February 2020 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

End of Marketing and End of Support for IBM i 7.2

As time marches on, sometimes you look back and think “Wow, that didn’t seem that long ago”. But it was, as IBM i 7.2 was announced on April 28. 2014. The new OS became generally available on May 2, 2014. IBM announced in September the end of marketing support as April 30, 2020, and end of program support is April 30, 2021.

This means you can’t order a new POWER9 with IBM i 7.2 after this April, and then after April 2021, IBM i 7.2 will no longer be supported.  That is why you should start planning to upgrade your operating system to 7.3 or 7.4 now.

People are always asking me, “Which release should I upgrade to?”  The answer: It depends on where you are now, what hardware you are currently running, and your application dependencies.  Of course, upgrading to a supported release is always paramount, but I don’t think it matters if you are currently on 7.2, if you upgrade to 7.3 or 7.4.  Just move off of 7.2.

If possible, get to 7.4, but the real message is to upgrade from any unsupported release to a supported release.  You would be surprised how many people I talk to that are still on an older release.  I always ask why?  It’s an easy upgrade (Well, it’s easy for us because over the last 2 years we have performed over 700 OS upgrades).  You can either call us in to do it for you, or we are having an upcoming webinar to help you out. I will be presenting What You Need to Know to Successfully Upgrade to IBM i 7.3 and 7.4 will be Thursday, March 12th at 1PM ET.

New Additions to the iTech Team

We are on the move again, with 3 new hires this year.  We’ve welcomed to the team Ray Rhyno, Steven McIver, and Brett Getz. These are all to help and build out our technical services for IBM i.  People always ask me, “You guys keep growing, what are you doing besides IBM i?”  My answer is “Nothing, we concentrate on IBM i, we do it right, and we offer our customers the best team of resources in the community”.  We will continue that philosophy, and we will continue to grow by winning your business.

IBM Price Changes – Spinning Drives and Memory

IBM had some recent price changes, for spinning drives and memory, both of which have gone up.  This was before the effects of the Coronavirus. It was unusual, as most times as technology starts to get on in its lifecycle, the price drops.  I think this is a supply and demand problem, as companies just aren’t manufacturing spinning drives.  Most of the configurations that we currently do are SSDs and Flash. Remember, now we have spinning drives, SSD, and Flash.  Each is more expensive than the previous one, but the performance is so much better.  Mix into this the differences between internal and external storage, and it can be quite confusing.  Internal storage isn’t for everyone, and neither is external storage. They each have their benefits, and Richie has done a nice article detailing the cost comparison of internal and external storage.

Upcoming Webinars & Podcast Episodes

We will be doing more webinars throughout the year, as we reach out to the IBM i community in new ways to help you leverage your investment in Power Systems and IBM i.

We also have many on-demand webinars you can watch at any time. The most recent webinar was Moving to Open Source on IBM i, presented by IBM’s Jesse Gorzinski. You can watch that replay here.

If you haven’t checked out the iPOWER Hour podcast, you can do so by subscribing here. Episodes are available on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. They’re perfect for your commute to the office. The latest episode, The Staying Power of Power Systems, is can be streamed here and where our episodes are available.

Steve Pitcher also just completed a webinar last month, Everything Your IBM Business Partner Should Be Doing for You.  This contains great examples of what you should expect from your current business partner. Wait a minute — your existing business partner isn’t doing the same thing? Perhaps you have the wrong IBM Business Partner. Come over to the iTech side. Read the next paragraph and you will understand why many IBM i customers have chosen iTech Solutions, and more importantly — why they stay.

Customer Feedback

Customer satisfaction is very important to us here at iTech Solutions and is high among our customers. To measure customer satisfaction, Heather and Vanessa have been using the Net Promotor Score (NPS) method. For those of you who haven’t heard about it, or aren’t entirely sure what it is, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. NPS has been widely adopted with more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies using the metric. The tool aims to measure the loyalty that exists between a provider and a consumer. This measures how likely a customer is to recommend your services on a scale from -100 to 100. Given the NPS range of -100 to +100, a “positive” score or NPS above 0 is considered “good”, +50 is “Excellent,” and above 70 is considered “world-class.” Last year our NPS score was 96. We appreciate our customer’s feedback and will continue to exceed expectations. If we aren’t exceeding your expectations each and every time, contact me directly.

Conference Season

It’s the start of “Conference Season” in the IBM i world, and this year is no different than any other year. We attend conferences to meet our existing customers, make new customers, provide education as speakers, and to learn.  Our Sales, Technical, and Marketing team are going to learn and improve our skill sets as well.  We won’t sit on our laurels with our current skill sets, we need to improve and learn new ideas and methodologies, so that we can bring you the best solutions. We will be here working with you on how we make you reach your goals. We are here for you now, and we will be here for you in the future. If you aren’t an iTech customer, is your current business partner doing the same?

Back to upcoming conferences, we will be speaking and/or exhibiting in the next few months.

It will be a busy season, and we look forward to seeing and meeting you at these conferences. Check out more details in our event section.

IBM Power Systems Champions

I know I spoke about this last month, but it is worth repeating. 2020 also brings iTech Solutions 3 IBM Champions. Richie Palma, Steve Pitcher, and myself.

IBM Champion LogoiTech is honored to have 3 IBM Power Systems champions, and I know as the first Lifetime Power Systems Champion, that it is a very high honor to be in that small group of individuals that IBM has named. The champions are members of the IBM i community that have a passion for the platform, a desire to help others in the community, and go above and beyond their jobs for the community. It’s an honor that I am very proud of, as well as to be a member of the group.  I am so proud and happy that both Steve and Richie joined us a few years ago, but quite honestly when I talk with our customers they are even happier.

In this newsletter, you’ll find the following:

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