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V4R5: Of Wizards and Korn Shells

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I have to confess. When I first saw the V4R5 preannouncement summary, I was somewhat less than impressed. In fact, my first thought was. Why bother labeling this as a major release? Why not just issue a CUME tape and announce it as a really big PTF? As I dug deeper into it, though, I began to discover a lot of little nuggets of information that, upon further analysis, revealed this latest release of OS/400 to be chock full of useful features. Take a look at some of the pieces of V4R5 that I think will make your job easier.

Operations Navigator

The folks at IBM responsible for enhancing Client Access Operations Navigator have come up with some really exciting new functionality this time around. Everything from new wizards to graphical representation of AS/400 resources have been added to the OpsNav GUI. They’ve also added some very useful enhancements and new functionality to some of the existing OpsNav interfaces, all of which were designed to make your job easier.

Perhaps one of the coolest new features is the ability to display a graph of system resources, such as the amount of DASD in a given rack. IBM has taken the information that traditionally has been spread across many green-screen displays, such as Work with System Status (WRKSYSSTS) and some of the System Service Tools panels and combined them into one or more graphical displays available to you from the OpsNav GUI. Other enhancements include the ability to manage your internal Integrated Netfinity Server(s) from the OpsNav GUI. This feature will allow the traditional PC person to work in an environment in which they are more familiar with managing their Microsoft Windows NT servers on the AS/400. Also included are new wizards that take you step-by-step through adding new DASD, new features for existing functions, such as the ability to display the text of a running query (which will help when a query is hogging system resources, and you need to find out which query is causing the problem), and more. One brand new feature is the Visual Explain tool. This function of OpsNav will show you a visual explanation of a query that is run on the AS/400. Visual Explain will show you every step of the query optimization—e.g., opens, closes, outer joins, inner joins—all in an easy-to-view GUI. Experienced query users will be able to view this information, analyze it, and apply that analysis to queries to improve performance.

Logical Partitioning

Logical Partitioning (LPAR) has been available on the AS/400 for some time now. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, LPAR means that you can partition your AS/400 into two or more logical AS/400s. This ability allows you to maintain, for example, a primary partition for your core business functions and a second partition that can be used by your development staff.

V4R4 supported up to 12 logical partitions on a single box. With the advent of the

8XX series of AS/400s, LPAR can now support up to 24 partitions on a single box. Another new feature is the ability of OS/400 to count users across LPARs. This feature closes a hole in the previous release of OS/400, which allowed a shop to load the same version of a software package, such as Client Access, which is user based, onto multiple LPARs. That practice effectively doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled the number of users allowed to use the software. The new version of LPAR will count all users across all LPARs, thereby enforcing the licensing rules.

Some of the other new features of LPAR for V4R5 include the ability of all LPARS to have access to a common CD-ROM unit. Also new is the ability to dynamically add or remove DASD to a secondary LPAR without requiring an IPL of the primary LPAR, and the ability, on the 8XX series of hardware, to share CPUs across LPARs. This lets a single CPU be shared, based on a percentage you define, across two or more LPARs.

AS/400 Portable Application Solutions Environment (AS/400 PASE) was recently introduced on V4R4. AS/400 PASE allows compiled AIX binary objects to run on the AS/400, often with little or no change to the application’s core logic. Basically, AS/400 PASE opens up the AS/400 to the UNIX world by letting UNIX developers port applications to the AS/400. V4R5 brings several new features to AS/400 PASE. First, it’s now based on AIX 4.3.3, which is the latest level of AIX available. Other features are a new AS/400 command line interface, much like the Qshell interface, which allows immediate access to the AS/400 PASE environment and the ability to execute UNIX applications from the command line. Also new in this release is the ability to use the DBX Debugger on applications running in PASE; and to support standard UNIX shells, such as Korn, Bourne, and C Shells. Add to that a larger number of supported SYSCALLS and runtime APIs, which will increase the number of UNIX applications that can run in AS/400 PASE, and you have an environment that is quickly moving up to the front burners of the AS/400 world.

More, More, More

These are just a taste of the new features and functionality available to you with V4R5 of OS/400. As time goes on, MC will continue to bring you more in-depth analysis of how these and other new features may affect you.


Shannon O'Donnell has held a variety of positions, most of them as a consultant, in dozens of industries. This breadth of experience gives him insight into multiple aspects of how the AS/400 is used in the real world. Shannon continues to work as a consultant. He is an IBM Certified Professional--AS/400 RPG Programmer and the author of an industry-leading certification test for RPG IV programmers available from ReviewNet.net.


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