June 2015 Newsletter

Dear Mike,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

Well last month’s announcements of new Technology Refreshes (TRs) for both IBM i 7.1 and 7.2 were pretty exciting. See last month’s newsletter for details on what was announced. Tthe cool new functionality being brought to IBM i is amazing.  Look for more announcements in the open source world coming to IBM i in the future.  Are you ready to take advantage of that? That might be a good topic for next month.  The two new TRs (TR10 for 7.1 and TR2 for 7.2) are now available and we are installing them as part of our PTF maintenance for our customers. Another topic that seems to be an issue lately is connectivity to people’s HMC.  In the past 2 months, we have been to 6 new accounts that were having connectivity issues lately to their HMC.  In every case, it was because of Java incompatibility between the version of Java their browser was using on their PC and their old HMC code.  We discussed this issue in the March iTech Solutions newsletter .  You need to upgrade your HMC probably at least once every 9 months.  An HMC while it is an appliance is not an “install it and forget it machine”.  If you need some help in upgrading your HMC, contact us.

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 it shows you an FTP trick for sending *SAVFs to another system.  The second article is what are all those QDBSRV jobs on your system doing.  The third article is on alternatives to using tapes for Backups: Virtual Tape Libraries & Cloud based backups.  The fourth is on knowing which version of Java your jobs are currently using. 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.

___________________________________________________________________________

An FTP trick for sending Savefiles.   light bulb

 

If you have ever sent a *SAVF from one system to another, you know that if you don’t create the *SAVF first on the target system, it ends up being created as a physical file, and you have to do the FTP all over.  Not only that, you have to telnet to the target system first, create the *SAVF and then come back and do the FTP.  Well there is a trick to getting around that.

Perform your FTP to the remote system and sign-on.  After a valid sign-on issue the following commands which are in bold:

  • BIN – Which tells FTP you are doing this in Binary mode
  • NAMEFMT 1 – Which changes the name format for FTP to 1 on both the client and server.
  • CD /QSYS.LIB/yourlib.LIB/ – replacing yourlib with the name of the library on the target
  • PUT yourfile.SAVF – replacing yourfile with the name of your file, and put the .SAVF on the end.

That was pretty easy and it will save you countless hours if you do a lot of transferring of *SAVFs between machines/partitions. If you also need to change the library from which you are sending the *SAVF from, then you would issue the LCD /QSYS.LIB/sourcelibrary.LIB/ to let FTP know which library on the source system your file is in. Remember the trick is to follow the steps above, and make sure you specify .SAVF at the end of the name of your *SAVF which you are transferring over.

Another tip from iTech Solutions.  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.


What are all those QDBSRVxx jobs on my system?

  TR7

 

If you do a WRKACTJOB you will see at least 7 jobs that start with QDBSRV (Followed by 2 or 3 additional characters/numbers).  A few customers have asked me what exactly these jobs do.  One asked me was this the actual database?  Well it isn’t the database, but these jobs which start after each IPL are system jobs that perform very important database functions. Let’s look at each job:

QDBSRVXR – This job maintains each of the system cross-reference files in library QSYS except the field cross-reference file. These files contain cross-reference information about data base files and SQL information across the system. The files all begin with the name of QADB in library QSYS. The primary file that must be maintained is QADBXREF. This file is the cross-reference file. It contains one record for each physical and logical file on the system. Create, change, or delete of any file will cause the QDBSRVXR job to become active. This job also performs look-ups to find the short name given a long name.

QDBSRVXR2 – This job maintains the field cross-reference file. This file is QADBIFLD in library QSYS. This file contains a record for every field of every physical and logical file on the system. Create, change, or delete of any file causes the QDBSRVXR job to become active.

QDBSRV01 – This job can be viewed as the database maintenance task dispatcher. Typically, it will be the most active immediately following the restore of a library that contains database files. Its function includes the following:

  • Notifying the SMAPP (System Managed Access Path Protection) LIC tasks that new access paths have been restored. SMAPP then determines if these access paths must be protected.
  • Sending data queue entries to the QDBSRVXR job that new database files that were restored.
  • Sending data queue entries to the QDBSRVXR2 job of new database file fields that were restored.
  • Preparing the list of access paths that are required to be rebuilt because the access paths were not restored. This is the list that is viewed by running the EDTRBDAP command.

QDBSRV02-03 – These two jobs perform access path maintenance on system files. Typically, the jobs are inactive.

QDBSRV04-05 – These two jobs perform access path maintenance on user data files. Typically, these jobs are inactive. One set of jobs for each processor runs at priority 16 and handles DB operations; the other set of jobs for each processor runs at priority 52 and handle rebuilding access paths The access paths that are being maintained can be viewed by running the EDTRBDAP command. Some reasons why these jobs could be active are as follows:

  • Restore of database files that were not saved with access paths.
  • Restore of logical files that are not in the same library as the physical file they are based upon.
  • Canceling of a RGZPFM command while in process. At V5R3 and later, there is an ALWCANCEL(*YES) parameter. If a reorganize is canceled before it is finished, a subsequent reorganize with the same parameters will typically continue the reorganize from where it ended. If the number of changes that have occurred since the reorganize was canceled is too large, the reorganize may be restarted rather than continued.
  • Invalidation of an index due to damage found upon it.
  • Processing SMAPP-initiated action.

