Why You Should Upgrade from IBM i 7.2 Before You Pay Extended Support

Let me start by saying, if you have a reason to stay on IBM i 7.2 after April 30, 2021, please pay your software maintenance (SWMA) and pay for extended support. However, if you don’t have an excellent reason to stay at IBM i 7.2, now is the time to upgrade.

Paying for extended support is often more expensive than paying iTech to perform an OS upgrade.

Yes, you read that correctly. If you are on a P10 or higher, it will cost you more to stay at IBM i 7.2.  Extended support is twice as much as your Software Maintenance. If you stay on an unsupported version for more than a year, you could easily justify the cost of having iTech do an OS upgrade.

The world has changed a lot in the past twelve months. How people interact with one another and how they shop are just two examples. IT’s job is to help the business innovate and drive revenue while ensuring that data is protected. Taking advantage of the latest open source languages or AI and Machine Learning can help companies develop better ways of interacting and supporting their customers. Keeping the IBM i OS current also helps improve security, which is critical.

Security

Data is king in today’s world.  To take advantage of AI and machine learning, the more data you have, the better.  The problem with all that data is we have to protect it.

Security is a top concern for IT Executives in every industry, everywhere.  For companies who have to follow compliance regulations, security controls are critical and can lead to fines if not implemented.

Security is a necessity for all organizations.  This means you should be ensuring that your system is as secure as it can be.  Continuing to run previous versions doesn’t allow you to improve security or take advantage of new features that make doing this easier.

Protecting your data in motion is crucial, which is why encrypting your SSL and TSL connections is also crucial.  There are many vulnerabilities in IBM i 7.2 that we were just unaware of when it was first released.  Ciphers that are no longer considered secure and exposures with TSL 1.2.  IBM i 7.3 and 7.4 both contain support for an updated list of ciphers for SSL/TLS that are considered secure.  For this reason alone, you should get off of IBM i 7.2 as fast as possible.

Since the IBM i is an object-oriented environment, the objects must be secured appropriately.  In the 1990s, companies used menu-driven security to grant users access to specific applications and functions.  Menu-driven security worked at the time, but we learned that it’s better to provide users with the least amount of authority to do their jobs.  To achieve this, you need to understand what they need access to and restrict access to everything else.  The challenge has always been how to figure this out.  With IBM i 7.3, IBM introduced Authority Collection for users.  A fantastic tool to help you gain better control of your users’ authorities.

With IBM i 7.4, IBM took authority collection one step further, with the ability to run authority collection over an object. By understanding the authority the object requires to run correctly, you can better secure access to it.  Locking down the object and ensuring no one can access it with excess authorities makes auditors happy.

Innovation

One reason to keep current is for compliance. Another reason is innovation. IBM continues to provide support for more open-source solutions, which allow for easier development and integration.  Having support for the latest open-source development languages and solutions ensures your business can take advantage of the latest solutions.  Support for PHP, NodeJs and, Python, and other open-source languages provides an opportunity to tap into resources that previously couldn’t support IBM i.

Watson and other AI or ML solutions help companies to make decisions in real-time that can positively impact the bottom line. You can’t take advantage of these solutions if you don’t keep current.  There are solutions available to help make this integration easy

If you have ever had a request for data based on a date in time, then temporal support can save you time and effort, but you have to upgrade to IBM i 7.3 to have it.  Temporal support is enabled on a file-by-file basis. A second file is automatically created, and the timestamps are associated with all the previous values of the file.  Once you have the second file populated, you can quickly get the data you need.

If you have high data availability needs, then there may be another reason to upgrade to IBM i  7.4  IBM DB2 Mirror for i provides continuous availability of your critical data.  Continuous availability is different from high availability in that the infrastructure is not in a separate location. Instead, users have constant access to the data regardless of maintenance windows. With HA, you need to switch users to the other environment, which requires downtime.  With DB2 Mirror for i, users can access the continuously available version of the data while you conduct maintenance to production without any intervention on your part.

These are just a few of the highlights of what you can get from a more current version of IBM i.  For more details, you visit our website for more articles, podcasts, and webinars.  You can also read the Memo to Users for each release to learn more about all the enhancements.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is you shouldn’t pay for extended support unless you have no other choice.  If you can’t upgrade to IBM i 7.3 or IBM i 7.4 due to hardware constraints, iTech can help.  For other issues with upgrade compatibility, give us a call; we might be able to help you find a solution.

 

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