July 2012 Newsletter

Greetings!

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

Go for the Gold. Well perhaps you were thinking I was talking about the Olympics at the end of this month but I was talking about selecting the right business partner. Just like the Olympics the business partner who trains the hardest, spends the time improving themselves, and challenging themselves is going to be the partner that wins your confidence and work. Not all business partners are the same, have the same skills, invest in themselves, and can go the distance. Here at iTech Solutions we are investing in ourselves, our staff, our infrastructure, and our customers. This kind of training doesn’t just happen, it’s a way of life. If you aren’t working with us, perhaps it’s time you give us a call and bring home the gold yourself.

 

Let iTech Solutions be part of your team, part of your IT infrastructure, and part of your extended staff. Our services and knowledge are second to none, and we look forward to helping you leverage your investment in Power Systems and bringing home the gold for your company. Now back to the Olympics, I hope you get some time this summer to watch and enjoy your favorite summer Olympic sports. I know that I sure will.

 

Watch this space in August for some very exciting news on IBM i hosting, and additional offerings for running IBM i in the clouds.

 

This issue of our newsletter has five articles. In the first article, we will discuss the RUNQRY command.  The second article is about what ports are needed to be open in your firewall if you want to use IBM i Access (iSeries Access) from outside the firewall.  The third article lists some of the upcoming events in which iTech Solutions will be participating.  The fourth article is using the Display PTF Cover letter command to find unapplied PTFs on your system. The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information. Please note that we have added a new PTF group to our recommended list, which is the High Availability Group.  If you are an iTech Solutions PTF Maintenance customer, you will receive this on your next application of PTFs.

If you are still on V5R4, send Pete an email and he can help you upgrade to 6.1 or 7.1. With more upgrades than anyone else to 6.1/7.1 done to date you know iTech Solutions has the expertise and know how.

iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, perform security audits; implement a High Availability solution; perform health checks, systems management, remote administration,  PTF management, blade installations, iSCSI configurations, 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.

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For more information on any of the articles below please visit us at 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.

An Oldie but goodie – RUNQRY. 
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I was at a customer a few weeks ago helping them with some data issues they were having, when I displayed a file on the screen and the customer was so impressed by the formatting of the data.  I said surely you have used this command before, and they said they never even saw it.  I thought, ok this will be a good newsletter article command.

Let’s start with what exactly is the Run Query command.  This command can run an existing query or a default query if only a file name is specified.  So, if I want to get a quick simple display of the contents of a file, with pack fields properly displayed on my screen, I just enter “RUNQRY *N filename”.  Where filename is the actual file name, or library/filename.  If I wanted to look at the records in the customer master file (called customers in library QGPL for example) I would just enter RUNQRY *N QGPL/CUSTOMERS.  You can also enter RUNQRY QRYFILE((QGPL/CUSTOMERS)), but I find the *N an easier format to use.  I would then see displayed every record in the file, with each field in its own column.  This is a quick and fast way to look at the contents of a file, with each field being displayed in its own column.

You can only run this against one file, and there is the ability to do record selection as well by just adding the parameter RCDSLT(*YES) and then another screen is display where you can enter the selection criteria.

I have used this for many years, and was surprised that people didn’t know this existed.
 

IBM i Operating System

What
ports do I need open in my firewall to use  IBM i access (formerly iSeries Access or Client Access)? 

We were working a few weeks ago with a client who was trying to use an outside IP address to access their IBM i (AS/400, iSeries). They were using iSeries Access from the outside of their firewall, and they were mapping the external IP address in the firewall to the NATed (Network Address Translation) internal address of their IBM i. They couldn’t get iSeries Access to work.  Their network guy had opened port 23, but nothing else.  Well, iSeries Access uses more than just port 23 I told them.  I gave them the minimum ports they needed to open, but thought it would be good to publish a list of ports that are in use by iSeries Access.

    • PC Function
    • Server Name
Port Non-SSL Port SSL
    Server Mapper
    as-svrmap
    449
    License Management
    as-central
    8470
    9470
    Database Access
    as-database
    8471
    9471
    Data Queues
    as-dtaq
    8472
    9472
    Network Drives
    as-file
    8473
    9473
    Network Printers
    as-netprt
    8474
    9474
    Remote Command
    as-rmtcmd
    8475
    9475
    Signon Verification
    as-signon
    8476
    9476
    Telnet (PC5250 Emulation)
    telnet
    23
    992
    HTTP Administration
    as-admin
    2001
    2010
    POP3 (MAPI)
    pop3
    5010
    Management Central
    as-mgtc >
    5555 and 5544
    5566
    Ultimedia Services
    as-usf
    8480
    9480
    DRDA
    DRDA
    446
    DDM
    DDM
    447
    448
    IBM AnyNet
    APPCoverTCPIP
    397 (TCP and UDP)
    NetServer
    netbios >
    137
    NetServer
    CIFS
    445
    NetServer
    netbios >
    139
    Service Tools Server
    as-sts
    3000
    RUNRMTCMD
    REXEC
    512


As always, understand the risks and threats that you open yourself up to when doing this.  My preference is to use a VPN Client to connect to your router, and then once the tunnel is established you can access your IBM i.    

