July 2013 Newsletter

Dear Mike,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

We hope you are enjoying the beautiful summer, hopefully taking a little time to relax with family and friends, and possibly a well-deserved vacation. Last month we discussed the AS/400 turning twenty-five years old. Quite an accomplishment, and now we start the next twenty five years, with the IBM i (what the AS/400 has become) positioned to run your business, and iTech Solutions right there to help you meet the challenges and help you take all the advantage of your IBM i. Some of you might not have upgraded your machines and are running on older hardware, or even older operating systems. You will be amazed at how much more efficient your business can function with a new more powerful Power7+ machine. Let us help you get there. Contact Paul or Rick, and see how we can help you save money with a new machine, get more performance, and make your employees more efficient. Of course, you have to keep current with the operating system as well to use the new functions. If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you know that IBM support for V5R4 goes away Sept 30, 2013. About 60 days from now!!!!! If you are still V5R4, you know what I told you last month. Stop praying for a miracle upgrade. God is too busy to help you with an IBM i (OS/400, i5/OS) Upgrade!!! The next best thing is iTech Solutions.

Having a business partner isn’t the same as having iTech Solutions, if you aren’t getting the support, the help, the guidance, and the advice you need to succeed then you need to contact iTech Solutions for your IBM Power Systems running IBM I needs. We can help you upgrade your AS/400 or iSeries to an IBM i.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article, we will review command changes for OS upgrades. The second article is on Cloud hosting for High Availability & Disaster Recovery. The third article is making restores easier with ALWOBJDIF(*COMPATIBLE). The fourth article is an IBM interview with Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions. 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 iTech Solutions PTF maintenance plan, we will be installing Technology Refresh 6 for you on your next application of PTFs.

 

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, Cloud based systems, Hosting, iSCSI configurations, 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.


 

Command Changes for OS Upgrades  Contact_us_red_phone
We always make a point that a successful upgrade, is an upgrade that no one really knows things have changed or been upgraded. That is our motto for upgrading and measuring the success. Of course, with every upgrade there are going to be changes that happen. Yet, think about your environment for a second. You have made some changes to IBM commands, you change some command defaults, you change the characteristics of a printer file like number of lines, or perhaps the maximum number of records in a file, or the default out queue. What happens when a new release of IBM i is installed? All your defaults to the IBM supplied objects get changed. So, what can you do?I always tell customers to make a CL program, put the source in QGPL/QCLSRC with a member name of OSUPGRADE. Then, every time you change a command, change a default parameter, change anything you enter the command into this CL program. Then, when it is time for an upgrade, you just compile the program, and all your modifications that you have done will automatically be carried forward. It’s that simple.

When you do an upgrade, everything in the IBM libraries are replaced with new versions of the IBM objects. New programs, new commands, new printer files, etc. Now, you understand why your changes/customizations are lost. There are a few items that don’t change with an OS upgrade, like system values, and Subsystem descriptions.   Most people will change a command to have a new default value. I find this more than anything else is what people will have in their CL Program.

I have found this method of putting everything in a CL program over the years to be a great documentation tool as well, as you then know everything that has changed. You should always review this CL program during each upgrade to make sure it still makes sense to make your changes as well.

Do you need help in your upgrade?  Make iTech Solutions part of your team, and have a smooth and successful upgrade.


Cloud Hosting for Disaster Recovery & High Availabilitycloud-computing

I tend to be at customer sites 4 out of 5 days a week.  What I have noticed at most sites, is that many companies rely so heavily on their computer systems, they can’t work or live without them. Yet those same companies that rely so heavily on their computers don’t have a disaster recovery or high availabilty plan in place in the event of a disaster.

Let’s face it, reliability is one of the IBM i (AS/400, iSeries) best qualities.  Yet, there maybe outside circumstances that makes your computer system unavailable or vulnerable  That could be an explosion in your office, someone hitting the telephone pole outside the office, a fire in a nearby office, a flood, an earthquake, a hurricane, or something like a truck running into the side of your building.  Whatever the event, are you prepared?

Cloud computing can be the answer to your problems.  Because Cloud computing could be the best thing for small & medium businesses since the typewriter.  It also provides access to technology that was previously out of the reach of these size businesses, plus the ability to quickly react and leverage that technology as a strategic asset.  Make no doubt about it, cloud computing is here to stay.  Learn how to take advantage of it.

What is the biggest weakness that I find in most companies.  Well, they have no Disaster Recovery plan, if they have one they have never tested it, and sometimes a 3 day tape recovery isn’t quick enough.  What is a small company to do?  You can’t be without your systems for more than a few hours, you can’t ship or invoice without your computer systems.  It would be great to have a second system.  Wait a minute, first that is a costly endeavor to have two exact computer systems, but what happens if you only have one location?

What about use the cloud for high availability? 

