December 2018 Newsletter

A Word from iTech Solutions President, Pete Massiello.

Greetings Michael

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As 2018 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 have been educational and informative for you, and that you have learned from them.  We encourage and like to get feed-back on what other things we can add to make them more helpful to our customers, and others who read them.

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.

Remember the Christmas jingle:

The weather outside is frightful,
but working together with iTech Solutions can be so delightful.
Let it be IBM i, IBM i, IBM i.

Let us help you with all your IBM i needs next year.  Now, sit back and chuckle as you read about how iTech Solutions helped Santa this Christmas :).  We will be back in January with our normal IBM i System Administrator Technical Tips and Techniques.

All the best to you, your family, and your organization.

From all of us at iTech Solutions.

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What Santa Wants for his IBM i

Just a few more days to shop, to work, and to wait for Christmas. I thought I would share a little story about how iTech Solutions helped Santa prepare for Christmas this year.

As many of our readers remember, Santa Claus and his operations at the North Pole are one of our prized customer accounts. We have been helping St. Nick administer his Power Systems since he was running on an AS/400 and our business partner relationship has encompassed many projects and all aspects of his IT infrastructure.

When we started supporting SLED (Santa Logistics/Enterprises Department) we were addressing issues as they impacted business. Now that we have been working together for years we anticipate needs and address them before Christmas needs saving. Stress levels are far lower at the North Pole and in appreciation Santa sent me a bottle of Patron Tequila for my hot chocolate this year.

Last year Santa decided to become an MSP customer. This refers to Managed Service Provider – we handle all of the facets of his IBM i on Power needs. PTFs, OS upgrades, backup, monitoring, recovery, replication. It is all the IBM i System Administration and infrastructure, basically everything except programming. We have been meeting with him twice a month all year and we keep him updated on all our efforts. His elves come to Yvonne with requests for projects, their primary and secondary technicians as they need support and we all function as a team together.

[CONTINUE READING]

Upcoming Events

Join us for a Live POWER9 Q&A

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Join IBM Champions Pete Massiello and Richie Palma on January 9th, 2019 at 1PM ET for a virtual POWER9 Panel discussion.

Topics include:

  • How does the POWER9 compare to previous models?
  • What is the outlook for POWER9 in 2019?
  • The benefits of migrating to POWER9, and what it entails
  • [Insert your question here] Tell us what you want to know in the registration form!

[REGISTER]

[eBook] 9 Things You Need to Know About POWER9

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The POWER9 is the latest and greatest system IBM has to offer. But what can it do for your business?

This eBook will cover:

  • How the POWER9 infrastructure is built for the digital age
  • How POWER9 performance compares to previous models
  • About the migration process from POWER7 or POWER8
  • The overall benefits of POWER9 and how it can make a difference for your business

[READ THE EBOOK]

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5 Ways To Protect Your Sensitive Data on IBM i

laurie_LPRegulations (FISMA, HIPPA, SOX, and more) are forcing companies to evaluate how they protect their sensitive data. Industries such as finance, insurance, and healthcare have the most pressure to comply with these regulations which are geared towards protecting consumers private information.  The issue is that companies may not understand how to properly secure their data to protect their consumers.

Any good security plan takes a layered approach to protect data.  You have to consider where the data resides and how someone could gain access to it.  Then you have to put controls in place to ensure that you put as many roadblocks in place as possible to prevent unauthorized access.

There are many approaches you can take to ensure you are complying with regulations and protecting your companies information.

Below are five ways to protect your sensitive data. [CONTINUE READING]

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IBM i Managed Services: System Health

As I wrap up my Managed Services series for 2018 and prepare for 2019, I want to end by talking about system health. A common misperception about MSP is that all the hardware being used by our customers is yvonne_enselmanhosted. In fact, the vast majority of the systems under our care are the existing hardware in the shops we support.

As we all know, the IBM i runs well and can be trusted to do so with little intervention. Consequently, there are many factors that aren’t analyzed regularly that can have drastic impacts on the functioning of the machine. We provide this information to our customers via two services:

  1. Standalone health checks
  2. System status overviews

[CONTINUE READING]

The Value of Keeping Your IBM i Current

Charles_KaplanIBM 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?

[CONTINUE READING]

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How to Fix WRKPRB: “Software problem data for QYCDCUSG has been logged.”

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

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

You should take the following steps to correct the problem:

1. Go into DCM (Digital Certificate Manager), in browser go to: your system IP address:2004

[CONTINUE READING

End of Life for IBM POWER6 and POWER7

richie_croppedIf you run IBM i on IBM Power Systems, this will hopefully come as a friendly reminder. IBM will be discontinuing hardware support on POWER6 machines at end of Q1 2019 and 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

What This Means

For the folks still running on older P6 and P7 machines, it is important that you make a transition to newer POWER8 and POWER9 systems or find other ways to adapt. Companies who plan on taking a reactive stance on this will be exposed to greater security and reliability risks after support is removed on these machines.  If you are sitting on old hardware you must find new ways to ensure these systems continue running reliably.

[CONTINUE READING]

Upcoming Events

COMMON Virtual Conference [FREE]
December 4th & 5th

COMMON Virtual December-1

Join Pete Massiello for his virtual session, 9 Things You Need To Know About POWER9. And Steve Pitcher for his virtual session, Anatomy of a Security Failure. 

[REGISTER]


WMCPA User Group Meeting
December 13th
Milwaukee, WI

Richie Palma will be speaking on:

  • Understanding your licensing and what you are entitled to on POWER Systems
  • IBM i a Corner Office Perspective: Articulating the business value of IBM i

Save the date: Virtual POWER9 Panel
January 9th, 1PM ET

Join the iTech Solutions team for a virtual panel answering the toughest questions regarding IBM POWER9. 

Registration coming soon.

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Release levels and PTFs

Nathan_croppedPeople 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 18242 18249 17192 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh  5 9 11
Grp Hipers 71 134 233 210 204
DB Group 12 24 43 33 33
Java Group 10 18 33 41 34

[Continue Reading]

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The Scary Truth About IBM i Security Pushbacks

If you’re looking to make improvements to your IBM i security, then you need to be able to get your whole team on the same page, which sometimes can mean common oppositions.

Read the Blog

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How to Evaluate Your Managed Service Needs

Managed Services can be tailored to fit the needs of your business, which means you need to evaluate where a third party provider can provide you with the most benefits. Identifying where you have vulnerabilities or gaps with your system administration is the easiest place to start.

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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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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Using TRCINT to find detailed encrypted connection information

Here you’ll find a detailed method to determining the strength of each encrypted connection to your IBM ipartition. Commands used: TRCINT SET(*ON) TRCTBL(‘All-encrypted’) TRCTYPE(*SCKSSL) SLTTRCPNT((17000 17004)). TRCINT SET(*OFF) TRCTBL(‘All-encrypted’…[Read More]

Watch Video >

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Set up a LIC macro for summarizing encrypted information

If you’re currently using any type of network encryption and want to understand the protocols in use, you can easily do this with a LIC macro. This is quite handy especially if you’re looking at turning off a less secure protocol like TLS 1.0….[Read More]
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Using Run SQL Scripts to get a high level user profile security summary

Need a way to get a high level understanding of your user profile security? Look no further. This simple script will allow you to summarize key aspects of your user profile security, from special authorities to group profiles with passwords. [Read More]

Watch Video >

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Determining Who Responded to QSYSOPR Messages

Ever want to see who responded to a message on the QSYSOPR message queue? There are two easy ways to do it.

Watch Video >

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