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DB2 for i 7.1: More Than Meets the Eye

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So you think you've already heard about all the enhancements to DB2 for i? Don't be so sure.

 

The IBM i 7.1 announcement materials have given the most ink to DB2 enhancements for XML integration and column-level encryption enablement—and deservedly so. However, the DB2 for i 7.1 release includes several unheralded features that are sure to make life easier for both programmers and administrators alike.

 

Some of the features that fall into the unheralded category include embedded SQL client support for stored procedure result sets, Adaptive Query Processing (AQP), a new Merge statement, and IBM i Navigator status monitors for long-running database operations. In this article, you will learn how your applications and systems can benefit from both the major and minor features in the DB2 for i 7.1 release.

XML Integration

XML integration is one of the headline features in the new release. This integration is accomplished via three key enabling technologies: an XML data type, annotated decomposition of XML documents, and a set of SQL XML publishing functions. Read Jon Triebenbach's article to get all the details on these new XML integration capabilities.

Column-Level Encryption Enablement

The other headline DB2 feature in the IBM i 7.1 release is the column-level encryption support. This should be no surprise, given all the media attention on recent IT data breaches. DB2 for i 7.1 enables transparent column-level encryption implementations with a field-level exit routine, known as FieldProc. The FieldProc feature allows developers to register at the field level an ILE program (see code below) that DB2 automatically calls each time a row (record) is written or read.

 

ALTER TABLE orders ALTER COLUMN cardnum

                      SET FIELDPROC mylib/ccpgm

 

This user-supplied program can be written to include logic to encrypt the data for a write operation and automatically decrypt for read operations. This is exciting news to those IBM i customers with legacy RPG and COBOL applications that are looking to encrypt sensitive data at rest without any application changes. All that's required is registering the FieldProc program object (mylib/ccpgm in this example) for those columns containing sensitive data. While the ALTER TABLE statement can be used to register FieldProc programs for DDS-created physical files, it is safer to first convert the physical file to an SQL table definition. This is due to the fact that if CHGPF is used to apply a new DDS definition after the FieldProc registration has been completed, CHGPF will remove the FieldProc without any warning since it's a column attribute that can be defined only with SQL.

 

Any type of encoding can be performed by a FieldProc program, but it's expected that encryption algorithms such as AES will be the most common form of encoding. Third-party software providers Linoma Software and Patrick Townsend Security Solutions have updated their encryption software to support the DB2 FieldProc interface. This is a good option for those clients that don't want to invest in writing their own Fieldproc programs. Fieldproc implementation requirements are documented in the SQL Programmer's Guide.

Stored Procedure Result Set Integration

Embedded SQL support for stored procedure result set consumption is another integration feature that will have RPG and COBOL developers jumping for joy. The DB2 for i SQL language now supports two new SQL statements, ASSOCIATE LOCATOR and ALLOCATE CURSOR, that allow RPG and COBOL programs to easily consume result sets, as shown below. The code snippet below is actually from an SQL stored procedure since these new statements can also be used by SQL routines (procedures, functions, and triggers).

 

 DECLARE sprs1 RESULT_SET_LOCATOR VARYING;

 

 CALL GetProjects(projdept);

 

 ASSOCIATE LOCATOR (sprs1) WITH PROCEDURE GetProjects;

 ALLOCATE mycur CURSOR FOR RESULT SET sprs1;

 

 SET totstaff=0;

 myloop: LOOP

    FETCH mycur INTO prname, prstaff;

 

    IF row_not_found=1 THEN

      LEAVE fetch_loop;

    END IF;

    SET totstaff= totstaff + prstaff;

    IF prstaff > moststaff THEN

      SET bigproj = prname;

      SET moststaff= prstaff;

    END IF;

 END LOOP;

 CLOSE mycur;

   …

 

The first step is declaring a result set locator variable for the ASSOCIATE LOCATOR statement to use. The ASSOCIATE LOCATOR statement is then executed after the call to the stored procedure (GetProjects) returning the result set is complete. Once the locator variable (sprs1) is associated with the result set returned by the GetProjects stored procedure, the final step involves associating a cursor, mycur, with the contents of the stored procedure result set. Effectively, you can think of the ALLOCATE CURSOR statement as performing both the cursor declaration and opening. A SELECT statement is not needed on the ALLOCATE CURSOR statement because that was already done by the stored procedure returning the result set.

