Sidebar

.NET Integration with DB2 UDB for iSeries

DB2
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Microsoft's .NET Framework is gaining acceptance among solution developers who traditionally rely on Microsoft development tools. Some of these developers want to take advantage of the robust transaction support, tight security, reliable messaging, and workload and system management that are unique strengths of iSeries servers. It seems that the combination of .NET Framework and a powerful database server, such as DB2 UDB for iSeries, can result in a scalable software solution that's very appealing to the development community.

Typically, .NET applications use ADO.NET classes to access and manipulate data stored in databases. ADO.NET is an evolutionary improvement to the Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) programming interface. This article discusses how to efficiently implement the ADO.NET programming model to access the iSeries database. I'll also illustrate using DB2 add-ins for Visual Studio .NET to significantly speed up the development process.

The .NET applications rely on services of .NET providers for communication with back-end database servers. A .NET data provider is used for connecting to a database, executing commands, and retrieving results. Currently, four providers can be used to access DB2 UDB from .NET applications:

  • V5R3 iSeries Access .NET provider implemented by IBM Rochester
  • The DB2 for Linux, UNIX, and Windows (LUW) V8.2 (formerly Stinger) .NET provider implemented by IBM software group
  • ODBC .NET Data Provider, the Microsoft-supplied ODBC bridge provider using the iSeries Access for Windows ODBC driver for underlying database connectivity
  • OLE DB .NET Data Provider, the Microsoft-supplied OLE DB bridge provider using the iSeries Access OLE DB driver for underlying database connectivity

The OLE DB .NET provider and the ODBC .NET provider are called "unmanaged" providers, meaning that the code has been compiled directly into a binary executable, so it runs outside of the .NET framework. The unmanaged providers usually deliver suboptimal performance because they involve jumping in and out of the .NET Framework environment for every interface call. On the other hand, the iSeries Access .NET provider and the DB2 .NET provider are called "managed" providers. Managed providers are compiled into .NET assemblies that can be executed in the context of the .NET Framework. In this case, the application/provider interaction does not require API calls that cross the .NET Framework boundary.

The iSeries Access .NET Provider

The iSeries Access .NET provider is sometimes called "native iSeries .NET provider." It uses a highly optimized, proprietary protocol to communicate with the iSeries database server job. The database server jobs are called QZDASOINIT, and they typically run in the QUSRWRK subsystem. A database server job runs the SQL requests on behalf of the .NET provider. More precisely, when a .NET application submits an SQL statement, the provider passes the statement to a server job that, in turn, calls the DB2 runtime to execute the statement. The results are then reformatted and returned to the caller.

The provider supports a full set of .NET data types and provides rich SQL functionality to enable applications to easily access and process data stored on your iSeries. These features are currently implemented in the iSeries Access .NET provider:

  • SQL (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, SELECT)
  • Commitment control
  • Connection pooling
  • SQL naming
  • Unicode
  • Threads
  • IASPs (multiple databases)
  • Stored procedure support

Two additional features have been recently shipped in the iSeries Access SI15176 Service Pack:

  • System naming ( / )
  • Large Objects (LOBs)

The following functionality is not yet available through the provider:

  • SQL package support (extended dynamic SQL)
  • Data links
  • User-defined types
  • Record-level access
  • CMD/PGM call
  • Data queues

Prerequisites

The iSeries Access .NET provider ships with iSeries Access V5R3. It supports the iSeries servers running i5/OS V5R3 and OS/400 V5R2. Note that some functionality, such as 63-digit decimal precision, is available only on V5R3 servers. For the best code stability, you should always load the latest database group PTF on the iSeries system (SF99503 for V5R3 or SF99502 for V5R2) as well as the most recent V5R3 iSeries Access Service Pack. As with any other managed provider, the .NET Framework needs to be already installed on your PC.

