IBM i 7.2: The Carrot Versus the Stick

IT Infrastructure - Other
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

If you’re on older iron than POWER9 and IBM i 7.3 is your path forward, you need to read this.

On April 30, 2021, IBM i 7.2 goes end of service.

We’ve all heard about the carrot vs. the stick. The carrot is effectively positive reinforcement. You get a reward. The stick is negative reinforcement. You get punished.

A few short years ago, when IBM i 7.1 was going end of service in 2018, it seemed like I was doing an upgrade every single week. That’s actually not too far from the truth. 7.1 was released in 2010, and it was by far the most popular install base of IBM i at the time. Most customers were running POWER7 and POWER8 machines, so getting them to 7.2 or 7.3 wasn’t a hard stretch. And for the most part, there were a lot of reasons to get away from 7.1: the end of Java 6, poor cipher and protocol support, SMB1 being incredibly weak, the fact that the OS was eight years old.

There are a few things you need to be aware of with 7.2 going end of service, keeping in mind the carrot and the stick.

The Sticks

Let’s start with “stick” considerations.

Hardware Constraints

While the majority of people upgraded directly to 7.3 from 7.1, there were plenty who upgraded to 7.2 simply because their hardware would not run 7.3. This, of course, means the POWER6 hardware that went end of service in March of 2019 very likely was put on extended maintenance contracts for hardware. Luckily for customers, that hardware maintenance extension cost wasn’t too painful. Extended maintenance contracts for software are a different story. More on that below, but let’s stay with the hardware for now.

POWER6 machines can’t run 7.3, so they’re definitely not going to run 7.4. Therefore, when you’re planning your 7.2-to-7.3/7.4 upgrade, please be aware that you may be in for a hardware upgrade at the same time. Ideally, in order to ensure an easy migration, what I would do is order a new POWER9 with 7.3 or 7.4 and then scratch install 7.2 on it from a recent full system save (assuming you’re up to date on PTFs and 7.2 knows what 7.4 is). Then you can migrate to the new machine so the versions match: You’re only changing the hardware. Once on the new machine, I’d then upgrade it in place to 7.3 or 7.4 before April 30. Some people prefer doing what’s called a mixed-mode migration. That means they’re going to change the hardware and the operating system at the same time. The risk is much higher when doing it that way. We’ve had to parachute in and repair those mixed-mode migrations that went sideways more than a few times.

Financial Implications

You don’t have to move off 7.2 if you don’t want to. Assuming IBM offers an extended maintenance agreement for 7.2, you can delay your OS upgrade a little bit. Be advised, you will pay for the privilege. An extended software maintenance agreement will be 100 percent of the price of your standard software maintenance contract. Let’s imagine you’re on a little P05 machine with one core activated (i.e., one license of IBM i). You’ll be paying the standard software maintenance contract of, say, $1,600 per year. Now, you’ll pay another $1,600 for an extended maintenance contract because 7.2 is going unsupported.

What if you’re on a larger machine with more licenses of IBM i? Well, let’s say you’re running a P10 machine with five cores activated. That means your standard yearly maintenance renewal is roughly around $22,500. If you elect to stay on 7.2, you’ll be paying twice as much to keep the OS supported: $45,000. Ouch.

And it keeps getting more expensive with each processor tier and compounds with the number of cores you have activated. It’s often very easy to justify the services cost of an OS upgrade when you compare it to the maintenance cost of staying put.

The hardware restrictions and software maintenance costs are definitely the big sticks that will force a lot of people to upgrade from 7.2.

The Carrots

Getting onto 7.3 and 7.4 brings a lot of value. IBM i 7.3 still has a lot of gas in the tank. Yes, it’s nearly five years old, but it brings many things that you can’t get on 7.2.

For instance, 7.3 and 7.4 both have a feature called Authority Collection. On 7.3, Authority Collection is only turned on for a user profile. All objects that user touches are collected in a table, allowing you to make better decisions on how to properly secure objects and remove special authorities like *ALLOBJ. Did you ever want to reduce someone’s authority but didn’t know exactly what would happen if you did so? Authority Collection takes the guesswork out of it.

On 7.4, Authority Collection is expanded so that you can select an object. Let’s say you want to review who accesses your payroll tables. On 7.4, you can put Authority Collection on those tables and then review who accessed them and what authority they used to do so. Or better yet, let’s say you have a root directory share in NetServer and you’re scared to death of removing it. That directory share is an absolute nightmare waiting to happen. I should know. I get calls almost every week regarding IBM i malware attacks and having to perform some kind of recovery to get destroyed objects back. You can now put Authority Collection on your root directory and determine what users are accessing it via NetServer. Once determined, you can put a plan in place to make other arrangements for those users (e.g., a share lower down off the root) and then cut the root directory share completely.

Other security-related items to consider for going to 7.3 would be the expansion of IBM i Services, which allows easy access to a lot of information on the system with SQL, row and column access control for tables, TLS 1.3 capabilities with new and improved ciphers, SMB3 support, and more!

