May 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

It’s been a great spring, and we are looking forward to an amazing summer. We hope you get a chance to enjoy the extra daylight and the warmth of the sun. As the end of May is upon us, we are finding continued growth in the IBM i community, as well as here at iTech Solutions.  We have been adding new customers and employees in 2016 as we continue our year over year growth, and all we do is IBM i. I like to tease when someone asks me “Only IBM i?”, and I say “Is there anything else?”  We do see continued investment in IBM i by IBM with the release of IBM i 7.3; and the updated road mapshowing additional releases (iNext and iNext+1) along with technology refreshes for 7.2 & 7.3 on a six month cadence.  There were some great things that we covered in last month’s newsletter.  We were just at the COMMON conference in New Orleans and it was great to meet so many of our existing customers there who stopped by and spoke to Rick, Paul, and Pete.  The conference was full of energy.  At the conference, I was talking to one of the IBM executives during the expo and he asked me how we are continuing to grow.  I said simple, we have knowledgeable employees who know what they are doing and a commitment to our customers to go beyond their expectations. He looked and me and said, “Yes, that sure seems like a winning formula”.  It is, and we will continue to ensure we meet and exceed the expectations of our customers, as we want them to know they have a partner they can depend on.

In March we released our first IBM i State of the Union and the positive comments and the number of downloads has been phenomenal.  Just last week, IBM asked if they could translate the iTech Solutions “IBM i State of the Union” into Chinese, so their IBM i customer base in China would be able to gain the insights of that white paper.  Last month, when 7.3 was released we published a series of blogs on the “7.3 items to be aware of when upgrading to IBM i 7.3”.  You can find links to those blogs and a summary of the 7.3 things to be aware of later in this newsletter.    One week after announcement day, Steve Will the Chief IBM Architect, and Pete Massiello from iTech Solutions presented to the community what was new in IBM i.  We are currently working with COMMON for Pete Massiello to present a webinar on how to successfully upgrade to IBM i 7.3.  Look for another set of roadshows on Power8 and IBM i 7.3 coming to your area in the near future as well.  Our staff is investing in their skills, as we speak, to enhance the services that we can provide you.  As we have been publishing our monthly newsletter now for almost 9 years, we continue to help our customers and members of the IBM i community get the most from their IBM i and Power Systems investment.  If your current business partner isn’t providing you with the same value, switch to iTech Solutions by calling our sales team at 203-744-7854 then press 3 for the sales team.

This issue of our newsletter has 6 articles. In the first article Chris has written an article on PTF Maintenance.  The second article is on information you need if you are using Operations LAN Console and thinking of upgrading to IBM i 7.3.   The third article is about finding the number of Virtual Processors assigned to a partition. The fourth is on the 7.3 things you need to know before upgrading to IBM i 7.3.  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 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, 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 PTF Maintenance.

PTF Cleanup

The best way to perform PTF cleanup is to *PERM apply all PTFs when applicable and then follow that up with a DLTPTF for *ALL PTFs. We always put new PTFs on temporarily, and then after about 3 months permanently apply them. That’s when the cleanup should be performed.  Prior to V5R0, the only way to accomplish deleting *ALL PTFs for *ALL products is to issue multiple DLTPTF commands for each product installed on the system.  At V5R4 and higher, DLTPTF PTF(*ALL) LICPGM(*ALL) RLS(*ALL) can be issued to clean up left-over PTF save files.

At times, a user will perform a save or clean up storage on the system and discover objects (for example, QSIXXXXXYY, where X = the associated PTF number and Y = some extension identifier [QSI12345J1] in various libraries other than QGPL.

The user wants to know what these objects are and if they can be deleted.

Per PTF Development at IBM, these are not PTF save files, and they should not be deleted. They are objects within a PTF.  The objects are cleaned up when the customer PERM applies the PTF associated with this object.  There might also be a superseding PTF in TEMP status that, when PERM applied, will clear up this object.  If the user deletes it before the PTF is PERM applied, the PTF will be marked damaged when the user tries to PERM apply it.  This can surface when the user attempts to apply a superseding PTF, or when trying to PERM apply PTFs on the system.

Therefore, you only want to cleanup PTFs using the above commands.  If you would like to discuss how iTech Solution’s Administrators can perform all your PTF maintenance for you, relieving you of this chore, then contact us via email.

 


 

Operations LAN Console changes for IBM i 7.3

Plan for your Operations LAN Console installation or upgrade

Before upgrading to IBM i 7.3 you need to update your client, if you are using IBM LAN Console for your IBM i Console. Starting with IBM i 7.2, there were only two console choices available for IBM i: LAN Console or HMC Console.  Now, with 7.3 you can no longer use the old 7.1 IBM i Access for Windows Client, if you are using LAN Console..