 

With the cursor allocation complete, the invoking program is free to read through the contents of the result set using the FETCH statement, just like an application would do with a traditional SQL cursor. The DESCRIBE CURSOR statement can be used to dynamically determine the number of the columns returned in the result set and their attributes. In this example, that information was communicated to the developer ahead of time.

RPG Long Column Name Integration

RPG developers that access SQL tables with long column names will also enjoy the fact that they can now utilize these long, descriptive column names in their RPG code instead of the short, cryptic 10-character column names. This usability improvement is enabled with the new ALIAS keyword that is shown on the externally described data structure in Figure 1.

 

042610KentFig1mc 

Figure 1: The new ALIAS keyword allows the use of long, descriptive column names in RPG. (Click images to enlarge.)

 

The external declaration statement references an SQL-created table, customers, which contains columns that have been defined with names longer than 10 characters. Specification of the ALIAS keyword results in the long SQL names being used for subfields of the externally described data structure. With the compiler pulling the long names into the data structure, RPG programmers can directly reference these long SQL names in their code instead of the short, cryptic names generated by DB2.

Stored Procedure Improvements

Not only can developers more easily consume result sets from stored procedures, they also have more flexibility when it comes to invoking stored procedures in the IBM i 7.1 release. The SQL CALL statement now supports expressions to be passed as parameters on stored procedure calls. The example CALL statement shown below demonstrates this capability by passing two expressions as parameters. On prior releases, developers had to go through the tedious process of performing the expressions prior to the CALL, storing the expression results in local variables, and then specifying the local variables on the CALL statement. Now, the development process is much more streamlined by allowing the expressions directly on the CALL statement.

                                

CALL myprocedure('ABC', UPPER(company_name), company_discountrate*100 )

 

SQL Arrays

Sets of data can also be passed as parameters between SQL routines by using the new array support. The new SQL arrays can also be used during the execution of an SQL routine to store a set of values. Before an SQL array can be declared, the CREATE TYPE statement must be used to create an array-based SQL user-defined type such as those shown here.

 

CREATE TYPE part_ids AS CHAR(3) ARRAY[10];

CREATE TYPE intarray AS INTEGER ARRAY[5];

 

The first array can contain up to 10 elements, with each element being able to store a three-byte character string. The intarray type not surprisingly supports the storage of integer elements. The SQL array support is limited to single-dimension arrays like those shown above. In addition, data structures are not supported for the array element type; that is limited to a single SQL data type.

 

The SQL procedure below shows an example of how to use the new array type. In this example, the input parameter is defined to use the part_ids array type. This parameter provides a set of part identifier values that are going to be used to generate a result set containing only those parts matching the inputted part identifiers. The only invoker that can pass an array type to this SQL stored procedure would be a Java application using JDBC or another SQL routine.

 

CREATE OR REPLACE PROCEDURE List_Parts

     (IN inparts part_ids)

DYNAMIC RESULT SETS 1

LANGUAGE SQL

BEGIN

DECLARE cur1 CURSOR WITH RETURN

  FOR SELECT t1.id, part_qty, part_type

    FROM parts, UNNEST(inparts) AS t1(id) WHERE t1.id = part_num

 

    IF CARDINALITY( inparts )>5 THEN

      SIGNAL SQLSTATE '38003'

        SET MESSAGE_TEXT='Part limit exceeded';

    END IF;

 

    OPEN cur1;

END;

 

The DECLARE CURSOR statement contains the first reference to the input array, inparts. The UNNEST operator that wrappers the inparts array causes the elements of this array to be unpacked into rows. With the array elements now available as rows of a virtual table, the cursor declaration can join the list of input part identifiers with the parts table to produce the part list result set.

 

Before the cursor is opened to return the result, the CARDINALITY function is invoked to determine if the input array currently contains more elements than the logic for this routine allows (i.e., 5). The call to the List_Parts procedure produces the result set contents displayed in Figure 2, assuming that the in_parts contained the part identifier values of  W12, S55, and M22. The new array support also includes an ARRAY_AGG function that enables the results of a SELECT statement to be assigned to an array variable.

