November 2016 Newsletter

Greetings iTech Fan,

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

It’s Thanksgiving here in the US, where did the year go?  It’s been a great year here at iTech Solutions. We have increased our IBM i services and offerings, increased our staff, and we are working with many new customers and helping our existing customers.  We have a lot to be thankful for, and are glad that you gave us the opportunity to work with you.  If there is anything that we do that doesn’t exceed your expectations, please contact me directly. I hope with the upcoming holidays approaching you are able to spend it with your family and friends, and that you have much to be thankful for as well.  As many of our readers over the years know, this will be our last newsletter of the year.  In December, we publish the much anticipated How iTech Solutions helped Santa save Christmas newsletter.  I hear there are some new POWER8 stories to be told, so get your stockings hung by the fire and the December issue will be out within a month.

We finished with our fall 2016 IBM i 7.3 & Power8 12 city tour of the US Northeast, and are now determining the next set of cities to come to.  Even if we are not in a city near you, if you like a presentation on the benefits of Power8 or IBM i 7.3 we can make that happen. Contact iTech Solutions and we can schedule a presentation and discussion on how we can help you get the benefits of this new hardware and operating system.  As we have been publishing our monthly newsletter now for 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 we tell you about the various versions of JAVA that are supported on each release of IBM i.  The second article is by Chris on some pretty useful parameters of the CHGJOB command. The third article by Laurie is on the Top five reasons for an IBM i System Health Check.  The fourth is on the new Authority Collection command in 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 5, and 7.3 will be Technology Refresh 1.

Some notes on the new HMC release that just came out:

  • HMC V8 R8.6.0 will be the last release to support POWER6.
  • HMC V8 R8.6.0 will be the last release to allow ‘classic’ UI login.
  • HMC V8 R8.6.0 will be the last release that supports the model CR5, CR6 and C08.
  • The HMC must be at version V8 R8.4.0 or later to be upgraded to HMC V8 R8.6.0. This requirement is enforced during installation.

In March we released our first IBM i State of the Union and the positive comments and the number of downloads has been phenomenal.  We updated it this summer to include everything from the first half of 2016, you can get a copy on our website.

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.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Various versions of Java.

As with every new version of IBM® i there are new versions of Java that get added and old versions of Java that get removed.  Trying to keep up with which versions of Java are supported on each release can be a little confusing.  Here at iTech Solutions with all the OS upgrades that we do, we have a table that we refer to.  I want to share our table with you.  If you are currently using a version of Java on one release of the operating system and contemplating upgrading to a newer release of the OS, you need to insure compatibility.

 

Product Description V5R3 V5R4 6.1 7.1 7.2 7.3
5722-JV1 5 J2SDK 1.3 X X
57xx-JV1 6 J2SDK 1.4 X X X
57xx-JV1 7 Java Classic 5.0 (1.5) X X
5761-JV1  8 IBM Tech for Java 5.0 32-bit X X
5761-JV1  9 IBM Tech for Java 5.0 64-bit X X
5761-JV1 10 Java Classic 6.0 (1.6) X
57yy-JV1  11 IBM Tech for Java 6 32-bit X X X
57yy-JV1  12 IBM Tech for Java 6 64-bit X X X
5761-JV1  13 IBM Tech for Java 1.4.2 64-bit X
57yy-JV1  14 IBM Tech for Java 7 32-bit X X X
57yy-JV1  15 IBM Tech for Java 7 64-bit X X X
57yy-JV1  16 IBM Tech for Java 8 32-bit X X X
57yy-JV1  17 IBM Tech for Java8 64-bit X X X

In the June 2015 iTech Solutions Newsletter, we wrote an article on WRKJVMJOB.  Basically this command will tell you which Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that your applications are using.  This again helps in determining which actual version of Java that you are using so that you can use the chart for compatibility between the releases.

As with any new OS release or TR, there are so many additional features and functions that have been incorporated.  If you need help upgrading your operating system let us help you out.  Contact us at sales@itechsol.com or call us at 203-744-7854 and press 3.

 


 

Using those 2 little known CHGJOB parameters for help with CPU and Temporary Storage.

There are many times we are talking to a customer and they are unfamiliar with a particular function or parameter of a command.  This is what Chris ran into earlier this month, and thought it would be great to share.

