July 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

First, I would like to thank all our customers for our best quarter in history.  Its been a pleasure working with you, and I know our staff is committed to your success.  We will continue to work hard and try to meet and excced your expectations. As we continue to work hard to earn your business, we are also expanding again.  We welcome our newest salesperson to our team Charles Kaplan. Charles has been involved in sales and support of the IBM i platform since 1988 with IBM Corp., Barsa Consulting Group, Maximum Computer Systems Inc., and now iTech Solutions. His primary territory is the NY Metro area, including Long Island, New York City, New Jersey, and Westchester. His specialties are large and complex systems, as well as high availability and disaster recovery solutions. Let Charles know how he can help you.  In addition, if you are in Connecticut contact Dave Horanzy, Massachusetts and Rhode Island contact Rick Marcotte, existing accounts in the greater New York City area contact Glenn Ericson, Vermont and New Hampshire contact Paul Rogers, New Hampshire, Maine, and great Boston area contact Laurie LeBlanc, for the Philadelphia and southern NJ area contact Gary McMonacle. If you are outside of these areas, just contact sales@itechsol.com and one of them will contact you to help you with your IBM i needs.

On the technical side, we have been busy with IBM i 7.3 upgrades.  There are quite a few pre-requisits that must be reviewed prior to your upgrade.  We published the 7.3 items you need to be aware of when upgrading to IBM i 7.3. If you didn’t see it, here are the blog articles.

There was some confusion on older machines not being able to be renewed for maintenance.  Some of this is very confusing.  If you have a Power5 machine and want the real answer, contact our sales team.

In March we released our first IBM i State of the Union and the positive comments and the number of downloads has been phenomenal.  We just completed updating this to include everything from the first half of 2016, and should have a new version ready for you within a few days. We aren’t stopping there, we continue to be the “GoTo” IBM Business Partner for all your IBM i and Power Systems needs. This coming Fall look for another set of roadshows on Power8 and IBM i 7.3 coming to your area.  More details will be forthcoming next month.

As we have been publishing our monthly newsletter now for almost 9 years, we continue to help our customers and members of the IBM i community get the most from their IBM i and Power Systems investment.  If your current business partner isn’t providing you with the same value, switch to iTech Solutions by calling our sales team at 203-744-7854 then press 3 for the sales team.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article Chris has written an article on tools to help with IBM i System cleanup, and how you can see what is in the IFS.  The second article is on Problems with the ADMIN2 instance, and how we got back 55% of a customer’s disk space.   The third article is from Tim Rowe at IBM, where he explains all the cool new features and functions of IBM i Access Client Solutions. The fourth is on a System’s Management training 2 day conference that Larry Bolhus and I are doing in Chicago.  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, 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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

IBM i System Cleanup. 

If your system ASP usage is high, even after you perform an IPL of your system, that would indicate that you have a permanent storage problem.  I would recommend that you run the GO DISKTASKS report using the following url and instructions for your reference.  You might want to first perform the print disk report prior to running the new report initially.  When you perform the collection of the data, this will overwrite what was on your system from a previous report that had been run.

GO DISKTASKS Overview:

http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=nas8N1019469

And, the recommendation for you is to perform General System Cleanup Tasks on your system.  Here is the url and instructions for your reference:

Reducing System ASP Disk Space / Storage Used

http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=nas8N1019466

And, you will want to check your system for the latest temporary storage PTF’s.  Verify you have the latest Licensed Internal Code and Operation System PTF’s for your release installed and applied.  Here is the url for your reference:

Temporary Storage PTF’s

http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=nas8N1017368

Also, for your reference, there is a document that will be helpful in collection additional data that you can submit to IBM for further analysis.  Check Appendix B, C, and E in the following document for your reference:

MustGather: Temporary Storage Issues

http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=nas8N1012276

When collecting and printing the disk space information for your system, you may find a large % of your disk usage In User directories (IFS).  The Print Disk Space Information report does not provide any breakdown of the IFS, like it does for libraries and folders.  So, to do this without buying or using a 3rd party product/tool or writing your own tool, there is a little known IBM program with the proper parameters that you can use to accomplish this task.

Locating IFS storage used by collecting IFS Metrics by folder:

CALL QSYS/QSRSRV PARM(METRICS ‘/’)

This can and probably should be submitted to batch, depending on the size of your IFS, (‘/’ represents the entire IFS).  You can then export the spool file as a text file using iNavigator, and create an Excel file from it, that you can sort by data size (in K Bytes) and/or number of objects (link count).

We hope this helps you to cleanup your system.  If you would like to discuss how iTech Solution’s Administrators can perform these and other system management tasks for you, relieving you of this chore, then contact us via email.

 


 

Problems with ADMIN2: System disk space drops from 82.6% to 27%

Recently we had a customer come to us and ask for our help, as they said their disk space was growing 3 to 4% a week.  They ran the normal GO DISKTASKS as above, but the growth was in the IFS.

After running the QSRSRV program, we found that there was a directory that was growing out of control.

