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Technology Refresh 4 for IBM i 7.1 Has Something for Everyone

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IBM responds to IBM i user and developer requests with major technology upgrade announcement in advance of the annual COMMON conference.

 

A few years ago, we in the high-tech publishing industry would get excited when we geared up for a major announcement about a new version of the IBM i operating system, usually just before COMMON. Nowadays, with the less disruptive quarterly technology refreshes, the incremental upgrades just keep rolling out, one after another. Whereas the media used to have a press briefing at COMMON, now the major dissemination of OS upgrades comes via the blogs of IBM i Chief Architect Steve Will and Senior Technical Staff Member Dawn May. Nevertheless, the fourth technology refresh (TR4) to IBM i 7.1 will be available May 18, and we thought we would give readers a rundown on what's included, since it's a major release with a lot of new features for IBM i users, developers, and system administrators. There are enhancements to the operating system, including DB2 for i, but the announcement goes far beyond that.

 

Back in August 2010, I wrote an article for MC TNT Tips 'n Techniques titled "Live Partition Mobility in PowerVM Enterprise Holds Great Promise," when Live Partition Mobility (LPM) was available only on AIX. The article since has received more than 2,200 reader views, although at the time I remember thinking it was apparently a dud because only a few people bothered to read it right after TNT was distributed. Were we just ahead of our time? Apparently so, because the buzz now is all about Live Partition Mobility and what it will do for the IBM i platform. Basically, LPM allows you to migrate a running POWER7 partition from one physical system to another without disrupting the running workloads— i.e., no application downtime. IBM i and PowerVM take a powder on work underway on the first system, move it over to a different system, and keep on trucking. Ah, if it were only that simple. Eventually, it will be, but for now, getting there is akin to a commercial jet pilot running through a pre-flight checklist before takeoff. Yet pilots do it thousands of times every day, and system administrators will learn to do it too, even as LPM continues to evolve and become ever more streamlined.

 

The payoff to such an investment will be well worth it. Not only will it allow you to gently move users over to a second system before taking down the first for maintenance, and then carefully move them back when you're done, but you can also load balance work between systems for better efficiency, consolidate workloads from several systems to one, and respond to impending system outage warnings by getting the heck out of Dodge before any trouble happens. The significance, however, is that Live Partition Mobility can be combined with other virtualization technologies, including logical partitions with shared storage and I/O, to create a fully virtualized computing platform and a robust PowerVM-based cloud. Doesn't that make you want to pick up the phone right now and order a couple new POWER7 servers? Ah, but if that were only so simple!

 

Part of PowerVM Enterprise edition, LPM has a few different "states" in which partitions can be moved. These include Active Partition Mobility (moving a running partition), Inactive Partition Mobility (moving a partition that is not running), and Suspended Partition Mobility (moving a suspended partition for resumption on the target system). IBM says it intends to provide PowerVM Live Partition Mobility support for IBM i partitions on IBM PureFlex Systems.

 

For more information about IBM i Live Partition Mobility, visit the hardware and firmware section of IBM i Technology Updates wiki on developerWorks. For information on IBM PowerVM support, refer to IBM PowerVM Standard Edition and PowerVM Enterprise Edition.

 

While we ruminate on the implications of LPM, let's take a look at the rest of the announcement in TR4. Because there is a lot to cover, I'm going to lean heavily on the IBM announcement text but expand or trim where I think it will help the reader.

 

Beyond LPM, core to the announcement are performance and security enhancements to DB2 for i, support for Java 7 or IBM i 7.1, a new IBM Rational Application Management Toolset (AMTS), a re-launch of DB2 Web Query, enhancements to PowerHA, and a lightweight Express version of WebSphere Application Server. DB2 Web Query repackaging and WebSphere Express will be available June 15.

 

Below is an edited version of the announcement letter, which can be found here.

 

Beyond Live Partition Mobility, the latest IBM i 7.1 technology refresh delivers the following:

DB2 for i

DB2 for i offers performance and security enhancements along with new features to improve the productivity of software developers. DB2 for IBM i on 7.1 included base XML data type support, enabling XML documents to be stored intact within a column in an SQL table. With new XMLTABLE support, SQL queries can use XPath syntax to refer to XML data as an SQL result set. This allows the user to query XML data using SQL, without having to shred the document into database tables or host variables.

 

DB2 for i three-part name support is extended to allow multiple database reference support in the form of INSERT with remote SUBSELECT. This improvement eases database administration and programming by allowing data to reside in a single location.

 

To learn about these and the other DB2 for i enhancements, visit the DB2 for i section of the IBM i Technology Updates wiki on developerWorks.

