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IBM i Tech Tips

Posted on November 20, 2019

Nathan Williams, iTech Solutions

With Client Solutions now being the only IBM-supported client software for IBM i, quite a few organizations have made the switch from the old iAccess products or are in the process of doing so. ACS is as flexible as the old application was rigid, and there are many different ways to configure it on a PC. One of the recurring questions we get from clients who are planning the switch relates to controlling what the end-user can see and use within the application. To address this,  I’d like to discuss a bit about how ACS does configuration under the hood and how administrators can have some control over what can be accessed within the application.

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Posted on October 21, 2019
Laurie LeBlanc, iTech

By Laurie LeBlanc

IBM i 7.3 TR7 and 7.4 TR1 were announced during IBM Tech U and will be generally available on November 16, 2019.  This refresh includes many enhancements to improve further the reliability, availability, and security of your IBM i environment. Some of the major enhancements are focused on DB2 Mirror for IBM i, enhancements to help developers modernize, increased security, and support for new hardware.

I’m going to highlight some of the features that improve the security and administration of your system.  There are also many enhancements for RDi that will improve developer productivity and allow you to modernize with additional support for Open Source languages and tools. I don’t plan to get into the details of those enhancements in this article,  but I will touch on them. You can get more details about all of the enhancements here.

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Posted on May 29, 2019
all systems hmc settings

Last month, I talked about how you can make sure your system has the ability to report problems back to IBM in the event of a failure. That functionality can be invaluable for keeping your system running, but what happens if something goes wrong while the OS is still trying to start? What if something fails so far down the hardware stack that the system simply can’t be aware of it before the whole show grinds to a halt? That’s where an HMC has your back, and it can call home to IBM as well.

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Posted on May 28, 2019

On April 23rd, 2019, IBM announced the newest release of the operating system IBM i 7.4. The announcement contained hundreds of updates to the OS and licensed programs. 

One new licensed program, DB2 Mirror for i was also announced. It provides continuous availability for IBM i applications. “Continuous Availability” is a new term, which previously we had High Availability

  • How is Continuous Availability different than High Availability?
  • What are the software and hardware requirements for Db2 Mirror for i? 
  • Does DB2 Mirror for i replace all the Data Replication products? 
  • When should I consider using DB2 Mirror for i? 

For the answers to these questions, and more, keep reading.

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Posted on February 26, 2019

Manually Moving the PCI Fiber Channel Adapter/IOA from Partition B to Partition A

Note:  Not shown in this process/steps,  you will need to check and vary off, if needed, the resource using the physical adapter on Partition B, (i.e., tape library, tape drive), and then vary on the resource that will use the physical adapter on Partition A.

Using the Classic GUI

  • Sign into the HMC V7
    • Sign in

OR

  • Sign into the HMC V8 (V8R8.3.0 through V8R8.6.0)
    • Check Classic (V8R8.6.0 final support for Classic GUI)
    • Sign In
  • In the Navigation pane, in the left portion of the window, open: Systems Management > Custom Groups > All Partitions
    • In the Work pane, check the box under Select, for the H partition – options on the bottom will appear
  • On the bottom, select: Dynamic partitioning > Physical Adapters > Move or Remove. 
  • Next, in this example, check the box next to slot C12 (Description: 8 Gigabit PCI Express Dual Port Fibre Channel Adapter)
    • In options, use drop down button in Move to partition.
      •  Select A(1), then click the OK button.

Using the Enhanced+ GUI or HMC V8R8.7.0 and higher

  • Sign into the HMC V8 (V8R8.3.0 and through V8R8.6.0)
    • Check Enhanced+ (V8R8.3.0 initial support for Enhanced+ GUI)
    • Sign In

OR

  • Sign into the HMC V8R8.7.0 or V9
    • Sign in

The enhanced UI does not support dynamic logical partitioning (dlpar) move. The user must first remove the adapter from the current owning partition then add the adapter to the target. The operating system device needs to be “varied off’ prior to removing the adapter from the owning partition.

1. Remove the adapter from current partition.

Select Resources > All partitions.

Select the partition that owns the resource now.

Then, click on the Physical I/O Adapters:

Select the I/O adapter to remove.

Click Action > Remove Adapter. 

At the prompt “The selected adapter will be removed. Do you want to continue?” Click OK

Click the Save button at the top of the physical I/O Adapter panel to apply the changes.
This will remove the adapter from the partition. 

Note: The device would need to be varied off prior to removing the adapter. 