We found out that the problem started to occur after the installation of the following HTTP Group PTF level:

  • SF99713 – Level 11 for 7,2
  • SF99368 – Level 36 for 7.1

The problem started when seeing the message CPF0908 being logged in the ADMIN2 job. This is due to core, javacore files getting generated which creates “Out of Memory” errors for Admin2.  There are a lot of these files generated.  When I say a lot, I mean a huge number.  The customer we fixed dropped 55% of their disk space.

You will want to check the following directory for these files:

/qibm/userdata/os/AdminInst/admin2/wlp/usr/servers/admin2

If you find a large number of Javacore, core, snap, dumps created you have the problem.  You need to perform the cleanup, and install the following fixes:

  • IBM i 7.1: SI58242
  • IBM i 7.2: SI58241

If you need help with this, please, contact iTech Solutions, our Administrators have the skills, knowledge, and experience to perform this and any other IBM i System Admin functions.

 


Windows 10 and Accessing your IBM i

Tim Rowe, is the Business Architect for Application Development & Systems Management for IBM i in the IBM i Development Lab, Rochester, MN.  He and I were talking when I was in Rochester last month about  all the great new features and functions that they were adding to IBM Access Client Solutions. This is the replacement for IBM i Access. So, I asked Tim if he could inform our readers of the new product.  Below is the article from Tim. Just so that you know, you can be on Windows 7, 8, or 10 to run this software.

Back before Widows 10 hit the streets, the IBM i team announced that iAccess for Windows would not be supported on any new versions of Windows.  Initially, not too many people paid much attention as it did not directly effect them at that time.  Well, much has changed and people are starting the process of moving to Window 10 so they are now needing to figure out what to do!  The good news is the IBM i team has created a new product to replace iAccess for Windows.  The strategic product is Access Client Solutions.

The Access Client Solutions (ACS for this article) product has been available for a number of years now and has MANY benefits over the older products. Additionally, the IBM i team has been heads down working on continuing to enhance ACS to ensure all the needed features a user needs are part there. On July 31 a new update to ACS will be delivered with many updates.

Before we cover the new things, lets review ACS.  This new product is not an installed product.  It is actually deployed. This means that there is no actual product installer that needs to run. It also means that the exact same runtime can be run on multiple different client workstations. ACS runs on Windows, Linux, Mac, and any other platform that supports Java.  On of the biggest problems with the old iAcces for Widows product is the difficulty in keeping it current on user systems. In my experience, most people only update the product when they get a new Windows machine. So basically, every 4 years. Not exactly a great security practice!! With ACS, you can simplify the process such that with a single copy of the runtime on a network share, you can have thousands of users access that single copy when they start up ACS. This means, to update all thousands users, just refresh that single copy and next time the user starts up ACS, they have the latest version up and running. A very simple way to keep your user community current.

ACS is comprised of a Best of Breed 5250 emulator.  This emulator has many enhancements and improvements over the old emulator. One of the exciting new enhancements to the emulator in M6 version (July 31 2016) is around security. The ACS team has added the ability to leverage a Smart Card as an additional layer of security before you connect to the IBM i.  The current support is only enabled for Windows. Connect a Smart card reader to your PC, insert your smart card, you will be prompted for your pin number, the certificate on your smart card is then used to establish your secure connection with the IBM i. Once the emulator is displayed, you still have to enter your IBM i user  ID and password (or you can configure it for Single Signon). If you pull your smartcard, you lose your connection.

One of the areas that we have spent a great deal of focus on over the past few months are the tools that are used by our friends in the world of database.  The iAcces for Windows tooling have a robust set of tools for the database engineer to help them create SQL, ensure their SQL runs well, and evaluate the performance of the database to help you identify the best indexes to help your DB perform at its best.  With ACS being our strategic solution, we have had to step up DB tooling to make sure that ACS is equivalent or better support for the key tools.  We delivered our first bit of support last December when we shipped the Run SQL Scripts support and the Database Performance Center. While these are great features and very useful, they are only part of the story. In July, we are adding a number of additional chapters to the DB story.

Here is the high level list of everything that is in the July ACS update:

Run SQL Scripts Enhancements:

  • JDBC Configuration manager*
  • Named parameters*
  • SQL Formatter*
  • Global variables tab
  • Editor improvements*
  • Insert from Examples improvements
  • Integration to Visual Explain (VE)
  • Syntax check
  • Job Log Viewer
  • Enhanced Message Pane

Show statements

  • Concurrent analysis*
  • Extra drilldown reports*
  • New ‘top N’ filter*

Compare

  • Customizable sort criteria*

Visual Explain

  • Search function*

Plan cache properties and configuration

As you can see there is a PILE of great DB function that has been added to the ACS product. Some of the highlights to note:  SQL Formatter.  Ever copy and paste some SQL into your Run SQL Scripts and find its less then readable ?   Hit the SHIFT CTL F key and the SQL is  ‘magically’ moved about to be formatted in an expected manner.

