January 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

I hope you all had an amazing holiday, and your new year is off to a great start.  The New Year is always filled with great ideas, motivated goals, and ways we think we can improve ourselves.  Hey, even if you don’t succeed at all of them, just trying or wanting to be admirable.  How about some less lofty goals that as IT professionals we should be doing ourselves:

  • When was the last time you updated your email signature? Wait; don’t have an email signature, great time to create one.  Perhaps you changed your specialization, or you just moved to a new area with a new phone number?
  • Résumé in need of a refresh?
  • Do you have presentations that you do; perhaps a refresh of the slide deck is overdue?
  • When was the last time you fully backed up your phone, your iPad, your PC? Don’t have a backup device, go get one at just about any store and use it to back up your data.  Don’t forget those pictures.
  • Passwords? Time to review your passwords, and make sure they are “Strong” passwords, and not have any weak passwords which can be compromised easily.
  • Pick one new skill for this year, and learn it.  As IT professionals, if we aren’t learning new skills we are going backwards, not maintaining status quo. Remember, both your local user group and COMMON are great places to enhance your skills.

In November, IBM delivered Technology Refresh 3 for IBMi 7.2, and Technology Refresh 11 for IBMi 7.1, Called TR3 and TR11 respectively. Our November newsletter had all the details of both Technology Refreshes. For all those customers on iTech PTF Maintenance, you will be getting the new TRs at the next scheduled PTF appointment.

Would you like a presentation on the benefits of Power8 or IBM i 7.2?  Then contact iTech Solutions and we can schedule a presentation and discussion on how we can help you get the benefits of this new hardware and operating system.  We have been putting new systems in or helping customers get more power and performance for many times less money than they are currently paying.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article we discuss how to upgrade to the latest version of HMC code, 8.8.4.  You don’t want to upgrade without reading that article. The second article is about putting PTFs on HMC 8.8.4, it’s different, and if you do it the old way it will fail.  The third article is on issues we recently had on using the new IBM Java based Access Client Solution as a console. The fourth is on getting the latest version of Java on IBM i, Java 7 or 8.  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 7.1 Technology Refresh 11 for you on your next application of PTFs. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 3.

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, blade installations, 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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Don’t upgrade your HMC to 8.8.4 before reading this.

As we  do so many IBMi OS upgrades, HMC upgrades, and FSP upgrades we spend lots of time reading the IBM website to  make sure we have things correct.  As should you if you do these yourself in order to, save yourself the aggravation and possible headaches.

Prior to upgrading, complete the following:

1. Verify HMC model is compatible with 8.8.4
HMC V8.8.4 requires more memory, and as such is only supported on the newer HMCs. On rack-mount models CR5, CR6, CR7, CR8, and CR9; and the only desktop model is the C08. These listed models meet or exceed the V8.8.4 minimum memory requirement of 2GB however 4GB is recommended.

2. HMC must currently be HMC 8.8.2+mandatory fix MH01454 or HMC 8.8.3+mandatory fix MH01514 to upgrade to 8.8.4

You can’t upgrade from any version 7 HMC code. You must be at a minimum of 8.8.2 with the mandatory eFix MH01454 or later.   Again, it’s important to constantly be updating your HMC at least every 6 months in my opinion.

For HMC version 8.8.3, apply mandatory fix MH01514 or later before upgrading to 8.8.4. To update 8.8.3 HMC to latest fixes, see Update(s) for HMC 8.8.3 at
http://www-912.ibm.com/s_dir/slkbase.NSF/DocNumber/745874815

For HMC version 8.8.2, apply mandatory fix MH01454 or later before upgrading to 8.8.4 To update 8.8.2 HMC to latest fixes, see Update(s) for HMC 8.8.2 at http://www-912.ibm.com/s_dir/slkbase.NSF/DocNumber/726414397

For HMC version 8.8.1 and 7.7.9, Upgrade to 8.8.2 first, then upgrade to 8.8.4.

3. Confirm machine type/model and serial number are correct

Use one of the methods below to verify that the Machine Type/Model and Serial Number (MTMS) matches the information on the tag on the front of the physical HMC. If they do not match, do not attempt the upgrade. To resolve the problem, contact IBM Hardware, Option 1 for hardware, and request a BIOS flash to correct the MTMS:

o On the HMC GUI interface, select Updates in the left-hand navigation panel. Find Model Type and Serial number in the HMC Code Level section of the right-hand panel.
o From a restricted shell command line, type the following command and press Enter: lshmc -v *TM is the machine type/model, and *SE is the serial number.

