Sidebar

V6R1 Breathes New Life into DB2 for i5/OS .NET Provider

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

Learn how to exploit ADO.NET 2.0 enhancements, DAAB, distributed transactions, and more.

 

Over the last couple of years, I wrote several articles and white papers that dealt with Microsoft .NET Framework integration with DB2 for i5/OS. Judging from the readers' interest and feedback, this topic is very popular, especially among those System i users who rely on Microsoft tools for in-house software development. In the past, some of the developers expressed their concern that the DB2 for i5/OS .NET provider did not keep pace with Microsoft's quickly changing .NET specification. Well, I have good news to report: The so-called native DB2 for i5/OS .NET provider that ships with System i Access for Windows V6R1 (formerly known as Client Access) sports an impressive list of enhancements and improvements. In this article, I highlight the most important features of the new version of the provider and illustrate them with practical code examples.

What's New in DB2 for i5/OS .NET Provider?

The DB2 for i5/OS .NET provider relies on services provided by the .NET Framework; therefore, it is sometimes referred to as System i Managed Provider. The namespace for the provider is IBM.Data.DB2.iSeries, and it includes a full set of ADO.NET classes that enable your .NET application to access and manipulate DB2 for i5/OS objects.

 

As mentioned, the new version of the native provider that is included in System i Access for Windows V6R1 contains an impressive list of enhancements:

 

•·        Support for ADO.NET 2.0 abstract classes, which allows database-agnostic programming and basic integration with Visual Studio 2005

•·        Support for 64-bit applications

•·        Support for distributed transactions through System.Transactions object model

•·        Ability to block inserts

 

In addition, the provider adds support for a number of DB2 for i5/OS-specific features, including these:

 

•·        The decimal float and datalink data types

•·        The Query Storage Limit property 

•·        The new special register values 

•·        The LobBlockSize and BlockSize properties that enable better control over the transfer of data

•·        The AutocommitIsolationLevel property that controls the isolation level used during autocommit

The Sample Application Walkthrough

To illustrate the most important new features of the provider, I coded up a sample application called iDB2ProviderTester. The application allows a user to execute several tasks and then it displays the result in a GUI. The main application's dialog is shown in Figure 1:

 

031208JarekFigure1.gif

Figure 1: Here's the main dialog of the sample application. (Click images to enlarge.)

 

The iDB2ProviderTester is written in C#, and I used Visual Studio 2005 with SP1 to facilitate the development process. The Additional Material section at the end of this article contains a link to the downloadable image of the entire solution. I strongly encourage you to download the source code and further study it because it illustrates several programming techniques that I will not be able to cover in this article.

DB2 for i5/OS Connection Setup

The provider supports the ADO.NET abstract classes as defined in the ADO.NET 2.0 specification. One of the benefits of the abstract classes is the ability to snap the provider directly into the Visual Studio's Server Explorer. This gives you the ability to navigate DB2 objects such as tables, views, and stored procedures directly from the IDE and explore their properties.

 

The following steps outline the process of creating a DB2 for i5/OS connection:

 

1.                  In the Visual Studio 2005 IDE, ensure that the Server Explorer panel is opened and anchored. In the Server Explorer panel, right-click the Data Connections icon and select Add Connection. The Add Connection dialog appears. Click the Change button, which is located next to the Data Source Text control. In the Change Data Source dialog that appears, select DB2 for i5/OS as the data source and IBM DB2 for i5/OS .NET provider as the data provider. Click OK.

2.                   Specify the ADO.NET connection settings for the DB2 for i5/OS database (see Figure 2).

 

031208JarekFigure2.gif

       Figure 2: Add the DB2 for i5/OS connection.

 

       Note: IBM DB2 for i5/OS Provider is selected in the Data Source text box. In the DataSource text box, the TCP/IP

host name of the System i machine is specified.

 

3.                  The DB2 for i5/OS server can contain a large number of schemas (libraries). To limit the amount of metadata retrieved from the server, specify a default schema using the DefaultCollection property. You can find it by scrolling down to the SchemaKeywords section. In my case, I use a schema named DB2USER, which contains the DB2 sample database.

