June 2021 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

Happy Birthday IBM i (AS/400, and iSeries).  This Monday was 33 years strong, and still going.  The customers who made the decision to get on board this train have been very lucky through the years, and from future roadmaps, I think there is still a very, very good future in what lies ahead. From spending time in Rochester (prior to the pandemic), and having virtual meetings lately, I can tell you that Steve Will and his team have been hard at work bringing new features and functions to the next release of the operating system. While the next release is “officially” referred to as iNext, numerous IBM Executives have referred to it as IBM i 7.5.

So, perhaps 7.5 will be our birthday present for next year because as you can see from the IBM release roadmap, it looks like it is coming next year sometime.

IBM i and POWER Support Roadmap

 

New Announcements from iTech:

Through service we grow, and that is true here at iTech Solutions, as we welcome Victor Anderson to the technical team to support our growing list of customers who depend on us for their IBM i Technical Support and System Administration.

Our commitment to our customers hasn’t changed in 20 years, nor has our direction of being focused solely on IBM i, and our pledge of providing value to our customers at every step along the way in working together. We have the knowledge, experience, and know-how to help you with your IBM i.  Make the switch, and find out the iTech Difference.

 

I have an assignment for you, which I believe will make your life better.

I think you will want to download this next report because the job you save, may be your own.  So many times, I hear “we got a new CIO who knows nothing about IBM i and he/she wants to replace it with windows”.  Yeah, we all know the ending as well.  Over budget, under-delivered, incomplete, late, and the users scratching their head saying they liked what we used to have better.  Well, Forrester Research has come out with a white paper called “The Total Economic Impact of IBM i”.  Basically, its cost-saving, and business benefits enabled by using IBM i.  I recommend reading this, and printing out a copy (or a few!), and placing them on the desks of the decision-makers.  Show them the benefits, the value of IBM i, as well as the real cost.  How much cheaper it is to run that than some of the other alternatives. You can download this report here.

Here is the start of the Executive Summary from the Forrester Consulting report:

“In today’s fast-paced and rapidly evolving business ecosystem, managing an operating system or the applications running on it should be a business leader’s last concern. IBM i is an environment that integrates an operating system with the database, virtualization layer, application server, and transactional system. The reliability and security of this environment makes it possible for businesses to reduce system downtime and admin support costs, as well as improve frontline task workers’ productivity.”

This is a good read, enjoy the report.

 

Recent Events

We did a customer only event last week on IBM i Disaster Recovery. As Hurricane season is upon us, Tornadoes, and the rest of the summer weather here in the US, we thought it would be a great time to just go over what you should be doing to prepare for a disaster; what to do when a disaster strikes, backups, recoveries, Disaster Recovery, High Availability, Continuous Availability, Flash Copy, and everything that goes along with options you need to understand.  We had some great customer feedback, which this was the information they needed to better plan out what to do to keep the company running.  One customer said, “it was eye-popping the things that I never thought about, and now I have to worry about”.  He sent me an email afterward and told me “thanks, now I won’t sleep for another few months while I work on these items you brought up”.  While the intent certainly wasn’t to make my friend lose any sleep, I am glad that we brought to light many things that customers need to pay attention to, and to ensure they can recover from various disasters/issues. I know from speaking to Heather and Vanessa, that we are planning to run a few customer only events a year, so be on the lookout for another one in the next few months.

Speaking of upcoming events, I learned yesterday of the dates that the next iAdmin Fall 2-day conference will be.  I was told that I can’t announce it for another month but look for 2-full days of IBM i System Admin Conference coming sometime this fall.  More details will follow once they let me disclose them.

 

Last month, I told you we had our first in-person sales meeting since January 2020, here in Danbury and we had almost everyone in attendance.  Well, in June we brought the Technical team in for 3 days and was great seeing them. I really missed interacting face to face with everyone for the last 16 months, as we had last all been physically together in February of 2020. Of course, we couldn’t have our teammates from Canada join us, we hope that Internation travel rules are more relaxed for our next meeting.  It was nice to be in the upstairs conference room with the tech team, discussing hardware, PTFs, installs, MIMIX, OS Upgrades, Security, HMCs, Single Sign-On, and so much more. We definitely all had our technical propeller head beanies on.

