September 2012 Newsletter

Greetings!

i can do anything with iTech Solutions

 

Wow, where did the summer go? Welcome to the fall, one of the prettiest seasons here in New England with the changing colors of the

leaves.  We have been extremely busy with OS Upgrades, as we currently have 29 upgrades that we are currently working on.  That is surely a record for us.  With the end of support for V5R4 now just a year away, I would expect this pace to either increase or stay this way until September 30, 2013 when IBM drops support for V5R4.
It has also been a very busy speaking season with presentations at local user groups in Vermont and Rhode Island, COMMON Fall conference in Columbus, Ohio, the iBelieve event in New York city, and the upcoming IBM Power Technical Conference in Las Vegas.  The IBM technical conference is usually all  IBM speakers, but Pete Massiello of iTech Solutions will be there presenting 7 sessions there. Of course one of them will be How to successfully upgrade to IBM i 6.1 or 7.1.  If IBM relies on iTech Solutions to present OS upgrade information to their users, shouldn’t you be thinking about using iTech Solutions for your upgrade?

This issue of our newsletter has five articles. In the first article, we will discuss monitoring your system.  The second article is about Operations Console Direct is going away with 7.1.  The third article lists some of the upcoming events in which iTech Solutions will be participating. The fourth article is about speeding up the save of the IFS.  The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information. Please note that we have added a new PTF group to our recommended list, which is the High Availability Group.  If you are an iTech Solutions PTF Maintenance customer, you will receive this on your next application of PTFs.

If you are still on V5R4, send Pete an email and he can help you upgrade to 6.1 or 7.1. With more upgrades than anyone else to 6.1/7.1 done to date you know iTech Solutions has the expertise and know how.

iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, perform security audits; implement a High Availability solution; perform 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 IBM i.

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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.

Monitoring your System.     

Light
 

 

Monitoring your system, even when your not around?   Let the tools that are part of the operating system help you out.

There are a few ways to be doing this, but as I go to many shops I am just amazed how many people don’t have automated monitoring running.  The first one we should talk about is IBM Service Agent.  This is integrated directly into the operating system, and some people have referred to it as “AS400 call home”, although you should call it now “IBM i call home”.  Service Agent notifies IBM when there are problems with your hardware.  For instance, when you lose a disk in a Raid set, the system will call IBM Service, and place a service call.  Then an IBM Service technician (IBM CE) will contact you and/or bring a new disk directly on-site for replacement.

You enable this function, by typing GO SERVICE, and taking option 1 for Change Service Agent attributes (CHGSRVAGTA command).  Make sure that Enable is set to *YES, and then press enter twice. Next you want to check that your contact information is correct with by doing a CHGCNTINF and pressing F4, to update all the information.  Otherwise, when the system calls IBM, IBM wouldn’t have the information to get back in touch with you.  You should insure that the address of the machine, the contact, phone number, and email are all correct.

Then we have to determine how you are connecting to IBM.  You can do this directly through the internet (usually fastest and best), by dialing via a modem, or connecting via another system.  If your setup isn’t correct, you have to delete the current configuration, and recreate the connection configuration.

The last step is now to test everything.  You want to send a Test Service Request to IBM by entering SNDSRVRQS *TEST.  You will see that it finishes complete, and then IBM should contact you to verify that the test request has been successfully received.

If you need help on this, give us a call.

 

IBM i Operating System


Operations Direct Console gone with V7R1.   
If you have Operations Direct Console and are thinking about upgrading your Operating System to 7.1, then you have a little work ahead of you before you start the upgrade.  Operations Direct Console is no longer supported, so you would have to either change this to Operations LAN Console (using Ethernet) or use an HMC.  It isn’t a hard change to  use the LAN Console (Ethernet), but it can be a little bit of a problem.  Operations Direct Console will use an RS-232 cable connected to a Communications adapter (a 2773, 9773, etc). If you don’t know which way you are connected, the easiest thing to do is STRSST and sign in with your SST/DST user profile.  Then  select option 8 Work with Service tools user IDs and Devices.  From this menu, select option 3 “Select Console” and it will display the Console type.  If it is Operations console (Direct) which is #2, then you will need to change this before upgrading to 7.1.  While Twinax is supported at 7.1 (depending on the hardware), you should probably think about getting away from a Twinax console and go with Operation LAN Console.  It will allow you remote access to the console, and that alone is worth the effort.

There are a few gotchas in performing this.  When you configure Operations LAN Console, you will have to provide another IP address for the Ethernet adapter that you wish for LAN Console to use.  This address will only be used for the console access.  I prefer to always keep my console on one physical port and my regular Ethernet on a separate port. You will also need to know your Gateway address and Subnet mask as well.  In many cases, it takes an IPL to switch the console.

If you need help in arranging for someone to help you change your console, please contact John.

Upcoming Events. 

  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.

September 25 – COMMON Fall Conference in Columbus, OH.  www.common.org

 

  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance  and reduce disk space.
  • A Programmers Future: Looking back to see into the future.
  • Everything to Get Started with the new
    Systems Navigator for IBM i
  • Understanding the HMC, FSP, Firmware, and IBM i. Putting the pieces together.
  • What do you need to know when upgrading to IBM i 6.1 & 7.1.
  • Building Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i.

