July 2015 Newsletter

Dear iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

I hope you are enjoying the summer, and getting  time to take some vacation and enjoy this beautiful weather. We finished the last quarter with a larger staff, many new customers, and additional  new products & services for our customer base.  It’s been a great first half of the year, thanks to our customers.  We hope to continue to earn your trust and confidence in the remainder of the year as we work together.

If you have been Anchored to one business partner for a while, it might be time to throw the anchor away. Get more from iTech SolutionsCheck us out on the web for all we can do for you and your company.

Last month we talked about all the cool new features in the two new Technology Refreshes for both 7.1 & 7.2.  In our fourth article this month, be aware of the problems installing 7.1 Technology Refreshes if you are more than 2 Technology Refreshes behind, upgrade with caution.  See the May iTech Solutions newsletter for details on what was announced. The cool new functionality being brought to IBM i is amazing.

IBM has announced that IBM i 6.1 (as well as 6.1.1) will end support on Sept 30, 2015. If you are still on 6.1, please contact us and arrange for one of our System Admins to come and upgrade your operating system. Don’t wait until the last minute.  Of course, it doesn’t matter what release you are on, we can help you upgrade to the latest release IBM i 7.2. If you are still back on V5R4 (end of Support was Sept 30, 2013), we can help you with that upgrade as well.  We have the skills, the experience, and the knowledge, to easily upgrade your operating system so you don’t have to worry.

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.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article we discuss “The end is coming for 6.1”, and it is time to upgrade.  The second article is about a cool new feature of 7.2 on how to know how much temporary storage each job is using.  The third article is on keeping track of the growing PHP log on your system.  The fourth is on failure loading PTFs and Technology Refreshes. 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 10 for you on your next application of PTFs. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 2.

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 a Power Systems running IBM i, or even your existing POWER5, POWER6, or POWER7 machines to POWER8.

 

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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.

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V6R1-End-is-coming

The end of regular support for IBM i 6.1 is coming 09/30/2015.   

 

What came out January 29, 2008?  IBM i 6.1.  If you are still on 6.1, or 6.1.1 then its time to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 or 7.2. The end of regular support is September 30, 2015. If you decide to stay on 6.1 it is going to cost you much more in an extended support contract. The time is now to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 or 7.2. There has been so many new features and functions put into 7.1 and 7.2, that you really want to upgrade to take advantage of them.  After all, 7.1 has been out since April 2010, and 7.2 has been out since April 2014. We do more upgrades in a week, than most people do in their life time.  We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to perform your upgrade for you without any worry.

If you don’t have the resources to do the upgrade, can’t find the time, or just don’t know where to even begin?  No problem, just contact iTech Solutions and we can perform your upgrade.  If you want a business partner who helps you get the most from your IBM i, then give us a call at 203-744-7854 or email us.  We don’t just sell hardware, we add value for our customers by helping them.


How much Temporary Storage is in use and who is using it?

  IT JUngle

I originally wrote this story for IT Jungle, and it appeared in their July 21, 2015 edition of the Four Hundred Guru. Another great function added to IBM i 7.2.

I recently visited the site of a company that had a problem of increasing disk utilization. The staff had run all the GO DISKTASK reports and nothing seemed to be getting bigger. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an easy way of finding who is using temporary storage. Displaying the amount of used temporary storage was so obscure that most System Administrators had no idea where to look. Let me show you how to see: (1) the amount of temporary storage that is being used; and (2) the jobs are using the most.

Temporary storage is mostly associated with jobs on your system, and it can certainly grow. This temporary storage is composed of temporary objects, temporary indexes, and other internal structures. Failure to control and manage this could overflow your disks. When the system is IPLed all temporary storage is released, but IBM recommends that we don’t need to IPL that often. I have seen the disks on systems fill completely up because there was a runaway job just creating temporary storage. The problem has been it wasn’t easy to find, until now.

Below is the top right-hand side of a Work with System Status (WRKSYSSTS) command from a system at IBM i V5R4, 6.1, or 7.1. You can see that this partition has 1.7TB in total (System ASP) and is currently using 59.68% (% System ASP used) of the disk, and in all the ASPs the (Total Aux Stg) total storage is 1.7TB. We also know that there is only one ASP because the System ASP and the Total Aux Stg are the same. Now, notice the next two lines. Current unprotected used is 4,746 MB (or 4.7GB) of temporary storage. That is the amount of temporary storage being used right now. The maximum unprotected is the largest amount it has gotten to since the last IPL.

 

 

Now, notice the screen capture below of an IBM i 7.2 system. The WRKSYSSTS command now states Current temporary storage used and Peak temporary used. Certainly this is more easily understood. It states the same exact thing as before, but labeled so people understand what it is.

 

 

Ok, I am saving the best for last.   READ MORE>

 


Many of our customers are using PHP, check these logs?  .