4.                  Specify the UserID and Password parameters. These can be found under the Security section.

5.                  Click the Test Connection button (see Figure 2) to ensure that the connection settings are correct. Then click the OK button to create the connection. The metadata is retrieved from the DB2 server, and the newly added connection node appears in the Server Explorer panel.

Accessing DB2 Using Data Access Application Block (DAAB)

The first task performed by the sample application is to retrieve a set of rows from DB2 using Microsoft's Data Access Application Block (DAAB), which is a part of Enterprise Library. The DAAB was created by the Microsoft Patterns and Practices group, and it benefits rapid application development by hiding redundant tasks and providing a layer of abstraction from the database. Over the last several years, DAAB has become quite popular among .NET developers. The DAAB relies on the ADO.NET abstract classes, so I thought that this application block should work just fine with the new provider. Before using DAAB, you need to download the Enterprise Library from MSDN and install it on your workstation. Then, in Visual Studio IDE, you need to add the necessary references to your solution. In my case, I added the following references to the C# solution:

 

  • Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.AppSettings.Configuration.Design
  • Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.Common
  • Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.Data
  • Microsoft.Practices.EnterpriseLibrary.Data.Configuration.Design

One of the main advantages of using application frameworks such as DAAB is the ability to decouple the application from any database- or server-specific settings. You can achieve this goal by creating an application configuration object that contains deployment-specific configuration data. To do so, in Visual Studio IDE in the Solution Panel, right-click the solution node (in my case, it is iDB2ProviderTester) and select Add > New Item from the context menu. In the Add New Item dialog, select Application Configuration File and click OK. A new file called App.config is added to the solution. Now, since, you have Enterprise Library installed on your workstation, you can edit this file using the Enterprise Library editor. Right-click the newly created App.config file and select Edit Enterprise Library Configuration. The editor opens in the main IDE's panel. This is shown in Figure 3.

 

031208JarekFigure3.gif

Figure 3: Edit the application configuration.

 

In the editor, right-click the Connections String node and select Add > Connection  String. A new Connection String object is shown in the Properties panel. Edit it to look similar to the one shown in Figure 4.

 

031208JarekFigure4.gif

Figure 4: Add a connection string.

 

Note:  The ConnectionString can contain any of the provider-supported keywords, such as DefaultCollection, Naming, LobBlockSize, and so on. These are DB2 for i5/OS-specific attributes.

 

Next, in the editor (Figure 3), click the Data Access Application Block node. In the Properties panel, set the DefaultDatabase property to the newly created connection string name; in this case, it is myDB2fori5OS. This makes sure that the application will use this particular database connection as the default database. Save the configuration changes (Ctrl-S).

 

Now with all the basic configuration tasks off the table, we can finally analyze the code snippet that is used by the application to retrieve a set of rows, bind the results, and display them in a DataGridView object:

 

Database db = DatabaseFactory.CreateDatabase();                         [1]

string sSql = "SELECT e.EMPNO,FIRSTNME,LASTNAME,WORKDEPT,PICTURE 

FROM EMPLOYEE e, EMP_PHOTO p WHERE e.EMPNO=p.EMPNO AND (p.PHOTO_FORMAT =

@format)";                                                                    [2]

DbCommand cmd = db.GetSqlStringCommand(sSql);                                 [3]

string format = "gif";

db.AddParameter(cmd, "@format", DbType.String, format.Length,

ParameterDirection.Input, false, 0, 0, "", DataRowVersion.Current, format); [4]

DataSet ds = db.ExecuteDataSet(cmd);                                          [5]

this.displayResultsInDgv(ds);                                                 [6]

 

In the code sample above, at [1] the DAAB is used to instantiate a Database object. Note that the CreateDatabase method requires no parameters. If no database name is specified, the DAAB will use the default database connection string that was previously defined in the App.config configuration file.

 

At [2], a parameterized SQL query is constructed. At run time, this query will expect one input parameter to specify the value of the PHOTO_FORMAT column. 

