March 2015 Newsletter

Dear iTech User,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

March madness is upon us, and I am not talking about basketball.  The demand for new systems and upgrades has been overwhelming this first quarter, as customers want their operating systems upgraded to IBM i 7.2, and we have installed many Power8 machines. Every machine that we install just is a huge jump in performance from the replacement machines, even when replacing a Power7 machine with a Power8 machine.  In addition, the number of customers installing SSDs is increasing, and since every IBM i seems to be I/O bound, these SSDs really help.  March is also the start of conference season. We had a very successful Systems Management conference in Chicago this month, everyone loved the longer session times, and the one-on-one that we were able to provide. Next, we will be speaking and exhibiting at Northeast Users Group Conference in Framingham at the end of March, followed by speaking and exhibiting at the annual COMMON conference in Anaheim end of April, and then speaking at the IBM Edge conference in Las Vegas in May. Followed by COMMON Europe in Gdansk, Poland end of May.  It just seems that all the conferences tend to be lumped together at the same time of year.

With so many great conferences, you should be figuring out which conference you are planning to attend.  After all, you need to invest in yourself if you want to succeed as an IT Professional.  There is so much around us that is changing, how can you keep up with everything.  By attending your user group conferences.  In the next month, come see the iTech Solutions team at NEUGC or COMMON.  We will have our iTech Solutions red shirts on so we should be easy to see. It’s not too late to register.

IBM will be making an announcement end of April on IBM i and Power Systems. All great stuff that we will be covering in detail in the May newsletter. Be sure to stay tuned for that.  If you want to find out what a POWER8 machine can do for you, contact our sales team.

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, 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.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article HMC and Java browser compatibility.  The second article is on how to delete old versions of WebSphere from your system.  The third article is how to see what isn’t restored using the Restored Deferred Object command.  The fourth is on the IBM i Software Maintenance Amnesty program. 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 9 for you on your next application of PTFs. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 1.

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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My HMC needs coffee   java-logo

Well, perhaps it doesn’t need coffee, but a new version of Java.

Have you noticed that there is a new Java version every week due to some new Java vulnerability? It seems on my PC, every week I am installing a new version of Java.  Then, when I connect to devices or websites which were working fine last week, all of a sudden they no longer connect.  I see messages like:

Unable to Connect Securely

Firefox cannot guarantee the safety of your data on xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx because it uses SSLv3, a broken security protocol.

Advanced info: ssl_error_unsupported_version

I am all for security, but give me an option if the device I am connecting to is a known device. If your HMC hasn’t been updated in a while, you will get this message. For a good reason, as your connection isn’t really secure.  The new browsers will recognize this and try to prevent you from making the connection. Most of our customers are on our every 6 months PTF maintenance program for their HMCs, FSPs, and IBM i Operating System.  For these customers we keep everything up to the latest level.  They don’t have these problems. There are other clients we get calls from they can’t log into their HMC remotely any longer. Most of the time, the client hasn’t upgraded their HMC in a few years, and their HMC code isn’t up to date. Therefore, when they try and connect with a browser from their PC, they get the above message.  The fix for this is updating the code on your HMC. You may need a new version of HMC code, or just a service pack. Let iTech Solutions handle this for you.  If you haven’t done it in a while, or don’t know how, contact us and we will do it for you.

 


Deleting an old version of WebSphere before you upgrade your operating system.  TR7

We do a lot of IBM i (OS/400) Operating System upgrades.  At iTech Solutions, we do more upgrades in one month, than most people will do in their entire lifetime. One of the items you have to check for when upgrading your operating System is what current versions of WebSphere and Java you are running.  Are they compatible with new version of the OS?

In environments where we haven’t done upgrades before, sometimes we find that on old version of WebSphere was left on the machine.  For example, the person who did the last upgrade didn’t realize they had to upgrade to WebSphere 6.1 before going to IBM i 7.1.  They still had WebSphere 6.0 running when they did the upgrade, and now they can’t get rid of the old version of WebSphere. When you try to delete WebSphere 6.0 on IBM i 7.1 or 7.2 you get a message about the version of Java the uninstall checks for is missing. What do you do, well there is a parameter that you can add to the uninstall that you run in QShell using the -W parameter with uninstallOS400PrereqCheckActionPanel.active=False

The QShell command you would execute is to delete WebSphere 6.0 is:

/QIBM/ProdData/WebSphere/AppServer/V6/Base/bin/uninstall   -W uninstallOS400PrereqCheckActionPanel.active=False

Now, you really shouldn’t get yourself in this situation.  You need to check before upgrading your IBM i Operating System that you are running the correct minimum releases of software like WebSphere, Domino, and Java. If upgrading to IBM i 7.1, make sure you are running WebSphere 6.1 with fix pack 29 or higher. If upgrading to IBM i 7.2, make sure you are first running WebSphere 8.0 with fix pack 8 or WebSphere 8.5 with fix pack 5 or higher.