IBM i 7.4 will also give you the ability to do new things on the hardware front. For instance, I’m a big fan of NVMe adapters as opposed to traditional disk. Imagine if you have 50 percent capacity on 10 x 283 GB disk drives, including a RAID5 array and a hot spare. Well, you have eight disk drives to do the work and about 2.2 TB of usable disk. And of course you need a RAID controller. I could put in two 3.2 TB NVMe adapters instead: one for carving up into virtual disks and one for its mirrored pair. That means no RAID controller. That means I don’t need to buy 10 disk drives. The cost for the NVMe adapters should be a little less overall, and the speed improvements will curl your hair. You just can’t do that on 7.2.

Take the Leap

For those of you at 7.2, you’ve got four months to get upgraded. This is your opportunity to start future-proofing your environment and taking advantage of a lot of the new features that IBM has released, especially in 7.4.


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
More Articles By This Author
Related Articles


Support MC Press Online





  • 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!


  • Profound Logic Solution Guide

    SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation.
    Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects.
    The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the companyare not aligned with the current IT environment.

    Get your copy of this important guide today!


  • 2022 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    Fortra2022 marks the eighth edition of the IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, Fortra captures data on how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT and cybersecurity initiatives it supports.

    Over the years, this survey has become a true industry benchmark, revealing to readers the trends that are shaping and driving the market and providing insight into what the future may bring for this technology.

  • Brunswick bowls a perfect 300 with LANSA!

    FortraBrunswick is the leader in bowling products, services, and industry expertise for the development and renovation of new and existing bowling centers and mixed-use recreation facilities across the entertainment industry. However, the lifeblood of Brunswick’s capital equipment business was running on a 15-year-old software application written in Visual Basic 6 (VB6) with a SQL Server back-end. The application was at the end of its life and needed to be replaced.
    With the help of Visual LANSA, they found an easy-to-use, long-term platform that enabled their team to collaborate, innovate, and integrate with existing systems and databases within a single platform.
    Read the case study to learn how they achieved success and increased the speed of development by 30% with Visual LANSA.


  • Progressive Web Apps: Create a Universal Experience Across All Devices

    LANSAProgressive Web Apps allow you to reach anyone, anywhere, and on any device with a single unified codebase. This means that your applications—regardless of browser, device, or platform—instantly become more reliable and consistent. They are the present and future of application development, and more and more businesses are catching on.
    Download this whitepaper and learn:

    • How PWAs support fast application development and streamline DevOps
    • How to give your business a competitive edge using PWAs
    • What makes progressive web apps so versatile, both online and offline



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



  • Why Migrate When You Can Modernize?

    LANSABusiness users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.
    In this white paper, you’ll learn how to think of these issues as opportunities rather than problems. We’ll explore motivations to migrate or modernize, their risks and considerations you should be aware of before embarking on a (migration or modernization) project.
    Lastly, we’ll discuss how modernizing IBM i applications with optimized business workflows, integration with other technologies and new mobile and web user interfaces will enable IT – and the business – to experience time-added value and much more.


  • UPDATED: 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

    FortraIT 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


  • 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 as a pre-built development environment



  • 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.

  • 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.



  • Encryption on IBM i Simplified

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDB2 Field Procedures (FieldProcs) were introduced in IBM i 7.1 and have greatly simplified encryption, often without requiring any application changes. Now you can quickly encrypt sensitive data on the IBM i including PII, PCI, PHI data in your physical files and tables.
    Watch this webinar to learn how you can quickly implement encryption on the IBM i. During the webinar, security expert Robin Tatam will show you how to:

    • Use Field Procedures to automate encryption and decryption
    • Restrict and mask field level access by user or group
    • Meet compliance requirements with effective key management and audit trails


  • Lessons Learned from IBM i Cyber Attacks

    SB PowerTech WC GenericDespite the many options IBM has provided to protect your systems and data, many organizations still struggle to apply appropriate security controls.
    In this webinar, you'll get insight into how the criminals accessed these systems, the fallout from these attacks, and how the incidents could have been avoided by following security best practices.

    • Learn which security gaps cyber criminals love most
    • Find out how other IBM i organizations have fallen victim
    • Get the details on policies and processes you can implement to protect your organization, even when staff works from home

    You will learn the steps you can take to avoid the mistakes made in these examples, as well as other inadequate and misconfigured settings that put businesses at risk.



  • The Power of Coding in a Low-Code Solution

    SB PowerTech WC GenericWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed.
    Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

    • Discover the benefits of Low-code's quick application creation
    • Understand the differences in model-based and language-based Low-Code platforms
    • Explore the strengths of LANSA's Low-Code Solution to Low-Code’s biggest drawbacks



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

    SB Profound WC GenericHave 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).
    Watch Now.

  • The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security

    SB Profound WC Generic The Biggest Mistakes in IBM i Security
    Here’s the harsh reality: cybersecurity pros have to get their jobs right every single day, while an attacker only has to succeed once to do incredible damage.
    Whether that’s thousands of exposed records, millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, or diminished share value, it’s easy to judge organizations that fall victim. IBM i enjoys an enviable reputation for security, but no system is impervious to mistakes.
    Join this webinar to learn about the biggest errors made when securing a Power Systems server.
    This knowledge is critical for ensuring integrity of your application data and preventing you from becoming the next Equifax. It’s also essential for complying with all formal regulations, including SOX, PCI, GDPR, and HIPAA
    Watch Now.

  • 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

    FortraRobot 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

    FortraRobot 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.