 

At [3], DAAB creates a concrete class that is cast to the base, abstract DbCommand type, therefore making the code database independent. Under the covers, the cmd has been created by the native provider, so the actual type of this object is iDB2Command.

 

At [4], the required parameter is defined using the AddParameter method. Note that currently the parameter needs to be defined programmatically. The DAAB DiscoverParameters method does not support the native provider. This is similar to other providers such asOleDb and Odbc. Additionally, as of this writing, you need to specify the length of a string parameter on the AddParameter invocation.

 

At [5], the SQL query is executed, and the resulting DataSet is created.

 

I encourage you to review the source code for the displayResultsInDgv (shown at [6]), where I illustrate how to use a BindingSource object to programmatically bind a DataSet to a DataGridView control.

Accessing DB2 Using the Base Abstract ADO.NET Classes

The provider object model in ADO.NET 2.0 defines a series of base classes in System.Data.Common. These classes provide a basic implementation of common functionality for all providers and allow you to write database-agnostic applications. In ADO.NET 2.0, each data provider registers a ProviderFactory class and a provider string with the .NET framework. The ProviderFactory contains static methods that are used to create the classes required by the ADO.NET object model, such as DbConnection, DbCommand, etc. I used this programming technique to implement the second task in the sample application. Here's the relevant code fragment:

 

DbProviderFactory provider = DbProviderFactories.GetFactory(

DBHelper.ProviderName);                                                    [1]

DbConnection con = provider.CreateConnection();

con.ConnectionString = DBHelper.ConnectionString;

DbCommand com = provider.CreateCommand();                                  [2]

com.Connection = con;

com.CommandText = "SELECT e.EMPNO, FIRSTNME, LASTNAME, WORKDEPT, PICTURE 

FROM EMPLOYEE e, EMP_PHOTO p WHERE e.EMPNO=p.EMPNO AND (p.PHOTO_FORMAT = @format)";                                                                    [3]

com.CommandType = CommandType.Text;

 

discoverParameters(com);                                                   [4]   

com.Parameters["@format"].Value = "gif";

DataSet ds = new DataSet();

DbDataAdapter ad = provider.CreateDataAdapter();                           [5]

ad.SelectCommand = com;

con.Open();

ad.Fill(ds);                                                               [6]

con.Close();

this.displayResultsInDgv(ds);

 

In the code sample above, at [1] the DBHelper class is used to retrieve the deployment-specific values for provider name and connection string. DBHelper relies on the information that I provided earlier in the App.config configuration file. The provider is then used at [2] to create a command object that is cast to the base DbCommand type. In this case, the concrete class created by the provider is iDB2Command.  

 

At [3], a parameterized SQL query is constructed.

 

At [4], I invoke a helper method that I use to derive parameters from a command object. The helper method is needed because the DbCommandBuilder base class does not contain a DeriveParameters method. This method is, however, supported by a number of concrete command builder classes, such as iDB2CommandBuilder, OleDbCommandBuilder (implemented by the OleDb provider), etc. Here's pseudo code that shows how the iDB2CommandBuilder is used to invoke the provider-specific DeriveParameters method:

 

private static void discoverParameters(DbCommand command)

  {

    ...  

    DbConnection connection = command.Connection;

    connection.Open();

    if (connection is iDB2Connection)

      {

        iDB2CommandBuilder.DeriveParameters((iDB2Command)command);

      }

 

So the helper method allows me to derive parameters in a database-agnostic manner.

 

Let's continue now with the code analysis. At [5], the provider is used to create a data adapter class. The adapter is then used at [6] to fill the DataSet with data retrieved by the query I defined earlier at [3].

