March 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

March Madness: between installations of new Power8 hardware, adding two new employees to the iTech staff, OS upgrades, and the first month that we released our IBM i State of the Union, it is crazier than the NCAA March madness. That’s ok, we have our scissors and we are ready to cut down the ceremonial “net” at the end of the month. 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 released our first IBM i State of the Union at end of last month, and the positive comments and the number of downloads has been phenomenal.  We spent the beginning of the year looking at trends, talking with customers, looking at what was being released, talking with IBM, examining what was going on in the industry, and then putting all this into a white paper to inform the IBM i community where we currently were, and where we are headed.  My plan is to update this throughout the year as things change. I know you have heard quite a lot in some of the industry magazines that the next release of IBM i is coming, while I can’t confirm or deny that, I would say we will tell you all we can when IBM allows us to. As members of the IBM i community, it is important for you to stay informed.  Reading and knowing about what is happening in our industry, and learning about new technology as it gets delivered is extremely important.  It’s important to invest in yourself, and learn new skills. Two of the best organizations have some great education coming up.  The North East User Group Conference (NEUGC) is being held in Framingham April 12 & 13 and COMMON May 15 to 18th in New Orleans are great ways to enhance your knowledge. Programmers, Managers, System Administrators, Operators, and Database Administrators learn the skills you need to succeed. I hope to see you at either event, there will be lots of iTech Solutions staff at both events. Look for us in our red shirts.

Rev up your system with the latest features of IBM i.  Join the webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and Pete Massiello of  iTech Solutions to discuss what is new in IBM i.  More details to follow, but you can find a link for this in our events section.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article we have the download link to the 2016 IBM i State of the Union by iTech Solutions.  The second article is on a problem with IBM i 7.1 and TR11.  The third article is about the Change IPL Attributes command. The fourth is on allocating additional space for 7.2 LIC.  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 oriSeries 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.

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IBM i State of the Union.

Here is the start of the IBM i State of the Union, written by iTech Solutions.  You can click the link below to download the entire report.

Once known as the AS/400, iSeries, or System i, IBM i is still going strong. For over 25 years now, IBM i has gained the reputation for having the security, reliability, and performance that is still difficult to beat today. The key to this achievement is in its tightly integrated systems. Everything comes integrated and tested from IBM Rochester, all the while maintaining its calling of being “easy to use and administer.”

The premise is that it is true, that over the years, due to real or perceived skills issues, application availability, greenscreens, and other technologies, businesses have moved away from the IBM i platform – and it continues today. However, businesses should be aware that this is not your grandfather’s AS/400. The playing field has changed. Continuing to make decisions based on years-old beliefs about this system can be a disservice to your business.

It’s time to become informed of all the new features and functions that this operating system has. In this document on the IBM i state of the union, I will talk about the power of the system, the openness to new and future technologies, its cloud readiness, its long-term road map for the future, and the continued worldwide acceptance of the platform. Companies looking to run their business in a reliable, cost-effective manner cannot and should not dismiss this platform.

As we start the New Year, I felt this was a good time to look at the trends that are most likely to affect IBM i in 2016. To continue reading the report click here

 


 

Problem in 7.1 TR11 and Resave level RS-P

There was a problem in 7.1 Technology Refresh 11 that prevents new Problem Activity Log entries from being logged.  This could be from loading the system using an I_BASE_01 at resave level RS-P or installing TR11.  Additional storage space was added to the Product Activity Log (PAL) in 7.1 Technology Refresh 11 to aid in diagnosing problems before IPL of the IBM i Operating System. The additional storage spaces were not created and caused the error logging function to take an exception when the new space was used. This resulted in failure to log the entry in the shadow log or the full paging PAL, even when a complete partition IPL was performed. This extends the problem domain to the Service Action Log (SAL) used by SSRs to perform repair actions, WRKPRB used to report problems to the client, and electronic problem reporting used to send problems to IBM.

If you are installing a new partition, make sure when you are installing or Slipping the LIC that you are using Resave RS-R.  If you have already installed TR11, insure that PTF MF60827 is installed and an IPL has been performed.

 


Change IPL Attributes.

I have been at a few customers recently, who didn’t know that you can IPL to a restricted state just by using the Change IPL Attributes command, CHGIPLA. In fact, there are quite a few things that this command can set and perform, so I thought it was of interest to include this in an article. The CHGIPLA command is used to change attributes or functions on the next IPL. I like to use this when I don’t want the system to startup after an IPL, I use the last parameter Start to Restricted State, and I change its default of *NO to *YES. This prevents any of the subsystems from starting, and I come back to a restricted state after an IPL. I find this very handy to run this command after I have loaded all my PTFs, and now I want to IPL to apply them all. Then when the IPL is complete, I can check to make sure everything applied, and then perform my save. I think you will also find some great uses of this command when you want to IPL but not have the system restart after the IPL.