Sample Application

This section covers implementation details for a sample Visual Basic (VB) .NET application called DB2i5Access (download here). The program uses the iSeries Access .NET provider to obtain a database connection and to manipulate database rows in a DB2 table called STAFF. The table is part of the sample DB2 schema, and it can be created with this stored procedure call:

CALL QSYS.CREATE_SQL_SAMPLE('DB2USER');

The procedure has been shipped with i5/OS and OS/400 since V5R1.

The application works in the disconnected mode. In the disconnected mode, a DataAdapter object retrieves data from the database and stores it in a DataSet object that serves as a local data cache. A .NET application can use the data cached in a DataSet without requiring multiple trips to the database. A DataAdapter can also implicitly update the central database with changes made to the DataSet. We used Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 to develop the sample application. The main application dialog is shown in Figure 1.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/dotNET%20Integration%20with%20DB2%20for%20iSeriesV400.png

Figure 1: Here's your sample DB2i5Access application.

Overview

After a new project is created, a reference to the assembly that contains the iSeries Access .NET provider needs to be added to the solution. You can accomplish this task by right-clicking the References icon in Solutions Explorer and selecting Add Reference. In the Add Reference dialog, find the IBM DB2 for iSeries .NET provider component and click Select and then OK. It is also very useful to add the iSeries Access provider classes to the Visual Studio Toolbox. To do so, select Tools > Add/Remove Toolbox items, and on the Customize Toolbox dialog, check the iSeries provider-specific classes (iDB2Command, iDB2CommandBuilder, iDB2Connection, and iDB2DataAdapter). Now, drag and drop the iSeries provider classes onto the design pane. Currently, the iSeries .NET provider does not provide wizards to allow you to visually configure the classes required to access and modify DB2 data, so most of the tasks need to be accomplished programmatically. As mentioned, in the disconnected mode, there are several ADO.NET objects that cooperate to provide the database access mechanism. The required objects and their relationships are illustrated in Figure 2.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/dotNET%20Integration%20with%20DB2%20for%20iSeriesV401.png

Figure 2: In the disconnected mode, ADO.NET objects provide the database access mechanism.

Let's have a closer look at the most critical source code fragments that need to be manually implemented by a database developer.

iDB2Connection

An ADO.NET connection object establishes a connection to a specific data source. For instance, the iDB2Connection object connects to DB2 UDB for iSeries. To successfully open an iSeries connection, security information such as user ID and password must be passed to the database. Typically, a ConnectionString property provides this information. The following code shows how to use the iDB2Connection object:

Me.conMyiSeries = New iDB2Connection
Me.conMyiSeries.ConnectionString = "DataSource=PWD1;Connection 

Timeout=30;UserID=db2user;Password=db2pwd"

Note the syntax of the keywords on the connection string. The keywords are provider-specific and usually differ for different databases. In addition to the authentication info, the iSeries connection string may also specify other connection parameters, such as Default Collection (schema), Default Isolation Level, Pooling, etc. Consult the DB2 UDB for iSeries .NET provider Technical Reference for a complete list of supported parameters. The above code sample, for illustration purposes, has the user ID and password hard-coded in the application program. In fact, our sample application uses TextBox controls to allow the user to specify valid credentials at runtime.

iDB2Command

An iDB2Command object executes action statements and submits queries. It has several properties that specify the execution context:

  • Connection--A reference to a connection object used for communication with the database
  • CommandType--Set to one of the following values: Text, StoredProcedure, TableDirect
  • CommandText--Contains the text of an SQL statement or the name of the stored procedure to be executed
  • Parameters--Values required by parameterized SQL statement or stored procedure

In our scenario, we instantiate four iDB2Command objects that the iDB2DataAdapter needs. They represent the four fundamental SQL statements: SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. The following code illustrates how to create and set up iDB2Command objects:

Me.cmdSelect = New iDB2Command
Me.cmdUpdate = New iDB2Command
Me.cmdDelete = New iDB2Command
Me.cmdInsert = New iDB2Command 
'cmdSelect
Me.cmdSelect.CommandText = "SELECT * FROM STAFF" [1]
Me.cmdSelect.Connection = Me.conMyiSeries
'cmdDelete
Me.cmdDelete.CommandText = "DELETE FROM DB2USER.STAFF WHERE ID = ?" [2]
Me.cmdDelete.Connection = Me.conMyiSeries

