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A Close Study of i5/OS Machine Interface (MI) Pointers

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Do you know all the kinds of pointers and understand what they do?

 

In i5/OS, machine interface (MI) pointers are used to represent many things:

  • Objects and the data within objects
  • Run-time primitives, such as program or procedure invocation
  • Suspend point and resume point in an invocation
  • Procedures of a module object
  • Locations within an OPM program or a procedure of an ILE module object that the control flow can be branched to
  • And so on

Like data types defined in a programming language different types of MI pointers are the primitive data types that we use to work with the MI instruction set.

 

For example, when using MI instruction Materialize System Object (MATSOBJ) to retrieve the attributes of an MI object, we should pass a system pointer addressing the MI object as the second operand and pass a space pointer addressing the receiver buffer allocated for the returned MI object attributes.

 

According to IBM's document "Machine Interface Architecture Introduction", the following types of MI pointers exist. This table is a brief overview. Details about each type follow after the table.

 

Types of MI Pointers 

MI Pointer Type

Description

System pointer

Identifies an MI object and always addresses the base segment of an MI object

Space pointer

Addresses bytes in a space object

Invocation pointer

Identifies a specific call stack entry in the call stack of a thread

Procedure pointer (16 byte)

Identifies a specific instance of an ILE procedure within the scope of an MI process

Procedure pointer (8 byte)

An 8-byte area that contains a process-local pointer that identifies an active instance of a procedure (not valid in a template for an OPM program, and valid in an ILE program template only when the program is to be created as teraspace-capable) *

Instruction pointer

Used in OPM programs to identify a specific instruction in the instruction stream of an OPM program by instruction number

Label pointer

Identifies a specific statement in an ILE procedure by statement ID

Suspend pointer

Identifies a suspend point or a resume point

Synchronization pointer

Generated by the system to identify the instance of one of two synchronization primitives: a pointer-based mutex or a POSIX semaphore

Open pointer

A 16-byte area that contains a pointer with an unspecified type (must be on a 16-byte boundary) **

 

*An 8-byte procedure pointer refers to an active procedure through teraspace. Since the teraspace address space is private to an MI process, a teraspace procedure pointer is referred to as a process-local procedure pointer. There are two types of teraspace pointers: 8-byte space pointers and 8-byte procedure pointers. Teraspace pointers are not discussed in this article.

 

**MI pointers are strong-typed; a non-typed pointer exists only from the programming language point of view. You can declare a pointer as non-typed, and once it becomes valid, it always has a definitive pointer type.

 

060210LiFigure1 

Figure 1: This is the common layout of 16-byte MI pointers.

 

There's a common layout of the different types of 16-byte MI pointers:

  • The first byte of the 16-byte MI pointer value, byte 0, stores the type of an MI pointer.
  • Bytes 1-7 store pointer type-specific information.
  • Bytes 8-15 store the virtual address portion of a system pointer, a space pointer, or a data pointer. Note that this address is a single-level storage address in the 64-bit virtual address space of i5/OS. This virtual address remains unchanged during the life of an MI object. An 8-byte virtual address is composed with a 5-byte segment identifier and a 3-byte segment offset for a big segment (a 16MB segment) or is composed with a 6-byte segment identifier and a 2-byte segment offset for a small segment (a 64KB segment).

 

To materialize the attribute of an MI pointer, use the MI instruction Materialize Pointer (MATPTR).

 

System Pointer

 

A system pointer identifies an MI object and always addresses the base segment of an MI object. A system pointer is the only way that an MI object can be referred to. Figure 1 shows the binary layout of a system pointer to program object QSYS/QDBPUT, which is extracted from the dump result of space object QSYS/QINSEPT.

 

Note: Space object QSYS/QINSEPT is also referred to as the System Entry Point Table (SEPT), where resolved system pointers to OPM APIs are stored. Since a space pointer to the SEPT is also available in the Process Communication Object (PCO) of each MI process (i5/OS job), to dump the content of the SEPT, you can use the CL command DMPSYSOBJ in either of following forms:

  • DMPSYSOBJ OBJ(QINSEPT) CONTEXT(QSYS)
  • DMPSYSOBJ OBJ(*PCS) OFFSET(0)

 

060210LiFigure2

Figure 2: This is the layout of SYSPTR to *PGM QSYS/QDBPUT. (Click image to enlarge.)