The Change Job (CHGJOB) command has been enhanced since 7.1 (requires PTF SI42845)  and 7.2 and beyond with two new parameters:

  • Maximum CPU time (CPUTIME): The maximum CPU time parameter specifies the maximum processing unit time (in milliseconds) that the job can use. If the maximum time is exceeded, the job is held.  CPI112D will appear in history logs for any jobs that were automatically held for exceeding CPU limit.
  • Maximum temporary storage (MAXTMPSTG): The maximum temporary storage parameter specifies the maximum amount of temporary auxiliary storage (in megabytes) that the job can use. This temporary storage is used for storage required by the program itself and by implicitly created internal system objects used to support the job. (It doesn’t include storage for objects in the QTEMP library.)  If the maximum temporary storage is exceeded, the job is held.

Focusing on MSXTMPSTG value and how to utilize it:

When a job reaches the maximum temporary storage limit, 7.3, 7.2, or 7.1 with PTF SI42845, the system will now HOLD the job instead of ending it.  This provides the opportunity to examine the job and decide if it should be released, ended, or investigated further.  This also can help prevent further storage problems that can be caused when a submitting job resubmits the job if the system ends it.

Use CHGJOB to set/change the maximum temporary storage for a job.  This is useful if the job which reached its maximum needs to continue.  A new max setting can be set before releasing.

Look for CPI112E in history logs to see any jobs that were automatically held when it reached the max value.

 


Top Five Reasons to have a System Health Check.

Our technical team consists of IBM i Certified System Administrators, most of whom have over 20 years of IBM i, iSeries, AS/400 experience.  Supporting many different customers, we see lots of different issues every day and we know what to look for.  Sometimes, you need a second set of eyes to review your system and find things you didn’t even know were happening.  If you haven’t had a system health check in a while, it might be a good time to schedule one.  This can help you to improve system performance, reclaim disk space and ensure that your system is configured properly.   We’ll also check your PTF levels and if Licensed Programs are installed properly.

 

There are many reasons why our customers ask us to perform a health check.  Some need to have their system reviewed for an audit, others want to improve their system performance and overall health.  Below are the top 5 reasons you should have a system health check.

  1. IBM Certified Resource to Identify Problems and Propose Resolutions

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest through the trees.  Our certified IBM Resources have years of experience.  Having an experienced, objective third party review your system can identify problems you didn’t even know you had.  In some cases, our customers know that they have problems, but they don’t know where to look to find the cause.  Either way it can help to have someone review your system in detail and identify problem areas for you.

It’s not enough to just identify the problems though.  What matters is, what are the steps that can be taken to resolve the problem?  This is one of the benefits of a health check.  We discuss with you, how to resolve the problems we uncover.

  1. Resolve Setup & OS Issues

Not all system installers are created equally.  This means that not all system setups are done properly.  Setup issues can linger and cause more problems down the road.   Having an experienced Certified Administrator review your setup can save you from trouble later.

Keeping current with the OS is important too.  IBM releases Technology Refreshes every 6 months. Having a partner who can review what OS level you are on and who can advise you on how to keep up with OS release changes will only improve your system security and performance.  Plus it will allow your staff to take advantage of new features like Row and Column Access Control and Temporal support.

  1. Recommendations for improvement are presented

Continuous improvements is what all IT departments strive for, your system health check shouldn’t be any different.  Regardless of whether or not you have major hardware issues or not, there may be things you can change that would allow you to gain some additional efficiencies or improve the user experience.

Many customers tell us that they are backing up everything, every night but, when we look at it, we find it’s just the data.  We can identify the items that are missing in your backup to help ensure that you are protected.

  1. Risks are identified

Risks can be related to hardware, operating system and security.  No hot spare? A disk drive failure can cause unwanted downtime and could lead to the loss of data.  Not keeping up with OS upgrades and PTFs could put your system at risk of having a problem.  Not following best practices when it comes to system level security can put your system at risk from unwanted access.

  1. Get the Most out of our IBM i investment

Performance problems can bog down critical processes like order processing or warehousing.  Having an IBM i expert reviewing your system looking for bottlenecks and problem areas, can help you to optimize your current resources.  Our goal is to help you get the most out of your existing IBM i investment.

Do you want to get the most out of your IBM i investment too?  Contact our sales team to schedule your IBM i System Health Check today.  It’s a small investment, which can provide you with significant benefits.

 


Start Authority Collection

New in IBM i 7.3 is Authority Collection.  This cool new feature allows you to determine what is the minimum authority that a user needs to perform their job.  How many times in the past have you given a user more authority than what they needed just to get them to be able to perform their job.  Or even worse, users are given *ALLOBJ (All Object Authority) to let them complete a task and then that authority is never removed. Now, in IBM i 7.3, you can collect the authority that a user needs to perform their task, and then you have the minimum that they need.  Now, you can change the authority on the objects to reflect this minimum authority.