The best of both worlds.  You can reduce your cost of acquisition, as you don’t have to purchase a second machine.  Plus the added benefit is that if I have my high availability machine in the cloud, then I don’t have to worry about having two computer systems in the same location.  Thereby minimizing my risk.  I think this is one of the best uses of cloud computing.

iTech Solution has our cloud offering, where we have PowerSystems, Windows servers, Linux Servers, VMWare, communications, all in a fully redundant data center.  We can host your work load, and provide high availability for you using our high availability software partners.  To you, it’s a solutions in a box.  You get a second machine/partition, without the costs associated with a second system, you get a remote system in the cloud, fully redundant power, A/C, communications, generators, and Uninteruptible Power Supplies.  You can have us manage your partition, or you can manage your partition. We can monitor the replication software, or you can manage the replication software.  We can monitor the partition, or you can.  It’s customizable for whatever your needs are.  Our cloud computing is under our http://www.iInTheCloud.com business.  Yet, it is the same iTech Solutions staff who you have come to depend on.

For more information, send Paul an email and see how you can be up and running in a very short time, replicating your workload to one of our IBM i partitions.  We have the expertise to implement your replication for you as well.  All this means that you get a solution, without spending capital dollars, because you can expense this all as monthly operating expense.

Your business will be protected, your system will be replicating every transaction as soon as it is entered, and you job will be safe.  Hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes can knock you out in a second, but replicating to our cloud means you are safe and secure.  We have so many options available to you for the cloud, we would love to hear and understand your requirements.

 



Allow Object Differences (*Compatible) 

Spot_the_difference

 

A new value *COMPATIBLE has been added to the ALWOBJDIF (Allow Object Differences) parameter to make restores work better. It seems every time I am on a customer’s machines, I notice mistakes during a previous restore that are sitting on their machines like small time bombs waiting to explode.

We have always used the ALWOBJDIF(*ALL) for database files, but it can cause us problems when there is a file level difference between the file on the system and the file that is being restored. When this occurs, the original file is renamed with a numeric suffix and the new file is restored with the original name. Unfortunately, the logical files are still based over the original file, which was renamed. This is a pure disaster in the making. You can get different results then reading the physical file vs. reading the logical files (because the logical files are based upon a different physical file). The same issue happens if the member has a different level upon the restore.

We now have a fix at 7.1. If you aren’t on 7.1, let iTech Solutions get you upgraded.

When using ALWOBJDIF(*COMPATIBLE) on the restore command for database objects this is equivalent to using ALWOBJDIF(*AUTL, *OWNER, *PGP, and *FILELVL) all together. Then the following would be allowed:

  • All authorization list differences.
  • All ownership differences.
  • All primary group differences.
  • The files are restored only when the file and member levels match.

This is a big difference, and a great enhancement. For all other types of objects, *COMPATIBLE performs just like *ALL.

One important item to note, is that with 7.1, *COMPATIBLE is now the default for using the RESTORE menu options 21, 22, and 23 when restoring to a different system option is taken. This means you need to be extra careful and recognize the differences between releases when you restore.

Of course, we strongly recommend that everyone should be testing out their restore process at least yearly. If you need help with testing your restore, or a machine to test your restoration on, please contact Rick to setup an appointment.




IBM interview with Pete Massiello   Intrusion Detection

 

 

IBM’s Scott Laningham recently caught up with IBM PowerSystems Champion Pete Massiello of iTech Soltiions at COMMON in Austin, and talks about  about the constancy of the IBM i as it celebrates its 25-year anniversary. Pete discusses “the machine that runs…”  Watch the video .

 


 

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.

 

July 25, Parsippany, N www.nestu.com

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

August 21,1pm EDT free webinar. www.common.org

  • Step by step guide to building virtual IBM i partitions hosted by IBM i.

September 9 to 11, St. Louis, MO COMMON Fall event www.common.org

  • What do you need to know when upgrading IBM i.
  • A Programmers Future: Looking back to see the future.
  • Managing IBM i with Navigator for i
  • Tips and tricks to improve system performance and save disk space.
  • Understanding the HMC, FSP, IBM i, and Firmware.

COMMON Denmark (GS-Gruppen) Nov 12th Copenhaugen, Denmark

Topics to be determined.


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.

7.1 6.1 V5R4 V5R3
Cumul Pack 13037 13058 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 6
Grp Hipers 90 152 198 169
DB Group 24 30 33 24
Java Group 13 24 32 23
Print Group 8 27 48 20
Backup/Recov. 26 39 55 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 13 25 15
HTTP 20 31 36 17
TCP/IP 7 15 22 16
Security 26 41 32
High Availability 4 3
Hardware 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 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 V7R7.6 with Service Pack 2 and eFix MH01353 or V7R7.7 with Service Pack 2 and eFix MH01355. 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_418. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, & 8204-E4A) customers should be running EL350_143. For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM350_143. If you have a Power6 595 (9119) then you should be on EH350_143. Depending on which POWER7 model & generation (B, C, or D). The firmware level is AL730_114 for 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, & 8205-E6B (710, 720, 730, or 740), AL730_114 for 750 (8233-E8B) & 755 (8236-E8C). Use AM730_114 for 770 (9117-MMB) & 780 (9179-MHB). The firmware level is AL740-100 for 8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8231-E2C, & 8205-E6C (710, 720, 730, or 740). Use AM740_100 for 770 (9117-MMC) & 780 (9179-MHC).

For Power7+ processors, the firmware level is AL770-048 for 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, & 8205-E6D (710, 720, 730, or 740). Use AM770_048 for 750 (8408-E8D) & 760 (9109-RMD). Use AM760_062 for 770 (9117-MMD) & 780 (9179-MHD).

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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