2. Add the adapter to the target partition.
Select the target partition 

Select Physical I/O Adapters:

Click Add Adapter. Select the adapter to add, then click OK:

Click the Save button at the top of the physical I/O Adapter panel to apply the changes

The IO adapter should now report in to the target partition. 

Posted on January 23, 2019

In an IBM i environment, you can view the port numbers currently in use on your system with one of these methods.  In these examples, looking for use of local ports 8000 and 8001:

  • Select from the iSeries Navigator, select > Network, then > TCP/IP Configuration, then > IPv4, then > Connections.  Click on the Local Port column to sort and scroll to range of ports.
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2019 is going to be one of the best years ever for the IBM i community
Posted on

With 2019 upon us, it’s natural for one to wonder what’s in store for IBM i in the upcoming year. According to iTech President, Pete Massiello, the outlook for IBM i is looking good for this year.

How good?

“2019 is going to be one of the best years ever for the IBM i community,” Massiello writes. 

“IBM has publicly stated (see chart below), that the next version of IBM i, currently called iNext, is coming out sometime this year. I have seen what is in this release, and in my opinion this release will have the most amazing features and functions that have ever been part of an OS release. I know that is a lot to say, but I had numerous demonstrations, and I was very impressed.”

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Posted on
Steve Pitcher

Sure you can use ANZDFTPWD (Analyze Default Passwords) to get a list of IBM i users with default passwords. You can also use some simple SQL in conjunction with the USER_INFO IBM i service in QSYS2 to do the same thing…but better.

To get the standard ANZDFTPWD report you can run the following statement:

So why use SQL?

ANZDFTPWD gets you everything you really need to determine who has a default password right? Well, yes. However, ANZDFTPWD doesn’t give you the full picture or allow you to be proactive. It doesn’t gauge severity of those user profiles in the result set either. ANZDFTPWD just shows you what accounts have default passwords, if the account password is set to expire and if they’re enabled or not.

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Incorrect Search in the Service Action Log when searching on year 2019 or 2020
Posted on

When using Service Tools, the Select Time Frame screen of the Service Action Log (SAL) option of the Hardware Service Manager (HSM) service tool incorrectly does not allow “From” or “To” dates with the year 2019 or 2020.

The SAL cannot search from or to dates in 2019 or 2020. The IdeTime Class has a quirk in that the constructor that the SAL search uses assumes dates beginning with 19 or 20 are being specified with the century value 19 or 20. That leads to other bad assumptions about the dates in the case of the SAL Select Time Frame screen, where the first 2 digits are always the year including if they are 2019 or 2020. All that leads to considering the dates as invalid and error messages on the screen, as above.

To fix this problem, apply one of the PTFs below for your release.  These PTFs can be applied Immediate or Delayed.

  • 7.1 MF65228
  • 7.2 MF65214
  • 7.3 MF65215

If you would prefer for iTech Solutions to handle all your PTF issues, then contact us via email.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on November 20, 2018

WRKPRBHave you ever seen on your system in WRKPRB: “Software problem data for QYCDCUSG has been logged.”?

Normally this indicates an expired server certificate or an expired Certificate Authority certificate.

You should take the following steps to correct the problem:

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Posted on November 19, 2018

IBM i on IBM Power Servers is the best server platform in the universe. It is reliable, stable and provides all the tools needed to effectively operate and manage your mission-critical applications.  Most of us on the platform fully agree.  While this is an amazing accomplishment, it also has its downside. IBM i users have become complacent about the platform because they rarely have to worry about the hardware and operating system.  It just works. They even forget it exists. But even the best platform needs to stay current. Why?

IBM’s (and all IT provider’s) strategy is to constantly advance and improve. 

Cycle out the old and bring in the new with advanced features and enhanced capacities.  Savvy customers know that they want to be in the sweet spot, not too new (bleeding edge) and not too old (obsolete and unsupported).  For many, the struggle is convincing ownership to replace a server or upgrade the OS when it is working just fine. The question they ask is:

What is the benefit versus the cost of the upgrade? If you can’t provide a successful response, please read on.

Case Study (Very dramatic):

A customer went off support on their ERP application and can only run it on their Power5 server with IBM i V5R4.  The ERP application is tied to the server’s serial number.  The workload increased and they are out of processor capacity.  The only solution is to upgrade the server with a faster processor. However, the server is not current and the upgrade can only be sourced from used dealers.  And worst of all, the faster processor pushes the software tier of the server from P10 to P20, which incurs about $30,000 in software tier upgrade charges and doubles annual software maintenance charges.  If the customer was current, they could upgrade to Power9 for less than $30,000, and the software tier will go down from P10 to P05 and cut in half software maintenance charges.

