Programming / Change Management
2016 State of IBM i Modernization White PaperAfter surveying 400+ IBM i professionals, we discovered: - The state of IBM i modernization in today's businesses and their goals for the future - The effect legacy applications have on the businesses' internal and external processes - The #1 concern upper managers have with the IBM i, and how to combat it ...and much much more! Download your copy of The 2016 State of IBM i Modernization today.…
2017 IBM i Marketplace Survey ResultsFor the third annual IBM i Marketplace Survey, HelpSystems set out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform. The past two surveys have sparked many thoughtful conversations about this technology and we’re thrilled to be part of such an engaged community. Nearly 500 people from across the globe completed this year’s survey. We’re so happy to share the results with you, and hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects. Sections: IBM i in the Data Center | IT Initiatives & Tr&| Outlook for IBM i | Demographics | Resources…
2017 State of IBM i Security StudyFor every breach that makes headlines, dozens of other organizations have had data stolen or corrupted by hackers—or even their own users. Cyberthreats become more sophisticated every year, raising the importance of proper security controls. The 2017 State of IBM i Security Study proves once more that many organizations running the IBM i operating system rely on system settings that leave data vulnerable. This is true across all industries for businesses large and small. Weak passwords, lax system auditing, and overly privileged users leave your server vulnerable to internal and external threats. A data breach caused by a cybercriminal or a negligent insider can cause irreparable damage to an organization of any size. The annual State of…
3 Compelling Drivers for Implementing an HA Solution on an IBM i Cloud with MIMIX1. Affordable Cloud Solutions 2. Efficiencies of MIMIX 3. Rising Cost of Downtime This white paper is a collaborative effort between Connectria Hosting, a pioneer in the development of the IBM i Cloud, and Vision Solutions, the leader in High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions including MIMIX®, the standard for complete, scalable HA/DR protection for the IBM i.It will provide a review of the core causes and costs of both planned and unplanned downtime and will then provide a detailed discussion of current options for IBM i High Availability and Disaster Recovery in the Cloud.Most importantly, as you read you will learn why true HA and DR protection are now within reach of even the smallest of businesses. Download your…
5 Ways to Control Access using Application AdministrationNever heard of Application Administration? Don’t be surprised. Although it’s full of function, it’s one of little-known features of IBM i. Application Administration (or App Admin as it’s commonly called) has been around for a while but the additional features provided in the latest releases as well as recent Technology Releases makes this a feature worth exploring again. Carol Woodbury, President of SkyView Partners, has written a white paper describing how you can use Application Administration (a feature of i Navigator) to control access to various client functions as well as functions available on the IBM i and network features such as ODBC and FTP access.…
5 Winning Strategies to Combat Information OverloadToday’s businesses must be available 24/7 with fewer people having to manage more complex systems and processes. IT departments receive a constant bombardment of information from a diverse variety of operating systems, business applications, and critical processes and support a complex array of servers and devices running across their entire network. With tight resources and the need to keep costs in check, more and more is expected of IT operational staff to handle this information efficiently. They need to ensure a swift response with appropriate actions, that essential data is received at the right time, prove service levels are maintained, that contingency and high availability strategies are fully operational, and that vital busi…
8 Very Good Reasons to Use Your Power i For ShippingLearn how companies are reducing shipping costs by Centralizing all of their Shipping Systems and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) on One Platform with One Vendor. See how companies deployed an enterprise-wide, multi-carrier shipping solution to manage both their Parcel and Freight shipments directly from their IBM i, and seamlessly integrated it to their back end IBM i ERP and WMS. This Whitepaper examines eight reasons for centralizing standalone shipping solutions on the IBM i. In addition, you will see how a Modular TMS Solution integrated with ERP has driven significant efficiencies and cost reductions in companies shipping and transportation operation.…
Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless DevicesDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved! Order your copy here.…
DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE? - COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLISTS - RISK COST CALCULATIONS - BUSINESS CASE FRAMEWORK - DR SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW - RFP BUILDER Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i today. The DR Strategy Guide for IBM i is brought to you by Maxava – innovative global leaders in High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions for IBM i.…
