Sidebar

The API Corner: Improving Performance by Caching Results

APIs
Typography
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Implement a cache based on the least recently used replacement.

If you've been following the "API Corner," you know that the articles are intended to introduce you to what's available in system APIs, tell you how to code to the APIs, and demonstrate calling the APIs within the context of a complete program that can be compiled and run. The articles generally do not, however, discuss considerations of how you might integrate the API into your existing or new applications. Considerations such as validation of input parameters, error recovery, performance, and the like are typically left to you.

One example of this would be the article "Dynamically Editing a Numeric Value" published in May of last year. In that article, you were introduced to the Convert Edit Code (QECCVTEC) and Edit (QECEDT) APIs by way of implementing an SQL user-defined function (UDF) named EDITC. EDITC enabled the dynamic editing of numeric values based on a user-specified edit code. The focus of that article was on how to use the APIs rather than how to necessarily get the best performance out of the UDF in an application setting. In this article, we'll look at a few ways that the performance of the EDITC UDF might be improved and, along the way, also introduce you to the Machine Interface (MI) instruction Materialize Machine Data (MATMDATA); this is, after all, the "API Corner," so we've got to introduce at least one new programming interface. This article assumes that you have read the previous article and are familiar with the operation of the EDITC procedure provided in the article. Today, I won't discuss the QECCVTEC and QECEDT APIs in any detail as the previously referenced article provides that information.

Last year's EDITC procedure provides the intended function of editing a numeric value of arbitrary size with an equally arbitrary edit code selected by the user. The procedure is not, however, written in a manner likely to get the best performance in typical usage—namely, processing tables containing more than one row. Let's say, for instance, that you are using the following SQL statement on the table SOMETABLE and that SOMETABLE contains 100,000 rows.

Select editc(Amount, 9, 2, 'A') from SomeTable

As part of processing the 100,000 rows of SOMETABLE, EDITC will unconditionally call the QECCVTEC API 100,000 times. As each of these calls will be requesting the edit mask appropriate for editing a numeric value with a precision of 9, a scale of 2, and an edit code of 'A', EDITC will be receiving back the same edit mask, length of edit mask, and length of edited value values with each of these 100,000 API calls.

One easy optimization would be for EDITC to retain the variant parameter values associated with the most recent call to QECCVTEC—that is, the API input parameters Precision, Scale, and EditCode along with the returned API output parameters of EdtMsk, LenEdtMsk, and LenEdtVal. By storing these values in global storage, rather than the local storage used in the original article, EDITC can then compare the current Precision, Scale, and EditCode values to the previous Precision, Scale, and EditCode values. If all three are the same, then EDITC can immediately call the QECEDT API using the previously returned (and stored) QECCVTEC values of EdtMsk, LenEdtMsk, and LenEdtVal. Only if one or more of the three input values have changed does EDITC need to call QECCVTEC in order to get an updated edit mask. In the case of our earlier example, this simple comparison of current input values to previous input values would, when processing SOMETABLE, change 100,000 QECCVTEC API calls to one QECCVTEC API call and 99,999 comparisons of the current Precision, Scale, and EditCode to the previous Precision, Scale, and EditCode—a definite savings in processing.

This "easy" optimization, however, is not very "real world." The problem is that EDITC is only retaining knowledge of the edit mask most recently used. Let's change the previous SQL statement to the following statement.

Select editc(Amount, 9, 2, 'A'), editc(NbrDays, 4, 0, '2') from SomeTable

In this case, the EDITC UDF will be called twice for each row processed of SOMETABLE: once for Amount and once for NbrDays. Assuming that the first call to EDITC is to process Amount with the second call being for NbrDays, then the comparison of current Precision, Scale, and EditCode to previous Precision, Scale, and EditCode will fail (be not equal) with every EDITC call as the precision, scale, and edit code is different across Amount and NbrDays. Due to this comparison failure, EDITC will end up calling the QECCVTEC API 200,000 times plus doing 200,000 comparisons of current input values to previous input values. Now the original (non-optimized) EDITC would be faster; it would still need to call QECCVTEC 200,000 times, but it would not be performing 200,000 input variable comparisons that always result in the "optimized" EDITC calling QECCVTEC.

