May 2014 Newsletter
Well May has been both an exciting month as well as a busy month. At the end of April we had IBM announce IBM i 7.2 and part of the low end Power8 machines. Then the begining of May we had COMMON, which was a busy week as Ken, Paul, and Rick met many customers at the booth, and I presented 6 sessions during the conference. I always enjoy going to COMMON to learn but it is also great meet old friends and make new ones as well. This year, I also got elected as President of COMMON for the next year, quite an honor that the COMMON Board of Directors bestoyed upon me, and I am excited in leading the organization over the next year. Then we moved our offices to a new larger location in Danbury. You know every move is extremely disruptive during the move, but very gratifying once the unpacking is done. Gary, Glenn, Ken, Paul, and Rick have been following up with all the people we met at the COMMON conference. Then at the end of the month I had the opportunity to travel to Poland and speak to their user group on System Management and OS Upgrades. If that wasn’t enough everyone has been busy installing new machines, migrations, quoting new Power8 machines, performing OS Upgrades, and our remote management tasks. With May being so busy, you will notice we missed our end of month newsletter deadline and our May newsletter is coming out the first week of June. Sorry for the delay, and we will be back on schedule for our June newsletter to be delivered end of June.
This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article, we will discuss that V5R4 is dead, and it is time to move on and upgrade. The second article is on SMTP errors after a 7.1 upgrade that many customers have experienced. The third article is on how to resolve E3550815 error on your HMC. The fourth article is an update on IBM ProtectTier. 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, and beginning in June Technology Refresh 8.
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.
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.
IBM i 7.2 is now announced. IBM i 7.1 was released 4 years ago. IBM i 6.1 was released 6+ years ago. If you are still on V5R4 you are missing all the new features and functions that IBM has been putting into IBM i. Of course, if you are on a release like V5R4 or even V5R3, you are on an unsupported released, and you probably don’t do many OS upgrades. So, bring in iTech Solutions and allow us to do the upgrade for you. Simplify the upgrade, by having an expert engineer do the upgrade, who has the knowledge, experience, and know how to make your upgrade smooth and hassle free. Contact iTech Solutions for more information.
SMTP issues after your upgrade to IBM i 7.1.
During an OS upgrade, many things change. Of course, this is one of the reasons having iTech Solutions on your team doing the upgrade reduces the chance of a problem, as we have done so many upgrades we have come across many of the issues already. Here is one that we see many times after an upgrade from V5R4 to 7.1. All of a sudden the customer notices that their mail is no longer being delivered. It’s a simple fix, but first a little lesson on why the problem occurs. Starting in i 7.1, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) only supports RFC 2821 and 2822. RFC 2821/2822 deprecate many parts of the 821/822 e-mail standard. Behavior for SMTP routes, SMTP alias shadowing, and processing mail through Mail Service Framework (MSF) are not compatible with the RFC 2821 and RFC 2822 standards, and should be used on an as is basis. The first part of a source route will still be honored from RFC 821, other parts of the source route will not be contacted. The absolute address is the recommended way to send e-mail. Read the RFC standards for more details or if you wish to fall asleep.
SMTP changes for IPv6 support was added in i 7.1. At this time, there is no IPv6 standard for real time black holes lists(RBL). The RBL only works for IPv4 addresses. SMTP uses the API getaddrinfo() to look up e-mail DNS records which does not guarantee the address will be looked up first as IPv6 then IPv4 which is different from what Request for Comments (RFC) 3974 recommends. Parts of the DNS resolver were fixed in i 7.1 to be more correct. Some changed behavior might be noticed as a result, such that your mail won’t leave your IBM i.
The MAILROUTER feature before i 7.1 would in some instances, forward all mail to the mail router even if the e-mail address could be resolved. In i 7.1, MAILROUTER correctly forwards to the mail router only when the e-mail address does not resolve. The FWDMAILHUB feature was added in i 6.1 that allowed the forwarding of e-mail to a single address. FWDMAILHUB always forwards the e-mail and does not attempt a resolve. MAILROUTER only supports A and AAAA records, while FWDMAILHUB supports: MX, CNAME, AAAA, and A.
The resolve path is now:
Forwarding Mail hub(if defined) ->
Absolute Address/First part of source route ->
mailrouter(if same domain) ->
mailrouter(different domain) if FIREWALL(*YES).
This is a common occurrance after an upgrade, so if your email isn’t sending, then check your FWDMAILHUB parameter. This is another example that the average customer does one OS upgrade every 3 to 4 years, while we are usually doing 3 to 4 upgrades a week here at iTech Solutions. We have the knowledge, the experience, and the know how to make your upgrade smooth. In addition, the average person doing an upgrade will spend over a month’s time researching, evaluating, and investigating during the preparation for an OS upgrade. Isn’t your time better spent bringing iTech Solutions in. Send us an email for more information or a quote.
