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There are three words that you need to remember when dealing with any computer system, including the iSeries 400. They are backup, backup, and backup. If you want a restful night’s sleep, you’d better have a good backup of your data files, programs, and operating system.

But there are other management issues. For instance, if you are an application service provider (ASP), redundancy is an important issue. In today’s computing environment, downtime is not acceptable. If your customers experience an interruption in service, they may be someone else’s customers tomorrow. Consequently, if disaster strikes and your computer goes down, you need to be ready to automatically switch to an alternate server and continue running as if nothing had happened. In order to accomplish this lofty goal, you will need to find ways to replicate software, data, and other system objects, such as user profiles. In this article, we will deal with the last of these items.

User Profiles

One of the many challenges we addressed in our quest to become an ASP was how we were going to keep identical user profiles on separate iSeries 400 computers. In other words, when we added a new user to our primary system, we wanted that system to automatically call a program that would add the same user profile to our backup system. We accomplished this goal using two distinctive and infrequently used features of the iSeries 400 computer: exit points and remote data queues.

In this article, we will cover the basics of using an exit point to call a program automatically whenever a user performs a certain function. In our example, this will occur whenever a new user profile is added to the system. We will also discuss how you can use remote data queues to pass information from one system to another automatically. In our case, we will use remote data queues to pass the information about a newly created user profile from the primary system to a backup system.

Here We Go

Right off the bat, we are going to assume that you already have two iSeries 400 computers connected and “talking” to one another. We are not going to cover the mechanics of doing this.


When replicating user profiles on the iSeries 400, the first challenge is determining when a user profile is created on the primary system. One approach we could employ is to create a program that lists all of the user profiles on both systems to compare the differences. But this method would likely not run in a real-time environment, and, therefore, the user profiles on the two systems would rarely be in sync all of the time. The user profiles would be synchronized only up to the last date and time at which the synchronization program ran.

We wanted the system to run the synchronization program automatically whenever someone added a new user to the system. Fortunately, there is an exit point that provides this very capability. An exit point is a place (or point) in a system process at which the system will pause and call a user-written program. This user-written program is called an exit program. Figure 1 shows the partial code of an exit program that will get called every time a new user is added to the primary system.

You may be asking yourself how we told the system to run our program at a predefined exit point. The answer is that we do it by registering the exit point. Take a moment to look at the following command:

ADDEXITPGM +

EXITPNT(QIBM_QSY_CRT_PROFILE) +

FORMAT(CRTP0100) +

PGMNBR(*LOW) +

PGM(xxx/PGM001RG)

The Add Exit Program (ADDEXITPGM) command causes the sample program (PGM001RG) to execute whenever a new user profile is created.

Whether you were aware of it or not, there are many exit points on your system. If you are curious, simply run the Work with Registration Information (WRKREGINF) command. You will see a rather substantial list of exit points. You can attach exit programs to any of the exit points you see on this substantial list. Note that you could have more than one program called at each exit point. The sequence number you assign when you register your program will determine the order in which the exit programs get called.

Notice that we assigned the exit program in our example to the QIBM_QSY_CRT_PROFILE exit point. That is the exit point for which a user profile is created on your system. We chose this exit point because we were only interested in running our program when a user profile was added to the primary system. But also note the QSY_DLT_PROFILE and the QSY_CHG_PROFILE exit points. What do you suppose these exit points control? Depending on your environment, you may want to write your own exit programs for these delete user profile and change user profile exit points.

Boogie (with Exit Points)

The code snippet shown in Figure 1 is a subset of the complete program available at www.midrangecomputing.com/mc. Take a closer look at how this program works. The InData parameter that the system passes to the program is a 38-byte data structure in the format that this exit point delivers data to a program. You will find that part of the fun when dealing with exit points is “discovering” the documentation that defines the format of the parameters. There is not a single, central place that defines all of the exit points and their parameters. You have to dig through the manuals to find the gems.

In this particular case, the gem is the user profile name located in the last 10 positions of the data structure. Armed with this critical piece of information, we call the QSYRUSRI API, passing the user profile name to it and receiving back almost all the information in the user profile. The returned information is placed into a receiver variable (Receiver1) that we send over to the second machine using the QSNDDTAQ API. We’ll cover this technique in more detail in this article.


In Figure 1, you will see that the program calls the QSYRUSRI API twice. That’s because we are using an API handling technique that we have aptly termed the “double-call technique.” The reason we employ the double-call technique is that we don’t really know what the length of the receiver variable should be. But this API, like many others, will tell you what the length needs to be. All you need to do is to shelve that macho instinct for a minute and ask for input.

And that is exactly what we do when we perform the first call to the API. We initially specify the size of the receiver variable as 8 bytes. In looking at the definition of this data structure, you will see that it is defined as two 10-digit integers, BytesRtn1 and BytesAvl1. After the first call to the API, BytesAvl1 will contain the number of bytes the API would return to the receiver variable if it could. So, we use the ALLOC op code and allocate the correct number of bytes for the receiver variable. We then call the API a second time using the returned information as the size of the receiver variable. This double-call technique is good to know when you’re dealing with many of the APIs that the system provides.

