March 2014 Newsletter

This has been a horrible winter here in the northeast part of the United States, as well as other parts of the US. I can feel the change is in the air.  Spring has arrived on the calendars, you can feel the strength of the sun when you are outside, but it is still cold in Connecticut. There are also many rumors flying out in the Power Systems community right now if you just read the industry magazines and newsletters.. We know that there is a new version of IBM i 7.2 coming out in 2014 that IBM announced in Oct 2013 (just do a Google search on IBM i 7.2).  Unfortunately, I can’t discuss more than has been publically announced. In addition, we see that IBM has announced details of its next chip, the POWER8 chip.  It hasn’t announced the machine, just the specifications on the chip, and you can see this here at  Seems to be an amazing engineering marvel, and I know that I can’t wait to hear more about it.   The website has some really interesting information on the speeds and feeds of the chip.  Do you realize that this is the 23rd anniversary of the PowerPC? The first generation, called POWER1 was a RISC based processor that came out in 1990, although they weren’t in the old AS/400 product line until POWER4 in 2001. Just amazing where does time go?

If you are a regular reader of this newsletter, you know that standard IBM support for V5R4 expired at the end of September. If you are still on V5R4, you know what I have been telling you. Stop praying for a miracle upgrade. Take action, iTech Solutions can make it happen as it has for hundreds of others.  Give us a call, don’t go at it alone. Check our references, because they will tell you just how smooth their upgrade was.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article, we will discuss how to Synchronize your HMC clock with a Network Time Protocol (NTP) Server. The second article is about Message Queues not being cleaned up. The third article is on Windows XP coming to an end.  The fourth article is on IBM i Modernization. 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 Technology Refresh 7 for you on your next application of PTFs.

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.

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.


How to Synchronize your HMC Clock with a Network Time Protocol (NTP) Server.   Technology

Have you noticed that your HMC always seems to be a few minutes or more off? Do you have your HMC connected to a Network Time Server?  If not, let me show you how.  First, you have to be at version 6 or version 7 of HMC firmware. If you are not at this version, perhaps you need to get your HMC firmware updated.  When was the last time you updated your HMC?  Contact iTech Solutions for a quote. On your HMC do the following:

1. Select HMC Management, click Change Date and Time, and then click the NTP Configuration tab.

2. Enable the NTP Service by checking the box Enable NTP service on this HMC.

3. Add at least one NTP server, and click the Add NTP Server button. You can enter either an IP address or DNS name of the NTP Service (you can only use a DNS name if you have defined a DNS server to the HMC) . If you do not know the protocol version, select Not specified. Now, click OK.

4. You need to restart the HMC, and you are done.  Now your HMC will keep the correct time.

Message Queues not being cleaned up. TR7

Everyone should be using Operational Assistant to help with cleaning up message queues, joblogs, system journals, and other objects.  Did you know that there are a few message queues that aren’t being clean up by Operational Assistant.  Before we get into the specific queues, lets make sure you know how to start this. From a command line, enter GO CLEANUP.  You should select option 1 Change Cleanup options to customize this.  Basically you are setting the number of days to keep the various items in the list and what time each day that the Cleanup function should run.

If you have been using Cleanup for message queues, and you notice that there are a few message queues that aren’t getting cleaned up, well here they are:

  • QDOC
  • QRJE
  • QSPL
  • QSYS

You can clean these up manually.  If you need someone to come in and perform a System Health Check, or look for items not set up correctly, or problems in your environment,  please contact Rick to schedule an iTech Solutions Health Check.


Windows XP coming to an end.  


I don’t mean stopping like “Blue Screen of Death”, I mean that Microsoft is ending support. After April 8, 2014, support and security updates for Windows XP will no longer be available.  Windows XP has been around since December 31, 2001.   Actually mainstream support ended in 2009, but Microsoft has been putting out security fixes since. I have been extremely happy running Windows 7 on my PCs, but I do have to say that XP was a good operating system for the desktop.  Since you know that we do many IBM i upgrades, I thought I would see what Microsoft’s official road map was for upgrades.