Guide to Manufacturing SoftwareFor all manufacturing industries, growth remains top of mind. Post-recession cautiousness has given way to confidence and more ambitious business goals. From automotive to fashion, more manufacturing leaders are ready to take bigger risks in the hopes of bigger payoffs, and optimism is the highest it’s been in years. To help manufacturers choose the right software in a rapidly changing industry landscape, this guide will explore four key technologies that are essential to any successful manufacturing operation:&n &n nterprise Resource Planning (ERP)&n &n nterprise Asset Management (EAM)&n &n onfigure Price Quote (CPQ)&n &n upply Chain Management (SCM) See More…
IBM i Security: Event Logging & Active MonitoringA Step by Step GuideActive monitoring is one of the most critical and effective security controls that an organization can deploy. Unlike many Windows and Linux server deployments, the IBM i can host a complex mix of back-office applications, web applications, and open source applications and services - leaving millions of security events to actively monitor.This eBook discusses: - Real-time security event logging and monitoring - Security architecture and logging sources on the IBM i - Creating the IBM security audit journal QAUDJRN - Enabling IBM security events through system values - File integrity monitoring (FIM) - A step by step checklist begin collecting and monitoring IBM i security logs Download this White Paper Now!…
Mobile Computing and the IBM iMobile computing is rapidly maturing into a solid platform for delivering enterprise applications. Many IBM i shops today are realizing that integrating their IBM i with mobile applications is the fast path to improved business workflows, better customer relations, and more responsive business reporting. The ROI that mobile applications can produce for your business is substantial. This ASNA whitepaper takes a look at mobile computing for the IBM i. It discusses the different ways mobile applications may be used within the enterprise and how ASNA products solve the challenges mobile presents. It also presents the case that you already have the mobile programming team your projects need: that team is your existing RPG development team!…
Overcoming Common IBM i Mobile Development ChallengesCreating mobile applications for IBM i on Power Systems doesn't have to be difficult! Mobile applications can take your business to new levels of engagement, customer support and competitiveness. By making your ERP, Sales, Line of Business, and other applications mobile, you empower your workforce to get more done - from anywhere, at any time.If your business runs on IBM i (formerly known as AS400 or iSeries) there's no need to worry. You can easily make your RPG applications available on any mobile device! Read this free white paper, and learn how you can overcome the most common challenges to mobile for IBM i shops, including: - How to go mobile with limited staff or budget - How to make any RPG developer a mobile superstar - Whether to c…
PCI and What it means to IBM iWhile one may think that PCI is a thing of the past and that it’s already been implemented, major breaches (most notably of the Target PoS systems) have brought it back into focus. Some retailers are just now understanding how PCI applies to them and other organizations have started to accept credit cards when they didn’t in the past. To refresh everyone’s memory, here’s an overview of what PCI means to the IBM i community and what organizations that use an IBM i to store, process or access cardholder data need to be aware of.…
Robot in Modern IBM i EnvironmentsAs hardware and software technologies evolve, so too does the complexity of the data center.IBM i often serves as the backbone for business-critical applications, including ERP packages, leaving other servers to run email, print serving, and the website—but users and other computing technologies still draw data from the transactional database on IBM i. Robot systems management solutions have been helping customers manage IBM i operations for over 30 years. This white paper is intended primarily for IT management and attempts to explain, in plain English, the components of modern IBM i environments and how Robot can be deployed to maximize business objectives. See More…
Virus Got You Down?Does a virus have your server down? Perhaps it’s the latest worm, Trojan horse, buffer overflow or denial of service attack that’s got you or one of your servers down. While one of these bugs may be affecting one or more of your servers in your enterprise, it is highly unlikely that the server affected is a Power server running IBM i. IBM i may be running your core business applications or it may be hosting your website or running Domino. Whatever its function within your enterprise IBM i has remained unaffected by virus and malware attacks. Why is that? Viruses and other ailments spread by infecting a host that is vulnerable. Let’s take a look at how IBM i and the applications running on it can remain unscathed by the viruses and malwar…
When Management Turns its Back on Security: The Business EffectsIn this white paper we hope to explain why the decision to secure- or not secure – data on the IBM i needs to be a business decision ... not a technical decision. Something is preventing management from understanding the need to secure the electronic data. So let’s explore why we think this happens....…
IBM i Security Administration and Compliance
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There are now greater demands on software developers to produce better products at a quicker pace. Understanding the driving forces behind these IT trends is the first step in meeting the demands.
