May 2020 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

During this time of change, one thing you can depend on is that our focus has not changed, and nor will it. We are focused on IBM i.  You will see that in everything we do.

This month marks our 150th Newsletter. I can’t believe we have been writing them that long, and how much the newsletter has grown and changed during that time. I started out writing a few articles, with no “sexiness” in the presentation, to now having a much more professional look and feel, put together by our marketing team. Of course, the content is still technical, and we have a much broader range of technical talent here at iTech now contributing articles, but during that time, our commitment to enlighten the IBM i community with technical information has not changed one bit.

In fact, if you look at the other additional things we are doing (Blogs, Podcasts, Webinars, Sip & Tricks, Virtual Conferences, and our video iTips series), they adhere to those same principles.  To commemorate this anniversary, we want to take a look back at how much things have changed since our very first newsletter. This goes to show how far the platform has come over the years, and how far it will continue to go in the future.

From where it began in December 2007, to now.
[ View December 2007 Newsletter ]

Then & Now

  • Hardware changes– POWER6 had just come out with 65nm technology, 790 Million transistors on a chip, and about 4,000 CPW.  These were dual-core. Today, our POWER9 chips are 15nm technology, 8 billion transistors on a chip, and 13,000 to 15,000 CPW per core with up to 12 cores per chip (Sock).

  • OS changes – We were talking about upgrading customers to i5/OS V5R4. We are now at IBM i 7.4.  This is like night and day.  Now, when we see a customer on V5R4, we think that is from the dinosaur age.  I bet over that time, we have done approximately 3,000 OS upgrades.  That is more weekends than I care to remember.

  • Virtualization – IBM i was just starting with Virtualization, and that really didn’t start until IBM i 6.1.  Now at 7.4, you can do any virtualization including just announced NPIV tape virtualization. Even VIOS the ultimate in virtualization didn’t appear on the scene until 2008.

  • Security – We were still in the physical security of our systems and “menu” based security.  Security and threats have exploded over the years, and this is an ever-increasing threat.  You will never be secure because as soon as you think you are, someone develops a new virus/threat. IBM i is now connected to more things, and security options have increased.

  • The iTech team – We were about 3 or 4 people back then, and now we are approaching 35 people. We have grown, our focus has remained IBM i, Power Systems, and IBM Storage.  I don’t see that changing. It is amazing that our growth has been 3 or 4 new people a year over the last 10 years. We have had a few people retire, but adding new people has provided us with new skills to help our customers. Like a proud parent, I would say my team is the best of the best, they prove that to me and our customers every day.

  • The iTech office – We outgrew our first office 6 years ago and bought the building across the street. We started using the 2nd floor and thought we had enough room forever. I remember that the 2nd floor conference room alone was 2 ½ times the size of the conference room at the old place, and we so much more room for meetings. We were going to rent out the 3rd floor, until we started to grow and grow.  We recently had to knock out some walls on the 3rd floor so that we could use the conference room upstairs for staff meetings.  When we have a full staff meeting, which we haven’t had now for a while due to COVID-19, we are full.
  • Our Focus – Look around the world today, everything has changed from 2007. Hell, everything has changed since January 1st of this year due to the virus, but we will get back to a new level of normal.  But one thing you can count on, If your IBM i could talk, it would still ask for iTech Solutions.


“I look forward to receiving iTech’s monthly newsletter each month. There is always an article or two of interest. The OS level PTF listing is my go-to source to decide when it’s time to load and apply PTF’s.”

Carl Novit, FRS

A New Way of Doing POWER9 Installs

Talking about change, we did our first POWER9 after COVID-19 install the other day, and Nathan Williams and I were there with our masks and hand sanitizer. It was different, but we are working with our customers to ensure their safety and that of our employees.  We have a few pictures to share with you.

iTech Customer Day

We have an iTech Customer virtual lunch and learn on Tuesday, June 23rd from 1:00 pm EDT to 3:00 pm, where we will cover IBM i planning, trends, directions, and strategy.  This session will help you understand the current and future benefits of the platform. Steve Will and I are going to be the presenters, and we will also be treating you all to lunch. You should have gotten an invitation by now, but if you haven’t and you are a customer, please reach out to your iTech representative.