 

042610KentFig2mc

Figure 2: Here's an example result set for List_Parts.

REPLACE Support for SQL

Experienced SQL stored procedure developers may also have noticed additional new syntax in the List_Parts stored procedure example. That new syntax is the OR REPLACE clause, which provides functionality similar to the REPLACE(*YES) parameter value that's available on all of the IBM i create program CL commands.

 

The OR REPLACE causes DB2 to delete the existing object if the specified SQL object already exists. This eliminates developers having to code an additional DROP statement before each of their CREATE statements. What's even better with the OR REPLACE clause is that DB2 also preserves all of the existing authorities and privileges that had been previously set up for the SQL object. In addition to CREATE PROCEDURE, the OR REPLACE clause can be specified on the following SQL statements:

 

  • CREATE FUNCTION
  • CREATE TRIGGER
  • CREATE ALIAS
  • CREATE SEQUENCE
  • CREATE VIEW
  • CREATE VARIABLE

SQL Global Variables

The CREATE VARIABLE statement should be another statement that catches your eye since it's another new addition in the 7.1 release. This new statement enables support known as SQL Global Variables. The word "global" is misleading because it implies the value of the SQL Variable can be shared across jobs and database connections; this is not true. Instead, the SQL standards language uses "global" to describe an object that's available for the entire life of a job or connection. Even with SQL global variables limited to the life of a job, this new object still provides lots of flexibility by allowing values to be shared between SQL statements and objects such as triggers and views. For example, many developers using DB2 triggers have often asked if it was possible to pass parameters to triggers. The following code shows how global variables can be used to meet this requirement.

 

    CREATE VARIABLE batch_run CHAR(1) DEFAULT 'N';

 

    CREATE TRIGGER upper_case

         BEFORE INSERT ON orders

         REFERENCING NEW AS n FOR EACH ROW

    WHEN (batch_run='N')

      BEGIN 

           SET n.shipcity = UPPER(n.shipcity);

           SET n.shipregion = UPPER(n.shipregion);

           SET n.shipcountry = UPPER(n.shipcountry);

      END;

      

 

     /* Any batch job that would cause the trigger to be invoked

         would need to change the value of the variable to 'Y'   */         

      VALUES 'Y' INTO batch_run ;

      

     

The trigger is created with a reference to the variable batch on the WHEN clause. Each time the trigger is run, the value of that job's instance of global variable is checked to determine if it's being invoked in a batch environment. An instance of the global variable is automatically created by DB2 within a job the first time a global variable is referenced. In this particular batch environment, the conversion of the shipment location columns to all uppercase strings is not necessary because the orders come in through an electronic process that already does this processing. Thus, the batch_run variable enables the trigger logic to be bypassed when the invoking job has set batch_run to the value of 'Y'.

 

Without global variables, triggers have to be disabled manually with the CHGPFCST CL command. That CL command was sometimes difficult to run because an exclusive lock is required to disable or enable triggers. Interactive jobs requiring the uppercase transformation in the trigger would not need to assign a value to the batch_run global variable since the default value of the variable is 'N'.

SQL MERGE

The MERGE statement is another new SQL statement that simplifies life for developers. The MERGE statement enables developers to use a single SQL statement to both update and insert rows in a target table and even delete rows if necessary. This capability of the MERGE statement will be quite handy for the population and maintenance of a summary table. This process requires code that conditionally performs an insert or update on the summary table based on values from a detailed transaction file. The following code shows how the MERGE statement can be used in this type of process.

 

MERGE INTO account_summary AS a

   USING (SELECT id, SUM(amount) sum_amount FROM trans GROUP BY id) AS t

   ON a.id = t.id

     WHEN MATCHED THEN

                 UPDATE SET a.balance = a.balance + t.sum_amount

     WHEN NOT MATCHED THEN

                 INSERT (id, balance) VALUES (t.id, t.sum_amount)

 

The account_summary table is being populated with values coming back from the query on the USING clause. In this case, the source query references only a single table. However, the source query could have just as well joined together data from multiple tables. The ON clause identifies the condition that is used to determine when the target summary table will have an existing row updated or a new row inserted. When the account id in the summary table matches the account id being returned by the source query, the MERGE statement performs the UPDATE on the WHEN MATCHED clause to add to the summarized balance for that account. If the account id does not yet exist in the summary table, then the INSERT on the NOT MATCHED clause is used to add that account to the summary table.