You might have noticed that we said the QSYUSRI API returns almost all of the information about a user profile. The missing piece of information is the password. (Wouldn’t you know it? Why would we need that?) So, the next thing the exit program must do is retrieve the password for the user profile.

You’re probably thinking, “I can get the password for a user profile? Wow! I can be king (or queen) of the computer! I can sign on as anybody and do anything! Way cool!” Well, we hate to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t work like that. There is an API that retrieves the password for a given user profile. That API is QSYRUPWD. The catch here is that it retrieves the encrypted form of the password. You cannot view it, so forget about being the king of all you survey. The only thing you can do with the encrypted form of the password is pass it along to the QSYSUPWD API, which will set the password for the user profile to the encrypted password. Also, you can only use the password on a user profile that has the same name as the one from which it was retrieved.

The program calls the RtvEncPwd procedure to retrieve the password of the user profile. This procedure accepts the user profile name, uses the double-call technique with the QSYRUPWD API, and then returns the data structure (with the encrypted password and user profile name) back to the caller of the procedure. We then concatenate the user profile information to the end of this password structure and write it to a remote data queue using the QSNDDTAQ API.

Primary to Backup: I Just Wanna Be with You

Let’s talk about data queues. A data queue is a straight line between two points. You put information in the queue on one end, and you can take that information off the queue on the other end. What’s especially appealing about data queues is that each end of the queue can be on a different computer! Your program doesn’t know or care. Take a moment to examine the following command to see how you go about creating a remote data queue:

CRTDTAQ +

DTAQ(QGPL/PASSUSER) +

TYPE(*DDM) +

MAXLEN(1000) +

SEQ(*KEYED) +

KEYLEN(4) +

RMTDTAQ(QGPL/PASSUSERRM) +

RMTLOCNAME(RMTNAME)

Did you notice the type parameter we used on the Create Data Queue (CRTDTAQ) command? We have specified a type of Distributed Data Management (DDM). As the name implies, the DDM value for the type parameter tells your AS/400 that the data queue being


created is really just a “pointer” to a data queue that will be located on a different system. When you create a DDM data queue, you must specify the name of the other computer using the Remote Location Name (RMTLOCNAME) parameter. In our example, we called the other computer RMTNAME.

Just as the RMTLOCNAME parameter told the system which computer the remote data queue resides on, the Remote Data Queue (RMTDTAQ) parameter tells the local machine the physical name and location of the data queue as it is defined on the remote system. In other words, this is where we specify the name of the data queue on the other computer that the DDM “pointer” will connect with. If you want this to work, you will need to create the standard (non-DDM) data queue on the other computer, and it must use the same name and location that you specified on the RMTDTAQ parameter.

That’s all there is to it on the primary computer. We have set up an exit point that will call the program whenever a user profile is created. We have also set up a remote data queue that the program will use to send information about the newly created user profile to the secondary machine. All that remains is to have a program take the information off the data queue and create a duplicate user profile on the secondary machine. Figure 2 shows most of the code that accomplishes this. You can find the complete program on the Midrange Computing Web site at www.midrangecomputing.com/mc.

The program on the remote system uses the QRCVDTAQ API to read the information from the data queue. It then formats a Create User Profile (CRTUSRPRF ) command and executes the command using the “system” procedure. If the program encounters an error, it uses the display op code to display the error number on the screen. If the program encounters no errors, it creates the user profile. All that remains is to set the correct password for it. We pull the encrypted password data structure off the data queue and use the QSYSUPWD API to set the correct password for the newly created user profile.

Bye, Bye, Bye

We have covered quite a few concepts and techniques in this article—remote data queues, exit points, and the API double-call technique for determining the proper length for a receiver variable. The combination of these functions will help you keep your user profiles in sync.

We would also like to apologize for the subtitles. Part of the price we pay for being parents of grade-school-aged daughters is feeling obligated to listen to “classics” sung by groups like *NSYNC. It really could have been worse: We could have made references to Britney Spears’ classic version of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”


d Data S 1000
d DataQue S 10 inz('PASSUSERRM')
d DataQueLib S 10 inz('QGPL ')
d DataLength S 5 0 inz(1000)
D FormatName S 8 inz('USRI0300')
D InData S 38
d Key S 4 inz('0000')
d KeyLength S 3 0 inz(4)
D OI S 4 0
D ReceiveLen S 10i 0
D Receiver1 DS
D BytesRtn1 10i 0
D BytesAvl1 10i 0

c *entry Plist
c Parm InData

* Retrieve the user profile information
C Call 'QSYRUSRI'
C Parm Receiver1
C Parm 8 ReceiveLen
C Parm FormatName
C Parm UsrProfile
C Parm QusEc
c Alloc BytesAvl1 ReceivePtr
C Call 'QSYRUSRI'
C Parm QSYI0300
C Parm BytesAvl1 ReceiveLen
C Parm FormatName
C Parm UsrProfile
C Parm QusEc

