February 2018 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

The Winter Olympics, is always an exciting time for everyone. I enjoy watching the athletes compete – the thrills, the excitement, achievements, and sometimes the disappointments. The athletes compete not so much with one another, but they compete with themselves to do their absolute best. These men and women have trained sometimes their entire lives to compete in an event, and they are competing with the best in the world. When competing the difference between athletes is so close, sometimes within a hundredth of a second. It’s fun to root for the athletes from your country. How is the Olympics any different than multiple Business Partners competing for your business? Well, maybe there is more differentiation than a few hundredths of a second between them. Just like the Olympics, you don’t see the individual athletes competing in Cross-country Skiing, Hockey, Curling, and figure skating. These fine-tuned athletes pick a sport and excel at it. Just like iTech Solutions, we specialize in Power Systems running IBM i, and only IBM i. We don’t do every type of computer, we do IBM i and we have the skills, the knowledge, and know how to excel. Like the Olympic athletes, our team are all gold medal winners. Which business partner do you want on your team? A specialist, or a generalist? When you want the best IBM i business partner, it’s time to contact iTech by email, or call us at 203-744-7854.

Last week, IBM introduced the POWER9 family of scale-out servers, which are targeted towards most of the IBM i community. A very exciting announcement on hardware that should support the IBM i community for the next 3 or 4 years. Our first article gives you a summary about the new hardware, along with how easy it is to convert to POWER9.

The PTFs for Spectre and Meltdown have been released for IBM i, and all Power7, Power7+, and Power8 FSPs. We have been putting these on customers machines, and its time to get them loaded onto yours. In general, we have noticed a 5% performance impact. Of course, your mileage may vary. Check out the last article on PTFs to see what you need, or if it’s easier just give us a call and let us do them for you.

We have expanded our remote systems administration offerings by adding security monitoring as an additional service. There has been so many security issues in the news lately, are you sure that your machine hasn’t been affected? Perhaps you should schedule a security health check to make sure that everything is in order. In addition, we offer an ongoing security monitoring service to keep you secure. The more connected your computers become the more opportunities exist for exploitation. This access can allow people from both inside and outside of your company to access data or perform a function that they should not be doing. If this is something you are concerned about, and really everyone should be, then contact our sales team. They can setup a presentation to discuss how we can help you meet your security goals. Or better yet, talk to our sales group by calling 1-203-744-7854 press 3 for sales.

This newsletter has 6 articles. The first article is on Whats new in POWER9 and Easily Moving IBM i to POWER9. The second article by Chris is on finding the sizes of objects and directories in your IFS. The third article is on using the DSPSSTUSR command for seeing DST/SST User profiles. The fourth article is on LAN Console and IBM i 7.3. The fifth article lists some of the upcoming events in which iTech Solutions will be participating. The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information. Please note that for all 7.1 customers that are on the Quarterly or Semi-annual iTech Solutions PTF maintenance plan, we will be installing the latest PTFs as you are most likely now on Technology Refresh 11. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 7, and 7.3 will be Technology Refresh 3.

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. In December IBM released the first set of LINUX machines powered by P9. Now the next set of servers on the POWER9 chip is announced – the Scale-out line. IBM i has been running POWER chips since the POWER5 introduction in 2004 and the roadmap below illustrates the history and future of this powerful technology. Welcome POWER9!

While the new servers are similar to the POWER8 Scale-out from a model perspective these new babies are all about performance. The estimated performance is approximately 1.5x theperformance of their POWER8 counterparts. This is the infrastructure needed to move into the future. IBM is describing these as Cloud and Artificial Intelligence ready meaning the hardware is ready for IBM i to take advantage of crucial business directions. Security is at the forefront of everyone’s mind and POWER9s are pre-loaded with the firmware and operating system security patches that mitigate known Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. This combination makes POWER9 running IBM i the best option for mission critical operations. For those currently on a POWER6 or POWER7 server the POWER9 is going to be like greased lightning. In fact, I recommend ordering a seatbelt with your new server as you are going to need to be strapped in when you start running your IBM i on POWER9. Here is your first look at this beauty, below you see a S924. Quite impressive, personally I’m ready to move my partitions. Now, let’s see how easy doing so can be.

