A Word from iTech Solutions President, Pete Massiello.
Thanksgiving has passed, and now Christmas is right around the corner. The year seems to have flown by. Where did 2018 go?
It’s been another amazing year here at iTech Solutions! We increased our IBM i services and offerings, added significant staff, many new customers, and are continuing to assist our existing customers. We are actually on track to perform over 400 IBM i OS upgrades this year. There is so much to be thankful for, especially the opportunity to work with you. We won’t let you down. If there is anything that we do that doesn’t exceed your expectations, please contact me directly. I hope with the 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 technical newsletter of the year. In December, we publish the much anticipated How iTech Solutions Helped Santa Save Christmas newsletter. Our team had our MSP call with Santa and the Elves and there are plenty of new stories, so get your stockings hung by the fire and the December issue will be out soon. If you are still on a POWER7 machine, you might want to ask Santa for iTech Solutions to install a new POWER9 before your machine goes out of support.
We are looking forward to another bright year for iTech Solutions, and the greater IBM i community has much to look forward to. IBM has stated that the next release of IBM i, currently called IBM iNext (it will get a number when announced) will ship in 2019, as is evidence with the IBM i Roadmap with support of IBM i releases going out until 2028.
In this month’s newsletter, you’ll find the following:
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 the latest PTFs as you are most likely now on Technology Refresh 11. For the 7.2 customers, we will be installing 7.2 Technology Refresh 9, and 7.3 will be Technology Refresh 5.
[eBook] 9 Things You Need to Know About POWER9
The POWER9 is the latest and greatest system IBM has to offer. But what can it do for your business?
This eBook will cover:
How the POWER9 infrastructure is built for the digital age
How POWER9 performance compares to previous models
About the migration process from POWER7 or POWER8
The overall benefits of POWER9 and how it can make a difference for your business
Regulations (FISMA, HIPPA, SOX, and more) are forcing companies to evaluate how they protect their sensitive data. Industries such as finance, insurance, and healthcare have the most pressure to comply with these regulations which are geared towards protecting consumers private information. The issue is that companies may not understand how to properly secure their data to protect their consumers.
Any good security plan takes a layered approach to protect data. You have to consider where the data resides and how someone could gain access to it. Then you have to put controls in place to ensure that you put as many roadblocks in place as possible to prevent unauthorized access.
There are many approaches you can take to ensure you are complying with regulations and protecting your companies information.
As I wrap up my Managed Services series for 2018 and prepare for 2019, I want to end by talking about system health. A common misperception about MSP is that all the hardware being used by our customers is hosted. In fact, the vast majority of the systems under our care are the existing hardware in the shops we support.
As we all know, the IBM i runs well and can be trusted to do so with little intervention. Consequently, there are many factors that aren’t analyzed regularly that can have drastic impacts on the functioning of the machine. We provide this information to our customers via two services:
IBM i on IBM Power Servers is the best server platform in the universe. It is reliable, stable and provides all the tools needed to effectively operate and manage your mission-critical applications. Most of us on the platform fully agree. While this is an amazing accomplishment, it also has its downside. IBM i users have become complacent about the platform because they rarely have to worry about the hardware and operating system. It just works. They even forget it exists.
But even the best platform needs to stay current. Why?
If you run IBM i on IBM Power Systems, this will hopefully come as a friendly reminder. IBM will be discontinuing hardware support on POWER6 machines at end of Q1 2019 and for POWER7 at end of Q3 2019. You can find details on servers affected by the service discontinuation in the below announcement.
For the folks still running on older P6 and P7 machines, it is important that you make a transition to newer POWER8 and POWER9 systems or find other ways to adapt. Companies who plan on taking a reactive stance on this will be exposed to greater security and reliability risks after support is removed on these machines. If you are sitting on old hardware you must find new ways to ensure these systems continue running reliably.
WMCPA User Group Meeting December 13th Milwaukee, WI
Richie Palma will be speaking on:
Understanding your licensing and what you are entitled to on POWER Systems
IBM i a Corner Office Perspective: Articulating the business value of IBM i
Save the date: Virtual POWER9 Panel
January 9th, 1PM ET
Join the iTech Solutions team for a virtual panel answering the toughest questions regarding IBM POWER9.
Registration coming soon.
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.
Managed Services can be tailored to fit the needs of your business, which means you need to evaluate where a third party provider can provide you with the most benefits. Identifying where you have vulnerabilities or gaps with your system administration is the easiest place to start.
Using TRCINT to find detailed encrypted connection information
Here you’ll find a detailed method to determining the strength of each encrypted connection to your IBM ipartition. Commands used: TRCINT SET(*ON) TRCTBL(‘All-encrypted’) TRCTYPE(*SCKSSL) SLTTRCPNT((17000 17004)). TRCINT SET(*OFF) TRCTBL(‘All-encrypted’…[Read More]
Set up a LIC macro for summarizing encrypted information
If you’re currently using any type of network encryption and want to understand the protocols in use, you can easily do this with a LIC macro. This is quite handy especially if you’re looking at turning off a less secure protocol like TLS 1.0….[Read More]
Using Run SQL Scripts to get a high level user profile security summary
Need a way to get a high level understanding of your user profile security? Look no further. This simple script will allow you to summarize key aspects of your user profile security, from special authorities to group profiles with passwords. [Read More]