Figure 1 – Before SQL Formatting

 

Figure 2 After SQL has been formatted

 

The other highlight is the Visual Explain support.  This is a much beloved function by the DB community.  Simply highlight the SQL you want, click on the Visual Explain tab and you get to visually see your SQL.  One thing to note, the VE support in ACS is really intended to be exactly the same as what you are used to. We even ship the same images to help you adjust to this new support. The one key enhancement is a search capability.

 

Figure 3 Visual Explain

 

The last item that I want to highlight is the new ‘Integrated File System Object mover support.  This new support easily give you the ability to move objects from one system to another, from one directory to another or your IBM i to your PC device! You can copy and paste or even drag and drop files with in the ACS support.

 

Figure 4 Integrated File System Object Mover

 

The ACS product is super easy to get, simply go to the Access Client Solution product Web site – http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/software/i/access/solutions.html .   Click on the ‘Download’ link and you have direct access to the latest version of ACS. Follow the QuickStart guide and you are off and running. With all the new feature that have been added to ACS, now is a great time to give it a try.

We have been running it for some time now, and don’t forget if you are using Operations LAN Console, and thinking of upgrading to IBM i 7.3, you will need to use this new client.  Thanks for the information TIm.

 

 


Need System Management training?

Looking to grow your Systems Management knowledge? Join me and my colleague Larry Bolhuis in Chicago on August 24-25 for a two-day event that will provide you with Systems Management skills that you can use immediately.

A highlight of the event is the opportunity to have me or Larry join you for a look into your system. With our years of experience, we may identify a hidden issue impacting system performance. Or, use this time to ask questions that you might have not asked otherwise. This is a unique opportunity that you will not get at other events.

Don’t miss out. See the full schedule and register at http://www.common.org/events/forum/systems-management-forum/

Systems Management Sessions

  • Power Systems Virtualization: the Nuts and the Bolts
  • Tips and Tricks to Improve System Performance and Save Disk Space
  • Power Systems Virtualization: the Nuts and the Bolts (continued)
  • Managing IBM i with Navigator for i
  • IBM i Advanced IP Networking and Troubleshooting
  • Understand How to Manage and Update Your HMC, IBM i, FSP and Firmware
  • Daily Care and Feeding of IBM i
  • Step by Step Guide to Creating Virtual i Partitions Hosted by IBM i
  • Managing IBM i PTFs
  • What You Need to Know and Understand to Do Successful IBM i Upgrades 7.1, 7.2 and 7.3
  • Rapid Fire Admin
  • Systems Management Q&A
  • One-on-One with Larry and Pete

 

COMMON Forum

August 24-25, 2016

DePaul University O’Hare, Chicago, IL

http://www.common.org/events/forum/systems-management-forum/

 


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.

 

Archived available anytime – Steve Will and Pete Massiello host a session on what’s new for IBM i 7.3.    

 

August 24 – 25, 2016 – COMMON Forum – Systems Management, Chicago, IL  www.common.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3 
  • 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
  • Rapid Fire Admin

September 19-22, 2016 – IBM Edge 2016 MGM Grand Las Vegas NV   http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/edge/

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3 
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space
  • Step by step guide to Creating Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i

October 24 – 26, 2016 – COMMON Fall Event, Columbus OH  www.common.org

  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3 
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space

December 7 – 8, 2016 – COMMON Forum – Systems Management, Orange County, CA  www.common.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3 
  • 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
  • Rapid Fire Admin

 

 


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.

7.3 7.2 7.1 6.1 V5R4
Cumul Pack 16085 16127 16120 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh 3 11
Grp Hipers 10 69 173 210 204
DB Group  2 13 40 33 33
Java Group 2 10 25 36 34
Print Group 3 12 31 49
Backup/Recov. 4 25 59 61 57
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 3 16 41 46 36
TCP/IP 3 9 17 22
Security 5 35 59 60  33
High Availability 2 5 11  5
Hardware  2 17 28  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 16120. We can determine that it was created on the 120th day of 2016, which is April 29th, 2016. Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be.

HMCs

If you have a Hardware Management Console (HMC,) you should be running:

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.5 MH01617 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)

MH01649 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)

HMC V8R8.4
  1. MH01560 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  2. SP1 MH01576 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  3. MH01639 (must be installed from classic GUI or from command line)
HMC V8R8.3
  1. SP2 MH01584
  2. MH01638
HMC  V8R8.2
  1. SP2 MH01488
  2. MH01637
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9
  1. SP3 MH01546
  2. MH01587
  3. MH01628
HMC V7R7.8
  1. SP1 MH01397
  2. SP2 MH01432
  3. MH01570
or V7R7.7
  1. SP3 MH01379
  2. SP4 MH01415
  3. MH01516
HMC C03 V7R3.5 SP4 MH01277

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_172_038 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_172_038 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_172_038 last
9119-FHA EH350_172_038 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_149_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_075_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_159_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-110_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_110_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_110_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_075_040
Power8 8408-E8E, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, or 8286-42A SV840_113_056
9119-MHE or 9119-MME SC840_111_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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