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Crunching AS/400 Data with OLAP Cubes and Excel 2000

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Online analytical processing (OLAP) is a big buzzword these days. Many IT professionals are talking about using OLAP to analyze trends in large amounts of data and the accompanying tool set required to do this. Perhaps you’ve heard about DB2 OLAP Server for AS/400 or the OLAP Services provided with SQL Server 7.0. Sounds pretty expensive, huh? So how does the average IT guy get in on the OLAP game without spending big dollars for a new server or more software?

If you’re using Office 2000, you already have the ability to perform OLAP processing with AS/400 data by using Microsoft’s OLAP Cube Wizard (OCW). Sound too good to be true? OK, maybe this OLAP tool isn’t able to crunch terabytes of data. As you might have guessed, since this is part of Office 2000, it is a client-based OLAP engine and its usefulness is therefore restricted by data size and the client PC’s processing power. However, Microsoft’s OLAP tool is a useful tool to help developers learn OLAP terminology and functionality before moving on to a larger OLAP product. Look at this technology and learn how you might be able to use it in an AS/400 environment.

Before I continue, I am assuming that you are familiar with basic SQL, how to configure an ODBC data source to the AS/400, Excel 2000, and pivot tables. The Microsoft Query add-in for Excel should also be installed on your computer.

What Are OLAP Cubes?

OLAP cubes provide a way to view summaries of large amounts of detail data. A cube is the OLAP term for a multi-dimensional database. OLAP cubes consist of two data elements: measures and dimensions. (Note: The term data field is used by the OLAP Cube Wizard in place of the official OLAP term measure presumably to make it easier for the user to understand. The terms data field and measure are used interchangeably in this article.) Measures (data fields) are columns of data that are to be aggregated in some way: a column to be totaled, counted, or averaged. Columns in this category might include extended unit price and ship quantity. A unit price amount would not be a good candidate for a measure because it doesn’t do any good to sum a unit price unless you are sure the counted quantity is always one. In SQL terminology, think of measures as those columns contained in an aggregate function: SUM(EXT_UNIT_PRICE) or COUNT(ORDERS).

The second data element found in a cube is the dimension. Dimensions are summary-level data fields by which the measures will be summarized. Columns that fall in the dimension category would be customer name, sales quarter, ship-to region, and item type. In SQL terms, think of dimensions as those columns that are used in the GROUP BY clause: GROUP BY CUSTOMER_NAME or GROUP BY SHIP_TO_REGION.


This structure allows the user to choose one or more of the dimension combinations on the fly and then have the corresponding measure summaries displayed. Think of the OLAP cube as allowing the user to run a summary report for a given set of data (measures) under a set of predefined combinations (dimensions).

Designing a Cube

When designing your own OLAP cube, there are three things you must do:

• Identify each data field (measure) and what type of aggregate is to be performed. (The OLAP Cube Wizard only allows SUM, COUNT, MIN, or MAX.)

• Identify each dimension (summary level) for which you would like to see the measures summarized.

• Write an SQL statement or use the MS Query wizard to extract this information. (Keep in mind that the steps required to build a cube with the OLAP Cube Wizard are different from the steps required to build a cube with other products. With a true OLAP server, more work is required to build a cube correctly.)

Creating an Order Sales Cube in Excel

For this example, I exported the tables from the Northwind Traders sample database that comes with Microsoft Access and Visual Basic to the AS/400 in a library called NORTHWIND. (I changed all column names to uppercase before I did this because it makes the long field names on the AS/400 easier to work with.) The Northwind database contains sales data.

Midrange Network Expert has posted my NORTHWIND DB2/400 test library as an OS/400 Save File (SAVF) called NWINDLB400.SAVF on the Midrange Network Expert Downloadable Code Web site (www.midrangecomputing.com/ mne/code.cfm). To run the example I have listed here, upload this SAVF file to your AS/400 in a library called NORTHWIND. Then run the OS/400 Restore Library (RSTOBJ) command with the following parameters:

RSTOBJ OBJ(*ALL) SAVLIB(NORTHWIND) DEV(*SAVF) SAVF(NORTHWIND/NWINDLB400)

This will set up the database tables that I use in this article. Once you have the database set up, you can run the examples that I discuss here and build your own OLAP Cube in Excel. Doing this will help you get started using Excel OLAP-to-AS/400 connectivity so that you can begin creating your own Excel OLAP cubes with OS/400 data.