Concurrent Access Resolution

As you might be aware, Insert and Update operations in the MERGE statement cause DB2 to hold row-level locks on the rows targeted with write operation. The row-level lock for any Insert or Update statements can be held for a period of time when the application is running with a commitment control (or isolation level) other than *NONE. These row-level locks can block other jobs and processes that are trying to read data in the same table; this blocking can limit the scalability and throughput of applications. With the DB2 for i 7.1 release, applications that are just reading now have the flexibility to have DB2 simply retrieve the last committed version of a locked row from the journal instead of sitting and waiting for the conflicting lock to be released.

 

 This new concurrent access resolution behavior is initiated with the USE CURRENTLY COMMITTED clause shown in the code below. This behavior is beneficial for applications that need to improve performance by reducing lock wait times and do not require the latest version of a row to be returned by the query. Developers now have lots of flexibility for resolving concurrency conflicts when this new support in DB2 for i 7.1 is combined with SKIP LOCKED DATA support that was delivered in the prior release.

 

SELECT part_id FROM parts

  WHERE part_type  IN(‘KSR’,’MNG’)

  USE CURRENTLY COMMITTED

New Built-In SQL Functions

In each release, IBM adds new built-in SQL functions to provide SQL developers more tools, and the 7.1 release is no different. A suite of new functions (MQSEND, MQREAD, etc.) enables SQL statements to directly integrate and interact with WebSphere MQ messages without the need to switch over to a high-level programming language. Integrating complex binary and character data into your DB2 tables is also easier with the new GET_BLOB_FROM_FILE and GET_CLOB_FROM_FILE functions. In addition, IBM has provided a set of new functions for bit manipulation.

ALTER TABLE Advancements

As SQL usage for DB2 for i database creation continues to increase, more programmers and administrators are relying on the ALTER TABLE statement to maintain those databases. When using the ALTER TABLE statement to add a new column to a table, the new ADD BEFORE clause can be used to control the location of the column within the record layout. On prior releases, new columns were always added to the end of the record. Developers also can now use ALTER TABLE to add the Identity column attribute to existing columns in their databases.

SQL Performance Enhancements

Up to this point, we've focused on those SQL features that make life easier for programmers. In addition to streamlining SQL development, DB2 for i 7.1 contains some significant enhancements to boost the runtime performance of SQL-based applications.

 

The SQL Query Engine (SQE) has been IBM's key driver of SQL performance over the past several releases, and that continues in the latest release with SQE's new ability to process those SQL statements that reference logical file objects on the FROM clause. This addition will allow more IBM i applications and queries to reap the performance benefits of SQE's advanced data access algorithms.

SQE Self-Learning Query Optimization

Having SQE process more SQL statements is a nice benefit; however, the new self-tuning features of SQL Query Engine will really open the eyes of IBM i customers. Self-learning query optimization is the foundation of this exciting self-tuning technology in 7.1. DB2 for i now supports self-learning query optimization by periodically reviewing the entries of the SQL Plan Cache and analyzing the actual runtime performance of the query access plans generated by the SQE optimizer. In this way, the SQE query optimizer learns from past executions of an SQL statement and can automatically change its optimization methods when there's a large discrepancy between the actual runtime performance and the estimated performance. The result is that future executions of the same SQL statement should run faster.

Adaptive Query Processing (AQP)

While it's great that self-learning optimization allows a statement to run faster in the future, I think you would agree that it would be even be better if the SQE optimizer could speed up the execution of a query or report currently running on the system. That's exactly the capability provided by the Adaptive Query Processing (AQP) feature of the SQL Query Engine. AQP enables the DB2 for i query optimizer to make real-time plan adjustments—such as changing the join order or utilizing a new index—while the SQL request is running. These adjustments are implemented without any disruption to the application. This is sort of like having a car engine tune itself while you're cruising down the road instead of requiring the car to be parked to manually make adjustments.