To avoid this problem, EDITC needs to maintain a larger history (or cache) of recently used Precision, Scale, and EditCode input values—along with the EdtMsk, LenEdtMsk, and LenEdtVal values associated with these input values. The following module (with the changes from the original EDITC module highlighted in bold) shows one of the ways you could maintain this larger history.

h nomain                                                      

                                                              

dEditC           pr           256a   varying                

d NbrIn                         31p 9 const                  

d Precision                     10i 0 const                  

d Scale                         10i 0 const                  

d EditCode                       1a   const varying          

                                                              

dEdit             pr                 extpgm('QECEDT')        

d RcvVar                       256a                          

d LenRcvVar                     10i 0 const                  

d NbrToEdt                     31a   const options(*varsize)

d NbrClass                     10a   const                  

d Precision                     10i 0 const                  

d EdtMsk                       256a   const                  

d LenEdtMsk                     10i 0 const                  

d ZeroSupr                       1a   const                  

d QUSEC                               likeds(QUSEC)          

                                                              

dMatUTC           pr                 extproc('_MATMDATA')    

d UTC                           8a                          

d Option                         2a   value                  

                                                              

dCurr             ds                 qualified              

d Precision                     10i 0 overlay(Curr :1)        

d Scale                         10i 0 overlay(Curr :5)        

d EditCode                       1a   overlay(Curr :9)        

                                                              

dX               s             5u 0                        

dY               s             5u 0                        

dNbr             s             31a                          

dNbrEdited       s           256                            

dZeroSupr         s             1a                          

dLoTime           s             8a                            

                                                                

dCacheSize       c                   const(20)                

d                 ds                                            

dIDs                             9a   dim(CacheSize)            

d PrecisionIn                   10i 0 overlay(IDs :1)          

d ScaleIn                       10i 0 overlay(IDs :5)          

d EditCodeIn                    1a   overlay(IDs :9)          

                                                                

d                 ds                                            

dValues                       264a   dim(CacheSize)            

d LenEdtMskOut                  10i 0 overlay(Values :1)        

d LenEdtValOut                 10i 0 overlay(Values :5)        

d EdtMskOut                   256a   overlay(Values :9)        

                                                                

dUsageTime        s             8a   dim(CacheSize)            

d                                     inz(x'0000000000000000')

                                                                

dZonedOutput     ds                 qualified                

d Zoned                         1   inz(x'02')              

d Scale                         3u 0                          

d Precision                     3u 0                          

d                               10i 0 inz(0)                  

                                                              

/copy qsysinc/qrpglesrc,qusec                                

                                                              

pEditC           b                   export                  

                                                              

dEditC           pi           256a   varying                  

d NbrIn                         31p 9 const                    

d Precision                     10i 0 const                    

d Scale                         10i 0 const                    

d EditCode                       1a   const varying            

                                                              

dCvtEdtCd         pr                 extpgm('QECCVTEC')      

d EdtMsk                       256a                            

d LenEdtMsk                     10i 0                          

d LenEdtVal                     10i 0                          

d ZeroSupr                       1a                            

d EditCode                       1a   const                    

d FillChr                       1a   const                    

d Precision                     10i 0 const                    

d Scale                         10i 0 const                    

d QUSEC                               likeds(QUSEC)            

                                                                

dCpyNv           pr                 extproc('_LBCPYNV')      

d Rcv                                like(Nbr)                

d RcvAtr                             const like(ZonedOutput)  

d Src                                 const like(NbrIn)        

d SrcAtr                             const like(PackedInput)  

                                                                

dPackedInput     ds                 qualified                

d Packed                         1   inz(x'03')            

d Scale                         3u 0 inz(%decpos(NbrIn))  

d Precision                    3u 0 inz(%len(NbrIn))      

d                               10i 0 inz(0)                

                                                            

/free                                                      

                                                            

QUSBPrv = 0;                                              

                                                            

monitor;                                                  

                                                            

Curr.Precision = Precision;                              

Curr.Scale = Scale;                                      

Curr.EditCode = EditCode;                                

                                                            

X = %lookup(Curr :IDs);                                  

if X = 0;                                                

     LoTime = *hival;                                                

     for Y = 1 to CacheSize;                                          

         if UsageTime(Y) < LoTime;                                    

           LoTime = UsageTime(Y);                                    

           X = Y;                                                    

         endif;                                                      

     endfor;                                                          

                                                                      

     IDs(X) = Curr;                                                  

     CvtEdtCd(EdtMskOut(X) :LenEdtMskOut(X) :LenEdtValOut(X) :ZeroSupr

             :EditCode :' ' :Precision :Scale :QUSEC);              

                                                                      

endif;                                                              

                                                                      