October 29 to November 2 – IBM Power Systems Technical University – Las Vegas, NV.

  • Tips and Tricks to improve performance  and reduce disk space.
  • Everything to Get Started with the new
    Systems Navigator for IBM i
  • Understanding the HMC, FSP, Firmware, and IBM i. Putting the pieces together.
  • What do you need to know when upgrading to IBM i 6.1 & 7.1.
  • Building Virtual i partitions hosted by IBM i.

December 11 – FASUG, in Norwalk, CT www.fasug.org

  • Programmer’s future: Looking back to see into the Future.

December 12 – LISUG in Woodbury, Long Island www.LISUG.org

  • Programmer’s future: Looking back to see into the Future.

 Make your IFS Saves faster. 
Light

Many people have quite a few objects in their IFS, and it can take a good amount of time to back them up.  IBM has provided a new parameter on the SAV command for 6.1 & 7.1 (sorry, if you are on V5R4, time to upgrade). This tip is from one of my friends, Ron Skoller, who I was talking to at a recent conference. He was telling me how he had improved the SAV of his IFS using AsyncBring. I hadn’t heard of this at the time, so I did a little investigation, and put it on a few customer’s systems to test out the performance improvements.  In every situation, the length of time to do a full SAV of the IFS was reduced.  In some situations, it was considerable. I would be very interested (send me an email) in hearing about your results after you use this.

A new parameter has been added to the SAV command and a new key added to the QsrSave API which will specify whether objects should be asynchronously brought into memory during the save processing. Asynchronous brings will only be done when saving objects from the root (‘/’), QOpenSys, and user-defined file systems.

ASYNCBRING enablement was introduced as an enhancement at 6.1.x and 7.1.0 using PTFs. The new parameter allows you to specify whether objects should be asynchronously brought into memory during the save processing. Depending on the directory tree structure, the amount of memory available, and the number of objects which qualify for the save, asynchronously bringing the objects may improve save performance. The best performance improvement may be seen with a well balanced directory tree in which all objects qualify for the save. In situations where a large number of objects reside in a single directory, few objects qualify for the save, or the system is memory constrained, performance may degrade with ASYNCBRING(*YES) specified. The default is *NO. The possible values are:
*NO Asynchronous bring is not done.
*YES Asynchronous brings are done

The following PTFs are required for 6.1.0:
MF53846
SI44587
SI44589
SI45791
SI44709 (BRMS support for ASYNCBRING)

Prior to ordering these PTFs, you should order and install the latest available superseded PTF(s): SI43749 & SI43838

Installing the superseded PTF(s) is required to ensure the PTF can be properly removed (if needed) and to prevent the PTF from being permanently applied by the system due to requisite PTF processing.

The following PTFs are required for 6.1.1:
MF53847
SI45691
SI44589
SI46275
SI45326 (BRMS support for ASYNCBRING)

Prior to ordering these PTFs, the customer should order and install the latest available superseded PTF(s): SI43749 & SI43838

Installing the superseded PTF(s) is required to ensure the PTF can be properly removed (if needed) and to prevent the PTF from being permanently applied by the system due to requisite PTF processing.

The following PTFs are required for 7.1.0:
MF53848
SI45693
SI44590
SI46812
SI44710
SI45327 (BRMS support for ASYNCBRING)

Prior to ordering these PTFs, you should order and install the latest available superseded PTF(s): SI43750 & SI44528

Installing the superseded PTF(s) is required to ensure the PTF can be properly removed (if needed) and to prevent the PTF from being permanently applied by the system due to requisite PTF processing

If you need help managing your PTFs, if you would like us to handle your system management, or take a look at one of our support programs, contact Paul.

Release levels and PTFs
iSeries Family

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.

Releases

                     7.1      6.1      V5R4     V5R3
Cumul. Pack     12115    12122      12094       8267
Tech. Refresh         4

Grp Hipers            69        130        185        169
DB Group              17         27          33         24
Java Group           10         21          30         23
Print Group            5          24          46        20
Backup/Recov.      17         30           48         33
Blade/IXA/IXS       10         24           15           –
HTTP                   14          26           32         17
TCP/IP                  6          14           21          16

Security               21          35          29

High Availability     2           1

Hardware               2          2

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 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 & V5R2 off the list, because if you are on V5R1 or V5R2, you don’t need to be worrying about PTFs, you really need to be upgrading your operating system.  The same can be said for V5R3, but there are still customers who are on those releases.

If you have an HMC, you should be running   V7R7.5 with Service Pack 1. If your HMC is a C03, then it should stay at V7R3.5 SP4.
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_417. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A, 8204-E8A, & 8204-E4A) customers should be running EL350_132.  For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM350_126. If you have a Power6 595 (9119) then you should be on EH350_126.
Depending on which POWER7 model & generation (B or C). The firmware level is AL730_095 for 8202-E4B & 8205-E6B (710, 720, 730, 740), AL730_095 for 750 (8233-E8B) & 755 (8236-E8C). Use AM730_095 for 770 (9117-MMB) & 780 (9179-MHB).  The firmware level is AL740-088 for 8202-E4C & 8205-E6C (710, 720, 730, 740). Use AM740_088 for 770 (9117-MMC) & 780 (9179-MHC).
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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