Me.cmdDelete.Parameters.Add(New iDB2Parameter("ID", _
iDB2DbType.iDB2SmallInt, 5, System.Data.ParameterDirection.Input, _
False, CType(0, Byte), CType(0, Byte), "ID", _

System.Data.DataRowVersion.Original, Nothing))


For clarity, UPDATE and INSERT statements are not listed here. At [1], the SELECT command is set up to retrieve all rows from the STAFF table over the conMyiSeries connection. At [2], a parameterized DELETE statement is specified. The statement uses a parameter marker (?) as a placeholder for the ID value that will be provided at runtime. The parameter markers foster a more efficient processing of SQL statements because a parameterized statement can be prepared once and executed many times. The DELETE statement requires an iDB2Parameter object that is bound to the parameter marker. Note that the original value of the ID column is used to locate the staff member row in DB2. The statement unconditionally deletes the corresponding row in the database. In other words, it does not take into account whether the original row image has been modified by other users. This is probably not the best business practice. In a more realistic scenario, we would probably use the so-called "optimistic locking approach," where we would check if the local image still matched the image on the database server before deleting a row. This could be accomplished with a DELETE statement modified as shown below:

DELETE FROM DB2USER.STAFF WHERE ( (ID = ?)
AND ((CAST( ? AS VARCHAR(9)) IS NULL AND CAST(NAME AS VARCHAR(9)) IS NULL)
OR (CAST(NAME AS VARCHAR(9)) = ?))
AND ((CAST( ? AS SMALLINT) IS NULL AND CAST(DEPT AS SMALLINT) IS NULL)
OR (CAST(DEPT AS SMALLINT) = ?))
AND ((CAST( ? AS CHAR(5)) IS NULL AND CAST(JOB AS CHAR(5)) IS NULL)
OR (CAST(JOB AS CHAR(5)) = ?)) AND ((CAST( ? AS SMALLINT) IS NULL
AND CAST(YEARS AS SMALLINT) IS NULL) OR (CAST(YEARS AS SMALLINT) = ?))
AND ((CAST( ? AS DEC(7,2)) IS NULL AND CAST(SALARY AS DEC(7,2)) IS NULL)
OR (CAST(SALARY AS DEC(7,2)) = ?))
AND ((CAST( ? AS DEC(7,2)) IS NULL AND CAST(COMM AS DEC(7,2)) IS NULL)
OR (CAST(COMM AS DEC(7,2)) = ?)) )

The same approach could also be applied to the UPDATE statement.

iDB2DataAdapter

An iDB2DataAdapter is a bridge that links an iSeries database and a local data cache represented by a DataSet object. The iDB2DataAdapter encapsulates a database connection and a set of SQL commands that are used to retrieve the data from the database and update the database with the changes made to the DataSet. Once the connection and the command's objects have been defined, the iDB2DataAdapter configuration is pretty straightforward. See the following code:

Me.daStaff.DeleteCommand = Me.cmdDelete
Me.daStaff.InsertCommand = Me.cmdInsert
Me.daStaff.SelectCommand = Me.cmdSelect
Me.daStaff.UpdateCommand = Me.cmdUpdate

Error Handling

Exception handling in ADO.NET complies with the Common Language Runtime (CLR) specification and is consistent across all supported .NET programming languages. In CLR, the control structure is the Try-Catch-Finally statement. An error that occurs in the Try block is handled in the Catch block. The iSeries Access .NET provider implements the iDB2Exception object that can be used to monitor for the provider-specific exceptions. The provider throws an iDB2Exception whenever it encounters an error generated from the iSeries host server or from the underlying iSeries Access APIs .

