In the Wheelhouse: V5R4 Goes on Life Support, and IBM Markets IBM i Social-Style

Analysis of News Events
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This week, we'll cover V5R4 receiving a service extension, the 8th annual Top Concerns survey from COMMON Europe, IBM marketing the heck out of IBM i, and the IBM i Professionals group on LinkedIn.


V5R4 Gets a Service Extension

You probably knew that this was going to happen once the formal end of support for i5/OS V5R4 was announced for September 2013. IBM makes it official with announcement letter 613-004 stating that, because of significant demand, customers can continue to receive software support and maintenance for the next three years.

Key features of the service extension include the following:

  • "Usage support. IBM support is available during normal business hours for assistance with questions about using i5OS V5R4, problem determination, and assistance identifying and obtaining existing fixes for problems with i5OS V5R4."

This means that only severity 1 issues are valid for 24x7 support, while usage and defect support is available 8x5, which presumably means during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. That's not stated explicitly in the announcement letter, but I dug up this Service Extension and AS/400 Legacy document from IBM's website, which confirms that.

  • "New fixes. You get fixes for new problems. These fixes are delivered as interim fixes or service packs."

This does not mean you will be getting new PTF bundles as Cumulative, Group, or Group HIPERs. This does mean that if you discover a new OS defect and a PTF is available to fix it, you're entitled to that fix.

  • "Sub capacity pricing. On systems that utilize per processor pricing, the Service Extension is priced per core per server tier consistent with the i5OS pricing methodology. This will allow you to purchase support for only the number of processors that are running V5R4."

The price will be more expensive than regular software maintenance charges. This is actually great incentive to upgrade because systems on V5R4 are treading water from a technical perspective. Companies will not benefit by not upgrading to a modern release! I have an article coming out on May 8 that goes deeper into PTF management and why you need to be updating your systems on a regular basis, so the topic of software support is fresh in my mind. One of the main points I make in the article is that Information Technology is about evolution. We need to be fully utilizing our systems and squeezing as much value as we can out of them. Part of that comes from downloading and applying new features and functions to help our business processes work more effectively. You can do that with IBM i 7.1 and to a lesser extent 6.1, but definitely not with older versions that are effectively on death's door.


Top Concerns Survey Update

Each year, COMMON Europe hosts a Top Concerns survey for customers, consultants, and IBM Business Partners in the IBM i community. The 8th Top Concerns survey is now underway, so I encourage you to go to and take the very brief survey.

As per the press release, the survey "is a strategic feature of COMMON Europe for revealing IBM i community priorities and sharing them with members, IBM and its channel partners to seek best of the breed IT infrastructure and solutions and to set the agenda for future conferences.

These results were deeply discussed and vastly appreciated twice by high level IBM Power marketing Executives and also presented in a round table during the Austin Annual meeting of COMMON North America.

This 8th survey relates to security, application development, infrastructure issues and mobile devices. There are demographic questions, an open space for writing a golden concern and questions on current economic and IBM i migration issues. It is a global survey addressing the whole Power i community in Europe, Americas, Australasia and Africa as well as the worldwide IBM i clients through the web.

Like last year, there are quality prizes for web voting from each region. Attendees of the annual European Power Summit, Annecy, France,, will vote during the summit. The three value prizes for direct voting will be awarded during the Gala Dinner celebrating the 25 years of IBM i on June 20. The preliminary results will be announced during July 2013.

Here are the links to participate in the 2013 survey: or"

For more information on the Top Concerns survey, please contact Ranga Deshpande, Top Concerns Project Leader of COMMON Europe.

Also, you can view my analysis of the 2012 results here.


Speaking of IBM i Marketing

Related to the Top Concerns survey, the most-often-mentioned concern in 2012 was to have IBM "aggressively market IBM i."

Well, are you aware of the IBMi25 campaign? I wrote a little about the launch back in April. IBM has been continuing to build on the momentum, regularly releasing videos celebrating the past history and touting the strengths of the modern IBM i platform.

Below are the videos published so far. This is fantastic content to show people who may not understand why you run your business on IBM i. Perhaps you need to justify the platform to a decision-maker, or maybe you just want to spread some great knowledge. Personally, I'm pointing people to these videos to show them how IBM is committed to marketing the platform in a very targeted manner. You won't see commercials during Family Guy or The Simpsons or even Shark Tank. It wouldn't make sense. With the advent of the PVR, many people no longer see commercials on television anyway. But what does make sense is that people like Steve Will, Dr. Frank Soltis, Alison Butterill, Ian Jarman, and Mark Anderson are taking the time to make these videos for consumer consumption and distribution. Online video is the fastest growing marketing channel in the world. Social online marketing is how people get their information, and IBM seems to have embraced it. They're marketing the IBM i platform the way advertising is done in 2013. That's good news. That's what we all wanted. Now it's your turn. Share these videos on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and any other social site you subscribe to.

New videos will be posted to the Power Systems YouTube channel.


Become Part of the IBM i Professionals LinkedIn Group!

LinkedIn has a number of groups for AS/400 and iSeries. If you're in one of those groups named after platforms that IBM doesn't even sell anymore, I'd like to inform you about the IBM i Professionals group. Right now, there are 4,632 professionals in this group who are sharing knowledge about the current platform.

It's an important resource for customers, IBM Business Partners, and ISVs. If you're on LinkedIn, I encourage you to join the IBM i Professionals group in order to tap into a wealth of information and share your expertise with the community. If you're not on LinkedIn and are an IBM i administrator, developer, IT manager or if you just have a fascination with the platform, then this is the reason to get an account.

Membership in IBM i Professionals will help find you the latest information about IBM i on Power Systems. The group helps push the platform forward with discussions about current topics related to the modern version of the IBM i operating system and Power Systems hardware.

Are you an AS/400 professional? An iSeries professional?

Or are you a modern IBM i professional?


Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher works with iTech Solutions, an IBM Premier Business Partner. He is a specialist in IBM i and IBM Power Systems solutions since 2001. Feel free to contact him directly


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