MatUTC(UsageTime(X) :x'0004');                                      

                                                                      

ZonedOutput.Precision = Precision;                                  

ZonedOutput.Scale = Scale;                              

CpyNv(Nbr :ZonedOutput :NbrIn :PackedInput);            

                                                          

Edit(NbrEdited :LenEdtValOut(X) :Nbr :'*ZONED'          

       :PrecisionIn(X) :EdtMskOut(X) :LenEdtMskOut(X)    

       :ZeroSupr :QUSEC);                                

                                                          

return %subst(NbrEdited :1 :LenEdtValOut(X));          

                                                          

on-error;                                              

   return '*** Error ***';                              

endmon;                                                

                                                          

/end-free                                                

                                                          

pEditC           e                                      

As with the previous article, to create the EDITC module and EDITS service program, you can run the following commands.

CRTRPGMOD MODULE(EDITC)

CRTSRVPGM SRVPGM(EDITS) MODULE(EDITC) EXPORT(*ALL)

Quite a few of the changes are related to the definition of working variables used by the EDITC function. Moving several variables from local storage in function EDITC to the persistent global storage of service program EDITS, and then consolidating these previously standalone variables into arrays, enables EDITC to maintain a cache of recent edit mask usage.

In EDITS, there are three arrays defined: IDs to contain the most recently requested Precision, Scale, and EditCode values; Values to contain the LenEdtMsk, LenEdtVal, and EdtMsk associated with the IDs values; and UsageTime to contain the time of last usage associated with the IDs value. The use of three separate arrays is done solely for the purpose of distinguishing to you the distinction of QECCVTEC inputs, QECCVTEC outputs, and aging controls. In practice, I would most likely use one array with all of the inputs, outputs, and aging controls as subfields of the one array.

All three arrays are defined with dim(CacheSize) where CacheSize is a named constant set to the value of 20. If, in your application mix, a different cache size would be appropriate, then changing the value of CacheSize, recreating the EDITC module, and recreating the EDITS service program would be all that is necessary in order to start utilizing that new cache size (for new jobs on the system anyway). Having a sufficiently large value used for CacheSize is critical. Too small of a value will cause unproductive thrashing of the cache. Too large of a value will cause more storage to be used than is necessary and lead to some unproductive processing of cache entries when performing cache lookups and cache maintenance. By far, though, it will be better to have a cache defined too large rather than one defined too small. We'll return to this discussion of CacheSize a bit later in this article.

With that brief discussion of the arrays being used, let's now take a look at EDITC's processing. When entering the function, EDITC first aggregates the input values of Precision, Scale, and EditCode into the data structure Curr. Curr is then used to look,up an entry in the IDs array that matches the current input values.

If a match is not found (that is X is 0, which will be the case when EDITC is used the first time within a job or when a non-cached set of input values is encountered), then the UsageTime array is searched to find the first entry with the lowest UsageTime value. UsageTime array entries (as you'll see shortly) represent the time that the entry was last used to edit a numeric value, with the lowest time value identifying the entry that was least recently used. Having found this UsageTime entry, the corresponding entry of the IDs array is updated to reflect the value of Curr, the QECCVTEC API is called, and the returned values of the API call are stored in the corresponding entry of the Values array. The previously least recently used entry has now been discarded as part of cache maintenance. This entry now reflects the most recently used cache entry.

At this point, X identifies the entries of UsageTime, IDs, and Values that are to be used when calling the QECEDT API, regardless of whether or not the initial lookup into IDs was successful. EDITC now runs the MATMDATA MI instruction to access the current Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) time and stores this value in the UsageTime(X) array entry.

The MATMDATA instruction provides very high-speed access to system information such as the current local time and the current UTC time. The time value (whether local or UTC) is returned in an 8-byte format that is often referred to as a "Standard Time Format" (where "standard" refers to the i and not necessarily the industry in general). This standard time format provides a consistent measure of elapsed time (since a specific time on August 23, 1928, for the curious among you) with varying degrees of granularity based on the release your system is running on. In the case of V5R4, bit 48 (base 0) of the standard time format is incremented every 8 microseconds; in the case of 6.1 and 7.1, bit 51 of the standard time format is incremented every 1 microsecond. Storing the UTC time in UsageTime provides EDITC with a very clear timestamp of when a given set of IDs values was used, allowing EDITC to quickly identify (in the DoFor loop previously reviewed) which entry in IDs and Values has not been used in the longest time and therefore is the "best" candidate for replacement when our cache is "full." Note that I have "best" in quotes. In the current EDITC, we are implementing a cache replacement algorithm based on least recently used, so not used in the longest time is how "best" is defined. There are many other possible replacement algorithms, where "best" can very well not be least recently used. Some algorithms in fact define "best" as most recently used (based on how you anticipate data access).