The iDB2Exception contains a collection of one or more iDB2Error objects. The DB2i5Access application uses the iDB2Exception to intercept database errors that can occur at the time the rows are loaded into the DataSet or the updates are submitted to the database. For example, the btnLoad_Click method monitors for iSeries-specific errors and shows an appropriate error message box when unexpected conditions are encountered. See the following code fragment for implementation details:

Private Sub btnLoad_Click(ByVal sender As System.Object, ByVal e As 

System.EventArgs) Handles btnLoad.Click
        Try
            dsStaff.Clear()
            daStaff.Fill(dsStaff.STAFF)
        Catch Xcp As iDB2Exception
            Dim sqle As iDB2Error
            For Each sqle In Xcp.Errors
      MessageBox.Show(Xcp.ToString(), "DB2 Server Error", _
MessageBoxButtons.OK, MessageBoxIcon.Error)
            Next
        End Try
End Sub

Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting a multi-tier application is usually not trivial because the developer needs to deal with software components that reside in different operating system environments. Two tools can be particularly useful for problem resolution:

  • The job log messages for a database server job usually provide enough details to isolate DB2 UDB for iSeries runtime issues.
  • The iSeries Access .NET provider trace utility provides granular information about the data flow between the .NET application and the iSeries server job.

Job Log

The iSeries Access .NET provider communicates with a corresponding iSeries server job. This server job runs the SQL requests on behalf of the .NET client. The iSeries database server jobs are called QZDASOINIT, and they run in the QUSRWRK subsystem. At any given time, many database server jobs may be active on the system, so the first step is to identify the job that serves the particular client connection, which is easily done by running the following CL command:

WRKOBJLCK OBJ(DB2USER) OBJTYPE(*USRPRF)

Here, DB2USER is the user profile that is used to connect to the iSeries server. This approach works even in the disconnected mode. Thanks to connection pooling, a corresponding job is held even after the iDB2DataAdapter has closed the database connection.

Sometimes, it is also useful to include debug messages in the job log. The debug messages are informational messages written to the job log about the implementation of a query. They describe query implementation methods, such as use of indexes, join order, open data path (ODP) implementation (reusable versus non-reusable), and so on. The easiest way to instruct the iSeries to include the debug messages is to set the Trace property on the connection string of the iDB2Connection object:

Me.conMyiSeries.ConnectionString = 

"DataSource=TPLX;UserID=db2user;Password=db2pwd;Trace=StartDebug"

A sample of the job log messages with debug messages enabled is shown below:

**** Starting optimizer debug message for query .
Unable to retrieve query options file.
All access paths were considered for file STAFF.
Arrival sequence access was used for file STAFF.
**** Ending debug message for query .
ODP created.
Blocking used for query.
Cursor C000001 opened.
DESCRIBE of prepared statement S000001 completed.
35 rows fetched from cursor C000001.
Cursor C000001 was closed.

Provider Trace Utility

The iSeries Access .NET provider ships with a tracing utility, which can be used to collect detailed client-side traces. The .NET provider tracing is turned off by default. It can be enabled by calling the CWBMPTRC program on Windows. Here's an example of how to switch on tracing:

cwbmptrc +t

The trace file by default is named IDB2TRACE.TXT and is stored in the C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersDocumentsIBMClient Access directory.

DB2 UDB V8.2 .NET Provider

The recently announced IBM DB2 UDB for Linux, UNIX, Windows (LUW) V8.2 (formerly "Stinger") provides a high level of integration with Visual Studio .NET, improved performance for .NET applications, and significant enhancements for stored procedure and user-defined function developers. This new version also introduced .NET connectivity and simplified programming facilities for building applications that work with DB2 UDB for iSeries servers. The iSeries support relies on services provided by DB2 Connect. DB2 Connect is offered as separate Windows licensed products:

  • Enterprise Edition
  • Personal Edition
  • DB2 Connect Unlimited Edition
  • Application Server Edition

The DB2 Connect Enterprise Edition functionality is also contained in DB2 Enterprise Server Edition for Windows.