We know integration is what IBM i on POWER is all about. Starting with the hardware and progressing through firmware, license internal code, operating system, security, and database. With all of this designed and delivered by IBM the IBM i on POWER9 is the most integrated data platform for business. Truly apart from the rest. Moving IBM i environments from POWER7 or POWER8 servers to the new POWER9 machines reflects this in the ease of migration. Yes, this is easy, truly. Let’s get into the details.

There are going to be various ways to accomplish moving onto a POWER9, let’s start with the one which will be used by most people. By simply putting the latest Technology Refresh (TR) onto your system running 7.2 or 7.3 you are done. BAM! Ready to migrate to new hardware just like that. Of course, this is what I have been professing for years – the value of staying current. POWER9 will only support IBM i 7.2 or 7.3 and requires the latest TR. If for some reason you thought there was a chance IBM was going to give 7.1 a last lifeline, it won’t. It’s too old and you need to move forward. For those who have been staying current with your operating systems in conjunction with IBM recommendations and are up to date with PTFs all that is needed is applying TR4 for 7.3 or TR8 for 7.2 to move to the POWER9 hardware. It really couldn’t be any easier. A summary of the steps are:link to our blog.

Where did all my free disk space go. Perhaps you need to check what’s in your IFS.

Another way to “pretty quickly” find Large IFS Objects, depending on how many objects. This is what is used in IBM i Support when customers called panicking about disk utilization, but couldn’t find anything in any libraries, and knew it was probably the IFS. It’s a program in QSYS provided by IBM since V5R1 and V5R2 via special PTF, but part of the OS since V5R3.

For ALL the IFS:

CALL QSRSRV PARM(“METRICS” ‘/’)

For ALL the IFS w/o QNTC, QNETWARE, QLANSRV:
CALL QSRSRV PARM(“METRICS” ‘/’ “EPFS”)

For a specific directory:
CALL QSRSRV PARM(“METRICS” ‘/mydir/mysubdir’)

The command will produce a spool file with the name of QSRSRV. The listing is in English only. The listing will include a line for each directory on your system. Each entry includes the number of links or objects (LINK COUNT), the number of multiple linked objects (DFRD LINKS), the total size in kilobytes of all the objects in the directory (Data and Allocated SIZE IN K BYTES), and the name of the directory (NAME).

You can then export the spool file to a text file, and then create an Excel file to sort it by size (in K Bytes) (see sample attached).
If you need a hand with this, or want someone to handle the entire management of your system, then contact iTech Solutions.

What SST/DST Userids are on your system.

So many times, I am asked about Service Tools user IDs on a system. The same Userids work for both SST and DST, but this userid is not the same thing as an IBM i User Profile (*USRPRF). While the IBM i userid and the SST/DST userid could be the same, the passwords are not necessarily the same, unless someone specifically set them up that way. In addition, the SST/DST user profiles are always case sensitive, while the IBM i user profile is only case sensitive when the System Value QPWDLVL is a 2 or a 3. If your value is a 0 or a 1, please exercise caution is changing this. It is recommended that you should not be running on 0 or 1, but there are many issues that need to be addressed in changing the level or a 2 or a 3.

The command, DSPSSTUSR, Display Service Tools User Ids display shows a list of service
tools user IDs. Detailed information for an individual service tools user ID can be displayed by using the 5=Display option.

The DST/SST ID is the user id.

The Status specifies whether the service tools user ID is valid for sign-on. The possible values are:

*ENABLED: The service tools user ID is valid.
*DISABLED: The service tools user ID is not valid. The service tools user ID reached the maximum number of sign-on attempts and was disabled or its status was changed to disabled.

The Linked column is the name of the IBM i user profile that is linked to the service tools user ID. A service tools user ID with the Service Tools Security privilege can use the Work with Service Tools User IDs function to add and remove linked user profiles to a service tools user ID.