 

This is the binary format of the system pointer to QSYS/QDBPUT:

 

  • Byte 0—MI pointer type—For a system pointer, it is always hex 00.
  • Byte 1—For a program object, it is set to the value of the 'BRING SIZE' attribute in its program header.
  • Byte 2—Additional pointer authorities to those are set in byte 15.
  • Bytes 3-7—Not used.
  • Bytes 8-12 or 8-13—Segment identifier of an MI object's base segment. (See note below.)
  • Bytes 14—MI object type code. An MI object is addressed by its base segment identifier. The low-order two bytes of a system pointer are not used to store the segment offset value of the virtual address. Byte 14 of a system pointer stores the object type code of an MI object: for example, hex 02 for a program object, hex 0A for a queue object, hex 0E for an index object, etc. For a complete list of all valid MI object type codes, refer to IBM's documentation on MI instruction Resolve System Pointer (RSLVSP).
  • Byte 15—Pointer authorities set into a system pointer by system state programs or SLIC code. Nine types of authorities can be set into a system pointer (object control, object management, authorized pointer, space authority, retrieve, insert, delete, update, execute). Nine bits are needed to hold all the nine pointer authorities. Byte 2 of a system pointer holds pointer authorities together with byte 15.

 

Note: A system pointer always addresses the base segment (the first segment) of an MI object. The MI object header of an MI object is stored at the beginning of an MI object's base segment. The MI object header consists of the following two parts:

  • The segment header of the base segment of an MI object, which contains important attributes of the MI object and base segment itself, such as segment type, size of the base segment, object domain (system domain or user domain), virtual address of the base segment, virtual address of an MI object's associated space.
  • The Encapsulated Program Architecture (EPA) header, which contains attributes of an MI object, such as existence attribute; damage status of an MI object; name, type code, and subtype code of an MI object; attributes of an MI object's associated space (space attributes, space initial value, size of associated space); public authorities for the MI object; owner's authorities for the MI object; virtual address of owner's user profile object; virtual address of the MI object; and virtual address of the context object through which the MI object can be addressed.

 

For example, from the MI object header of data queue object Q1 shown in Figure 3, we can see that the object existence attribute of Q1 is permanent (ATT1 attribute in the EPA header is set to hex 80), object domain of Q1 is system domain (DOMAIN attribute in the segment header is set to hex 8000), the virtual address of the associated space of Q1 is 335F7912E5 000020 (SPACE attribute in the segment header), size of the base segment is 4096 bytes (SIZE attribute of the segment header, in 512 bytes), size of the associated space of Q1 is hex 0FE0 (SPSZ attribute in the EPA header), and so on.

 

060210LiFigure3

Figure 3: MI object headers reveal much information about data queue objects. (Click image to enlarge.)

Using System Pointers to Manipulate MI Objects

 

When an MI object's address is resolved by MI instruction RSLVSP or when an MI object is created successfully, a valid system pointer is returned. The returned system pointer can be used in further manipulation of the MI object addressing by the system pointer. There are primarily five categories of MI instructions that manipulate MI objects:

 

  • Instructions that create a specific type of MI object— Their names always start with "CRT," such as Create Space (CRTS) or Create Independent Index (CRTINX).
  • Instructions that destroy a specific type of MI object— Their names always start with "DES," such as Destroy Space (DESS) or Destroy Independent Index (DESINX).
  • Instructions that retrieve attributes of an MI object—Their names always start with "MAT." For example, Materialize Space Attributes (MATS) retrieves the space-object-specific attributes of a space object, while Materialize System Object (MATSOBJ) retrieves the common attributes of an MI object.
  • Instructions that modify the attributes of particular type of MI object—Their names always start with "MOD." For example, the Modify Space Attributes (MODS) instruction modifies the attributes of a space object.
  • Instructions that operate a particular type of MI object—For example, Enqueue (ENQ) enqueues a queue message to a queue object (with object type code hex 0A). Materialize Queue Messages (MATQMSG) retrieves one or more messages on a queue object. Insert Independent Index Entry (INSINXEN) inserts one or more index entries into an independent index object (with object type code 0E). Activate Program (ACTPG) creates an activation entry in one of the activation groups of an MI process (i5/OS job) for an OPM program and returns a space pointer to the static storage frame of the program if the OPM program uses static storage. (See also Appendix B below, "Example of Using MI Instruction Activate Program (ACTPG)").

 

An MI object can be created as either permanent or temporary. This is referred to as the existence attribute of an MI object. According to IBM's documentation on MI instruction Test Temporary Object (TESTTOBJ), a temporary object does not persist across IPLs and is automatically destroyed at system termination. Additionally, a temporary object is not owned by any user profile, and the addressability of a temporary object is not inserted into a context object when it is created.

 

A permanent MI object can be addressed through either a context object or the machine context. The following MI object types can be addressed only through the machine context:

 

  • User profile (with object type code hex 08)
  • Logical unit description (with object type code hex 10)
  • Network description (with object type code hex 11)
  • Controller description (with object type code hex 12)
  • Class of service description (with object type code hex 14)
  • Mode description (with object type code hex 15)
  • Network interface description (with object type code hex 16)
  • Connection list (with object type code hex 17)
  • Auxiliary server (with object type code hex 1D)

 

When a permanent MI object is created (addressed through a context object), the addressability of the object is inserted in the context object. When a permanent MI object is destroyed, its addressability is removed from the context object. The context attribute in an MI object's EPA header indicates the current context object through which the MI object can be addressed.

