October 2009 Newsletter
The leaves may be changing all around us here in the northeast, and IBM has a lot of change going on as well. As you read the iTech Solutions newsletter this Tuesday morning, Oct 20, IBM has made some important announcements in the IBM i world this morning. I plan on covering some of the highlights in the articles below, but I want you to know that IBM i 6.1.1 was announced this morning, and will be available now for General Availability on Oct 23.
We have packed a lot of information into this newsletter, and I hope that you find this useful. This issue of our newsletter has six articles. In the first, we will discuss IBM i 6.1.1 and what this brings to you. The second article will be about IBM i 7.1 and a Statement of Direction of what IBM is including with this next major release to come out this spring. The third article is about IBM i Access Support (Client Access) with Microsoft Windows 7. The fourth article is about IBM extending the IBM i Life Cycle for V5R4, V6R1, and V7R1. The fifth article is on changing phone numbers in Connecticut. The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information. I was going to write another article on how to create PDFs for free with V6R1, but this month’s newsletter had so much information, that I decided to keep that for November.
We receive a lot of calls from customers who haven’t had a chance to upgrade and now have an urgent need because they realize that their support has ended. As a reminder, support for i5/OS V5R3 ended April 30, 2009. Give us a call, and we will do the upgrade to V5R4 or V6R1 for you.
Don’t forget to checkout our website for event where we’ll be this month and throughout the rest of the year. You can find iTech Solutions presenting or exhibiting at the Vermont User Group, Fairfield CT User Group, and iSeries DevConn2009 in Las Vegas. See events.
Don’t forget on Sunday November 1st, at 2:00 am we fall back one hour. Your IBM i, if current on the operating system release and current on PTFs, will have no problem self adjusting to the new correct time. Remember, the National Fire and Safety institute recommends changing the batteries on your smoke alarms in your home at the same time you change your clocks.
iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, upgrade i5/OS, perform security audits, implement a High Availability solution, VoIP, Systems Management, PTF management, Blade installations, iSCSI Configurations, 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.
IBM i 6.1.1 Announced today.
I don’t care what we call it, OS/400, i5/OS, or IBM i, it’s always exciting to learn about the new features and functions that come out in a new release. If you are still on an old release like V5R2, V5R3, or V5R4, then you won’t be able to take advantage of all these new features and functions. If you are intimidated doing an operating system upgrade, then let iTech Solutions do the upgrade for you. We have the expertise and experience to make sure the upgrade is smooth and problem free.
Let’s summarize some of what is new:
If you have a question on any of this, or would like iTech Solutions to upgrade your system or operating system, send Pete an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
IBM i 7.1 Statement of Direction.
While we couldn’t talk about this before today, we are now able to discuss the information that IBM has released. IBM plans to deliver a new release of IBM i in 2010. IBM i 7.1 is currently planned for the Spring timeframe of 2010, and of course that can change. There are some really cool new features and functions, and here are just a few of the new capabilities planned for this new release:
One of the advantages of working with a business partner like iTech Solutions is that we know the current hardware and software technology of the Power Systems (AS/400, iSeries, IBM i) product lines, and we spend time working with IBM Rochester on future requirements and functionality. Using this knowledge, we are able to insure that our customers make the best decisions in their IBM i investments. When you think i, think iTech Solutions.
IBM i Access (Client Access) Support for Window 7.
|We keep hearing about Windows 7, and I sure as heck hope that it works better than Windows Vista. This latest version is supposed to be available on October 22. Here is the information on IBM’s support of Windows 7 when using IBM i Access (formerly known as Client Access or PC Support).
The IBM i NetServer and QNTC components also plan to officially support Windows 7 beginning December 1, 2009 for 5.4 and later releases of IBM i. PTFs will be made available by this date.
One known restriction: it may be necessary to change a policy on the Windows 7 machine to allow QNTC access. QNTC does not currently support the NTLMv2 authentication method that is the Windows 7 default. You may need to change the ‘Network Security : LAN Manager Authentication Level’ policy to ‘Send LM & NTLM – use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated’ to allow QNTC to connect to a share provided by Windows 7. A reboot of the PC is required to activate that change.