Figure 1 shows the Northwind tables and relationships you’ll be dealing with. The identified measures and dimensions appear at the bottom of Figure 1. You are going to view quantity, extended unit price, and maximum extended unit price (highest extended price) as your measures with the option to summarize these measures by any combination of your dimensions: company name, country, region, product name, supplier name, and order date. Figure 2 shows the SQL statement you’ll be using to extract this data.

OLAP cubes are displayed in Excel through pivot tables. Here is a step-by-step list of how to create the cube using the Northwind sample tables I exported to OS/400:

1. Start Excel with a blank workbook.

2. Choose Data from the Excel menu bar, and then choose PivotTable and PivotChart Report.


3. In Step 1 of the PivotTable and PivotChart wizard, choose External data source as the data that you want to analyze and then click Next. This will allow Excel to get data from an ODBC data source.

4. In Step 2 of the Pivot Table Wizard, click the Get Data button.

5. At the Choose Data Source prompt, make sure the Databases tab is selected and choose the ODBC data source for your AS/400. If you don’t want to use the query wizard, uncheck the box labeled Use the query wizard to create edit queries. For this example, clear the Use the query wizard to create edit queries check box.

6. Microsoft Query will appear and display the Add Tables dialog with a table/view list from your AS/400 data source. For this example, click the Close button. (I’ll show you how to enter the SQL statement directly.)

7. To enter the SQL statement, click View, SQL from the menu bar. Library names may be hard-coded in here if you did not store them in your DSN. Enter the SQL statements shown in Figure 2. Whether using the query wizard or entering SQL, make sure all your dimensions and measures are included in the query. Click OK when finished. If you’re presented with the message that SQL Query can’t be represented graphically, click OK again. Your query should have returned some data in the Microsoft query window.

8. Notice that any columns you renamed with the AS clause have been ignored. For this example, columns Ext_Price1 and Ext_Price2 have been renamed to 00002 and 00003. Keep this in mind as you will have to know the contents of these renamed columns. You will be able to rename these columns later in the cube wizard.

9. Choose File and then Save from the Microsoft Query menu bar to save your Microsoft Query definition. This file name ends with a .DQY extension. If for some reason you need to modify your cube, you will have to start over at this point with Microsoft Query by using this .DQY file.

10. From inside Microsoft Query, choose File then Create OLAP Cube from the menu bar. The OLAP Cube Wizard will appear. If an introduction screen is displayed, click Next.

11. In the OLAP Cube Wizard Step 1 screen, the column list from your SQL statement should appear. Choose the data fields (measures) for your cube (field name and aggregate function). You should also rename your data field names here, as shown in Figure 3, as users of the cube will reference these names. Click Next.

12. On the Cube Wizard Step 2 screen, choose the dimensions for your cube from the list of remaining columns. Drag each dimension from the left side of the window to the right side. Right-click on a dimension field to rename it. Notice in Figure 4 how the dimensions can be hierarchical. A hierarchical dimension occurs when one dimension can be rolled up into another. For example, I placed the Region field underneath Country. This is because sales can be rolled up by region into Country. Also, the OLAP Cube Wizard automatically creates a hierarchical dimension with a date field. In Figure 4, the order date was automatically assigned year, quarter, month, and day sub-dimensions. (I unchecked the day box because I didn’t want my data to be aggregated at that fine of an interval.) This feature is nice because your date data can be examined by month, quarter, or year. The lesson here is to make sure you identify where dimensions can be placed in a hierarchy
(e.g.. when one dimension logically rolls-up into another). Click Next when done with the dimension definitions.


13. The OLAP Cube Wizard Step 3 screen provides three options for saving the cube definition. See the sidebar article, “Your Options for Saving Cube Definitions” or choose Help to review the three choices given. Choose an option and click Finish. You will be prompted to save your cube definition. Cube definitions end with an .OQY extension. (If you choose to save the data in a cube file, you must put a name in the file name box. This file should end with a .CUB extension and it is where all of your aggregated data will be stored.) If you plan to publish this data for use by others, save the .OQY and .CUB files on a network drive, preferably with a Uniform Naming Convention (UNC) path—e.g., serverpathAS400NWIND.cub. The creation of a .CUB file may take awhile, depending on the amount of data. In most cases, I recommend using the default option to create a cube file.

14. This brings you back to the PivotTable Wizard, click Next. Choose a beginning cell to store your data in your Excel spreadsheet and click the Finish button.