Case Study (Dramatic):

A customer is replacing an older server with a new POWER9 and a newer LTO technology.  The older server still has some twinax attached printers and has an LTO3 tape drive.  When planning for the upgrade, we need to account for these older out of support devices.  For the twinax printers, the options are to replace them with network attached printers or to get a black box device that converts twinax to network.  In either case, it is an additional expense.  For LTO tape drives, they can read and write media at the same level and one level lower, and they can “read-only” 2 levels lower.  Current LTO tape drives are LTO6, LTO7 and LTO8.  There are two options here because of the incompatibility of tapes drives.  The first option is to back up the older server to a media that can be restored by an LTO tape drive on the Power9 server, an LTO4 or LTO5 tape drive will have to be rented and attached to the older server for the duration of the upgrade project. The other option would be to order the POWER9 with an LTO5 (which could read LTO3). Neither is a good option, as the first adds additional expense with very limited value, and the second doesn’t go with the latest technology.

Case Study (Less dramatic):

A customer is on a POWER6 server running IBM i 6.1. They finally want to upgrade to the current version, 7.3. Unfortunately, they can’t upgrade to 7.3 on a POWER6.  The highest they can upgrade to is definitely 7.1, and possibly 7.2 (depending on hardware and other software constraints).  There is no direct upgrade path available from 6.1 to 7.3, they would have to bring in a new machine to get to 7.3.  POWER6 hardware doesn’t support drawers with IOPs or connected via HSL. In addition, OS supported upgrade paths are for only 1 or 2 level jumps.  The upgrade will cost twice as much, take twice as long and involve much more risk.  And the customer gets absolutely no value from the intermediary upgrade.

When your hardware and OS platform is current:

  • You are fully supported for any hardware, OS and licensed program defects.
  • Hardware and OS upgrades are fully supported, from configuration to ordering to installation.
  • You can take advantage of new features and capacities of hardware and OS upgrades.
  • You can upgrade to the latest application software releases and versions.
  • Hardware defects are repaired according to your contracted response times – 2 hours, 4 hours or next business day, and are repaired no matter what, up to and including replacing the entire server. When you are off hardware support, repairs are the best effort only, time and materials (very expensive), when service personnel is available Monday to Friday.
  • You can easily implement new software applications, like high availability, or hardware features, like encryption, to meet constantly changing business requirements.
  • If desired, you have the option to have your application hosted by a cloud provider, like iInTheCloud.
  • In the long run, it is less expensive to stay current. If you are not current, eventually, you will have to do something and when you do it will be more expensive, take longer and will be riskier.
  • When you are current you have alternatives, everyone is competing for your business. When you are out of support, your choices are limited.

What I really don’t like about being out of support is that you are off the roadmap, off the grid.  You don’t have the extensive IBM support team behind you, you are on your own.  One small overlooked detail could lead to a huge disaster.

If you’re ready to ensure you’re current, contact the iTech Solutions team. 

Posted on October 25, 2018

There are two ways of using this UAK management feature:

  • Manual: A system administrator can manually kick off the process of checking UAK’s expiration date, downloading UAK, and applying UAK. This is accomplished by running the WRKSRVAGT TYPE(*UAK) command. This can also be accomplished by running the go service command to access the Electronic Service Agent on IBM i main menu, then selecting option 20 (Check and refresh Update Access Key).
  • Automatic: By default, there is no automatic UAK checking. The Change Service Agent Attribute (CHGSRVAGTA) command can be used to enable automatic checking, which creates or causes the creation of the job scheduler entry. The CHGSRVAGTA command parameter (REFRESHUAK) can be used to establish automatic UAK management. By default, a job will be run every Sunday, but can be easily customized.

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Posted on August 29, 2018

If you start have SSH/SFTP/SCP connections to 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

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Posted on August 28, 2018

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.

What’s really interesting is that when we find an old 520 or even a Power 720 Express, the customer often has not been informed of the end of service date by their existing IBM Business Partner. Part of what we try to do at iTech is ensure the IBM i community knows those important dates. If you have a machine that will go end of service in five months you shouldn’t be finding out about it now. Ideally, you should’ve known a long time ago in order to allow for budget preparation, migration downtime, or any pre-work that needs to be done before a migration happens. For example, if you’ve got an older LTO drive for your older system then you’ll need to replace your tape drive and tapes on the new POWER9. That will also further complicate your migration efforts because the older the hardware is, the harder it is to find the overlap in like technology to bring you from old to new.

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