4. Prepare for new call home support (8.8.2 upgrade only)

Call Home support for modem (dial-in using AT&T Global Network) and Internet VPN is disabled. The only supported method for Electronic Service Agent (ESA) connections for V8R8.3.0 and higher is “Internet”.

Prior to upgrading from HMC 8.8.2, you should disable modem and Internet VPN options and enable “Internet”:
– In the navigation area, click Service Management, and then click Manage Outbound Connectivity.
– On the Call-Home Server Consoles panel, click Configure.
– On the Outbound Connectivity Settings panel, select Local Modem tab and uncheck “Allow local modem dialing for service”.
– Still on the Outbound Connectivity Settings panel, select the Internet VPN tab and uncheck “Allow a VPN and an existing Internet connection for service”.
– Still on the Outbound Connectivity Settings panel, select the Internet tab and check “Allow an existing Internet connection for service”.
– Click OK, and then click OK again.

5. Perform the upgrade.

6. During the upgrade to V8 R8.4.0, the local session will display a list of environment variables for hmcmanager (last line is “END ENV” ) for as long as 20 to 40 minutes without a screen change.  Do not reboot HMC or power off; wait for the upgrade to complete.

7. Check out the next article below on how to apply the mandatory fixes required for 8.8.4

You can’t use the normal GUI to apply the next update, so this is real important.

I can tell you from experience, it is easier to keep everything up to date, than to have to catch up when someone hasn’t been keeping up to date with any of these updates. If you would prefer for iTech Solutions to apply your PTFS, update your HMC, Update your FSP, or Upgrade your OS then send us an email to sales@itechsol.com.

 


 Putting the HMC 8.8.4 mandatory fixes on is VERY different.

Normally updating the HMC by putting on a PTF, also referred to as corrective service is so easy.  You download the correct PTF to media for the current version from IBM Fix Central website. I always use a USB drive as it is the easiest when doing a local install.  Click on Update in the left hand panel, and then click on the “Update HMC” button located on the right hand window.  Not for 8.8.4, if you do it that way, you will have problems.

To install MH01560, load the media on the HMC:
– If using DVD, load media into the DVD drive on the HMC.
– If using USB flash drive, plug flash drive into USB port. Wait a short time for the HMC to detect the flash drive.

1. Log into HMC restricted shell
Locally: Open a restricted shell by selecting HMC Management in the navigation area, then select Open a Restricted Shell in the work frame (right frame).
Remotely: Log in using a ssh client.

2. Install the PTF using updhmc command. Depending on if you are using DVD or USB; there are different parameters for the UPDHMC command.   If you are using DVD, only burn one image per DVD.  Then you would use the command:

                          updhmc -t dvd -r

If you are using a USB flash drive, then you have to locate the mount point, mount the drive, and then install the fix. Here are the steps:

Locate the mount point, by running the command

lsmediadev

      • Example output:

        • device=/dev/sdb1,mount_point=

/media/sdb1

      • ,type=3,description=USB flash memory device
      • device=/dev/cdrom,mount_point=,type=1,description=CD/DVD
    • In the example above, the mount point to use is /media/sdb1

Now we need to mount the drive. If the command above returned /media/sbd1 for the USB, then that is what we are going to use.
                           mount /media/sbd1

Now, we can install the fix from the USB.  What I like about the USB, is that I can have multiple fixes on my USB, as it gives me the ability to name the fix.  Since I have to do this for 2 fixes, this makes my life easier. Remember, after each fix is loaded you must reboot the HMC. So, in the example below since my first fix is MH01560 that I put on the USB, my command would be

                         updhmc -t usb -r -f /media/sbd1/MH01560.iso

If you would prefer iTech Solutions to be doing this for you, then contact us via email,

 


Problem using the new Access Client Solutions client as a LAN Console.

Well I have never been a big fan of JAVA, and since it seems like my version of JAVA is constantly being updated on my PC every other day, I thought it was a mistake for IBM to make the replacement for IBM i Client Access a JAVA based product.  This is a good case in point.  IBM should continue to release and enhance the full client solution from 7.1, which is now stabilized (That is IBM Speak for discontinued, and won’t be supported in the future).  We were able to connect with the old client, but JAVA is preventing us connecting with the new JAVA based client as the console.