Successful companies understand that evolution and adaptation of business processes are essential for survival. It's a reality facing nearly every segment of business every single day—and IT, controlling many of the core processes that run today's enterprises, is the central driver for change. Faced with ever-growing, market-wide pressures, IT teams are seeking solutions from software configuration and change management vendors to meet the rapidly evolving needs of their businesses. Graduating from simple versioning tools to an enterprise software configuration management (SCM) solution could mean the difference between success and failure.
Surviving the Market
- Deliver quality, bug-free code
- Reduce complexity around integration
- Take the costs out of security
- Make innovations more timely, more compelling, and less costly
- Offer software at costs commensurate with the benefits received and measured by relevant metrics
Quality software that is delivered on time and works as intended is an absolute expectation, not a nebulous goal. To meet this demand, IT must commit to every stage of the design, development, and deployment lifecycle of their products.
So what can IT do to survive in this complex and demanding marketplace?
Ever-improving SCM products are addressing critical development needs of developers, IT managers, and CIOs by doing the following:
- Helping IT organizations reduce spending and improve service
- Addressing the demand to more tightly align IT with business needs that are often driven by internal governance issues and external regulatory and standards compliance
- Reducing the complexity of integrating the work of geographically distributed development teams who are working in multi-platform development environments
- Simplifying the development process associated with complicated applications
- Providing a better methodology for reusing artifacts; meeting shorter development cycles; and controlling and securing fast, reliable, and remote access
- Meeting the increased demand for greater administrative visibility into IT by providing a system of actionable metrics, offering role-based views of all application development and maintenance projects, and enhancing accountability standards
Savvy, forward-looking IT organizations have already adopted and are benefiting from the use of robust, integrated SCM products to meet this ever-increasing demand to adapt, control, streamline, monitor, and improve IT business processes.
Just Using Version Control? You May Be Hurting Yourself
There is still a tendency among some in IT to view development as a single, monolithic stage rather than accept the fact that software development should be managed as a set of distinct, identifiable stages. These developers ignore the proven benefits of adopting a more comprehensive, process-oriented SCM solution. Working with version control alone results in the lack of visibility and management of IT business processes, people, and assets; limited regulatory and standards compliance; a slower time to market; increased business disruption due to software defects; and lower return on investment (ROI). These deficiencies are all byproducts of ignoring the benefits of process management in application development.
IT teams and individual developers who are finding themselves frustrated by today's complex, competitive environment must objectively evaluate their approach to the development process and the needs of their business in general. The first step in this evaluation process is recognizing the limitations of version control in managing the software development lifecycle. A version control system is an excellent tool for keeping track of versions of files. It is woefully inadequate in providing the infrastructure for automating and enforcing software development best practices. The second, more critical step is accurately analyzing what an organization needs—and wants—if it is to survive and grow.
Version Control: Understanding Its Place in the Development Lifecycle
Version control is just one element in managing the design and deployment process of software. At its most basic level, version control provides a "history" of a file or a group of files, keeping track of who changed what and when. Should a bug appear in a program, version control allows the source code to be inspected to discover which change or set of changes caused the error. Changes can be undone—temporarily or permanently—by having the version control software recreate a previous version of some file or files.
Version control also allows for management of conflicting changes—for instance, when one developer deletes part of a file that another developer wants to keep, or two developers edit the same lines of code in the same file. A version control system can keep track of these problems and, in select cases, help with a resolution.
Advanced version control products serve as "gatekeepers," tracking who is working on what at the development check out/check in, merge, and promote levels. This gatekeeping requires a highly manual oversight and approval process, creating bottlenecks and making it very "people-intensive." The cost of development and lack of efficiency can greatly increase over time, ultimately affecting the ROI of projects. In addition, version control products provide few, if any, accountability and traceability features, leaving a huge gap for regulated firms. Finally, many version control products need constant code workarounds, external plug-ins, and continual revisions in an attempt to keep up with software development needs.