The Start Authority Collection (STRAUTCOL) command starts the collection of authority information used by the system when it performs an authority check on an object. The authority information is collected when the specified user is running a job in which an authority check is performed on an object.

Authority collection will only be active and information collected for the thread effective user profile. No authority information will be collected if authority collection is started for a user profile that is being used as a group profile. Authority collection only applies to the thread effective user profile.

The objects for which authority information is collected can be controlled by the following:

  • Library name and ASP device.
  • Object name, library name, and ASP device.
  • Object name, object type, library name, and ASP device.
  • DLO – a document library object.
  • IFS – file system object in the “root” (/), QOpenSys, or user-defined file system.

Use the End Authority Collection (ENDAUTCOL) command to stop the authority collection.  Use the Delete Authority Collection (DLTAUTCOL) command to delete the authority collection repository and the information it contains. Use the SQL view, QSYS2/authority_collection, to view the authority collection information.  Example: SELECT * FROM QSYS2/authority_collection  where user_name = ‘user’.  Replace user with the name of the user profile whose authority collection information you would like to view.

If you need help keeping up to date with PTFs, or you don’t want to have to worry about managing and administrating your PTFs, then, contact iTech Solutions, and we will handle this for you.

 


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.    

 

January 17, 2017 – Fairfield CT AS/400 Users Group (FASUG) – Norwalk Inn, Norwalk, CT  http://www.fasug.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for i to make you a RockStar System Administrator

January 18, 2017 – Long Island Systems Users Group (LISUG) Westbury Manor, Westbury, NY  http://www.lisug.org

  • Cool things in Navigator for i to make you a RockStar System Administrator
  • What you need to successfully upgrade to IBM i 7.3

January 19, 2017 – North Eastern Systems Technology Group (NESTU) Spice Grill, Parsippany, NJ  http://www.nestu.com

  • Cool things in Navigator for i to make you a RockStar System Administrator

April 10 – 12, 2017 – Northeast User Groups Conference http://www.neugc.org

  • Stop by our booth and see us
  • Sessions to be determined

May  7 – 10, 2017 – COMMON Annual Conference & Expo – Orlando, FL http://www.common.org

  • Stop by our booth and see us
  • Sessions to be determined

 


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 16299 16306 16120 15063 12094
Tech. Refresh  1 5 11
Grp Hipers 18 77 181 210 204
DB Group 3 14 41 33 33
Java Group 3 11 26 37 34
Print Group 3 12 31 49
Backup/Recov. 6 28 62 61 57
Blade/IXA/IXS 1 16 30 15
HTTP 4 17 43 46 36
TCP/IP 3 10 17 22
Security 9 39 63 60  33
High Availability 3 6 13  5
Hardware  3 19 30  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 V8R8.6
  1.  MH01655
HMC V8R8.5
  1. MH01617 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)
  2. SP1 MH01633 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)
  3. MH01669 (must be installed from classic GUI or command line)
HMC V8R8.4
  1. MH01560 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  2. SP2 MH01620 (must be installed from command line using UPDHMC)
  3. MH01668 (must be installed from classic GUI or from command line)
HMC V8R8.3
  1. SP3 MH01619
HMC  V8R8.2
  1. SP3 MH01583
  2. MH01667
HMC (CR4 last release) V7R7.9
  1. SP3 MH01546
  2. MH01587
  3. MH01659
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
  1. 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

Some notes on the new HMC release V8R8.6 that just came out:

  • Will be the last release to support POWER6.
  • Will be the last release to allow ‘classic’ UI login.
  • Will be the last release that supports the model CR5, CR6 and C08.
  • The HMC must be at version V8 R8.4.0 or later to be upgraded to HMC V8 R8.6.0. This requirement is enforced during installation.

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_172_038 last
8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, 8204-E4A EL350_172_038 last
MMA, 560, 570 EM350_172_038 last
9119-FHA EH350_172_038 last
Power7 8231-E1B, 8202-E4B, 8231-E2B, 8205-E6B, 8233-E8B, 8236-E8C AL730_152_035
9117-MMB, 9179-MHB AM780_080_040
8231-E1C, 8202-E4C, 8205-E6C AL740_161_042
9117-MMC, 9179-MHC AM770-112_032
Power7+ 8231-E1D, 8202-E4D, 8231-E2D, 8205-E6D AL770_112_032
8408-E8D, 9109-RMD AM770_112_032
9117-MMD, 9179-MHD AM780_075_040
Power8 8408-E8E, 8284-22A, 8286-41A, or 8286-42A SV840_147_056 (HMC Managed)
9119-MHE or 9119-MME SC840_139_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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