January 2008 Newsletter

Greetings!
 

Are you getting the most from your System i (AS/400, iSeries, and/or i5)?  Let us help you with any of your System i needs.  In this issue first we discuss what cool features are coming out as part of i5/OS V6R1.  While we know a lot more we can only tell you what IBM has publicly announced.  There will be more details in next months newsletter. As you will need to recreate all your programs for the next release of i5/OS, our second article covers everything you will need to know, what to do and how to do it. The third article is when your current release of i5/OS will no longer be supported and what is the last release that your current box will run.  Our forth article explains what Voice over IP is and how it can help your company.

 

iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, upgrade OS/400, perform security audits, implement a High Availability solution, VoIP, Systems Management, PTF management, 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 System i.  For more information on any of the articles below, please contact us at info@itechsol.com we would also like to know what you think of this newsletter and any items you would like us to discuss in future issues.

i5/OS V6R1 is Coming soon
IBM has been releasing hints about the next release of i5/OS (formerly OS/400). Here are a few of the highlights: 

* A new Web-based, multiplatform system management console will support i5/OS, extending many of the management capabilities currently available in System i Navigator and IBM Director.

* i5/OS workload management and virtualization support will be enhanced with new features; for example, an i5/OS partition will be able to host storage of another i5/OS partition, which can simplify testing and deployment of applications. Also, i5/OS will be supported as a client of the Virtual I/O Server (VIOS), giving access to virtualized and network storage.

* A new graphical, Web-based performance data viewer will offer enhanced viewing and analysis of i5/OS performance data.

* Continued investments in i5/OS business resiliency include enhancements to cross-site mirroring and further simplification of system object replication through the administrative system domain.

* i5/OS security enhancements will include encrypted backups to any tape or virtual tape device, encryption of data stored on disk, and intrusion protection.

* IBM continues to pursue the integration of RPG with new technologies and languages. With this new release, IBM will deliver the RPG compiler with extensions for multithreading and addition of local file support.

* With this new release, IBM will extend the implementation of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), which is being deployed across all IBM platforms. The new 64-bit JVM is expected to help ISVs with application portability, configuration, and service tool compatibility when they deploy new Java applications on i5/OS that were written on another platform.

* IBM plans to include a new integrated Web application server with i5/OS to simplify the deployment of Java applications. The integrated application Web server will support applications written to use JSF, JSP, and servlets and will require minimal system resources and administration.

* Also planned is an integrated Web services environment with i5/OS for Integrated Language Environment® (ILE) programs. Utilities will generate high-level APIs for ILE programs to invoke Web services. A Web services run time will also be included. This run time can easily be used by an administrator with many existing RPG and COBOL programs to expose these programs as Web services.

* With the shift of responsibility for the System i compilers and application development products to the Rational® line of business, IBM will work to enhance the integration and synergy of the System i development products, such as WebSphere® Development Studio Client (WDSC), with other Rational offerings. The Rational Suite® of products provides key function to enhance a developer’s environment in areas such as the rapid development of modern application architectures for System i (Rational Business Developer, formerly Enterprise Generation Language), modelling of application solutions, quality management, and change and configuration management. The tighter integration of these products to the System i development community will further enhance the comprehensive function included in WDSC today.

* In addition, i5/OS and System i will enhance their integration and performance with IBM System Storage™.

Are you running i5/OS V5R4 or are you back on an older release? Would you like to get all the new functionality of the new OS, but you aren’t sure what is involved in an upgrade, or perhaps you don’t wish to spend the time to do the upgrade. Let iTech Solutions come in and perform your next upgrade.  See how affordable it is for us to do the upgrade for you. After all, we have already done over 100 upgrades to V5R4 in 2007 alone.  If you are on an older version of OS/400 there is even more planning involved. Let us perform the upgrade while you take care of your other IT issues.  Get to V5R4 quickly and effortlessly with iTech Solutions.

Preparing for V6R1 NOW !! (program conversion).
 

One of the issues that you will face when upgrading to V6R1 is that all programs will be required to be recreated. Yes, you did read that correctly. This will increase the length of your upgrade, but more importantly you need to figure out NOW which programs will not be able to be recreated. Similar to when we went from CISC to RISC. This conversion, recreates the programs to take advantage of the latest system enhancements, including enhanced system integrity, improved performance, and a range of new operating system and processor capabilities. In order for a program to be converted, its creation data (sometimes referred to as observability) must be available. Programs created for V5R1 or later automatically retain creation data sufficient for conversion. If you compiled any programs at OS/400® V4R5 and earlier you need to ensure that creation data is available for the conversion process. This goes for your “homewritten” programs, as well as those that you received from any software utility vendors or your ERP software. iTech Solutions has been performing an analysis for our customer’s systems over the past few months, showing them which programs are problems, and giving them ample time figure out how to resolve this. Let us come in and analyze your system and provide a report for you on exactly which programs have issues. This way, you can start to get these resolved before you need to upgrade to V6R1. Remember, if you don’t have creation data for the program to be recreated at V6R1, it will not run. Let’s make sure these are not your mission critical programs that will have problems.

