February/March 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

This newsletter is slightly different than our regular monthly newsletter.  Customers are always asking me what is the state of IBM i, what is future of IBM i, how is the current market. Are people still purchasing Power Systems?  So, here at iTech Solutions we have been working on a report on theIBM i State of Union for 2016.. My plan is to update this throughout the year as things change, as well as provide an annual report. We look forward to hearing your comments.  The report is in a few sections, and each article in this month’s newsletter will be a start of that section, and you can click to read the rest.

Once known as the AS/400, iSeries, or System i, IBM i is still going strong. For over 25 years now, IBM i has gained the reputation for having the security, reliability, and performance that is still difficult to beat today. The key to this achievement is in its tightly integrated systems. Everything comes integrated and tested from IBM Rochester, all the while maintaining its calling of being “easy to use and administer.”

The premise is that it is true, that over the years, due to real or perceived skills issues, application availability, greenscreens, and other technologies, businesses have moved away from the IBM i platform – and it continues today. However, businesses should be aware that this is not your grandfather’s AS/400. The playing field has changed. Continuing to make decisions based on years-old beliefs about this system can be a disservice to your business.

It’s time to become informed of all the new features and functions that this operating system has. In this document on the IBM i state of the union, I will talk about the power of the system, the openness to new and future technologies, its cloud readiness, its long-term roadmap for the future, and the continued worldwide acceptance of the platform. Companies looking to run their business in a reliable, cost-effective manner cannot and should not dismiss this platform.

As we start the New Year, I felt this was a good time to look at the trends that are most likely to affect IBM I in 2016. To continue reading the report click here

There are a few more sections in the report, so click to download the entire report.

Having a business partner isn’t the same as having iTech Solutions. If you are not getting the support, the help, the guidance, and the advice you need to succeed, then you owe it to yourself to contact iTech Solutions for all your IBM Power Systems running IBM i needs. We can help you upgrade your AS/400 or iSeries to a Power Systems running IBM i, or even your existing POWER5, POWER6, or POWER7 machines to POWER8.

iTech Solutions vast experience can help you improve performance, perform security audits, implement a high availability solution, perform health checks, systems management, remote administration, PTF management, cloud-based systems, hosting, replication, and backup/recovery; upgrade an existing machine; or upgrade to a new machine.  If you are thinking of LPAR or HMC, then think iTech Solutions.  We have the skills to help you get the most out of your IBM i.

For more information on any of the articles below please visit us on the web at iTech Solutions or email iTech Solutions. We would love for you to let us know any articles that you wish for the future, or if you enjoy any of the articles in the current newsletters.

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IBM i State of the Hardware.

The IBM i greenscreen may lack the flashiness and sexiness of some other emerging technologies. However, these IBM Power Systems machines simply run. Yes, there are many stories of these machines running for years, which I for one think is one of the best and worst things about this technology. So simple to manage, they run by themselves. But these are the smaller machines that run without administrators. The larger machines are nothing short of a mainframe, and they do require the same advanced skills to efficiently and effectively run as any other environment.

Remember, these machines may be running a thousand or tens of thousands of users on a single machine. This is not an x86 commodity server. As we continue to demand more from our systems, IBM i can make you look really great at your job. While it certainly requires more skills to run a larger machine due to the additional complexities, the number of administrators per server is significantly less than what you find in either the LINUX, UNIX, or Windows environments….. Read More

 

 


 

IBM i Roadmap.

The IBM i roadmap continues through 2026. There are many exciting features that you can take advantage of today to prepare your business for what’s next. There are new releases planned for IBM i, which can be seen below.

In addition, between releases, IBM is delivering Technology Refreshes, which have many new features and functions. These Technology Refreshes allow IBM to be much more responsive in bringing new technology to the market between major releases. There are so many cool things in the last Technology Refresh that in the old days, this would have been considered a new release of the operating system. IBM is delivering new Technology Refreshes on a 6-month cadence.

Looking at the chart from IBM, one could surmise that iNext will be delivered in 2016…..Read More

 


Modernization of the Operating System.

You already have a superior piece of hardware with IBM Power Systems coupled with the IBM i operating system. It is time to take full advantage of what this machine can do. To unleash all of its benefits, it is important to transition to the latest OS 7.2.

The latest OS allows you to take advantage of all of the benefits of virtualization. As each release of IBM i from 6.1 onward has come out, there are improvements to virtualization. With IBM’s powerful processor behind you, you can run multiple operating systems on a single machine, using multiple partitions. You can run Linux environments, AIX, and multiple versions of IBM i. No matter what your application requires, you can run it. This will reduce your total hardware and administration costs.

Remember that 7.1 has now been out for 4 years, so it is time to upgrade to 7.2.…Read More

 


IBM i Gets Cloudy .