Having stored the UTC time in UsageTime(X), EDITC then runs essentially the same instructions as the earlier version of EDITC. The only difference is that EDITC now references the appropriate entry in the IDs and Values arrays when calling QECEDT rather than the previous standalone variables. EDITC could, if desired, eliminate the two instructions, modifying the ZonedOutput data structure by adding the ZonedOutput structure as another subfield of the Values array, but that's left for you to do.

Having reviewed the logic flow of EDITC, let's now look at our use of MATMDATA and our storing of UTC time in UsageTime. As mentioned earlier, MATMDATA can return either local or UTC time (and if you're on 6.1 or 7.1, either unique or non-unique standard time format values for local and UTC time). UTC time is chosen due to many geographies setting local time backward during certain points of the year. If EDITC were to be using local time, and any job utilizing EDITC was unfortunate enough to be running when the local time is set back one hour, then EDITC would be selecting the most recently used entry as the "oldest" as a "fallen-back." A 1:01 a.m. entry would appear to be older than the 1:55 a.m. entries time-stamped prior to local time falling back. This problem would be corrected within an hour, but during that hour the EDITC cache might experience some real thrashing.

A second point is that we don't really need to be storing a time value at all, but using time gave me a reasonable way of introducing the MATMDATA instruction. All we really need is a method of determining which cache entry was least recently used, and a simple counter approach, such as shown below, would meet that requirement.

dLoUsage         s             20u 0

dCounter         s             20u 0

dUsage          s             20u 0 dim(CacheSize)    

d                                     inz(0)            

if X = 0;                                                          

     LoUsage = *hival;                                                

     for Y = 1 to CacheSize;                                          

         if Usage(Y) < LoUsage;                                      

           LoUsage = Usage(Y);                                      

           X = Y;                                                    

         endif;                                                      

     endfor;                                                          

                                                                      

     IDs(X) = Curr;                                                  

     CvtEdtCd(EdtMskOut(X) :LenEdtMskOut(X) :LenEdtValOut(X) :ZeroSupr

             :EditCode :' ' :Precision :Scale :QUSEC);              

                                                                      

endif;                                                              

                                                                      

Counter += 1;                                                      

Usage(X) = Counter;            

And returning to the topic of CacheSize, to determine a "good" cache size will require knowledge of your applications. If the application most utilizing EDITC effectively cycles through the three SQL statements shown below (with presumably a Where clause limiting the rows accessed by the statement), then a minimum cache size of 5 would be called for (and to play it safe, I would just leave CacheSize at 20, a value sufficiently larger than the base minimum).

Select editc(Amount, 9, 2, 'A'), editc(NbrDays, 4, 0, '2') from SomeTable

Select editc(Column1, 4, 0, '2'), editc(Column2, 8, 0, 'Y') from Table1

Select editc(Column3, 5, 0, 'J'), editc(Column4, 6, 0, 'Q') from Table2

Though the EDITC UDF is being used six times in the previous SQL statements, you may notice that two of the calls (those referencing NbrDays and Column1) are using the same input values of 4, 0, and '2' for Precision, Scale, and EditCode, respectively. Though the columns being edited are different, and undoubtedly the values associated with the columns are also different, the same EdtMsk will be applied to both EDITC calls. When looking to set CacheSize, don't inadvertently look at just a single SQL statements usage of EDITC; look at the working set usage of EDITC—that is, the amount of unique EDITC inputs within a job step, which may very well span multiple programs and statements. And when in doubt, go high.

Before ending this article, I would like to point out two additional items.

First, while through the use of caching we have hopefully (depending on an appropriate value for CacheSize) eliminated some of the calls to QECCVTEC, you may or may not perceive any actual improvement in the wall-clock time required to run the applications using the EDITC UDF. The perceived time for the application to run is the sum of several components: the time to access 100,000 SOMETABLE rows, the time to determine the appropriate edit mask, the time to edit the current value of the Amount column, and of course the time to perform whatever logic the application program is doing outside of the EDITC UDF. In this article, we have only addressed the performance of determining the appropriate edit mask—one small piece of the total application. The other components of the application (with accessing the 100,000 rows of SOMETABLE most likely being the largest contributor to the time required to run the application) have not changed. So if accessing the edit mask was originally accountable for only 1 percent of the overall run time, then reducing that 1 percent by 50 percent may not be noticeable to the casual user. We'll know, though, that any typical application usage of EDITC is running faster and more efficiently (again assuming that CacheSize is set appropriately).