* Retrieve the encrypted password data
c Eval PassWordDs = RtvEncPwd(UsrProfile)
c Eval DataLength = BytesAvl1 + 38
c Eval Data = PassWordDs + Qsyi0300

* Write the information to the DDM data queue
c CALL 'QSNDDTAQ'
C PARM DataQue
C PARM DataQueLib
C PARM DataLength
C PARM Data
C PARM KeyLength
C PARM Key

c Eval *inlr = *on

* procedure RtvEncPwd: Retrieve encrypted password for given user
P RtvEncPwd B export
d RtvEncPwd PI 38
d PmProfile 10 const

DQSYD0100 DS Based(ReceivePtr)
D* Qsy RUPWD UPWD0100
D QSYBRTN04 1 4B 0
D* Bytes Returned
D QSYBAVL04 5 8B 0
D* Bytes Available
D QSYPN06 9 18
D* Profile Name
D PassWord 19 38

D Receiver1 DS
D BytesRtn1 10i 0
D BytesAvl1 10i 0

DQUSEC DS 116 inz
D QUSBPRV 1 4B 0 inz(116)
D QUSBAVL 5 8B 0 inz(0)
D QUSEI 9 15
D QUSERVED 16 16
D QUSED01 17 116

D FormatName S 8 Inz('UPWD0100')
D InProfile S 10
D ReceiveLen S 10i 0

c Eval InProfile = PmProfile
C Call 'QSYRUPWD'
C Parm Receiver1
C Parm 8 ReceiveLen
C Parm FormatName
C Parm InProfile
C Parm QusEc
c Alloc BytesAvl1 ReceivePtr
C Call 'QSYRUPWD'
C Parm QsyD0100
C Parm BytesAvl1 ReceiveLen


C Parm FormatName
C Parm InProfile
C Parm QusEc

c Return QsyD0100
P RtvEncPwd E

Figure 1: This exit program will be called every time a new user is added to the primary system.


d System PR 10i 0 extproc('system')
d Cmd * value options(*string)
d CpfMsgId s 7 import('_EXCP_MSGID')
d FormatCmd PR 1000
d UsrProfile 10 const
d SetEncPwd PR
d PwdStruct 38

DPassWordDs DS 38
DReceiveDs DS 1000
d ProfData 39 1000

DQSYI0300 DS
D QSYUP03 9 18
D* User Profile
D QSYURITY00 519 519
D* Security

d DataQue S 10 inz('PASSUSERRM')
d DataQueLib S 10 inz('QGPL ')
d DataLength S 5 0 inz(1000)
d Key S 4 inz('0000')
d KeyLength S 3 0 inz(4)
d KeyOrder S 2 inz('EQ')
d SenderInf S 50
d SenderLen S 3 0 inz(50)
d WaitLength S 5 0 inz(-1)

* Read the data queue as entries arrive
c CALL 'QRCVDTAQ'
C PARM DataQue
C PARM DataQueLib
C PARM DataLength
C PARM ReceiveDs
C PARM WaitLength
C PARM KeyOrder
C PARM KeyLength
C PARM Key
C PARM SenderLen
C PARM SenderInf
c Movel ReceiveDs PassWordDs
c Movel ProfData Qsyi0300

* execute the command to create the user profile
c If System(FormatCmd(QsyUp03)) 0 * If procedure returned not zero, display the error msgid
c CpfMsgId dsply
c Else

* Set the password the same as in the original profile
c Callp SetEncPwd(PassWordDs)

c
c Endif
c
c eval *inlr = *on

P SetEncPwd B export
d SetEncPwd PI
d QSYSD0100 38

DQUSEC DS 116 inz
D QUSBPRV 1 4B 0 inz(116)
D QUSBAVL 5 8B 0 inz(0)
D QUSEI 9 15
D QUSERVED 16 16
D QUSED01 17 116

D FormatName S 8 Inz('UPWD0100')

C Call 'QSYSUPWD'
C Parm QsysD0100
C Parm FormatName
C Parm QusEc

c Return
P SetEncPwd E

Figure 2: This program duplicates a user profile onto a secondary machine.


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

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

    • Capture
    • Manage
    • And distribute documents digitally

     

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

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

    Are there still companies that use AS400? Of course!

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

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

     

  • Ask the RDi Experts

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     

     

  • Inside the Integrated File System (IFS)

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

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

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

     

  • Expert Tips for IBM i Security: Beyond the Basics

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

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

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

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

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

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

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

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

     

     

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

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

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

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

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

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

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

     

     

     

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

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

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

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

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

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

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

     

     

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

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

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

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

     

     

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  • 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.