The Cube File Contents

The OLAP cube file mainly stores summary data based on the aggregates of all possible dimension combinations for your cube definition. Therefore, the number of dimensions and the number of values in each dimension are directly proportional to the cube size. For example, if your cube has two dimensions, a customer with 500 values and items with 700 values, then the maximum number of possible preaggregations stored in the cube file would be approximately 350,000 (500 x 700). However, since every customer hasn’t purchased every item and in fact only purchases an average of three items, realistically there would be about 1500 (500 x 3) summary records to store.

Using the Cube Data in a Pivot Table

I am assuming you are familiar with pivot tables, so this section won’t be a long tutorial on them. For more information on pivot tables, see the appropriate help topics. When the PivotTable Wizard has completed, Excel should show the PivotTable tool bar and a blank pivot table as shown in Figure 5. The PivotTable toolbar should show the dimensions and data fields from your cube.

The PivotTable’s four sections are page fields, column fields, row fields, and data item fields. The data items section can only contain measures; the other sections can only contain dimension columns. Row and column sections are used for summarizing the data in a two-dimensional format. When a dimension is placed in the row section, a row is added to the table for each unique data element in that dimension. So, if the customer dimension is dragged into the row section, a row is shown for each customer. Likewise, if a dimension is dragged into the column section, a column is created for each data value in the dimension. The page section provides an additional subset function for the row and column totals.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, look at Figure 6. In this example, the extended price measure was dropped into the data item section, the customer dimension was dropped into the row section, and the order year was placed into the column section. Finally, the country was dropped into the page section. With this setup, a customer’s sales (row) can be compared by year (columns). Further, since the country dimension is in the page section, a subset of the data can be selected by choosing a country from the list. In Figure 6, the totals are shown for all customers in Denmark. Notice that the data here is viewed in a three-dimensional format with the year dimension on the X-axis, the customer on the Y-axis, and the country on the Z-axis. Now you know why a cube is referred to as being multidimensional.


An additional feature is the ability to do the subselect—or drilldown—from a list of values in a dimension. Figure 7 shows how individual countries can be selected. Also, since the region is a sub-level of the country dimension, individual regions can be selected within a country.

Of course, it becomes possible to view summaries of your measures by almost any imaginable combination of dimensions that are available in your cube. If you’re not familiar with PivotTable, take the time to experiment with it. It doesn’t take long to realize what a versatile and powerful tool it is!

As a final note, remember to format pivot tables with options found on the PivotTable toolbar. For example, to format the extended price column as currency, use PivotTable’s option for formatting fields—don’t format the cells using Excel’s format cells option. The toolbar also offers some other formatting and sorting options, so be sure to review them.

Publish to the Web!

You can do more with the workbook page by adding a chart and publishing it to a Web page for users to access. To do this, make sure that your cube’s query definition (.OQY) and optional cube data file (.CUB) have been saved on a network server that is accessible to all users. To publish the spreadsheet to a Web page from Excel, choose File from the Excel menu bar, then choose Save As and select Web Page as your Save as type. Choose the Selection Sheet radio button and be sure the Add interactivity box is checked. Then click the Publish button and choose a location in which to save the Web page. For the client to use this Web page, the user has to have Internet Explorer 4.01 or higher and Office 2000 Web Components installed. Also, note that you can’t refresh the data in the cube file from the server while users are accessing it. When viewing the Web page, you’ll be delighted to see that the same functionality for rearranging the cube in Excel is available through the browser. Figure 8 shows what the published Web page will look like inside Internet Explorer 5.0.

What Are the Limitations of This Tool?

How big does the cube have to be before this client-side tool will choke? All in all, it seems to be a matter of toying with this tool and learning where the limitation lies for your particular data set. The answer depends on many factors. Besides a PC’s number- crunching power (CPU and RAM), I’ve found the biggest limitation to be dimensions that have a large number of values.

By adding some dummy data to the Northwind database, I performed one test involving almost 600,000 detail records.

I estimated the raw data to be 126 MB (calculated as data record length from the SQL statement times the number of records), but the cube file was only 122 KB. Then, I performed another test involving 350,000 records that had large dimensions. This second test cube, containing only 50 MB of raw data, actually performed much more poorly than the first test. The .CUB file size was over 13 MB. In fact, it wouldn’t even let me view the data by customer. Instead, it gave me a message stating that there weren’t enough resources on the PC! (I’m using a Pentium 233 MHz with 96 MB RAM.) What was the difference between the two cubes? The first cube had more detail data but the customer dimension, for example, had only 91 values. On the other hand, the second cube had a large customer dimension containing thousands of values. Although the first cube had more detail data to process, the number of preaggregates that had to be stored was much less than the second cube, which had a large number of dimension values.