Contact iTech Solutions

i5/OS and OS/400 Release Support
What release are you currently running? If you haven’t upgraded to the latest release, of i5/OS, there are many functions and features that you are missing out on.  In addition, when issues arise, can you still get IBM Support?  The chart will show you the release of i5/OS or OS/400, the date it first became available, and then the end of support date.  I would expect the end of support for V5R3 will be early 2009, even though IBM has yet to announce this. Do you need help with an upgrade?  Contact iTech Solutions to perform this for you, so there is nothing to worry about. Contact iTech Solutions

 

Release     Avail Date      End of Support

V4R5         July 2000         Dec 31, 2002

V5R1         May 2001         Sept 30, 2005

V5R2         Aug 2002         April 30, 2007

V5R3         June 2004              TBA

V5R4         Feb 2006                TBA

V6R1         Spring 2008            TBA

 

Also, depending on your current hardware, you may not be able to even run the latest version of i5/OS. Please see the next chart below.  It may interest you to learn that many of our customers have made considerable savings by upgrading to a newer, faster box. Give us a call, and let us run some numbers for you. Here are a few common machines and the last version of i5/OS or OS/400 that will run on the box.

 

Machine             Last supported release

170                            V5R3

270                            V5R4

6xx                            V5R2

7xx                            V5R3

820/830/840                 V5R4

800/810/825                 V6R1

 

Let iTech Solutions provide you with an analysis of your current machines and find out how we can improve performance.  In addition, sometimes it’s actually cheaper to upgrade to a new machine, due to reduced hardware and software maintenance.  Lets work together to analyze your machine and find the best path for your company.   Contact iTech Solutions

Voice over IP (VoIP)
In today’s highly competitive business environment, companies everywhere want to extract business advantage from every technology in the enterprise – especially customer-facing communications, such as their telephone systems. Many are looking to IP telephony to find ways to lower costs, simplify network management and use existing systems and resources while more tightly integrating business applications and customer communication with their voice and data networks. At the same time, many of these companies face the challenge of an overly complex IT environment. They seek the benefits of an integrated business system that can help them become more responsive to their customers, improve productivity, operate without interruption and secure their data and communications – without large upfront investments in time, skills or money. With IBM System i IP Telephony, you can get the business benefits and simplicity you seek from both your telephony and IT environments, with one integrated, secure and reliable solution delivered by three industry leaders, IBM, 3COM, and iTech Solutions

 

What is IP telephony? Simply stated, it is technology that sends voice communication over your data network using IP. This is in contrast to traditional phone systems where data and voice networks were totally separate. More companies of all sizes are replacing their traditional phone systems with IP telephony to realize both productivity benefits and infrastructure cost savings. The reasons for making the switch to IP telephony vary from company to company. However, the most common benefits can be categorized in two areas: Cost savings and business advantage. Cost savings can be realized by reducing infrastructure and operating costs because IP telephony systems have a single infrastructure across multiple offices for voice and data, and these systems are easier to manage and change with the needs of the business. In addition, companies may experience lower charges for long-distance calling and conference call hosting.

 

The 3Com IP Telephony solution is a comprehensive, exceptionally flexible, reliable and manageable communications system that can increase business productivity, improve customer relationships and reduce costs. The solution includes three major components: IP telephony applications suite, media gateways and SIP-based IP phones. Together they provide the components for secure, high performance voice communications, while simplifying multi-site deployment and workforce flexibility. 3Com IP Telephony has the processing capacity to support organizations of any size with the reliability and functionality of large carrier-class systems because the call control engine that drives the solution was developed originally to address the needs of carrier deployments. And, because the solution architecture offers an incremental upgrade path, companies can add sites when ready by interconnecting them via IP. In addition, new users are added easily by administrators and IP phones are made operational by simply plugging them into a network port.

 

3Com IP Telephony enables companies to implement a next generation, multimedia IP communications system that uses the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) SIP standard. It supports a rich set of productivity-enhancing applications while providing the phone features of a traditional phone system. The IP Telephony module, which is a component of the 3Com Convergence Applications Suite, also lets organizations migrate to an open, IP based communications system in increments that best fit business objectives. The module supports centralized administration, configuration and management that can lower installation and operating costs and optimize IT staff as the system is implemented throughout an organization. To ensure business continuity, the module offers a distributed, replicated architecture to ensure full function telephony at any site even during a WAN failure.

 

Contact iTech Solutions  and schedule a time when someone can come in and discuss how the 3Com System i Telephony solution can save you money, increase productivity, provide a wealth of new functions, features and benefits all with a very quick payback.  For additional information

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