| Greetings! |
Cool! Fun! and Wow. These are the words I have been hearing this
week about Power Systems. What a great time to be a Power Systems
customer. In last month's iTech Solutions newsletter we
wrote an article about IBM's Watson playing Jeopardy. Watson is
composed of ninetyfive Power7 servers. These are the same servers
you run IBM i on. I hope you had an opportunity to watch
the show the last few days. It is just amazing
watching Watson compete against the two Jeopardy champions. Oh, by
the way if you would like one of those new Power7 servers, just send Glenn an email.
have packed a lot of information into this newsletter, and I hope that
you find this useful. This issue of our newsletter has five
articles. In the first, I want to continue our series on backups with
focusing on your tapes. As you will see, one of our customers
recently had a scare when a fire broke out in their warehouse. The
second article is on how to better manage the cache batteries in your
disk controllers. The third article is about how to run
remote commands on another machine. The fourth article is an
online event we are doing with COMMON on Everything you need to know to
get started using Systems Director Navigator for IBM i. The last article
is for your reference with updated PTF information.
Of course, if you are still on V5R4, send Pete an email
and he can help you upgrade to V6R1 or V7R1, with over 300 V6R1
upgrades done to date you know iTech Solutions has the expertise
and know how.
iTech Solutions can
help you improve performance, upgrade i5/OS, perform security audits,
implement a High Availability solution, Health Checks, Systems
Management, Remote Administration, PTF management, Blade
installations, iSCSI Configurations, 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 System i. For more information on any of the articles below please visit us at 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.
|Your Backups are worthless.....
me explain. Last Saturday I got a call from one of my
customers. I said "Hello," and her
response was "The building is on fire!". I said,
"Don't worry; we can bring you a new machine in an hour for
recovery. Where is last night's tape?" "In the tape
drive". "Ok, where is the tape for the night before
last?" The reply was "Also in the computer room." This
customer was really lucky as there was no real damage to the computer
room, but there was soot everywhere. All the data was intact, not
one byte of data was lost. However, there is a real lesson in here
for everyone. What would they have done if the fire had
destroyed the computer room?
don't care if you use BRMS, GO Backup, or have written your own backup
procedures. If the tapes stay in the computer room, if the tapes
stay in the tape drive, if the tapes aren't moved off-site, then your
backups for disaster recovery when the computer room is destroyed are
useless. I am not going to sugar coat this, if you aren't getting
your tapes off-site each night, you are going to get an "F" grade for
backups when we do an iTech Solutions Health Check. Now, my
customer above is normally very good about getting tapes
off-site, but there was some mix-up and the tapes didn't get moved
correctly. You have to insure that this is being done because we
never ever know when an accident is going to occur. We can recover
your system if you have backup tapes. At that point, the recovery
will be as good as your backups are, but if there are no tapes, it
doesn't matter how good your backup is. When people go
on vacation, the procedure must be done by someone else.
Perhaps there should be two people who check that this task is
performed each day.
so much of our information is stored electronically, how can a company
function and carry on without their computers? The key to
recovery is properly planning backups, doing
them regularly, moving backup tapes off-site, and then performing a
recovery test. If you do a special backup right before your
Disaster Recovery test, then you really haven't tested your
DR. You need to be testing your DR with a regular set of tapes.
happen. As System Administrators we are tasked with being keepers
of the data. We don't own it, we don't control it, we shouldn't update
it, but we need to take care of the data. Your job doesn't
stop with the backup, it starts with the backup.
you are interested in an iTech Solutions Health Check, or in scheduling
a test of your recovery using your backups, please send an email to Pete.
You won't know how good your backup is until you have to recover
it. Don't wait until it's too late. Test your recovery before you
need to rely on it for a real recovery.
Managing Cache Batteries ?
Most customers don't manage their cache batteries! They just wait for
IBM i to issue a message: "CPPEA13 - *Attention* Contact your hardware service provider."
Of course when you first see this message inside of the QSYSOPR message
queue it can be a little worrisome. You have to go into the
details to see that it is a warning about the cache battery needing
replacement. When you report this to IBM hardware service, they'll send
over a CE with a battery. Depending on which type of disk
controller you have, the cache may be able to be replaced concurrently,
or you'll have to power the system down to replace it. This can be
Wouldn't it be
better to have an idea how much time is left so you can schedule
the down time? The normal way to see the battery status is STRSST and
sign-in, take option 1 Start a Service tool, take option 7 Hardware
Service Manager and then take option 9 Work with resources containing
cache battery packs.
