iTech Solutions - for all of your IBM i System needs

iPOWER Hour Podcast

Posted on December 3, 2019
In this episode, guest host Heather Dinho talks to some of the women on the team at iTech Solutions (Amy Upton, Laurie LeBlanc, Peg Tuttle and Yvonne Enselman) on what it means to be a woman in tech.


Posted on November 20, 2019

Most IBM i customers have an ERP package on their IBM Power server that runs their business.  Typically, a small or mid-sized company can comfortably operate with one Power9 core activation, that provides a CPW of 13,125.  The IBM Power9 model S914 has two processor options, a 4-core, and a 6-core.  Which one do you get if you only need 1 core activation?  The 4-core server is physically the same as the 6-core server, except for the processor and the other differences shown in the table below.

Feature 4-core 6-core
Maximum Cores 4 6
Maximum Memory 64GB 1TB
Maximum Internal Disk Drives 10 (283GB HDD or 387GB SSD) 672, many HDD & SSD sizes
BUS Expansion None 1 drawer – 6 adapter slots
Software Tier Group P05 P10

Let’s discuss each of these differences in more detail:


Posted on November 15, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with Richie Palma from the iTech team on 7.2 End of Support ( POWER7, POWER7+, 7.2) and what it means.


Posted on November 7, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with Steve Pitcher from the iTech team on the latest technology refreshes and what has changed in the last 6 months.


Posted on October 28, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with Nathan Williams from the iTech team on Keeping Your IBM i, FSP, and HMC up to date with the latest PTF .


Posted on October 7, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with Steve Pitcher from the iTech team on How to Recover and How to Recovery Quickly and Minimize Downtime.


Posted on September 30, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with Becki Wagoner from May Trucking about her recently released case study in IBM Systems Magazine, detailing her move to a POWER8 machine.


Posted on August 29, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with iTech Solutions’ Nathan Williams about installing a POWER9.


Posted on August 16, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with Cyberneics’s Derek Henderson and Steve Jones about Cybernetics and the next generation back up for IBM Power Servers.


Posted on July 19, 2019
In this episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with iTech Solution’s Steve Pitcher about what’s new with open source on IBM i.   


Posted on June 28, 2019
In this mini-episode, Pete Massiello and Laurie LeBlanc talk with iTech Solution’s Steve Pitcher about the new POWER9 Playground.  


2019 is going to be one of the best years ever for the IBM i community
Posted on January 23, 2019

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.”

iTech Solutions' IBM Champions
Posted on January 11, 2019

It’s a time to celebrate for the iTech Solutions team. Pete Massiello, Richie Palma, and Steve Pitcher have been selected as IBM Power Champions for 2019.

An IBM Champion, according to the IBM Champion website, means to “demonstrate both expertise in and extraordinary support and advocacy for IBM technology, communities, and solutions.”

End of Support Transition Options for IBM POWER6 and POWER7
Posted on November 26, 2018


Richie Palma, iTech Solutions

If you run IBM i on IBM Power Systems, this will hopefully come as a friendly reminder. IBM has discontinued hardware support on POWER6 machines, followed by end of support for POWER7 at end of Q3 2019.  You can find details on servers affected by the service discontinuation in the below announcement.

Services withdrawal: Declaration of a plan to discontinue lease, rental, and maintenance services for selected machines IBM United States Withdrawal Announcement 917-163 – September 19, 2017.


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.