When it comes to IBM i, there are two things you always need when you start to have problems. A console, and your loadsource.  If you don’t have a console you can’t get into the system, and if you don’t have a load source, you can’t IPL the machine. Recently, we had a problem with a console at a customer when we tried to use the new JAVA based Access Client Solution client. Here is what Nathan had to do to fix the problem:

The error I was getting when trying to connect to the LAN console contained a Java exception relating to certificates.

           java.security.cert.CertificateException: Certificates does not conform to algorithm constraints

Doing some research, I’ve found that this is coming up because the console is using a certificate signed using MD5 with RSA, but newer versions of Java disallow the use of MD5 in SSL certificates due to the fact that it is insecure.

The issue can be worked around by changing a Java configuration file:

  1. Make sure ACS is not running.
  2. Find the Java install directory in Windows, usually C:\Program Files\Java or C:\Program Files (x86)\Java.
  3. Inside there should be a folder starting with “jre” and a version number; open it. If you have more than one jre folder, open the most recent (highest version) one.
  4. Open “lib” then “security.”
  5. Edit the java.security file with any text editor. Make sure you run the editor as an administrator.
  6. Look for two lines similar to the ones below (they will be near the bottom of the file, separated by about 30 lines of documentation). The exact values after the “=” may be a little different on your PC depending on your version of Java.
  7. jdk.certpath.disabledAlgorithms=MD2, MD5, RSA keySize < 1024
  8. jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms=SSLv3, RC4, MD5withRSA, DH keySize < 768
  9. We need to remove the references to MD5 from these lists of disabled algorithms. Using my examples above, that gives us…
  10. jdk.certpath.disabledAlgorithms=MD2, RSA keySize < 1024
  11. jdk.tls.disabledAlgorithms=SSLv3, RC4, DH keySize < 768
  12. Save the file and re-launch ACS.

Nathan was able to connect to the console after this fix. You will start to need to migrate to the new version of this JAVA based client, so it is imperative that you start now before you must be on this version. For help in the migration, contact iTech Solutions.

 

 


Java 7 & 8 on IBM i.

If you read the article above, you know I am not a big fan of Java.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great technology; I am just annoyed that I seem to have to update the level of Java on my PC every other day.  If your version is  little old, then nothing will connect.  Well, let’s talk about JAVA on IBM i.  Did you know that both IBM i 7.1 & 7.2 now support  the latest version of Java, Java 8.

Effective immediately, IBM will no longer provide fixes for the following IBM Toolbox for Java V7.1 options:

  • Option 8 – IBM Technology for Java 5.0 32-bit
  • Option 9 – IBM Technology for Java 5.0 64-bit
  • Option 13 – IBM Technology for Java 1.4.2 64-bit

You should be moving to one of the following IBM Toolbox for Java options.  We are now installing both Java 7 and Java 8 when we perform on OS upgrade for our clients.  If you need to get on the latest version of JAVA, just let us know and we will be happy to help you out.  You can always download your own version at the ESS website.

  • Option 11 – IBM Technology for Java 6 32-bit
  • Option 12 – IBM Technology for Java 6 64-bit
  • Option 14 – IBM Technology for Java 7 32-bit
  • Option 15 – IBM Technology for Java 7 64-bit
  • Option 16 – IBM Technology for Java 8 32 bit
  • Option 17 – IBM Technology for Java 8 64 bit

If you need the latest Java version installed, then contact iTech Solutions.

 


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.

 

January 21, 2016 2:00pm EST – with Help Systems –

  • IBM i hosting IBM i – a Step-by-step Guide to Creating virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i,  To register click here

March 15 to 17, 2016 – WMCPA at the Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, WI, www.wmcpa.org

Visit Yvonne at the booth as well as hear her speak on sessions:

 

  • Agile Testing and Concepts
  • Testing Tips and Tricks for Programmers
  • Team Building between QA and Development Groups

 

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.

,  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 15310 15317 15063 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 3 11
Grp Hipers 53 157 210 204 169
DB Group 9 38 34 33 24
Java Group 8 23 33 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 18 53 61 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 12 37 46 36 17
TCP/IP 2 9 17 22 16
Security 25 50 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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