Second, and as alluded to at the start of this article, further performance optimizations to the maintenance of the edit mask cache, though not shown or discussed, are possible. These additional optimizations, though, have absolutely nothing to do with APIs, and this is, after all, the "API Corner," not the "RPG Performance Corner." It was a stretch to even get MATMDATA into EDI, which was needed to justify (in my mind anyway) this article in the "API Corner." And I wanted to get this article out as I have discovered that quite a few companies are using the original EDITC as is.

As usual, if you have any API questions, send them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I'll see what I can do about answering your burning questions in future columns.

Bruce Vining

Bruce Vining is president and co-founder of Bruce Vining Services, LLC, a firm providing contract programming and consulting services to the System i community. He began his career in 1979 as an IBM Systems Engineer in St. Louis, Missouri, and then transferred to Rochester, Minnesota, in 1985, where he continues to reside. From 1992 until leaving IBM in 2007, Bruce was a member of the System Design Control Group responsible for OS/400 and i5/OS areas such as System APIs, Globalization, and Software Serviceability. He is also the designer of Control Language for Files (CLF).A frequent speaker and writer, Bruce can be reached at bvining@brucevining.com. 


MC Press books written by Bruce Vining available now on the MC Press Bookstore.

IBM System i APIs at Work IBM System i APIs at Work
Leverage the power of APIs with this definitive resource.
List Price $89.95

Now On Sale

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

LATEST COMMENTS

RESOURCE CENTER

  • WHITE PAPERS

  • WEBCAST

  • TRIAL SOFTWARE

  • Mobile Computing and the IBM i

    SB ASNA PPL 5450Mobile computing is rapidly maturing into a solid platform for delivering enterprise applications. Many IBM i shops today are realizing that integrating their IBM i with mobile applications is the fast path to improved business workflows, better customer relations, and more responsive business reporting.

    This ASNA whitepaper takes a look at mobile computing for the IBM i. It discusses the different ways mobile applications may be used within the enterprise and how ASNA products solve the challenges mobile presents. It also presents the case that you already have the mobile programming team your projects need: that team is your existing RPG development team!

    Get your copy today!

  • Automate IBM i Operations using Wireless Devices

    DDL SystemsDownload the technical whitepaper on MANAGING YOUR IBM i WIRELESSLY and (optionally) register to download an absolutely FREE software trail. This whitepaper provides an in-depth review of the native IBM i technology and ACO MONITOR's advanced two-way messaging features to remotely manage your IBM i while in or away from the office. Notify on-duty personnel of system events and remotely respond to complex problems (via your Smartphone) before they become critical-24/7. Problem solved!

    Order your copy here.

  • DR Strategy Guide from Maxava: Brand New Edition - now fully updated to include Cloud!

    SB Maxava PPL 5476PRACTICAL TOOLS TO IMPLEMENT DISASTER RECOVERY IN YOUR IBM i ENVIRONMENT

    CLOUD VS. ON-PREMISE?
    - COMPREHENSIVE CHECKLISTS
    - RISK COST CALCULATIONS
    - BUSINESS CASE FRAMEWORK
    - DR SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW
    - RFP BUILDER
    Download your free copy of DR Strategy Guide for IBM i from Maxava today.

     

  • White Paper: Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization

    SB Profound WP 5539

    If your business is thinking about modernizing your legacy IBM i (also known as AS/400 or iSeries) applications, you will want to read this white paper first!

    Download this paper and learn how Node.js can ensure that you:
    - Modernize on-time and budget - no more lengthy, costly, disruptive app rewrites!
    - Retain your IBM i systems of record
    - Find and hire new development talent
    - Integrate new Node.js applications with your existing RPG, Java, .Net, and PHP apps
    - Extend your IBM i capabilties to include Watson API, Cloud, and Internet of Things


    Read Node.js for Enterprise IBM i Modernization Now!

     

  • 2020 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results

    HelpSystems

    This year marks the sixth edition of the popular IBM i Marketplace Survey Results. Each year, HelpSystems sets out to gather data about how businesses use the IBM i platform and the IT initiatives it supports. Year over year, the survey has begun to reveal long-term trends that give insight into the future of this trusted technology.