WebSphere Application Server - Express V8.5

IBM Web Enablement for i has been enhanced to include WebSphere Application Server - Express V8.5. WebSphere Application Server - Express V8.5 is a Java EE 6–certified application server that delivers the core foundational requirements for an agile business and application foundation. It is imperative to build an application foundation that provides flexibility for developer needs as well as resiliency and scalable operations needs.

 

For developers and businesses that need a lightweight, simple to use, yet powerful application server for increased developer productivity and for use as a lightweight production server for application workloads, WebSphere Application Server - Express V8.5 provides a simplified and lightweight runtime for Web applications. Extremely fast restart times coupled with its small size and ease of use make the new Liberty profile a great option for building Web applications that do not require the full JEE environment of traditional enterprise application server profiles. It is also a great option for production servers, where minimizing resource utilization is a primary requirement. Highlights for developers include the new lightweight Liberty profile, developer tool options to match project development needs, support for Java 7 and Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi), enhanced Migration Toolkit support, andsupport for the Web 2.0 and Mobile Toolkit.

 

For administrators and businesses that need better total cost of ownership through management efficiency and performance, the ability to respond quickly to changes in the business, or achieve simplicity and flexibility in evolving to next-generation application server environments, WebSphere Application Server - Express V8.5 delivers new Intelligent Management capabilities that extend the traditional application server with technologies such as enhanced resiliency, virtualization, and enterprise-level batch processing. Autonomic capabilities are provided that are designed to sense and respond to problems within the application server and autocorrect or route around these problems before users experience an outage. Highlights for administrators include application edition management, new intelligent routing capabilities, application server health management, and WebSphere batch enhancements.

 

For businesses that need to build, deploy, and manage secure and portable innovative applications that run on a multitude of mobile, server, and desktop systems, WebSphere Application Server is the flexible and efficient SOA application platform of choice.

IBM Developer Kit for Java

IBM Developer Kit for Java (5761- JV1) has been enhanced to support Java 7 for IBM i in both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions. Clients developing Java applications can now use the most recent Java enhancements.

 

This new support is available only on IBM i 7.1. The following two options have been added: 5761-JV1 option 14 Java SE 7 32-bit and 5761-JV1 option 15 Java SE 7 64-bit.

 

Visit the IBM i Technology Updates wiki on developerWorks to learn more.

IBM i Workload Groups

IBM Software Group support for IBM i workgroups allows the licensing of IBM software products to reflect usage. IBM i Workload Groups is now an Eligible Virtualization Technology for Passport Advantage Sub-capacity Licensing, which allows users to license an eligible software product for less than the full capacity of a server. It provides the licensing granularity needed to leverage various multi-core chip and virtualization technologies. As more customers take advantage of virtualization technologies in their server environments, IBM will continue to introduce enhancements to the Sub-capacity Licensing offering.

 

For details and current information about Sub-capacity Licensing terms, click here.

DB2 Web Query

More granular security options for users have been added to DB2 Web Query, and a re-launch of the product simplifies ordering. The product is being re-launched under a new "product structure." This new structure provides both Express and Standard level offerings for simpler ordering and to help match capabilities to business needs. The product also provides core-based pricing to let customers order a level of Web Query that better fits their needs and environment.

 

The new product provides many new functional enhancements that make the product simpler to use yet more powerful. Creating reports and dashboards is easier and faster using a single, consolidated Web-based editor. A new Web browser–based user security administration interface allows Web Query administrators to more easily manage developers and users. Not only can user accounts be managed through this new interface, those users can also be assigned specific roles, which enables more granular security controls for each user. New to the product is a Web-based metadata synonym editor to allow metadata management integration with the rest of the Web-based interfaces. Report scheduling now supports standard IBM i job scheduling for those users who want to integrate report scheduling with other batch work on the system.

 

Current DB2 Web Query customers with product 5733-QU2 will be entitled to the new product and will appreciate the built-in migration support in the new product to make the move simple, according to IBM.

 

The DB2 Web Query (product 5733-WQX) is available for IBM i 6.1 and 7.1.

PowerHA SystemMirror

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for i now supports Metro Mirror, Global Mirror, and FlashCopy on the recently announced IBM Storage Systems Storwize V7000 and SAN Volume Controller (SVC) storage systems. The PowerHA SystemMirror for i product has also been updated with a new, easy-to-use GUI, available in IBM i Navigator. The support for these functions is now fully integrated and translated, and the requirement for the 5799-HAS PRPQ has been eliminated.

To learn more, visit the PowerHA for i section of the IBM i Technology updates wiki on developerWorks.

Application Management Toolset (AMTS)

Application Management Toolset (AMTS) from IBM Rational can be used by application providers who need to edit and compile installation scripts or application managers who need to use "work with" capabilities.