Batch Insert

Sometimes you may need to populate a table with initial data, say, at the application startup. Single row inserts can, in this case, be very slow and impractical. The native provider now supports a single execute command to perform multiple INSERT statements. Specifically, the concrete class iDB2Command implements the AddBatch method, which can be used to perform batch inserts. The following code snippet illustrates these concepts:

 

DbCommand com = provider.CreateCommand();                                  [1]

com.Connection = con;

  

com.CommandText = "INSERT INTO COFFEES (COF_NAME,SUP_ID,PRICE,SALES,TOTAL)" +

                  " VALUES (@COF_NAME, @SUP_ID, @PRICE, @SALES, @TOTAL)";  [2]

com.CommandType = CommandType.Text;

discoverParameters(com);                                                   [3]

con.Open();

for (int i = 1; i <= batchSize; i++)

  {

    com.Parameters["@COF_NAME"].Value = "Super_Kona_" + i;

    com.Parameters["@SUP_ID"].Value = 150;

    com.Parameters["@PRICE"].Value = 9.95;

    com.Parameters["@SALES"].Value = 1000;

    com.Parameters["@TOTAL"].Value = 9950;

    batchInsert(com);                                                      [4]   

  }

com.ExecuteNonQuery();                                                     [5]

con.Close();

 

In the code above, at [1] a command class is instantiated. At [2], a parameterized INSERT statement is defined. At [3], I use the discoverParameters helper method to derive the statement's parameters. This helper method is described in the previous section (Accessing DB2 Using the Base Abstract ADO.NET Classes). At [4], another helper method, batchInsert, is called. I wrap the AddBatch method, which is specific to the native provider, in a helper method to keep the main application database-agnostic. Here's the batchInsert method's source code for your reference:

 

private static void batchInsert(DbCommand command)

 {

  if (command == null) throw new ArgumentNullException("command");

  if (command is iDB2Command)

   {

    ((iDB2Command)command).AddBatch();

   }

  else

  {

   throw new Exception("AddBatch not supported by the provider");

  }

 }

 

Finally, at [5], the ExecuteNonQuery method sends all batched requests as a single INSERT statement to DB2.

 

There are several things to keep in mind when using the AddBatch method:

 

  • Parameter markers need to be used to pass data to the command object. Mixing parameter data with constants or literals will result in an SQL error.
  • The statement must not contain LOB locators. You can force the provider to materialize LOBs by setting the connection attribute MaximumInlineLobSize to 15360.
  • Errors that occur during the batch insert may cause unpredictable results if the statement executes with autocommit on. Some rows may be written into the database and some may not.
  • System i has a limit of 32767 rows that can be sent in a single batch.

Distributed Transactions

One of the biggest changes that occurred with the introduction of .NET 2.0 was the introduction of the System.Transactions namespace. System.Transactions offers an easy and straightforward way to implement transactional operations. It can be used to implement a transaction in a number of ways, but a typical implementation is to wrap transactional operations inside a TransactionScope class. The TransactionScope class facilitates automatic distributed transaction enlistment. Keep in mind, though, that the native provider works with the Microsoft Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC) in order to perform distributed transactions, even when only a single data source is being used. This obviously has performance consequences. The DTC service must be running and enabled for XA transactions before you try to start a distributed transaction using the provider. The following steps outline the process of setting up the DTC to work with the native provider:

 

  1. On your Windows workstation, open the Component Services dialog. In the left panel under Console Root, navigate to Component Services > Computers > My Computer. Right-click the My Computer icon and select Properties. The My Computer Properties dialog appears. Click the MSDTC tab.

 

  1. In the Transaction Configuration section, click the Security Configuration button. This opens the Security Configuration dialog. Set the MSDTC properties as shown in Figure 5.

 

031208JarekFigure5.gif

Figure 5: Set your MSDTC configuration properties.

 

Make sure that the Enable XA Transaction option is selected. Start the DTC. You may change the DTC service configuration so that it starts automatically after the workstation is booted.