It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed myself seeing and interacting with the team. We had been holding these as virtual meetings, but we really missed the camaraderie of an in-person meeting and going out to dinner and socializing as a team.

 

Ransomware

Ransomware has been a hot topic as of late. We have all seen the pictures of the gas stations with no gas due to the Gas pipeline company being hacked.  We have been called in to remediate 5x more customers this year than ALL of last year.  People need to understand that the IBM i is extremely securable, but out-of-the-box changes can be made, sometimes allowing it to be too open.

We have been called in to fix systems when other business partners couldn’t put the system back, or when security holes needed to be plugged.  We have never been called in by one of our existing customers — doesn’t that tell you something? These attacks could have all been prevented if people had done one of our iTech Security Assessments, where we go about looking at your system and values to determine what exposures you have.  In fact, one customer hired us for an IBM i Penetration test, and within 8 minutes Steve had broken into their system and elevated his authority to having *ALLOBJ and *SECAUT.  8 minutes is not a long time. How safe do you think you are?  There are people out there who wish to break into your system.  Remember, a criminal only has to break in once. You have to be diligent and keep updating your security to keep them out. It’s time to get off your butt. Here is a link of the story about Volkswagen and Audi, who were hit by a data breach that exposed 3 million customer’s basic information like driver’s license numbers of customers in US and Canada.  As Administrators, we must protect the company assets as best we can. Click here for the article.

It is likely that you are familiar with iTech’s second to none technical capabilities for IBM i in North America.  We have provided our technical services to many of the world’s leading companies.  But today we are asking you to honestly consider the following business proposition:
Should our organization utilize iTech for our entire IBM i digital strategy; design, product, services, and consulting? 

First, we want you to consider why a closer business partnership can be good for your core business, ultimately leading to the financial well-being and mission success of your organization. Over 95% of IBM i systems are used for mission-critical applications.  The IBM i’s availability is paramount and its functionality is critical.  With the growing amount and complexity of data and variety of usage growing each year, any amount of downtime, lack of data availability, significant outage, or delayed availability can cost revenue of five or six figures – or more!   At its simplest, having iTech analyze, design, and implement improved systems could provide value starting at 5 figures and going upward.   It’s time to look at switching to iTech Solutions as your IBM Business Partner and reap the benefits.

 

IBM Price Increase

IBM increased the cost of IBM i base OS and users effective June 1, 2021, and is increasing prices on memory effective July 1, 2021.   On average expect memory prices to go up 15%.  All orders placed prior and shipped will still get the current price.

iBasics: IBM i Education for the Beginner System Administrator

There are so many offerings from iTech, that occasionally people do not know all that we are doing. I want to make sure you take advantage of our IBM i Admin Basics, which we refer to as iBasics. We started this in November, and it was originally a 14-week series, but we expanded this to be weekly through at least the summer. These weekly sessions will cover the basics of IBM i, helping new people be able to learn about IBM i System Admin. If you have someone in your company who would benefit from these, you can register for both upcoming and on-demand sessions at itechsol.com/ibasics. These will take place at 11 AM EST on Wednesdays each week, except for the Holiday weeks.

[ View All Sessions ]

 

 

We plan on continuing to be there for you this year and beyond, eventually in-person, but until then virtually. When you see what we know, you see our experience, knowledge, and know-how you will want to make the switch to us as your Business Partner.  Is your business partner just sitting there eating donuts? Because I used to say he/she would come by with donuts every three years, but most people aren’t back to doing in-person meetings just yet.  So, what exactly are they doing for you?  Come to the iTech side, just make the switch. It’s as easy as making a call or sending an email. It’s easy to switch.

 

Here are our upcoming webinars:

View our full PDF July Calendar Here

 

 

Stay safe, wash your hands, wear that annoying mask, and take care of one another. Hopefully, we will get our vaccinations soon and life will return to normal.  I look forward to seeing everyone soon at the many conferences we will be attending.

 

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