Those are too many steps for most people to check. IBM has released PTFs
- V5R4 - SI40403
- 6.1 - SI40404
- 7.1 - SI40406
that enable a user
with *SERVICE authority the ability to call a program to produce a
report of battery status. These PTFs can be downloaded and applied
immediately. The program is CALL QSYS/QSMBTTCC. It
will create a spool file listing each disk controller and indicate
whether you can perform concurrent battery maintenance, and
also indicate how long until each battery goes into a warning
The batteries will be in
a warning state before they fail, and you will need to replace the
battery before it fails. Once it fails, you will certainly know
it, as the speed of your machine will be as slow as a turtle running a
sprint. You might want to put this command in your job scheduler
and just run it the first of every month. Then you will have a
report providing you with the information you need to manage your cache
batteries. For help implementing this, or additional information,
please contact John.
Running commands on another machine.
you ever needed to have a command or program execute on another machine
(or partition), or vary a tape drive off from one machine so that you
can use it on the current machine? Well then, here lies
the solution: RUNRMTCMD.
have also used this when we build virtual partitions, and we want to
bring the hosted partition down. We can send a remote PWRDWNSYS
command to the other partitions, and they will shutdown gracefully.
starting, you will need to start the TCP/IP remote execution servers,
using the command STRTCPSVR SERVER(*REXEC). If you find you are
going to use this, you might want to change the remote execution servers
to autostart with TCP/IP by issuing the command CHGRXCA
do a very easy example. Our remote server will be named iTechRMT,
and we want to send a test message to QSYSOPR. Here is the
RUNRMTCMD CMD('SNDMSG MSG(TEST) TOUSR(*SYSOPR)')
That's it. It's pretty
simple, but very effective. We have been using this command to
help manage our multiple machine or LPAR environments. If you have
additional questions on this, just let us know with an email.
Everything You Need to Know to Get Started with the new Systems Director Navigator Console for IBM i.
Speaker: Pete Massiello, iTech Solutions
Date: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Time: 12:00pm - 1:00pm Central
1:00pm - 2:00pm Eastern
Released in IBM i
6.1, the Systems Director Navigator Console is a powerful new tool to
better manage your i environment. Get expert advice for
installation and set up to make sure you get this powerful tool up and
running at peak efficiency. Step through the functionality of this
product and learn how to leverage the Performance Data Investigator to
turn the collection services data into graphs you can use to identify
performance issues. Find out how to create monitors to manage your
environment and various workloads as well as how to set up alarms to
notify you when certain events threaten your environment. See how
this tool can help you select and install Logical files on your system
to improve performance.
Learn about the
enhancements to this valuable tool in the release of version 7.1, and
how you can create PDF's from spool files in seconds with the click of a
For more information and to register, click here.
|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
Cumul. Pack 10229 10215 10292 8267
Tech. Refresh 1
Hipers 23 82
DB Group 5
Group 2 20
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 V5R4, the ID is 9104. We can determine that
it was created on the 104th day of 2009, which is April 14,
2009. 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 off the list, because if you are on V5R1, you don't need to be
worrying about PTFs, you really need to be
upgrading your operating system. The same can be said for V5R2
and V5R3, but there are still customers who are on those releases.
If you have an HMC, you should be running V7R7.2M0
with Service Pack 1. If your HMC is a C03, then it should stay at
For your Flexible Service Processor
(FSP) that is inside your Power 5 or Power5+ (520, 515, 525, 550, 570),
the code level of the FSP should be 01_SF240_403. Power 6 (940x M15,
M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A & 8204-E4A)
customers should be running EL350_085. For Power6 (MMA, 560, and
570 machines) your FSP should be at EM350_085. If you have a Power6
595 (9119-FMA) then you should be on EH350_085. POWER7 the firmware
level is AL720_082 or AM720_064 depending on your model.
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.
the skills to help you get the most out of your IBM i. For more
information on any of the articles please contact us at email@example.com .
We would also like to know what you think of this newsletter and any
items you would like us to discuss in future issues.
Our staff of Certified i5/OS professionals can help you get more out of your machines. Remember,
i want everything to work.
i want control.
i want an i
i need iTech Solutions.