The moral of the story here is that the size of the detail data isn’t the main culprit in limiting Excel’s ability to process OLAP cubes files, rather it is the combination of dimensions.


Performance Tips

Finally, here are a few performance tips you can use to improve your cube creation and access process:

• OLAP cube files are flat files that sit on a hard drive or network server. This means that, unlike the OLAP services provided with SQL Server 7.0, the client has to do all of the work in processing the cube. Therefore, the speedier the PC the better.

• If several users will be accessing the cube file at the same time on a network drive, keep in mind that there may be file-locking and resource-sharing issues that will reduce the speed. It may help to make the cube file read-only so users don’t have the option to update the cube data file. If the cube file isn’t too large, a batch file could be set up to copy the file to the user’s hard drive to alleviate the network overhead.

• Only specify the measures and dimensions that are absolutely critical. If a dimension isn’t used very often, put it in a separate cube or take it out altogether because every extra dimension requires more space and processing time. Don’t be dimension-happy just to please everyone, because with each new dimension comes another load of aggregate summaries.

• Keep dimensions at a high level such as customer or sales representative. Database items such as order number or invoice number are what I call low-level dimensions; these items provide summaries that are very close to the base data. As you saw, OLAP cubes have a very nice drilldown feature. The problem with this feature is that users like to start with a customer, then pick an item, and then want to see what orders these items came from. Do not allow users to do this! A low-level drilldown is not the purpose of the OLAP cube. The cube is supposed to provide high-level summarizations over large amounts of data. Remember, the larger the number of values in a dimension, the more summarizations are going to have to occur andthe cube will process more slowly. If a sales history cube with 100,000 line items is to have an invoice dimension, then, assuming that an average order has five line items, there will be 20,000 invoice aggregates. This number will expand exponentially as more dimensions are added.

• If a cube starts returning Not Enough Resources error messages, consider breaking the single cube up into multiple cubes. Say your troubled cube has ten dimensions. Break up the cube into two smaller cubes, each having five dimensions. This will greatly reduce the number of preaggregates that the cube file will have to store.

• Don’t be in a hurry to refresh the data in a large OLAP cube. Since cubes are meant to analyze large amounts of static data, cube data needs only to be updated once a week or month. Usually a single day doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Users who need up-to-the- minute information should work with a small cube containing only the current month’s information or work with a different tool altogether.

Cubing AS/400 Data for Fun and Profit

OLAP cubes provide a convenient way to review large amounts of summarized AS/400 data, turning that data into valuable management information. The cube file technique presented here won’t be sufficient for extremely large data sets but it is sufficient to get your feet wet with OLAP before moving your OLAP processing to a different platform. Thanks to Microsoft, cubes can be viewed in common tools such as Excel 2000, Access 2000, and Web browsers. The programmer’s job of providing meaningful information from AS/400 data just became easier.


References and Related Material

Microsoft’s DB2 Universal Database for AS/400 Web site: www.as400.ibm.com/db2/db2main.htm (The AS/400’s DB2 page currently has a link to preview the DB2 OLAP Server for AS/400 product. This page contains summary information about the product’s capabilities.)

Microsoft’s OLAP services Web site: www.microsoft.com/sql/techinfo/olap.htm (This Web site has links describing OLAP services with SQL Server 7.0 and includes articles on how to successfully design an OLAP cube.)


Your Options for Saving Cube Definitions

When creating an OLAP cube using the Microsoft Query add-in for Excel, Microsoft gives you three options for how your cube definition can be saved. You should review these options carefully because your cube definition parameters will affect network performance, response time, and the ability to update your data as needed.

Option 1: Retrieving Data on Demand

This option will save the cube definition (i.e., SQL statement, data source reference) only. The data is retrieved as needed, such as when the spreadsheet is first opened. Only the data necessary for display is shown. For example, if the cube is only being summarized by country, the aggregates for the other dimensions are not retrieved until needed. Option 1 should be used for cubes that don’t change often or when disk and memory space is running low. Because the cube retrieves detail data from the server, this option will be slow for large cubes.