Upcoming Events. 

  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.

July 20th OCEAN User group www.ocean400.org of Southern California.

  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance  and reduce disk space
  • Everything to Get Started with the new
    Systems Navigator for IBM i
  • What do you need to know when upgrading to IBM i 6.1 & 7.1.
  • Building Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i.

September 18 – Vermont User Group www.vtmug.org in Essex Junction, VT.

  • A programmer’s future: Looking back to see the future
  • What do you need to know when upgrading to IBM i 6.1 & 7.1.

September 19 –  The New England Midrange Users Group www.nemug.com of Rhode Island.

  • A Programmers future: Looking back to see into the Future.

September 25 – COMMON Fall Conference in Columbus, OH.  www.common.org

 

  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance  and reduce disk space.
  • Everything to Get Started with the new
    Systems Navigator for IBM i
  • Understanding the HMC, FSP, Firmware, and IBM i. Putting the pieces together.
  • What do you need to know when upgrading to IBM i 6.1 & 7.1.
  • Building Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i.

December 11 – FASUG CT www.fasug.org

  • Programmer’s future: Looking back to see into the Future.

Display not applied PTFs.
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One of the commands that I find is always very useful when I am doing our quarterly PTF maintenance at a customer is the Display PTF Cover Letter command, DSPPTFCVR. The reason is not to just display cover letters, but I always want to see PTFs which are not yet applied.  By issuing the command, with the SELECT parameter as *NOTAPY, I then get to see which PTFs are loaded either as *SAVFs on my system (that I downloaded using SNDPTFORD), or are not yet applied.  I find this extremely useful when I want to look at the status of PTFs.

Recently, there were some PTFs for 6.1 that are required before doing PTFs (Yes, PTFs for the PTF process), and you must have them on and active before loading the next cumulative PTF package.  So, after loading all the PTFs from our special image catalogue of PTFs, I was able to use the DSPPTFCVR command with SELECT(*NOTAPY) and verify that all my PTFs had been applied.  Now, I knew I could proceed with the loading the cumulative package of PTFs.

Another good use for this, is if Service Director is enabled to download PTFs for you, remember Service Director will only download and not apply the PTFs that it determines are hardware critical PTFs.  You can use the DSPPTFCVR command to see if there exists any PTFs on your system that have been downloaded and not applied, or even loaded and not applied.

Release levels and PTFs
iSeries Family

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.

Releases

                     7.1       6.1      V5R4     V5R3
Cumul. Pack     12115    12122      12094       8267
Tech. Refresh         4

Grp Hipers            62        122         179         169
DB Group              14         26           33           24
Java Group            8          19           29           23
Print Group            5          24           46           20
Backup/Recov.     15          28           45           33
Blade/IXA/IXS      10          24           15             –

HTTP                   13          25           31           17
TCP/IP                  6          14           21           16

Security               19          32          27

High Availability     1          1

Hardware               1          1

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 V5R4, the ID is 9104. We can determine that it was created on the 104th day of 2009, which is April 14, 2009.  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, but there are still customers who are on those releases.

If you have an HMC, you should be running   V7R7.5 with efix MH01312. If your HMC is a C03, then it should stay at V7R3.5 SP4.
For your Flexible Service Processor (FSP) that is inside your Power 5 or Power5+ (520, 515, 525, 550, 570), the code level of the FSP should be 01_SF240_417. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A & 8204-E4A) customers should be running EL350_126.  For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM350_126. If you have a Power6 595 (9119) then you should be on EH350_126.
Depending on which POWER7 model & generation (B or C). The firmware level is AL730_087 for 8202-E4B & 8205-E6B (710, 720, 730, 740), AL730_087 for 750 (8233-E8B) & 755 (8236-E8C). Use AM730_087 for 770 (9117-MMB) & 780 (9179-MHB).  The firmware level is AL740-088 for 8202-E4C & 8205-E6C (710, 720, 730, 740). Use AM740_088 for 770 (9117-MMC) & 780 (9179-MHC).
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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