategy and your backup itself. If you haven’t done a backup in a while, set some time for either later today or this weekend to get a good backup.  Remember, your recovery is only as good as your backup.  If you have never tested your recovery, it’s probably a good time to look at that as well.  If you have been paying attention to the news this month, you heard that Russia invaded Ukraine, and then the US and its allies put some crippling sanctions on Russia. Well for every action, there is usually a corresponding reaction. The news is abuzz about cyber-attacks, ransomware, and other security-related issues that may be unleashed. We used to do backups just for recovery in case we lost our machine, which usually involved a hardware malfunction.  Now, the world has gone crazy, and backups serve as a great tool to recover your system from any type of cyber-attack as well.

Having what is referred to as the “Air-Gap” will help you from cyber-attacks, or any recovery where you need to put your system back together. Remember, you also need enough copies of your backup, going back far enough. So, now just one weeks’ worth. Now, cyber-attacks can lay idle and have infected your system for months, before they come to life. Do you have a backup of before the cyber-attack hit? When you make a backup to physical tape, or what is now more common Virtual Tape Libraries, you are creating a gap between the data on your machine, and the backup copy which is detached from your data on the machine, hence the phrase air-gap. Having knowledgeable people and good procedures are two important parts of recovery. Where are the backup tapes? Which tapes should we use? What gets saved on what backup? Where are the Disaster Recovery procedures? What order do we use the tapes in? If there are replicated systems, have you already performed a role swap? Where are their replicated systems? You know, I always laugh when people say to me, we don’t need backups because we have replication. Great, if your replication is working correctly, if someone clears a physical file, or puts ransomware on your machine, the replication software should …

March 2022 Newsletter

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March Madness is certainly going on here at iTech.   Let me tell you what I mean by that.

First, we have had a record number of POWER Systems and SAN Storage happen this month.  We have our team all over the US installing new Power Systems and SANs.  I can see it just looking at my team’s calendars, but also in all our project plans we do with each customer during the installation process.  Depending on the configuration, options, number of partitions, etc that checklist can be anywhere from 100 to 300 steps for an installation. Each installation has its own unique project plan.  So, it’s not just the installers, it’s the project managers and the rest of the technical team.

February 2022 Newsletter

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We received some great Valentine’s Day gifts from our IBM i’s all over the world, I think it was how we treated them, but is it because at iTech Solutions we know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it when it comes to IBM i? That is a good reason. Just so you know, our feelings are mutual, as we love our IBM i machines as well. Maybe it was our red shirts for valentine’s day?  In either case, you know when dealing with iTech Solutions your IBM i will be in good hands.…

January 2022 Newsletter

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Well, I thought by 2022, we would be back to normal life, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the start of 2022 is any different than the start of 2021. By now it is clear that both 2020 & 2021 were unprecedented years, and 2022 has already been eventful. Let’s hope that with people getting vaccines and boosters, plus with everyone catching Omicron, getting back to normal is right around the corner.  I said this last year, “It is hard to say what will happen a month from now, much less a whole year!” boy was that ever true.…

December 2021 Newsletter

These last two years have been years like no other, yet we hope this finds you and your family safe from the virus that has uprooted our daily lives.  Who really knows what the New Year has in store for us all, but just know you will be able to count on us yet again. As 2021 comes to a close, we wish to thank you for allowing iTech Solutions to be part of your team. We hope that our IBM i newsletters, Blogs, Webinars, Sips & Tricks, iTip Videos, Two-Day iAdmin Conferences, iBasics seminars, Slack Channel, and Podcasts have been educational and informative for you and that you have learned from them. We encourage your feedback on what other things we can add to make them more helpful to our customers, and others who read them. Look for even more to come this year in 2022.

We have continued our growth this year adding additional employees to improve our services as well as the breadth of our IBM i offerings. We hope that you have a happy holiday season, with good health, happiness, and prosperity in the New Year.  All of us at iTech thank you for your business, and for the confidence you have placed with us over the years.  We look forward to working together in the coming year, and we will continue to strive to exceed your expectations. Whenever we don’t, please reach out directly to me.…

November 2021 Newsletter

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When you live in the northeast United States, each season has its own charm and is totally unique. Although, nothing beats a New England fall. The leaves turn from green to golden yellow, sunburnt orange, and raspberry reds appear all over the gentle hills and the cool crisp air reminds you that snow isn’t too far away. Fall’s transformation reminds us of the constant change in our lives and the ability we have to create change for others, as well as improve our customer’s IBM i environments. It’s empowering and yet humbling.…

October 2021 Newsletter

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October for me is always the start of the second conference season of the year, with a multitude of conferences happening in October.  Unfortunately, two of my favorite the COMMON Fall Conference and IBM Technical University both are virtual events due to COVID. I am so sick of the pandemic, I want to see all my IBM i friends who I see at conferences.  Sometimes, it’s not necessarily the sessions you learn the most at, it is at the informal discussions and networking where you learn the most.…

September 2021 Newsletter

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With Summer almost in our rear-view mirror, signs of fall are fast approaching. Everyone was expecting a new Technology Refresh for IBM i due later this Fall, but IBM released it earlier with the announcement of the POWER10 Enterprise server. The scale-out servers are coming “sometime” next year is what was announced. This means the POWER9 machines for most of the community are still the bell-weather state of the art, server to migrate to.…