By Entering a 5 next to a user profile, you get more information and their privileges of the DST/SST userid.

and the next page

One of the most important things is that you should have a few userids set up in SST/DST, and not QSECOFR, 11111111, and 22222222. I always recommend to create a few others in case, you get locked out. At least with this command, you have an easy way to find out if you have other userids. Let us show you how we can help you, contact iTech Solutions.

Plan for your Operations LAN Console installation or upgrade before your upgrade to IBM i 7.3

Before upgrading to IBM i 7.3 you need to update your client, if you are using IBM LAN Console for your IBM i Console. Starting with IBM i 7.2, there were only two console choices available for IBM i: LAN Console or HMC Console. Now, with 7.3 you can no longer use the old 7.1 IBM i Access for Windows Client, if you are using LAN Console..

The service tool server which includes LAN console is removing support for SSL V3 ciphers which means the LAN console feature in the 7.1 IBM i Access for Windows client is no longer supported in 7.3. IBM i Access Client Solutions is now required for LAN console in 7.3. IBM i Access Client Solutions, also known as the Java based client, and should be installed on your PC which you use for the Console before upgrading the License Internal Code (LIC) to IBM i 7.3, or installing a new partition which uses IBM i 7.3. The LAN console feature in IBM i Access Client Solutions can connect to any supported IBM i release. If you are using IBM i 7.1, you need to be pretty current in PTFs in order to connect with Access Client Solutions.

Note: The LAN console feature in the IBM i Access for Windows client will work for a D-mode install because SSL ciphers aren’t used during the D-mode IPL but on the following A-mode IPL the IBM i Access for Windows LAN console will fail to connect. The IBM i Access for Windows client does not need to be removed from the PC, but be aware the IBM i Access for Windows console will not continue working if the system is upgraded to 7.3.

If you are upgrading to IBM i 7.3 and you want to replace an existing console with a LAN attached Operations Console, upgrade the PC to the new IBM i Access Client Solutions beforehand. If this is more than you want to be concerned about, contact iTech Solutions, and we will handle this for you.

Events

February 21, 2018 – The New England Midrange Users Group (NEMUG)

Hear Pete Massiello speak on What you need to know to successfully upgrade to IBM i 7.3

March 13 – 15 2018 – Wisconsin Midrange Computer Professional Association – Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, WI

Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i.

Pete will be presenting:

  • The Wednesday Keynote
  • What you need to know to successfully upgrade to IBM i 7.3

Yvonne will be presenting on:

  • Modernization Testing
  • Basics of Testing for Programmers

April 23 – 25, 2018 – Northeast User Group Conference, Sheraton Framingham, MA

Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i. In addition, hear Steve Pitcher and Pete Massiello speak on Various System Administration topics.

Monday April 30 to Friday May 4, IBM Technical University Hilton Orlando Resort, Orlando, FL

  • What you need to know when upgrading to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3
  • Tip and Tricks to Improve System Performance & Save Disk Space
  • Cool Things in IBM Navigator for IBM i to Help you be a Rock Star Administrator
  • Step by step guide to IBM i Hosting IBM i.

Wednesday May 9, 2018 – Long Island Systems Users Group – Westbury Manor, Westbury, NY

Visit Charlie at our booth and hear Pete Massiello on an IBM i Experts panel.

May 20 – 23, 2018 – COMMON Annual Conference & Expo, POWER-UP18 at Marriott River Center, San Antonio, TX

Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i. In addition hear Pete Massiello, Yvonne Enselman, and Steve Pitcher speak on a variety of IBM i System administration topics.

Sept 27, 2018 – VTMUG Technical Conference – Double Tree Hotel Burlington, VT

Visit Laurie & Paul at our booth and learn how iTech Solutions can help you with your IBM i. Pete Massiello will be speaking on various Systems Management sessions to be determined.