While many version control tools may be adequate for simple, one-off development projects, their deficiencies in meeting the requirements of complex projects and diverse development environments are clear.
Figure 1 below compares version control and enterprise SCM features.
Figure 1: Compare the benefits of SCM over version control. (Click image to enlarge.)
Enterprise SCM solutions take over where version control products leave off, providing greater accountability and requirements management, more insight into the development process, increased automation, and better support for multi-team development. These features enhance productivity, decrease errors, and increase ROI.
Enterprise Software Configuration and Change Management: Moving Up
Version control tools address only one very limited aspect of the software development lifecycle. In today's highly diverse, competitive, and demanding IT environment, these tools simply fall short. Fortunately, the software configuration and change management environment has significantly evolved, and powerful SCM solutions are available. For developers and IT teams, finding the best SCM solution is a matter of evaluating needs, adopting a process-focused strategy, and assessing the cost-to-benefit ratio.
- Is there a defined, repeatable, automated process for promoting application components to their respective environments (e.g., testing, QA, and production)? If so, how is the process monitored and enforced?
- Do your applications contain components that reside on a variety of platforms?
- Do you need to manage developers or development teams spread out geographically?
- What method exists to monitor and control who is working on what objects and where the objects are in the lifecycle?
- How is parallel development managed?
- How are application changes distributed to production? Can it be done automatically?
- Is there a defined process for users to request changes and get projects approved to implement their requests?
- Are you subject to internal and/or external regulatory/audit requirements (e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley, ITIL, CMMI, Basel II, HIPAA, etc.)?
Most IT departments and their chosen enterprise-grade SCM products should be able to handle all of these issues.
Adopting a Process-Focused Selection Strategy
- Based on your development environment, decide which SCM features are important now; however, keep in mind that future needs may evolve and a tool that has more features than you might currently need could be more advantageous over the long term.
- Determine the configuration of your SCM solution (i.e., which source code, data, documentation, etc. will be stored where; who will have access to what; how distribution of objects will be handled at various levels).
- Make sure that all users are aware of and ultimately accept the goals and processes that your SCM is designed to support.
- Determine whether you will support multiple platforms, what they are now, and what they might be in the near and distant future.
- Assess where your development teams are located and how quickly and easily they will access the files and objects needed.
- Evaluate each vendor's responsiveness to your requirements and their ability to provide the best ongoing support and service.
Refining your needs will help you identify a product that clearly fulfills your requirements.
Assessing the Cost-to-Benefit Ratio
Pressure to improve IT processes to meet the business demands for higher productivity and improved time to market, while facing budget constraints, is now a fact of life for IT. SCM products offer effective solutions to help alleviate much of this pressure. Demonstrable benefits of adopting and properly using an enterprise software configuration and change management solution include these:
- Greater visibility and management of IT business processes, people, and assets
- Ongoing regulatory and standards compliance
- Faster time to market
- Reduced business disruption due to software defects
- Higher ROI
Numerous industry case studies provide clear evidence that the outlay for an enterprise SCM solution easily outweighs the costs—and headaches—associated with losing data, releasing "buggy" software, and failing to meet release deadlines and regulatory standards. For many development teams, the expense of adopting the correct SCM product can often be offset by the savings in production time and reduction in errors during the very first project.
SCM—A Better Alternative to Simple Version Control
Today's software development process must evolve to meet business demands. Simple tools that were originally designed to fulfill relatively isolated software development tasks and projects are at the brink of, at best, insignificance and, at worst, obsolescence. For all but the simplest of projects, the capacity of version control tools to meet current business and rigorous development requirements has been exceeded. Enterprise SCM solutions offer the means for aligning IT process with overall business needs.
Daniel Magid is the president and CEO of Aldon and a recognized authority on enterprise software configuration and change management. He has written a variety of articles for leading IT publications and is a regular speaker at technology conferences. Under Magid's leadership, Aldon has received broad industry recognition as the clear leader in the enterprise change management space. Before becoming president, Magid held several executive sales and marketing management positions at Aldon. Prior to Aldon, Magid worked at IBM for five years in both marketing and selling midrange computer systems for the General Systems Division.