Here are all the parameters for CHGIPLA.

Restart type (RESTART)

Specifies the point from which the initial program load (IPL) restarts when RESTART(*YES) or RESTART((*YES *IPLA)) are specified on the Power Down System (PWRDWNSYS) command. Specifying *SYS rather than *FULL can reduce the time required to restart the system. The initial (shipped) value for this parameter is *SYS.

*SYS -The operating system is restarted. The hardware is restarted only if a PTF that requires a hardware restart is to be applied.

*FULL – All portions of the system, including the hardware, are restarted.

Keylock position (KEYLCKPOS)

Specifies the keylock position. A change to this attribute takes effect immediately. The following restrictions apply when the keylock position is being changed:

The keylock position cannot be set to MANUAL for security reasons.

If the keylock position is currently SECURE, the keylock position cannot be changed.

If the system has a keylock and the key is not inserted, the keylock position cannot be changed.

*NORMAL – Thekeylock position is changed to NORMAL.

*AUTO – The keylock position is changed to AUTO.

*SECURE – The keylock position is changed to SECURE.

Hardware diagnostics (HDWDIAG)

Specifies whether certain hardware diagnostics should be performed during the IPL. The list of diagnostics is pre-determined by the system and cannot be modified by the user. On a partitioned system, this IPL attribute can only be changed from the primary partition or the hardware management console. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *MIN.

*MIN – The minimum set of hardware diagnostics is run.

*ALL – All hardware diagnostics are run.

Compress job tables (CPRJOBTBL) 

Specifies when the job tables should be compressed to remove excess unused entries. The Display Job Tables (DSPJOBTBL) command can be used to determine the number of unused entries in the job tables. Excessive unused entries can indicate that job tables need to be compressed. However, compression can take a significant amount of time during IPL. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NONE.

*NONE – The job tables are not compressed during any IPL.

*NORMAL – The job tables are compressed during normal IPLs only.

*ABNORMAL – The job tables are compressed during abnormal IPLs only.

*ALL – The job tables are compressed during all IPLs.

Check job tables (CHKJOBTBL) 

Specifies when particular damage checks on the job tables should be performed. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *ABNORMAL.

*ABNORMAL – The job table checks are performed during an abnormal IPL only.

*ALL – The job table checks are performed during all IPLs.

*SYNC – The job table checks are performed synchronously during all IPLs.

Rebuild product directory (RBDPRDDIR)

Specifies when the product directory information should be fully rebuilt. A full rebuild is required during the IPL following the install of the operating system. This attribute is overridden during that IPL. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NONE.

*NONE – The product directory information is not fully rebuilt.

*NORMAL – The product directory information is fully rebuilt during a normal IPL only.

*ABNORMAL – The product directory information is fully rebuilt during an abnormal IPL only.

*ALL  – The product directory information is fully rebuilt during all IPLs.

Mail Server Framework recovery (MSFRCY)

Specifies whether Mail Server Framework recovery is done during abnormal IPLs. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NONE.

*NONE – Mail Server Framework recovery is not done during IPL. Recovery is done when Mail Server Framework starts.

*ABNORMAL – Mail Server Framework recovery is done during an abnormal IPL.

Display status (DSPSTS)

Specifies whether the status of OS/400 IPL steps is displayed at the console during IPL. Status is not displayed during install IPLs or when the console is not powered on. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *ALL.

*SYS – The status of OS/400 IPL steps is displayed during attended IPLs and abnormal IPLs.

*NONE – The status of OS/400 IPL steps is not displayed during IPL.

*ATTEND – The status of OS/400 IPL steps is displayed during attended IPLs.

*ABNORMAL – The status of OS/400 IPL steps is displayed during abnormal IPLs.

*ALL – The status of OS/400 IPL steps is displayed during all IPLs, excepted as noted above.

Start TCP/IP (STRTCP)

Specifies whether the Start TCP/IP (STRTCP) command is automatically submitted at the completion of IPL and when the controlling subsystem is restarted to bring the system out of the restricted state. The STRTCP command is not submitted during install IPLs or when the system is starting to the restricted state. See the STRTCP command help for more information. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *YES.

*YES – STRTCP command is automatically submitted.

*NO – STRTCP command is not automatically submitted.

Clear job queues (CLRJOBQ)

Specifies whether or not to clear the jobs from all job queues. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NO. This attribute is reset to its initial value after each IPL.

*YES -The job queues are cleared during the IPL. This attribute is then reset to *NO.

*NO – The job queues are not cleared.