I pulled this right off of the Microsoft website:

To upgrade to Windows 8.1 from Windows Vista or Windows XP, you’ll need to install it from a Windows 8.1 DVD and perform a clean installation. This means you won’t be able to keep any files, settings, or programs when you upgrade.

That isn’t an upgrade, that is a new installation.  Come on Microsoft !?!   If you have any Windows PC still running XP, you will need to determine what the correct course of action is.  Any PC which was purchased 3 years ago or more, probably doesn’t have the memory, CPU, or disk performance for today’s applications anyway. You know the saying “when I want to run my business, I choose IBM i, when I want to play Solitare I used Microsoft Windows.” Also remember, that Windows 7 requires IBM i Access 6.1 or 7.1, so make sure you have your IBM i updated as well.

Modernize IBM i Applications from the Database up to the User Interface and Everything in Between  Intrusion Detection

This one is for everyone. Please forward this to all of your programmers and managers.  Everyone needs to read and understand how easy it is to modernize your applications, as well as the benefits that you will receive.  Take a look at this redbook which was created by IBM with the help of many ISVs and industry experts.  There is some great information on both the front end and the backend of application modernization.

IBM i Modernization.

Here are the chapters:

Chapter 1. Why modernize
Chapter 2. Path to modernization
Chapter 3. Modern application architecture techniques
Chapter 4. Modern development tools
Chapter 5. Interfacing
Chapter 6. User interface
Chapter 7. Modern RPG
Chapter 8. Data-centric development
Chapter 9. Database re-engineering
Chapter 10. Mobile, UI, and database modernization tools
Chapter 11. EGL
Chapter 12. PHP
Chapter 13. Java
Chapter 14. Web serving: What and why
Chapter 15. HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
Chapter 16. Security
Chapter 17. Globalization
Chapter 18. Cloud


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


April 7 – 9, 2014 Northeast User Groups Conference – Framingham, MA

Come visit Rick and Paul at our booth, and hear Pete speak on:

  • Managing IBM i with Navigator for i
  • Building Virtual i Partitions Hosted by IBM i
  • What you need to know for a successful IBM i upgrade.
  • Understanding the HMC, FSP, IBM i, and firmware.

May 4 – 7, 2014 COMMON Annual Conference – Orlando, FL

Come visit Rick and Paul at our booth, and hear Pete speak on:

  • Tip and tricks to improve system performance and save disk space
  • A programmers future: Looking back to see the future
  • Building Virtual i Partitions Hosted by IBM i
  • What you need to know for a successful IBM i upgrade.
  • Understanding the HMC, FSP, IBM i, and firmware.

May 14, 2014 Long Island Systems User Group – Woodbury, NY

Come visit Glenn at our booth

May 24 to 28th COMMON Poland -Warsaw, Poland

June 3, 2014 Michigan IBM i Technical Conference – Livonia, MI

June 18, 2014 New England Midrange Users Group – Managing IBM i with Navigator for i


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 13287 13312 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 7
Grp Hipers 107 170 203 169
DB Group 28 31 33 24
Java Group 15 26 34 23
Print Group 9 28 49 20
Backup/Recov. 33 46 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 15 28 15
HTTP 26 37 36 17
TCP/IP 8 16 22 16
Security 30 42 32
High Availability 6 4
Hardware 8 8

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

Model Release Service Pack
HMCs V7R7.8 SP1 eFix MH01404
or V7R7.7 SP3 eFix MH01409
HMC C03 V7R3.5 SP4

If you have an Flexible Service Processor (FSP) your firmware should be:

Machine Processor Model Version
Power5 or 5+ 520, 515, 525, 550, 570 SF240_418
Power6 940x, M15, M25, M50 EL350_149
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_149
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_149
9119-FHA EH350_149
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_122
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_050
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_121
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-063
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_063
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AL770_063
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM760_078


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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