 

AQP relies on intelligent monitor agents to coordinate these real-time performance adjustments. Monitor agents are assigned only to queries that are expected to run longer than a few seconds. During the query execution, the monitor agent will periodically compare the runtime execution metrics with the optimizer's estimated costs. Whenever an agent detects a significant deviation between the runtime and estimated costs, the query optimizer is invoked with the new information in hand to re-examine the query plan and look for a more efficient plan. If a more efficient plan is found (e.g., new join order or utilization of a new index), the query is altered to use the new plan. The restart of the query is completely transparent to the application. The application will just reap the performance benefits of AQP detecting a slow-running query and automatically switching to an implementation that reduces the overall execution runtime. This cool technology should give developers extra incentive to convert their non-SQL reports (e.g., OPNQRYF and Query/400) over to SQL-based interfaces.

SQL "Select/Omit" Indexes

SQL performance also benefits from having the right set of indexes in place for the SQE query optimizer to use. DB2 for i 7.1 includes new indexing technology to make the indexing task easier. In the 6.1 release, DB2 provided syntax that allowed you to use SQL to create the equivalent of a Select/Omit logical file (see code below). While this syntax could be used to replace a logical file with an SQL object, the SQE optimizer had no ability to use that index to improve the performance of an SQL statement like the SELECT statement shown below. With the DB2 for i 7.1 release, the SQE optimizer now has the ability to employ SQL indexes created with a WHERE clause as well as existing keyed Select/Omit logical files to improve the performance of SQL requests.

 

CREATE INDEX cust_ix1 ON customers(cust_state)

     WHERE activeCust=’Y’

  …

SELECT cust_id, cust_lastname, cust_city FROM customers

   WHERE activeCust = 'Y' and cust_state = 'IA'

Encoded Vector Index (EVI) Aggregates

The SQL Encoded Vector Index (EVI) support also was enhanced with the ability to optionally include sum and count aggregate values in the key definition. The INCLUDE clause shown below causes DB2 to augment the region key value with the sales summary and sales count for each region. As data in the underlying sales table changes, the aggregate values will be maintained by DB2 at the same time that index maintenance is performed for the region key field. With one of these new EVIs in place, a developer can speed up the performance of summary queries similar to the SELECT statement in the following code.

 

   CREATE ENCODED VECTOR INDEX idx1 ON sales(region)

       INCLUDE ( SUM(saleamt),  COUNT(*) )     

      …

  SELECT region, SUM(saleamt) FROM sales GROUP BY region

DB2 Solid-State Drives (SSDs) Enablement

Solid-state drives (SSDs) are another type of object (granted, a hardware object) that IBM i customers can use to boost DB2 for i performance. SSDs can provide performance benefits to DB2 tables and indexes where the data is randomly accessed and the data is read much more often than the data is written. One bank was able to reduce the length of a month-end batch process by 40 percent by moving some DB2 objects to a set of four solid-state drives. Placing DB2 tables and indexes on SSDs is done with a UNIT SSD clause on the SQL CREATE and ALTER statements or the UNIT(*SSD) parameter on the IBM i Create and Change file commands. This new syntax is also available on 5.4 and 6.1 systems by applying the latest Database Group PTF for those releases. To help customers identify those DB2 tables and indexes that are the best fit for SSDs, the DB2 for i 7.1 release now maintains random and sequential data access statistics for each DB2 object.

IBM i Navigator Enhancements

The integrated graphical management interface for DB2 for i databases, IBM i Navigator, has also been simplified with the 7.1 release. For an in-depth discussion, see Robert Bestgen and Tim Rowe's article.

 

The key addition in this area is the introduction of progress monitors (see Figure 3) for long-running database maintenance operations such as ALTER TABLE and index builds. These monitors enable administrators to more intelligently manage maintenance windows. A progress monitor, for instance, showing hours of work left on a database alter with a rapidly approaching maintenance window deadline enables an administrator to wisely cancel the operation and schedule the database alter operation for a longer maintenance window.