    More than 500 IBM i users from around the globe participated in this year’s survey, and we’re so happy to share the results with you. We hope you’ll find the information interesting and useful as you evaluate your own IT projects.

  • AIX Security Basics eCourse

    Core Security

    With so many organizations depending on AIX day to day, ensuring proper security and configuration is critical to ensure the safety of your environment. Don’t let common threats put your critical AIX servers at risk. Avoid simple mistakes and start to build a long-term plan with this AIX Security eCourse. Enroll today to get easy to follow instructions on topics like:

    • Removing extraneous files
    • Patching systems efficiently
    • Setting and validating permissions
    • Managing service considerations
    • Getting overall visibility into your networks

     

  • Developer Kit: Making a Business Case for Modernization and Beyond

    Profound Logic Software, Inc.

    Having trouble getting management approval for modernization projects? The problem may be you're not speaking enough "business" to them.

    This Developer Kit provides you study-backed data and a ready-to-use business case template to help get your very next development project approved!

  • What to Do When Your AS/400 Talent Retires

    HelpSystemsIT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators is small.

    This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn:

    • Why IBM i skills depletion is a top concern
    • How leading organizations are coping
    • Where automation will make the biggest impact

     

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC GenericLet’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    Our panel of IBM i experts—Chuck Losinski, Robin Tatam, Richard Schoen, and Tom Huntington—will outline strategies that allow your company to cope with IBM i skills depletion by adopting these strategies that allow you to get the job done without deep expertise on the OS:
    - Automate IBM i processes
    - Use managed services to help fill the gaps
    - Secure the system against data loss and viruses
    The strategies you discover in this webinar will help you ensure that your system of record—your IBM i—continues to deliver a powerful business advantage, even as staff retires.

     

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by Debbie Saugen. Debbie is an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability, helping IBM i shops build and implement effective business continuity plans.
    In today’s business climate, business continuity is more important than ever. But 83 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their backup strategy.
    During this webinar, Carol and Debbie discuss the importance of a good backup plan, how to ensure you’re backing up your security information, and your options for encrypted back-ups.

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

    SB Profound WC GenericIn this presentation, Alex Roytman and Liam Allan will unveil a completely new and unique way to modernize your legacy applications. Learn how Agile Modernization:
    - Uses the power of Node.js in place of costly system re-writes and migrations
    - Enables you to modernize legacy systems in an iterative, low-risk manner
    - Makes it easier to hire developers for your modernization efforts
    - Integrates with Profound UI (GUI modernization) for a seamless, end-to-end legacy modernization solution

     

  • Data Breaches: Is IBM i Really at Risk?

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIBM i is known for its security, but this OS could be more vulnerable than you think.
    Although Power Servers often live inside the safety of the perimeter firewall, the risk of suffering a data leak or data corruption remains high.
    Watch noted IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he discusses common ways that this supposedly “secure” operating system may actually be vulnerable and who the culprits might be.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Easy Mobile Development

    SB Profound WC GenericWatch this on-demand webinar and learn how to rapidly and easily deploy mobile apps to your organization – even when working with legacy RPG code! IBM Champion Scott Klement will demonstrate how to:
    - Develop RPG applications without mobile development experience
    - Deploy secure applications for any mobile device
    - Build one application for all platforms, including Apple and Android
    - Extend the life and reach of your IBM i (aka iSeries, AS400) platform
    You’ll see examples from customers who have used our products and services to deliver the mobile applications of their dreams, faster and easier than they ever thought possible!

     

  • Profound UI: Unlock True Modernization from your IBM i Enterprise

    SB Profound PPL 5491Modern, web-based applications can make your Enterprise more efficient, connected and engaged. This session will demonstrate how the Profound UI framework is the best and most native way to convert your existing RPG applications and develop new modern applications for your business. Additionally, you will learn how you can address modernization across your Enterprise, including databases and legacy source code, with Profound Logic.

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

    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.

    Part 1 will teach you what Node.js is, why it's a great option for IBM i shops, and how to take advantage of the ecosystem surrounding Node.

    In addition to background information, our Director of Product Development Scott Klement will demonstrate applications that take advantage of the Node Package Manager (npm).

  • 5 New and Unique Ways to Use the IBM i Audit Journal

    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.

     

     

  • Comply in 5! Well, actually UNDER 5 minutes!!

    SB CYBRA PPL 5382

    TRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms.

    Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product.

    Request your trial now!

  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    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.