QDBSRV06-nn – On systems with additional processors, additional system jobs are started to allow for additional concurrent access path rebuilds. There are two jobs started for each processor, consequently nn could be any number. These jobs perform the same tasks as QDBSRV04-05

Now you have a better understanding of all these QDBSRV jobs that are running on your system. Some of the cross reference files above will and can get quite large with deleted records.  If that is the case, the only way to reorg these QADB* files in QSYS, is to bring the system down to restricted state and run the command RCLSTG SELECT(*DBXREF). That will clean up the deleted records

 


What 50 year old technology are you using with your IBM i?  .

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Yes, 50 year old technology !  While the technology over these 50 years has certainly improved, tape has been around now for over 50 years.  It was how we backed up our computers in the 1960s (so I am told), and has continued up until today.  Of course, the tape technology most of us use today, is LTO which is more dependable and faster than reel-to-reel tapes, but it doesn’t compare to disk based backups.  Virtual Tape Technology is where customers should be looking today.  Tapes are old school. Do you need faster backups?

Tapes are slower compared to a Virtual Tape Library (VTL), you don’t have to handle tapes when they are in a VTL, you won’t need to worry about losing a tape, or worry about mechanical issues that tape drives have. Many customers we talk to have shrinking backup windows and more data to backup.  How do you fix that?  We have installed VTLs for many customers and they have shrank their backups, and reduced their operational costs associated with the handling and movement of tapes.  When a disaster strikes, every second you take to find the tape, is a second too long.  VTLs are simple to manage and administer, having a very easy to use GUI interface. How are you currently managing all your tapes?

 

At iTech Solutions we offer our client both Virtual Tape Libraries and Cloud based backups depending on their needs.  We have invested in a vault unto which our clients can backup their transactional data to. In addition, we have invested in our own VTLs that our clients can replicate their VTLs to.  One of the issues with a VTL is that your backups remain on-site.  You backup your partition/machine to a local VTL, and both the machine and the VTL are at the same location.  If something happens to make the location unusable, or your equipment inside becomes unusable, what do you do?  You can either purchase a second VTL to replicate your local VTL to, or take advantage of iTech Solution’s VTLs and replicate directly to them.  In either case, your data is quickly moved off site.

In addition, if you are backing up to our cloud or you are replicating your VTL to our VTL, we have the IBM Power Systems machines onsite in our computer rooms to recover you in the case of a disaster.  Give us a call or contact us via email and let us demonstrate to you how easy it is to get rid of tapes and move forward.

 


Are you running Java on your IBM i? Work with Java Jobs java

Every time we are doing an OS upgrade, we always ask which version of Java do your Java jobs use?  The questions always seems to be followed by either a blank stare or a shug of the shoulders.  Then followed by how would I even find that out.  Well, luckily IBM i added a new command a few releases back, called Work with Java Virtual Machine jobs WRKJVMJOB.  It shows you a list of jobs that currently are using a Java virtual machine (JVM), and the release of the JVM.  This is extremely important when upgrading your operating system, as IBM keeps withdrawing older versions of Java, and bringing newer more powerful and faster JVMs with each release.  The issue is that you need to know which JVM version you are using before upgrading, so you can insure you are using a JVM which is compatible with the old and new version of the operating system.

The help test from the WRKJVMJOB command states that the Work with JVM Jobs display shows a list of jobs containing an operational IBM Technology VM for Java.

Note: A Java virtual machine (JVM) is always associated with exactly one job, and is considered operational from the time it is created until the time it is destroyed.  Jobs that are started using the Java command attempt to create the VM immediately and to destroy the VM just before ending themselves, but in the general case, a job may defer VM creation indefinitely.  So, the absence of a job from the list shown by WRKJVMJOB only suggests a problem when the job is known to have called the Java command.

We use this command all the time when we prepare for an OS upgrade.  If you need help with your upgrade, and don’t wish to go it alone, send us an email, and we will contact you on how we can help 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

 

July 17 – OCEAN User Group www.ocean400.org Conference Southern California

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

  • Systems Management topics tbd

 

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 35 140 200 203 169
DB Group 6 35 33 33 24
Java Group 6 21 32 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 12 47 58 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 7 33 44 36 17
TCP/IP 1 8 16 22 16
Security 15 40 55 32
High Availability 2 8 4
Hardware 7 17 14

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 MH01530
HMC V8R8.2 MH01454, then SP1 MH01455, then MH01515, then MH01521
HMC  V8R8.1 SP 2 MH01452, then MH01528
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 2 MH01451, then MH01519
HMC V7R7.8 SP 2 MH01432, then MH01472, MH01518
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 last
Power6 940x, M15, M25, M50 EL350_163 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_163 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_163 last
9119-FHA EH350_163 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_146
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_068
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_156
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-101
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_101
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_101
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_071
Power8 8247-21L, 8247-22L, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, 8286-42A SV810_108

 

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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