 

The programming technique that employs the TransactionScope class to implicitly enlist on a distributed transaction is pretty straightforward, as illustrated in the following code sample:

 

DbProviderFactory provider = DbProviderFactories.GetFactory(DBHelper.ProviderName);

using (TransactionScope scope = new TransactionScope())                    [1]

 {

  using (DbConnection conn = provider.CreateConnection())                  [2]

  using (DbConnection conn2 = provider.CreateConnection())                 [3]

   {

    conn.ConnectionString = DBHelper.ConnectionString;

    conn.Open();

    using (DbCommand cmd = conn.CreateCommand())

     {

       cmd.CommandText =

           "INSERT INTO COFFEES (COF_NAME, SUP_ID, PRICE, SALES, TOTAL)" +

           " VALUES ('Colombia Supreme Select', 200, 19.95, 10, 199.50)";

       cmd.ExecuteNonQuery();                                              [4]

     }

    conn2.ConnectionString = DBHelper.ConnectionString;

    conn2.Open();

    using (DbCommand cmd = conn2.CreateCommand())

     {

       cmd.CommandText =

            "INSERT INTO COFFEES (COF_NAME, SUP_ID, PRICE, SALES, TOTAL)" +

            " VALUES ('Kenya Gold', 999, 14.95, 10, 149.50)";

       cmd.ExecuteNonQuery();                                              [5]

     }

   }

  scope.Complete();                                                  [6]

 }                  

 

In the source listing above, at [1] an instance of a TransactionScope class is created. Since at this time no transaction context exists in the sample application, the .NET framework starts a new transaction. Now all operations within the using block will be performed in the context of this newly initiated transaction.

 

At [2] and [3], two separate connections to DB2 are created.

 

Then at [4] and [5], two INSERT statements are executed. Note that each statement runs through a separate connection. So, if it hadn't been for the distributed transaction, the two statements would have run in two separate database transactions, and I would have had no ability to commit both changes in a consistent manner. In this case, however, the Complete method call at [6] causes the TransactionScope, MSDTC, and DB2 to use the two-phase commit (2PC) protocol to complete the transaction and make both changes permanent.

 

The native provider supports the XaLockTimeout and XaTransactionTimeout properties that can be specified on the ConnectionString to give the application more control over distributed transactions.

 

Actually, it is quite interesting to watch a distributed transaction running across all participating software components. As soon as any transactional operation is performed within the transaction scope, MS DTC starts a new global transaction. This is shown in Figure 6.

 

031208JarekFigure6.gif

Figure 6: The active global transaction is managed by MS DTC.

 

The global transaction depicted in Figure 6 gets propagated to DB2 for i5/OS database server, where it shows as two separate entries. Consider Figure 7 below:

 

031208JarekFigure7.gif

Figure 7: Here's a global transaction under DB2 for i5/OS control.

 

Note that the two entries reported by DB2 have the same global ID but different Branch Qualifiers. A transaction branch encapsulates transactional operations performed over a given database connection. The sample application opens two connections; hence, there are two transaction branches. 

 

One more caveat worth mentioning is that the two branches do not share locks. In other words, currently the native provider does not support loosely coupled transactions that share locks. The global transactions are said to be "loosely coupled" when the transaction identifiers (XIDs) of two transaction branches have the same global transaction identifier (GTRID) but different branch qualifiers (BQUALs). By default, loosely coupled transaction branches do not share locks.

Provider Trace Utility

The 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 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. Remember that with traces turned on, performance may suffer, and the trace file will continue to grow until turned off.

 

Taking Advantage of the Native Provider

The IBM DB2 for i5/OS .NET provider has been vastly improved in V6R1, and it should be your primary choice if your application accesses mainly DB2 on System i. The native provider uses highly optimized wire protocol to communicate with DB2, and the appropriate license is included in System i Access for Windows.

 

Additional Material

Download the source code that accompanies this article.

 

The following publications can be helpful to those who want to learn more about the topics covered in this article:

 

Integrating DB2 Universal Database for iSeries with Microsoft ADO .NET, SG24-6440

 

".NET Integration with DB2 UDB for iSeries," MC Press Online

 

"Cut Your Development Effort with DB2 Development Add-in for .NET," MC Press Online

 

Build Web Services in a Flash, IBM white paper

Jarek Miszczyk

Jarek Miszczyk is a Lead Technical Consultant for System x Virtualization and Cloud Computing at the IBM STG Global ISV Enablement organization. He is located in Rochester, Minnesota. He can be reached by email at jarek@us.ibm.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.