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Many of our customers are using PHP, it is a great extension to IBM i.  It is an easy to learn and use web development front end to your IBM i. It works great with IBM i. PHP scripting is definitely one of the easiest  scripting languages to learn and grasp for developers. This is partially due to the similarities PHP syntax has with other languages like C and Java. Even if the only experience that you have is with HTML, picking up PHP is still fairly easy. For developers just starting out, PHP is often the first scripting language they learn because it’s clear and easy to understand. It also is easy to install on IBM i.

PHP keeps some logs, and we have noticed on a few of our accounts these can grow quite large.  So, you might want to check on your system in the IFS. Using the WRKLNK command and going into the directories:

/usr/local/zendsvr6/var/log/

This is where you will find the php.log file.  Keep track of this file’s size. Remember, as part of our iTech Solutions Managed Services, we can be monitoring your machine for you.

 


Failure loading PTFs & Technology Refreshes at 7.1 IBM i

IBM Support is stating that due to the large volume of PTFs that come out with each Technology Refresh (TR), that you shouldn’t upgrade more than 2 Technology Refreshes at once, otherwise the installation will fail and you can’t IPL your machine. So, as an example if you are at TR level 6, don’t go to TR level 9 in one step.  If you do, you can overflow the loadsource storage reserved for Licensed Internal Code. If that happens, you won’t be able to IPL and will be required to Slip the LIC. You would also then be required to install the LIC from the latest 7.1 I_BASE_01 DVD, which is RSN, otherwise you would be in the same predicament with PTFs failing to install and a down machine.  Of course, if iTech Solutions is taking care of your IBM i PTFs for you with our quarterly or semi annually PTF maintenance program, there is no need to worry.

If PTF 5770999-MF99008 is not Permanently applied nor superseded by a Permanently applied PTF, there may not be enough reserved loadsource storage available to install PTF 5770999-MF99010. To prevent the PTF install from failing with CPF362C (Insufficient storage for Licensed Internal Code fix), restore Licensed Internal Code (LIC) level “RS 710-N” (May 2015) or higher before installing this cumulative PTF package. If you have questions on how to restore LIC, contact your service provider (iTech Solutions). NOTE: If you have any LIC PTFs on your system that are not included in this cumulative PTF package, you will need to re-install those PTFs after restoring LIC. Also, if you restore LIC for this issue, the following instruction regarding PTF SI43588/SI47010 is not required because their purpose is to permanently apply a set of LIC PTFs which are already included in the LIC you restored

Function in PTF SI43588 will ensure your system has enough space to install Licensed Internal Code fixes. PTF SI43588 must be active BEFORE installing this cumulative PTF package. Enter the following command to determine if PTF SI43588 is active:

DSPPTF LICPGM(5770SS1) SELECT(SI43588)

If the status is Temporarily applied or Permanently applied, the PTF is active. If the status is Superseded, verify that the superseding PTF is Temporarily applied or Permanently applied. If PTF SI43588 is not found or not active, electronically download superseding PTF SI47010 and its requisites as save files, and temporarily apply SI47010 BEFORE installing this cumulative PTF

If all this is just too much to worry about, contact iTech Solutions and we will perform this for you.


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.

NewsletterApril2013

 

September 24 – VTMUG Eleventh Annual Technical Confernece  www.vtmug.org   Burlington, VT

  • Visit our booth in the Vendor Expo to learn more about our products and services.

 

October 5 – 7 COMMON www.common.org  Fall Event Fort Lauderdale, FL

  • What you need to know to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, FSP, Firmware: Putting all the pieces together
  • Tips and Tricks to Improve Performance and Save disk space.
  • Cool things on Managing your system with Navigator for IBM

 

October 18 – 20 COMMON Sweden Data3 www.data3.se – Plats: Elite Marina Tower Hotel

  • Various Systems management Topics

October 21 COMMON Belgium www.common.be

  • Various Systems management Topics

 


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 15135 15142 15063 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 2 10
Grp Hipers 41 144 204 203 169
DB Group 7 36 33 33 24
Java Group 6 21 32 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 13 48 59 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 9 35 45 36 17
TCP/IP 1 8 16 22 16
Security 18 43 58 32
High Availability 2 8 4
Hardware 9 19 16

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 V8R8.3 MH01513, then MH01514, then MH01539
HMC V8R8.2 MH01454, then SP1 MH01455, then MH01515, then MH01538
HMC  V8R8.1 SP 2 MH01452, then MH01532
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 2 MH01451, then MH01537
HMC V7R7.8 SP1 MH01397 then

SP 2 MH01432, then MH01536

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_146_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_071_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_156_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-101_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_101_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_101_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_071_040
Power8 8247-21L, 8247-22L, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, 8286-42A SV830_048_048

 

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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