I know it is a lot of details, but this is the stuff that differentiates a successful upgrade from an “eventful” one. Upgrades are all about planning, if you want one done right please contact iTech Solutions.

 


What didn’t get restored?  .iStock_000019030607XSmall

 

IBM has done some great enhancement with Save/Restore over the past few operating system releases. You now don’t have to worry about restoring the based upon physical files before the logical files starting with IBM i 6.1 if you use the Restore Deferred Object (RSTDFROBJ) command and a DFRID on your Restore commands.  With 7.1, if the same DFRID parameter is used to both defer the restore of logical files and defer start journaling requests, when the RSTDFROBJ command is run for that DFRID, an attempt will be made to both restore the deferred logical files and start journaling objects which deferred journaling.

This makes restores and migrations from one machine to another, so much easier.  This is also now part of “GO RESTORE 21”.  Sometimes, for some reason after the RSTDFROBJ there might be a few objects not restored.  If you look in the job log, it doesn’t tell you what wasn’t restored.

The RSTDFROBJ command can be used to see the ‘Deferred Objects Not Completed’ list. The command supports placing this output in an outfile or to the printer. To use this approach, you need to know the restore defer identifier (DFRID). When the defer identifier is chosen by the user, the identifier is self-evident.

If you use DFRID(*DFT), the defer identifier is QRSTLIB.
If you use BRMS, the defer identifier is Q1ARSTID.

RSTDFROBJ DFRID(<defer-id>) OUTPUT(*PRINT) will provide you with a list of what didn’t get restored or journaling issues you might of had.  This will come in real handy during migrations or restores.

 


IBM i Software Amnesty Handcuffs

 

IBM has announced a program for those customers who have allowed their software maintenance (SWMA) to expire to renew their maintenance without the software After License Fee (ALF). The ALF is a fee that you are paying because you let your software expire and now you wish to get back on maintenance without paying the back (or due) maintenance.  The ALF can be quite expensive depending on how long the SWMA has expired.  It is a sliding scale based upon the number of months you have allowed the SWMA to elapse. Normally, if you are late by less than 30 days, IBM won’t charge an ALF.  I have seen customers get hit with a pretty high bill in the past when they have let it expire.

For a limited time, you can get back on maintenance without having to pay the ALF.  If your software maintenance is expired, it behooves you to act right now!!!  Let me repeat that, if your software maintenance is expired, give us a call right now.  If you act before May 31, 2015, you won’t have to pay the after license fee.  This can be a huge savings.

If you are looking at getting a new Power8 machine, we can transfer your software saving you quite a lot of money on the upgrade.  We can’t transfer your software if your SWMA is expired.  Therefore, this can save you money on an upgrade as well if you let your SWMA expire.

Send us an email, and one of our sales team will contact you to get your software maintenance back without a penalty.


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

 

March 30 to April 1 – NorthEast User Groups Conference – Framingham, MA www.neugc.org.  Come stop by our booth to talk with Dan, John, Matt, Paul, and Rick.  Hear Pete talk on the following sessions:

  • 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 i
  • A Programmer’s future: Looking back to see the future.

 

April 26 to 29th – COMMON Annual Conference, Disneyland, Anaheim, California www.common.org . Stop by our booth visiting Rick and Paul, or hear Pete Massiello speak on sessions:

  • 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.
  • Step by Step guide to building IBM i partitions hosted by IBM i.
  • A Programmer’s future: Looking back to see the future.

 

May 11 to 15th – IBM Edge Las Vegas, NV  – hear Pete Massiello speak on sessions:

  • What you need to know to upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • OS Upgrade round table
  • Tips and Tricks to Improve Performance and Save disk space.
  • Step by Step guide to building IBM i partitions hosted by IBM i.
  • Cool things inside Navigator for IBM i

 

June 1 to 3 – COMMON Europe, Gdansk Poland www.comeur.org – hear Pete Massiello speak on:

  • OS Upgrade seminar

 

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

  • Various Systems Management topics

 

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

 


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 14276 14283 15063 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 1 9
Grp Hipers 28 134 195 203 169
DB Group 4 33 33 33 24
Java Group 4 19 30 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 10 44 56 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 5 31 42 36 17
TCP/IP 1 8 16 22 16
Security 12 38 53 32
High Availability 1 8 4
Hardware 5 15 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.

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

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.2 SP1 MH01455, then MH01454, then MH01486, then MH01495
HMC  V8R8.1 SP1 MH01420 then MH01474, then MH01468, then MH01481, then MH01494, then MH01498

* Can’t use with Power5 hardware

HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 2 MH01451
HMC V7R7.8 SP 2 MH01432, then MH01472, MH01511
or V7R7.7 SP 3 MH1397, then SP 4 MH01415,

then MH01471, then MH01471, then MH01489, then MH01501

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 AM770-098
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_098
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_098
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_068
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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