Option 2: Retrieving All Data at Once

As with the first option, this option stores instructions for creating the cube and creates the cube itself only when you open the report. Unlike option one, the cube retrieves all of the data for the report at one
time—when you first open the report—so that you can change what the report displays without waiting for the cube to retrieve more data. For example, if the cube is initially summarized by country, the aggregates for the country dimension and all other dimensions will be retrieved. This option should be used for cubes where users will want to repeatedly change the summary dimensions of the cube or when you do not want to allocate substantial disk space for the .CUB files. Since all of the detail data is retrieved and aggregated at once, you can change the view and display different data rapidly. However, this type of cube requires more memory and temporary disk space, and, again, the initial data retrieval will be slow for large cubes.

Option 3: Saving a Cube File

With this option, all of the detail data will be downloaded from the server, aggregated, and placed in a file on disk. This option is meant for heavily used cubes where the summaries by the different dimensions will be changed often. The benefit of this option is that the cube file can be stored on a network server where it can be accessed by many users. Since the users will be accessing an offline cube file, the server won’t be burdened with large ODBC requests. In addition, this data can be viewed while the server is down. The downsides of this option are that the creation of the cube file is longer and it may require large amounts of storage space.

—Michael Sansoterra


Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200009-00.jpg 455x266

Figure 1: This diagram shows the table relationships for the Northwind Traders sample database. The measures and dimensions for the sales cube are also identified.

SELECT OD.Quantity, OD.UnitPrice*OD.Quantity ,

OD.UnitPrice*OD.Quantity ,

CS.CompanyName, CS.Country,

CS.Region, PD.ProductName,

SP.CompanyName ,

CT.CategoryName, OH.OrderDate

FROM Northwind.OrderDtls OD
INNER JOIN Northwind.Order OH ON OH.OrderID=OD.OrderID
INNER JOIN Northwind.Products PD ON PD.ProductID=OD.ProductID
INNER JOIN Northwind.Suppliers SP ON

SP.SupplierID=PD.SupplierID
INNER JOIN Northwind.Customers CS ON

CS.CustomerID=OH.CustomerID
INNER JOIN Northwind.Category CT ON

CT.CategoryID = PD.CategoryID

Figure 2: This SQL statement is used to extract the measures and dimensions from the database.


Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200010-00.jpg 444x320

Figure 3: For each data field (measure), select the summarize (aggregate) function and give the data field a user-friendly name in Step 1 of the Cube wizard.

Figure 4: Step 2 of the Cube wizard involves selecting and naming dimensions. Notice that the Country and Order Date dimensions are hierarchical (that is they have subdimensions.)


Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200010-01.jpg 444x320

Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200011-00.jpg 445x508

Figure 5: The pivot table contains four sections: page fields, column fields, row fields, and data item fields.

Figure 6: This pivot table shows the extended sale price summarized by date within customer. Moreover, a subset can be done at the country or region level.


Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200011-01.jpg 444x137

Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200012-00.jpg 444x183

Figure 7: The drilldown-type selection box for the country dimension is used to select summaries at an individual country or region level.

Figure 8: This is the cube as it appears in Internet Explorer 5. The field list, including measures and dimensions, appears on the right.


Crunching_AS-_400_Data_with_OLAP_Cubes_and_Excel_200012-01.jpg 455x223

Michael Sansoterra is a DBA for Broadway Systems in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He can be contacted at sqlsleuth@gmail.com.


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    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericYou must be asking yourself: am I doing everything I can to protect my organization’s data? Tune in as our panel of IBM i high availability experts discuss:


    - Why companies don’t test role swaps when they know they should
    - Whether high availability in the cloud makes sense for IBM i users
    - Why some organizations don’t have high availability yet
    - How to get high availability up and running at your organization
    - High availability considerations for today’s security concerns

  • Profound.js 2.0: Extend the Power of Node to your IBM i Applications

    SB Profound WC 5541In this Webinar, we'll demonstrate how Profound.js 2.0 enables you to easily adopt Node.js in your business, and to take advantage of the many benefits of Node, including access to a much larger pool of developers for IBM i and access to countless reusable open source code packages on npm (Node Package Manager).
    You will see how Profound.js 2.0 allows you to:

    • Provide RPG-like capabilities for server-side JavaScript.
    • Easily create web and mobile application interfaces for Node on IBM i.
    • Let existing RPG programs call Node.js modules directly, and vice versa.
    • Automatically generate code for Node.js.
    • Automatically converts existing RPGLE code into clean, simplified Node.js code.

    Download and watch today!