There are currently fixes for known NetServer problems with NTLMv2 authentication:
Other PTFs will be available to address Windows 7 compatibility with NetServer and QNTC on December 1st. We hope this information is useful as you roll out Windows 7 in your iSeries environment.
|Extending the IBM i Life Cycle.|
As users of IBM i, we are always interested to know about the product’s life cycle. This article is just going to discuss the releases that I am able to publically share with you, but it is important to understand that IBM is still investing in the operating system. It is my opinion that this lengthening of the life cycle was done as people have been slow to move to IBM i 6.1, and IBM is providing longer support for 5.4, 6.1, and 7.1. Remember that hardware and operating system releases tend to directly tie together. So for instance, you can’t move to Power 6 hardware and take advantage of these very speedy machines unless you are on V5R4M5 or 6.1. I am sure a similar dependency will exist for future hardware and operating system releases. Therefore, it is in your best interest to stay current so that you can take advantage of new technology when IBM delivers it. iTech Solutions has migrated a lot of customers to 6.1, and they are all operating without any problems. IBM i 6.1 has been a very stable release. We have seen some customer reluctance in the magazines and on the forums to upgrade to IBM i 6.1, but that fear is due to application program conversion worries. IBM i 6.1 is a great release and it is stable. If you want to go to IBM i 6.1, just give us a call and we can do this upgrade for you without any problems.
To enhance the support for IBM i customers, the plan for marketing and service of IBM i releases, starting with 5.4, has been extended one additional year. Marketing of IBM i 5.4 is extended until January 2011, which gives customers who are on the unsupported releases of V5R2 and V5R3 an upgrade path. If you are on an older release of i5/OS or OS/400, give iTech Solutions a call, and allow us to do the upgrade to V5R4 or 6.1.1 for you.
This also means that IBM i 6.1 (and 6.1.1) will be supported from a marketing perspective until the end of 2012, and for support into the beginning of 2014. IBM i 7.1 will be marketed into the beginning of 2015, and supported through 2016.
IBM i upgrade paths:
Remember that IBM i 5.4 operating system runs on both Licensed Internal code versions V5R4M0 and V5R4M5. IBM i 6.1 operating system runs on both Licensed Internal code versions V6R1M0 (6.1.0) and V6R1M1 (6.1.1).
|Customers with phones & modems in Connecticut.|
Effective November 14, 2009, all customers with a 203 or 860 area code must dial the area code for all calls, including local calls within the same area code. If you forget to dial the area code on or after that date, your call will not be completed and a recording will instruct you to hand up and dial again, including the area code. Your telephone number and area code aren’t changing.
The new dial procedure is required when an “overlay” area code is added to the same geographic region as an existing area code. In Connecticut, the new 475 area code will serve the same geographic area served by the 203 area code, and the new 959 area code, when implemented, will serve the same geographic area served by the 860 area code.
Besides changing the way you dial, you may need to update any preprogrammed seven digit numbers in your fax machines, modems, IBM ECS call home modem, and other electronic equipment with automated dialers.
|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. You might notice that this week, IBM just created a new Security PTF Group, so I have added this to our list, as we are installing this for our customers on iTech Solutions Quarterly Maintenance program.
6.1 V5R4 V5R3 V5R2
Cumul. Pack 9111 9104 8267 6080
Grp Hipers 47 112 169 189
DB Group 11 22 24 25
Java Group 10 21 23 27
Print Group 12 34 20 7
Backup/Recov. 10 27 33 31
Security Group 10 9 7 –
Blade/IXA/IXS 11 11 – –
Http 9 20 17 –
If you have an HMC, you should be running V7R3.4.0 with Service Pack 2 and PTF MH01181 installed. This PTF is Required for V7.3.4.
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_382. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A & 8204-E4A) customers should be running EL340_101. For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM340_101. If you have a Power6 595 (9119-FMA) then you should be on EH340_101.
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.