I have noticed quite a few customers that had HMC errors E3550815 on their HMCs during customer visits. I thought this would be a good article as I am sure others are getting this. A problem has been identified where the HMC generates and reports to IBM (calls home) Serviceable Event E3550815 because the phone number field in the System tab of the Manage Customer Information panel is empty. This field was not required in HMC levels prior to HMC 7.3.5; however, it is now a required field and thus the HMC will generate an error message if this panel is accessed and the field is empty. If the user attempts to edit the phone number field from the Manage Customer Information panel without the use of the Service Agent Wizard, the value for Phone number in the System tab will not be saved. This has been fixed to not generate a call home event in the latest releases of the HMC code, but it will still generate an error. I always like to see the bottom left hand side of the HMC being green, and not having either of the yellow or brown indicators on.
The E3550815 error may have more then one root cause. To verify the cause, click Service Management in the navigation area, click Electronic Service Agent Setup Wizard, then click the System tab. Check the phone number field. If it is empty (even if disabled/greyed out), this is the likely cause of the E3550815. You have to enter the phone number in the guided setup.
You should make sure both the Administrator and System information is current while you are here. While we are on the topic of the HMC, when was the last time you updated your HMC? Send us an email and we will have someone contact you with a quote to upgrade your HMC. You should be updating both your FSP (Flexible Service Processor) and HMC every 6 months.
Here is a quick update on the IBM ProtecTIER product line for those IBM i customers using this technology. This year marks the sixth anniversary of IBM’s acquisition of Diligent Technology. Over the past six years IBM has emerged as a leader in enterprise class data deduplication. Our highly scalable, dual node hardware redundancy and Gateway design are unique characteristics in the industry. IBM fundamentally believes in the importance of cost saving data deduplication technology and continues to enhance our solution, improve value and increase investment protection for our installed base.
First, it is important to note what IBM has done most recently. IBM is among the first to integrate flash technology along with deduplication to boost performance and lower cost. Integration of the IBM FlashSystem 840 for metadata was completed the day the system was publically announced. The speed of technology integration is a result of our flexible Gateway design which simplifies technology adoption. It also is enabled by our global development team providing a 24×7 system design, product test and integration environment.
Secondly, IBM has recently released ProtecTIER Mainframe Edition which enables the same enterprise class deduplication capability now for IBM System z. Another distinctive feature of ProtecTIER is its ability to sustain high throughput for both read and write operations. Most deduplication methodologies have an inherent read performance penalty. Since mainframe tape operations are much more read intensive than open systems, we were one of the first to market with a practical deduplication offering for all mainframe tape applications.
That’s just what we’ve done getting out of the starting blocks in 2014. Our development team continues to enhance ProtecTIER. We’re also working on refreshing the entire ProtecTIER product line with new model enhancements. A new Gateway design is underway which will improve performance of the existing DD5. We expect this to be available as an upgrade, providing investment protection for existing ProtecTIER users. The SM2 product family is also being redesigned to extend its capacity range. Along with hardware changes, we will widen the disk support matrix offering enhanced flexibility and new levels of price performance. You may contact Paul to learn more.
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.
May 24 to 28th COMMON Poland -Warsaw, Poland www.common.org.pl
June 3, 2014 Michigan IBM i Technical Conference – Livonia, MI http://gomitec.com
- What you need to know when upgrading to IBM I 7.2
- Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space
- IBM i, FSP, HMC, and firmware putting all the pieces together.
- Managing IBM i with Navigator for IBM i.
June 10, 2014 COMMON Virtual Conference http://www.common.org
- What you need to know to upgrade to IBM i 7.2
September 17, 2014 New England Midrange Users Group: www.nemug.com
October 26 – 29, 2014 COMMON Fall Event – Indianapolis, Indiana http://www.common.org
Come visit Rick & 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.
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.
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:
|HMC||V7R7.8||SP1 eFix MH01416|
|or||V7R7.7||SP3 eFix MH01409|
If you have an Flexible Service Processor (FSP) your firmware should be:
|Power5 or 5+||520, 515, 525, 550, 570||SF240_418||last|
|Power6||940x, M15, M25, M50||EL350_149||last|
|8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A||EL350_149||last|
|MMA, 560, 570||EM350_149||last|
|Power7||8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C||AL730_127|
|8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C||AL740_126|
|Power7+||8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D||AL770_076|
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.