     

  • Make Modern Apps You'll Love with Profound UI & Profound.js

    SB Profound WC 5541Whether you have green screens or a drab GUI, your outdated apps can benefit from modern source code, modern GUIs, and modern tools.
    Profound Logic's Alex Roytman and Liam Allan are here to show you how Free-format RPG and Node.js make it possible to deliver applications your whole business will love:

    • Transform legacy RPG code to modern free-format RPG and Node.js
    • Deliver truly modern application interfaces with Profound UI
    • Extend your RPG applications to include Web Services and NPM packages with Node.js

     

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic

    Most business intelligence tools are just that: tools, a means to an end but not an accelerator. Yours could even be slowing you down. But what if your BI tool didn't just give you a platform for query-writing but also improved programmer productivity?
    Watch the recorded webinar to see how Sequel:

    • Makes creating complex results simple
    • Eliminates barriers to data sources
    • Increases flexibility with data usage and distribution

    Accelerated productivity makes everyone happy, from programmer to business user.

  • Business Intelligence is Changing: Make Your Game Plan

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIt’s time to develop a strategy that will help you meet your informational challenges head-on. Watch the webinar to learn how to set your IT department up for business intelligence success. You’ll learn how the right data access tool will help you:

    • Access IBM i data faster
    • Deliver useful information to executives and business users
    • Empower users with secure data access

    Ready to make your game plan and finally keep up with your data access requests?

     

  • Controlling Insider Threats on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericLet’s face facts: servers don’t hack other servers. Despite the avalanche of regulations, news headlines remain chock full of stories about data breaches, all initiated by insiders or intruders masquerading as insiders.
    User profiles are often duplicated or restored and are rarely reviewed for the appropriateness of their current configuration. This increases the risk of the profile being able to access data without the intended authority or having privileges that should be reserved for administrators.
    Watch security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses a new approach for onboarding new users on IBM i and best-practices techniques for managing and monitoring activities after they sign on.

  • Don't Just Settle for Query/400...

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhile introducing Sequel Data Access, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access, distribution trends, and more advanced query tools. Plus, you’ll learn how a tool like Sequel lightens IT’s load by:

    - Accessing real-time data, so you can make real-time decisions
    - Providing run-time prompts, so users can help themselves
    - Delivering instant results in Microsoft Excel and PDF, without the wait
    - Automating the query process with on-demand data, dashboards, and scheduled jobs

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericWhat happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    You don’t need to stick with status quo anymore.
    Watch the webinar to learn how to put effective document management into practice and:

    • Capture documents faster, instead of wasting everyone’s time
    • Manage documents easily, so you can always find them
    • Distribute documents automatically, and move on to the next task

     

  • Lessons Learned from the AS/400 Breach

    SB_PowerTech_WC_GenericGet actionable info to avoid becoming the next cyberattack victim.
    In “Data breach digest—Scenarios from the field,” Verizon documented an AS/400 security breach. Whether you call it AS/400, iSeries, or IBM i, you now have proof that the system has been breached.
    Watch IBM i security expert Robin Tatam give an insightful discussion of the issues surrounding this specific scenario.
    Robin will also draw on his extensive cybersecurity experience to discuss policies, processes, and configuration details that you can implement to help reduce the risk of your system being the next victim of an attack.

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this 30-minute recorded webinar, our experts demonstrate how you can:

    • Manage multiple platforms from a central location
    • View monitoring results in a single pane of glass on your desktop or mobile device
    • Take advantage of best practice, plug-and-play monitoring templates
    • Create rules to automate daily checks across your entire infrastructure
    • Receive notification if something is wrong or about to go wrong

    This presentation includes a live demo of Network Server Suite.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericYou need to know when IBM i disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer. Our experts will show you how Robot Monitor can help you pinpoint exactly when your auxiliary storage starts to disappear and why, so you can start taking a proactive approach to disk monitoring and analysis. You’ll also get insight into:

    • The main sources of disk consumption
    • How to monitor temporary storage and QTEMP objects in real time
    • How to monitor objects and libraries in real time and near-real time
    • How to track long-term disk trends

     

     

  • Stop Re-keying Data Between IBM I and Other Applications

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericMany business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could stop re-keying data between IBM i and other applications? Or if you could stop replicating data and start processing orders faster? Or what if you could automatically extract data from existing reports instead of re-keying? It’s all possible. Watch this webinar to learn about:

    • 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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    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.

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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.