Sips & Tricks: Coffee with iTech

Our Sips and Tricks started out as tips for working from home, virtual coffee with iTech and it has evolved into so much more. We have been doing 3 sessions a week, and during the summer we will go down to 2 a week.  These are 30 minutes of short technical education.  The response has been amazing, I mean beyond amazing.

We are so inspired by the comments we have received, and so glad that we can help the IBM i community. There is a lot of effort that goes into these, and we will continue with our Sips and Tricks for the foreseeable future.  I used to tease you that perhaps all your existing Business Partner was doing was bringing donuts to the meeting, now that we aren’t having in-person meetings, what are they doing for you?  It’s time to make the move, join the iTech side. Give me a call, or send me an email and I will set up a meeting to discuss how easy it is for iTech to become your IBM Business Partner.

Friday, May 29th, 11:00 – 11:30 AM ET
Options for Encryption
Pete Massiello

[ Register ]

Monday, June 1st, 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET
Things I Like to Check Every Morning on My IBM i
Chris Flick

[ Register ]

Wednesday, June 3rd, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Why IBM i and External Storage Together?
Bob Palermo, IBM
Jim Chachus, IBM
Pete Massiello, iTech Solutions
[ Register ]

Friday, June 5th, 11:00 – 11:30 AM ET
Setting Up PDM Options
Steven McIver

[ Register ]

Monday, June 8th, 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET
What the Heck is NVMe and Why Do I Care?
Doug Gibbs, IBM
[ Register ]

Wednesday, June 10th, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Testing Procedures for IBM i
Yvonne Enselman
[ Register ]

Friday, June 12th, 11:00 – 11:30 AM ET
Steve Pitcher
Registration Coming Soon

Monday, June 15th, 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET
Assure Unified Interface for MIMIX
Amy Upton
Registration Coming Soon

Wednesday, June 17th, 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET
Advantages of Virtual Tape Libraries
Steve Jones & Derek Henderson, Cybernetics
Laurie LeBlanc, iTech Solutions
[ Register ]

Friday, June 19th, 11:00 – 11:30 AM ET
Using Access Client Solutions

Nathan Williams
Registration Coming Soon

Monday, June 22nd, 2:00 – 2:30 PM ET
Using Visual Explain in ACS to Enhance SQL Performance Processing

Marc Vadeboncoeur
Registration Coming Soon

Look for more webinars, podcasts, and sips-n-tricks to be happening during June and July.  Our line-up continues to grow each day, and if there is a topic that you would like us to cover, send me an email.

IBM i Technology Refreshes

Last month we told you about the new IBM Technology Refreshes (TR) that were being released on May 15th. TR 8 for IBM i 7.3, and TR2 for 7.4.  When IBM released the “marker PTFs” (Which would be like MF99208 for 7.3 and MF99302 for 7.4), the individual PTFs for the virtualization, and the DB2 Group PTFs, but there was no TR Group PTFs.  In my opinion, IBM dropped the ball on this.  For the past 7 or 8 years of Technology Release PTFs, we have been saying make sure you put on the TR Group, and not just the marker PTF. Now for some unknown reason, they have changed this and there is no TR Group.  I think IBM needs to fix this because this is a confusing message to the IBM i community.

Thank You from the iTech Solutions Team

My team put together a little thank you to all of the nurses, first responders, and other essential employees who have been at the forefront of the virus, helping us try to get through this.  I am so lucky to have such an amazing team.

[ Watch Video ]

Stay safe, wash your hands, and take care of one another.   I look forward to seeing everyone when this is all over at the many conferences we will be attending.

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