DB2 Connect implements the Distributed Relational Database Architecture (DRDA) to access data stored in DB2 UDB for iSeries and other DRDA-compliant database servers. A .NET client that uses DB2 .NET provider connects to a DRDA server job on iSeries. The iSeries DRDA server jobs are called QRWTSRVR and they run in the QUSRWRK subsystem. You can use the DB2 Configuration Assistant (db2ca) on the Windows client to configure the required DRDA connection to the iSeries.

Once the connection has been configured, you can take advantage of the DB2 Visual Studio add-in. The DB2 add-in provides a rich collection of functions that support DB2 servers directly in Visual Studio's IDE. These are the most important features:

  • DB2 .NET Managed Provider
  • Solution Explorer--create and manage DB2 projects
  • IBM Explorer--view DB2 server catalog information and client side ADO.NET code generation
  • SQL Editor--edit DB2 scripts (includes syntax colorization and statement auto-completion)
  • DB2 Tools Toolbar

In addition, the DB2 add-in provides wizards to visually configure DB2 commands, adapters, etc. For example, the DB2 Data Adapter Configuration wizard allows you to define SQL statements and stored procedure calls. It also allows you to define the structure of the result set and map SQL command parameters to columns in the result set.

To illustrate how a wizard simplifies the developer's work, assume that we decided to use the DB2DataAdapter in our DB2i5Access sample application. In this case, instead of programmatically defining the database connection, required SQL statements, and statements parameters, we drag a DB2DataAdapter object from the Visual Studio Toolbox and drop it on the form designer. This launches the configuration wizard. First, we provide the iSeries database connection information. Remember, the DRDA connection to the iSeries needs to exist at this time (use db2ca to configure it). Then, we specify what SQL commands are required by the adapter. In addition to the default SELECT, we choose INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE. Next, we specify the SELECT statement as shown in Figure 3.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/dotNET%20Integration%20with%20DB2%20for%20iSeriesV402.png

Figure 3: Define SQL statements with the DB2 Data Adapter Configuration Wizard.
At this point, the wizard also allows you to validate the statement on the back-end iSeries database as well as provide the table to dataset mapping. Similarly, we define other SQL statements. We use the wizard's Generate function to automatically generate the statement text along with all required parameters. For example, the Generate function used on the UPDATE statement dialog generates the UPDATE statement that implements the optimistic locking. This is shown in Figure 4.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/dotNET%20Integration%20with%20DB2%20for%20iSeriesV403.png

Figure 4: Generate an Update statement.
At the end of the configuration process, the wizard creates two objects associated with the VB Form class: db2Connection1 and DB2DataAdapter1. The wizard also generates the necessary code in the "Windows Form Designer generated code" region. The developer should not modify this code. The wizard should be used to make any changes in the DB2DataAdapter configuration.

Hopefully, this short walkthrough has given you a taste of the truly unique capabilities of the DB2 add-in. See DB2 Development Add-In Technical Preview for more information.

What Provider Is Right for You?

Choosing the appropriate .NET data provider for your application depends on your environment. If you plan to access only the iSeries database, the DB2 UDB for iSeries .NET provider should be your choice. This managed provider will provide better performance than using the System.Data.OleDb provider to bridge to the iSeries Access OLE DB provider or using the Microsoft.Data.Odbc provider to bridge to the iSeries Access ODBC driver.

Consider the DB2 UDB (LUW) provider if you need to access different DB2 UDB platforms, such as DB2 UDB for Windows or DB2 UDB for z/OS, in addition to iSeries or if you wish to take advantage of the GUI add-Ins discussed in the previous section.

Jarek Miszczyk is the Senior Software Engineer, PartnerWorld for Developers, IBM Rochester. He can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Michael Sansoterra is a DBA for Broadway Systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He can be contacted at sqlsleuth@gmail.com.


BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile 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.

    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!

    Get your copy today!

  • Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless Devices

    DDL SystemsDownload 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!

    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL 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 from Maxava today.

     

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    HelpSystems

    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution

     

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!

     

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

  • Node Webinar Series Pt. 1: The World of Node.js on IBM i

    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.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 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.

     

     

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    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.

    Request your trial now!

  • 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.