A Word from iTech Solutions President, Pete Massiello.
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.
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.
Regulations (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.
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 hosted. 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:
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?
If 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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]
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]