Oct 15 – 17, 2018 – COMMON Fall Conference & Expo, Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, Pittsburgh, PA Booth #20

Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i. In addition hear Pete Massiello, Yvonne Enselman, and Steve Pitcher speak on a variety of IBM i System administration topics.

Oct 15 – 18, 2018 – Jack Henry Annual Conference – Gaylord Texan Hotel, Grapevine, TX

Visit the iTech Solutions booth in the Expo and learn how we can help you get the most out of your Power Systems running IBM i

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.

7.3 7.2 7.1 6.1 V5R4
Cumul Pack 17283 17290 17192 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh  3 7 11
Grp Hipers 52 115 216 210 204
DB Group 9 21 43 33 33
Java Group 7 15 30 41 34
Print Group 3 13 31 49
Backup/Recov. 17 39 72 61 57
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 13 26 52 46 36
TCP/IP 3 10 17 22
Security 23 58 78 60  33
High Availability 5 8 15  5
Hardware 13 30 40  17
Open Source 6 6 6

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 16120. We can determine that it was created on the 120th day of 2016, which is April 29th, 2016. Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be.

HMCs

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

Model Release Service Pack End of Service
HMC (7063-CR1)

Power Based

V8R8.7
  1. MH01707
  2. SP1 MH01726
  3. MH01749
Not Announced
HMC (CR7 & above) V8R8.7
  1. MH01706
  2. SP1 MH01725
  3. MH01748
Not Announced
HMC V8R8.6
  1. MH01655
  2. SP2 MH01690
  3. MH01742
10/31/2018
HMC V8R8.5
  1. MH01617
  2. SP3 MH01689 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)
  3. MH01721
  4. MH01730 (can be installed on any SP, required for upgrade to 8.8.6 or 8.8.7).
05/31/2018
HMC V8R8.4
  1. MH01560 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  2. SP3 MH01652 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  3. MH01730
  4. MH01729 (must be installed from classic GUI or from command line; can be installed on any SP, required for upgrade to 8.8.6)
11/30/2017
HMC V8R8.3
  1. SP3 MH01619
  2. MH01717
07/31/2017
HMC  V8R8.2
  1. SP3 MH01583
  2. MH01688
10/31/2017
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9
  1. SP3 MH01546
  2. MH01587
  3. MH01687
12/30/2016
HMC V7R7.8
  1. SP1 MH01397
  2. SP2 MH01432
  3. MH01570
10/31/2015
or V7R7.7
  1. SP3 MH01379
  2. SP4 MH01415
  3. MH01516
02/28/2015
HMC C03 V7R3.5
  1. SP4 MH01277
05/31/2014

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 as of 12/30/2016 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

Some notes on the new HMC release V8R8.6 that just came out:

  • Will be the last release to support POWER6.
  • Will be the last release to allow ‘classic’ UI login.
  • Will be the last release that supports the model CR5, CR6 and C08.
  • The HMC must be at version V8 R8.4.0 or later to be upgraded to HMC V8 R8.6.0. This requirement is enforced during installation.

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

Machine Processor Model Version End of Service
Power5 or 5+ 520, 515, 525, 550, 570 SF240_418_382 11/30/2012
Power6 940x, M15, M25, M50 EL350_176_038 01/31/2017
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_176_038 01/31/2017
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_176_038 01/31/2017
9119-FHA EH350_176_038 01/31/2017
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_154_035 (last release)

AL730_157_035  **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

08/09/2017
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_091_040 (last release)

AM780_096_040 **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_163_042 (last release)

AL740_165_042 **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-119_032 (last release)

AM770_122_032 **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_119_032

AL770_122_032  **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_119_032

AM770_122_032  **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_091_040

AM780_096_040  **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

Power8 8408-E8E, 8284-21A,  8284-22A, 8286-41A, or 8286-42A SV860_127_056 (If HMC requires HMC 8.8.6+)

SV860_138_056  **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes ** (If HMC requires HMC 8.8.6+)

9119-MHE or 9119-MME SC860_127_056

SC860_138_056  **Includes Meltdown and Spectre Fixes **

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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