 

Functionally, Application Management Toolset for i is a subset of the venerable Application Development Toolset (ADTS), which is sold as part of WebSphere Development Studio for i 6.1 or as part of Rational Development Studio for i 7.1. Two of the key components of ADTS are Programming Development Manager, commonly known as PDM, and Source Entry Utility, commonly known as SEU.

 

IBM Rational Application Management Toolset for i provides IBM i system administrators and other advanced users with a lightweight set of tools for the common tasks of working with library file system objects and scripting with Command Language (CL).

 

This new offering features simple, per-processor licensing at a price every company can afford, says IBM.

POWER7 Systems Virtual Image Management

POWER7 Systems Virtual Image Management allows clients to create and manage images and system templates, expediting the process of creating and deploying virtual servers.

 

Virtual Image Management (a feature of IBM Systems Director VMControl V2.4 Standard Edition) provides a single, unified view of all system templates and virtual server images to help you manage and deploy systems. It allows you to easily deploy new physical and virtual systems based on system templates and images. The templates can be used to create, customize, and clone virtual and physical images.

 

Features include simple virtual server provisioning, self-contained images that prevent managing dependencies or problems, rapid provisioning, off-line cloning and customization, and a common model for physical and virtual servers.

 

For information on VMControl V2.4 Standard Edition support, refer to Enhanced function for IBM Systems Director Standard and Express Editions.

IBM Application Runtime Expert for i

IBM Application Runtime Expert for i (5733-ARE) includes significant enhancements to support easier access to the product without compromising the overall security of the system.

 

A number of additional enhancements have been added to improve users' ability to verify information on their environment. There's now support for low-authority users to build templates using the Application Runtime Expert tool. In the previous release, only users with *ALLOBJ special authority were allowed to use the tool. That caused difficulty for organizations with security control. Now, administrators can grant specified users permission to use the tool, using IBM Web Administration for i. Also, the Scripts and Commands plug-in now supports processing of spooled files for CL commands. Spooled files can be verified according to configuration, and users can also save the spooled files into the report file for further investigation.

Support for New Power I/O

IBM i support for new Power I/O emphasizes price/performance and configuration flexibility, especially for SSD, Ethernet, and External Storage configurations.

 

Visit the IBM i Technology Updates wiki on developerWorks to learn more.

IBM i Access Client Solutions

A technology preview of IBM i Access Client Solutions is now available. IBM i Access Client Solutions is the newest member of the IBM i Access family of products. It provides a Java-based, platform-independent interface that runs on most operating systems that support Java, including Linux, Mac, and Windows. IBM i Access Client Solutions consolidates the most commonly used tasks for managing IBM i into one simplified location.

 

Features include 5250 display and printer emulation based on IBM's Host-on-Demand, 5250 Session Manager support modeled after IBM Personal Communications Session Manager, multiple language support for concurrent 5250 emulation sessions on the same client, data transfer similar to IBM i Access for Windows Data Transfer (including support for Open Document spreadsheet (*.ods), Excel Workbook (*.xlsx), and other file formats), Virtual Control Panel with a graphical interface to the IBM i control panel, 5250 emulation for LAN Console, and consolidation of hardware management interface configurations, including ASMI, IVM, and HMC.

 

IBM i Access Client Solutions uses the same IBM i host servers as the other IBM i Access Family products and requires the same IBM i Access Family license (XW1) in order to use the 5250 emulation and data transfer features. For additional information, click here.

Summary

Hopefully, this shortened version of the IBM announcement letter has given you a concise overview of the main elements of TR4, but be sure to check the actual specifications and detailed information referenced above on the IBM Web site for verification, details that I may have omitted for the sake of brevity, and updates.

Chris Smith

Chris Smith was the Senior News Editor at MC Press Online from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for the news content on the company's Web site. Chris has been writing about the IBM midrange industry since 1992 when he signed on with Duke Communications as West Coast Editor of News 3X/400. With a bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in English and minored in Journalism, and a master's in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris later studied computer programming and AS/400 operations at Long Beach City College. An award-winning writer with two Maggie Awards, four business books, and a collection of poetry to his credit, Chris began his newspaper career as a reporter in northern California, later worked as night city editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and went on to edit a national cable television trade magazine. He was Communications Manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, Calif., before it merged with Boeing, and oversaw implementation of the company's first IBM desktop publishing system there. An editor for MC Press Online since 2007, Chris has authored some 300 articles on a broad range of topics surrounding the IBM midrange platform that have appeared in the company's eight industry-leading newsletters. He can be reached at chriswriting@cs.com.

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  • 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.