Clear output queues (CLROUTQ)

Specifies whether or not to clear all output queues, thus removing all spooled output from the system. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NO. This attribute is reset to its initial value after each IPL.

*YES – The output queues are cleared during the IPL. This attribute is then reset to *NO.

*NO – The output queues are not cleared.

Clear incomplete joblogs (CLRINCJOB)

Specifies whether or not to delete the joblogs for jobs that were active at the time of the last system power down. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NO. This attribute is reset to its initial value after each IPL.

*YES – Thejoblogs are deleted during the IPL. This attribute is then reset to *NO.

*NO – The joblogs are not deleted.

Start print writers (STRPRTWTR)

Specifies whether or not print writers should be started at IPL time. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *YES. This attribute is reset to its initial value after each IPL.

*YES – Print writers are started at IPL time.

*NO – Print writers are not started at IPL time. This attribute is then reset to *YES.

Start to restricted state (STRRSTD)

Specifies whether or not the system should be started to the restricted state, which means that only the system console will be active. The initial (shipped) value for this attribute is *NO. This attribute is reset to its initial value after each IPL.

*YES – The system is started to the restricted state. This attribute is then reset to *NO.

*NO – The system is not started to the restricted state.

The CHGIPLA command I find very useful for compressing job tables (see iTech Newsletter January 2012), not starting Print writers, or IPLing into a restricted state.  This command certainly makes my final four.

We have pointed this out to a few customers during some recent health checks. The iTech Solutions Health Check is to identify problems you might have, best practices you might not be following, identify performance issues, security issues, etc. Yet, sometimes it just takes someone to see the very simple things that you are doing wrong. For help or to have an iTech Solutions Health Check contact our sales staff.

 


Do you have enough space for 7.2 LIC?

IBM i 7.2 needs additional space for Licensed Internal Code (LIC) on the load source.  You will need to perform this task prior to your upgrade, during your preparation. You can do it now on 7.1 or 6.1 to get ready for your upgrade. Don’t wait until the last minute, there is no harm in doing this even months before you perform your upgrade, this way you are ready and will require one less IPL right before your upgrade.

The Allocate additional space for LIC option allows you to allocate additional storage space, if needed, for a planned upgrade of Licensed Internal Code (LIC).  Either all of the space can be allocated during the next initial program load (IPL) or part of the space can be allocated by a background task and then the remaining space can be allocated during the next IPL.

To perform this task, or check that it has been done:

From a command line type GO LICPGM and press enter.

Select option 5 Prepare for Install

Tab down to the Allocate Additional Space for LIC, place a 1 next to this option and press enter. You will now see the Allocate Additional Space for LIC panel.

Enter V7R2M0 and *IMMED.  When you press enter, the system will start to allocate additional space, and then on your next IPL it will complete the process.  My recommendation is to get this done now, whether you are going to upgrade your OS sooner or later.  If you need help with an upgrade,contact our Sales staff.

 


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.

 

April 11 to 13, 2016 – NEUGC at the Sheraton Framingham, in Framingham, MA,  www.neugc.org

Visit Dave, Matt, Nathan, Paul, and Rick at the booth.  Hear Pete present on:

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • 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

April 19 , 2016 – Steve Will and Pete Massiello will host a session on what’s new for IBM i.  More details to come.

 

May 15 to 18, 2016 – COMMON at the Hilton in New Orleans  www.COMMON.org  

Visit Paul, and Rick at the booth.  Hear Pete present on:

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • 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

May 25 , 2016 – LISUG – Westbury Manor, Westbury LI, www.lisug.org

Visit Dan and Glenn at the booth.

June 12 – 14 COMMON Europe, Stockholm, Sweden,  www.comeur.org

  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.1 & 7.2
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space

 


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 15311 15317 15063 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 3 11
Grp Hipers 60 164 210 204 169
DB Group 10 39 34 33 24
Java Group 9 24 35 34 23
Print Group 3 12 31 49 20
Backup/Recov. 21 56 61 57 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 13 38 46 36 17
TCP/IP 2 9 17 22 16
Security 29 54 60 33
High Availability 3 9 5
Hardware 14 24 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 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 V8R8.4 MH01559, then MH01560
HMC V8R8.3 SP1 MH01540, and then MH01565
HMC  V8R8.2 SP 2 MH01488, then MH01590
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9 SP 3 MH01546
HMC V7R7.8 SP1 MH01397 then

SP 2 MH01432, then MH01548

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_382 last
Power6 940x, M15, M25, M50 EL350_166_074 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_166_074 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_166_074 last
9119-FHA EH350_166_074 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_149_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_071_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_159_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-109_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_109_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_109_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_071_040
Power8 8247-21L, 8247-22L, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, 8286-42A SV840_056_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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