The service tool server which includes LAN console is removing support for SSL V3 ciphers which means the LAN console feature in the 7.1 IBM i Access for Windows client is no longer supported in 7.3. IBM i Access Client Solutions is now required for LAN console in 7.3. IBM i Access Client Solutions, also known as the Java based client, and should be installed on your PC which you use for the Console before upgrading the License Internal Code (LIC) to IBM i 7.3, or installing a new partition which uses IBM i 7.3. The LAN console feature in IBM i Access Client Solutions can connect to any supported IBM i release.

Note: The LAN console feature in the IBM i Access for Windows client will work for a D-mode install because SSL ciphers aren’t used during the D-mode IPL but on the following A-mode IPL the IBM i Access for Windows LAN console will fail to connect. The IBM i Access for Windows client does not need to be removed from the PC, but be aware the IBM i Access for Windows console will not continue working if the system is upgraded to 7.3.

If you are upgrading to IBM i 7.3 and you want to replace an existing console with a LAN attached Operations Console, upgrade the PC to the new IBM i Access Client Solutions beforehand. If this is more than you want to be concerned about, contact iTech Solutions, and we will handle this for you.

 


How many Virtual Processors do I have?

Have you ever wondered how many Virtual Processors that you have assigned to a partition?  Perhaps you are trying to get a handle on your IBM i licensing over all your partitions, and you want to see what is assigned to a currently running partition. This is especially helpful if you have uncapped partitions. You can find this out by executing the following command from a command line:

CALL QSYS/QLZACBUA PARM(‘INFO’)

This will return three values: The Minimum Virtual Processors, the Current Virtual Processors, and the Maximum Virtual Processors.

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.

 


7.3 Items to be Aware of when Upgrading to IBM i 7.3

As with any upgrade, the success is in the preparation. Reading the IBM i Memo to Users and the upgrade guide will help ensure you are on the right path to a successful upgrade. We want to bring to your attention a few items and pre-requisites that you need to consider before you start your upgrade to 7.3. While IBM i 7.3 contains many cool new features and functions, the upgrade has several points that you need to be aware of. These are a few of the items that I want to bring to your attention, and certainly not all the concerns that must be examined before an upgrade.  Every company’s IBM i environment is unique, and careful consideration and planning must be done for each upgrade to ensure there is no interruption to the business. We put together a list of these items in our blog.  It’s been published over the last 4 weeks, so starting with the first week.  You can scroll through the articles, and read all 7.3 items to be aware of when upgrading to IBM i 7.3.

http://blog.itechsol.com/upgrading-to-ibm-i-7-3/


If you are like so many of our customers, they don’t perform upgrades that often. They have us do their upgrades for them, so they don’t have to worry about all the issues that can arise. Worry-free, Stress-free upgrades, done by people with the experience, knowledge, and know-how to perform the upgrade correctly.  Contact iTech Solutions.

 

 


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.

 

Archived available anytime – Steve Will and Pete Massiello host a session on what’s new for IBM i 7.3.    

 

Date to be determined – COMMON webinar www.COMMON.org  

  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.3

 

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

  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3
  • HMC, IBM i, FSP, and Firmware
  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance and save disk space

July 13 – 14, 2016 – COMMON Forum – Systems Management, Chicago, IL  www.common.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3 
  • 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
  • Rapid Fire Admin

December 7 – 8, 2016 – COMMON Forum – Systems Management, Orange County, CA  www.common.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for IBM i to make you a Rock Star Administrator
  • What you need to know to Upgrade to IBM i 7.2 & 7.3 
  • 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
  • Rapid Fire Admin

 


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.

7.3 7.2 7.1 6.1 V5R4
Cumul Pack 16085 16127 16120 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh 3 11
Grp Hipers 4 64 168 210 204
DB Group  1 10 40 34 33
Java Group 1 9 24 35 34
Print Group 3 12 31 49
Backup/Recov. 3 24 58 61 57
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 2 15 41 46 36
TCP/IP 2 9 17 22
Security 3 32 56 60  33
High Availability 1 4 11  5
Hardware  2 17 28  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 16120. We can determine that it was created on the 120th day of 2016, which is April 29th, 2016. Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be.

HMCs

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

Model Release Service Pack
HMC V8R8.5 MH01617 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)
HMC V8R8.4
  1. MH01560 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  2. SP1 MH01576 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  3. MH01632 (must be installed from classic GUI or from command line)
HMC V8R8.3
  1. SP2 MH01584
  2. MH01631
HMC  V8R8.2
  1. SP2 MH01488
  2. MH01624
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9
  1. SP3 MH01546
  2. MH01587
  3. MH01628
HMC V7R7.8
  1. SP1 MH01397
  2. SP2 MH01432
  3. MH01570
or V7R7.7
  1. SP3 MH01379
  2. SP4 MH01415
  3. MH01516
HMC C03 V7R3.5 SP4 MH01277

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_171_038 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_171_038 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_171_038 last
9119-FHA EH350_171_038 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_149_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_075_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_159_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-110_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_110_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_110_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_075_040
Power8 8408-E8E, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, or 8286-42A SV840_087_056
9119-MHE or 9119-MME SC840_087_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.

Leave a Reply