Over the last 2 years, there may have been more talk about cloud than possibly any other technology in history. In a recent survey, 93% of IT departments say they are utilizing the cloud in some form. While moving to the cloud is not right for everyone, you owe it to your organization to see if it is right for you.

The cloud promises to deliver on the idea of utility computing: You pay for what you need, when you need it. With its ability to do partitioning, IBM i is just meant for the cloud. The partitioning within IBM Power Systems allows cloud operators to effectively create separate environments of IBM i that are the same partitions you would have in your other environments. Partitions scale easily, which can help make your company be more agile as your needs develop. The cloud can allow you to capitalize on new business opportunities without worrying about adding substantial infrastructure.

Cloud computing and storage often provide economies of scale that many organizations have trouble…

..Read More.

 


Upcoming Events

Some of the events that we will be speaking at or exhibiting at are listed below. Don’t forget the iTech Solutions web site at http://www.itechsol.com.

 

April 11 to 13, 2016 – NEUGC at the Sheraton Framingham, in Framingham, MA,  www.neugc.org

Visit Dave, Matt, Nathan, Paul, and Rick at the booth.  Hear Pete present on:

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space
  • Step by step guide to Creating Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i

May 15 to 18, 2016 – COMMON at the Hilton in New Orleans  www.COMMON.org  

Visit Paul, and Rick at the booth.  Hear Pete present on:

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space
  • Step by step guide to Creating Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i

May 25 , 2016 – LISUG – Westbury Manor, Westbury LI, www.lisug.org

Visit Dan and Glenn at the booth.

June 12 – 14 COMMON Europe, Stockholm Sweden,  www.comeur.org

  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space

 


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.

7.2 7.1 6.1 V5R4 V5R3
Cumul Pack 15311 15317 15063 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 3 11
Grp Hipers 58 162 210 204 169
DB Group 10 39 34 33 24
Java Group 8 23 33 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 20 55 61 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 13 38 46 36 17
TCP/IP 2 9 17 22 16
Security 27 52 60 32
High Availability 3 9 5
Hardware 14 24 17

The easiest way to check your levels is to issue the command WRKPTFGRP. They should all have a status of installed, and you should be up to the latest for all the above, based upon your release. Now there are more groups than the ones listed above, but these are the general ones that most people require. We can help you know which group PTFs you should be installing on your machine based upon your licensed programs. Here is a nice tidbit. The Cumulative PTF package number is broken down as YDDD, where Y is the year and DDD is the day it was released. Therefore, if we look at the cumulative package for V7R1, the ID is 13287. We can determine that it was created on the 287th day of 2013, which is October 14, 2013. Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be. I left V5R1 & V5R2 off the list, because if you are on V5R1 or V5R2, you don’t need to be worrying about PTFs, you really need to be upgrading your operating system. The same can be said for V5R3 & V5R4, but there are still customers who are on those releases.

HMCs

If you have a Hardware Management Console (HMC,) you should be running:

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.4 MH01559, then MH01560
HMC V8R8.3 SP1 MH01540, and then MH01565
HMC  V8R8.2 SP 2 MH01488, then MH01590
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 3 MH01546
HMC V7R7.8 SP1 MH01397 then

SP 2 MH01432, then MH01548

or V7R7.7 SP 3 MH1397, then SP 4 MH01415,

then MH01516

HMC C03 V7R3.5 SP4

If we have a model listed above in the HMC column that is the highest level of firmware that model of the HMC can be upgraded to.

  • Note that release 8.8.x does not support any POWER5 servers.
  • Version 7.7.9 is not supported and cannot be installed on HMC models C03, C04 or CR2.
  • If an HMC is used to manage any POWER7 processor based server, the HMC must be a model CR3 or later model rack-mount HMC or C05 or later desk side HMC.
  • HMC V8R8.1 is supported on rack-mount models CR5, CR6, CR7 and CR8; and on desktop model C08. These listed models meet or exceed the V8R8.1 minimum memory requirement of 2GB however 4GB is recommended.
  • If you want to manage a POWER8 machine, you need to be on at least HMC 8.8.1

 

If you have an Flexible Service Processor (FSP) your firmware should be:

Machine Processor Model Version Notes
Power5 or 5+ 520, 515, 525, 550, 570 SF240_418_382 last
Power6 940x, M15, M25, M50 EL350_166_074 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_166_074 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_166_074 last
9119-FHA EH350_166_074 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_149_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_071_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_159_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-109_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_109_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_109_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_071_040
Power8 8247-21L, 8247-22L, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, 8286-42A SV840_056_056

 

If you need help with upgrading your HMC or FSP just give us a call. We will be happy to perform the function for you or assist you in doing it. Contact Pete Massiello.

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