 

042610KentFig3mc

Figure 3: Progress monitors track long-running database maintenance operations.

 

IBM i Navigator also supports the management of IBM OmniFind text-search indexes, allowing both DB2 indexes and text indexes to be managed from a single interface, as demonstrated in Figure 4. The popular "SQL Details for Job" tool has been enhanced with connecting client information for QSQSRVR jobs and tighter integration with the SQL Performance Monitor tooling. Other improvements to the On Demand Performance Center tooling include Client Register and Error-Only filters for the SQL monitors and variable replacement support in the Show Statement task. In addition, the IBM i Navigator 7.1 client offers improved performance for object folders such as tables and procedures when they contain large numbers of objects.

 

042610KentFig4mc

Figure 4: Manage DB2 indexes and text indexes from a single interface with OmniFind.

Lots to Be Happy About

Hopefully, your eyes have been overwhelmed by the amount of new features and functions available with the DB2 for i 7.1 release…and your heads filled with ideas on how to leverage these enhancements to simplify application development and speed up application performance.

Kent Milligan
Kent Milligan is a Senior Db2 for i Consultant in the IBM Lab Services Power Systems Delivery Practice.  Kent has over 25 years of experience as a Db2 for IBM i consultant and developer working out of the IBM Rochester lab. Prior to re-joining the DB2 for i Lab Services practice in 2020, Kent spent 5 years working on healthcare solutions powered by IBM Watson technologies. Kent is a sought-after speaker and author on Db2 for i & SQL topics.
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  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:


    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • The data dilemma
    • 3 ways to stop re-keying data
    • Data automation in practice

    Plus, see how HelpSystems data automation software will help you stop re-keying data.

     

  • The Top Five RPG Open Access Myths....BUSTED!

    SB_Profound_WC_GenericWhen it comes to IBM Rational Open Access: RPG Edition, there are still many misconceptions - especially where application modernization is concerned!

    In this Webinar, we'll address some of the biggest myths about RPG Open Access, including:

    • Modernizing with RPG OA requires significant changes to the source code
    • The RPG language is outdated and impractical for modernizing applications
    • Modernizing with RPG OA is the equivalent to "screen scraping"

     

  • Time to Remove the Paper from Your Desk and Become More Efficient

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericToo much paper is wasted. Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets.And distributing documents is expensive and takes up far too much time.
    These are just three common reasons why it might be time for your company to implement a paperless document management system.
    Watch the webinar to learn more and discover how easy it can be to:

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    IBM’s Steve Will talks AS/400, POWER9, cognitive systems, and everything in between

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

    IBM i was built on the same foundation.
    Watch this recorded webinar with IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington to gain a unique perspective on the direction of this platform, including:

    • IBM i development strategies in progress at IBM
    • Ways that Watson will shake hands with IBM i
    • Key takeaways from the AS/400 days

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWatch this recording where Jim Buck, Susan Gantner, and Charlie Guarino answered your questions, including:

    • What are the “hidden gems” in RDi that can make me more productive?
    • What makes RDi Debug better than the STRDBG green screen debugger?
    • How can RDi help me find out if I’ve tested all lines of a program?
    • What’s the best way to transition from PDM to RDi?
    • How do I convince my long-term developers to use RDi?

    This is a unique, online opportunity to hear how you can get more out of RDi.

     

  • Node.js on IBM i Webinar Series Pt. 2: Setting Up Your Development Tools

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. In Part 2, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Attend this webinar to learn:

    • Different tools to develop Node.js applications on IBM i
    • Debugging Node.js
    • The basics of Git and tools to help those new to it
    • Using NodeRun.com as a pre-built development environment

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericDuring this webinar, you’ll learn basic tips, helpful tools, and integrated file system commands—including WRKLNK—for managing your IFS directories and Access Client Solutions (ACS). We’ll answer your most pressing IFS questions, including:

    • What is stored inside my IFS directories?
    • How do I monitor the IFS?
    • How do I replicate the IFS or back it up?
    • How do I secure the IFS?

    Understanding what the integrated file system is and how to work with it must be a critical part of your systems management plans for IBM i.

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.