 

The creation or deletion of a permanent MI object also affects the user profile of the owner of the MI object. Each time an MI object's ownership is assigned to or revoked from a user profile, the Change Date/Time attribute of the user profile object changes correspondingly. MI instruction Materialize User Profile (MATUP) can be used to retrieve the number of MI objects owned by a specific user profile. A permanent MI object cannot be destroyed automatically and must be explicitly destroyed using an appropriate destroy instruction according to the object type of the MI object.

 

The materialize instructions are the only interface through which a user program above the MI layer can access the attributes of an existing MI object. For a particular type of MI objects, a materialize instruction is defined to retrieve attributes of that type of MI object. For example, Materialize Independent Index Attributes (MATINXAT) retrieves the attributes of an index object. Additionally, Materialize System Object (MATSOBJ) retrieves common attributes of an MI object, such as object state attributes (suspended status, damage status, existence attribute, and so on), object name, object size, creation/modification time, attributes of an MI object's associated space, etc.

 

The modify instructions are the only interface through which a user program above the MI layer can modify the attributes of an MI object. For a particular type of MI objects, a modify instruction is defined to modify attributes of that type of MI object. For example, Modify Independent Index (MODINX) modifies the attributes of an index object. Modify Space Attributes (MODS) modifies the attributes of a space object or the associated space of an MI object.

 

Example ILE RPG program T057 (below) manipulates an independent index object (object type code of an index object is hex 0E). Examples of the above-mentioned five categories of instructions that manipulate MI objects are covered in this program. They are:

 

  • Create Independent Index (CRTINX)
  • Destroy Independent Index (DESINX)
  • Find Independent Index Entry (FNDINXEN)
  • Insert Independent Index Entry (INSINXEN)
  • Materialize Independent Index Attributes (MATINXAT)
  • Modify Independent Index (MODINX)
  • Remove Independent Index Entry (RMVINXEN)

 

For ILE RPG prototypes of these MI instructions, please refer to Appendix A below, "ILE RPG Prototype of Independent Index Management Instructions."

 

Note: According to IBM's document on user index objects (with external object type *USRIDX) Using User Index APIs, a user index is an object that allows search functions for data in the index and automatically sorts data based on the value of the data. User indexes are permanent objects in the user domain or in the system domain. They have an object type of *USRIDX and a maximum size of 1 terabyte (1,099,511,627,776 bytes). They help streamline table searching, cross-referencing, and ordering of data. In general, if your table is longer than 1000 entries, an index performs faster than a user-sorted table. You can use user indexes to:

  • Provide search functions
  • Do faster insert operations than in a database file
  • Do faster retrieve operations than in a database file
  • Create an index by name, such as a telephone directory
  • Use order entry programs
  • Look up abbreviations in an index
  • Sort data automatically based on the hexadecimal value of a key

User index entries cannot contain a pointer. You can save and restore all the data in an index. You can also save and restore user indexes to another system.

 

Features mentioned in the IBM document are really those of all independent index objects. A user index is nothing but an index object that was created indirectly by the Create User Index (QUSCRTUI) API as a permanent index object with object type/subtype code hex 0E0A. The only interface to create an independent index at the MI level is instruction Create Independent Index (CRTINX). Additionally, when creating an index object with CRTINX, one important attribute bit in the index attribute byte of the creation template operand is the entry format attribute bit, which determines whether the created index object can contain only scalar data or both pointers and scalar data. When the entry format attribute bit is set to 1, entries of the created index object can contain pointers, such as system pointers or space pointers. This is an important feature of index objects when fast search functions for MI objects are needed. For example, the index object QSYS/QWCBT_JOB_INDEX (with object type/subtype code hex 0EA4) stores a snapshot of current jobs in the system. Each entry of QSYS/QWCBT_JOB_INDEX contains a job identifier and a space pointer containing the offset of the specific entry of that job in the Work Control Block Table (WCBT) space object QSYS/QWCBT01. (A WCBT entry in the WCBT space object contains the system pointers to the Process Control Space (PCS) object of a job, a job's job message queue object (QJOBMSGQ), a job's spool control block (QSPSCB), and so on.) Index object QSYS/QWCBT_JOB_INDEX is keyed by the job identifier field; therefore, the system can efficiently locate a specific job in the system by searching the QWCBT_JOB_INDEX index for the space pointer to a job's WCBT entry by job identifier.

 

The following ILE RPG code is extracted from t057.rpgle, which is provided by the open-source project i5/OS Programmer's Toolkit.

 

      /if defined(*crtbndrpg)

     h  dftactgrp(*no)

      /endif

      /copy mih52

     d tmpl            ds                  likeds(crtinx_tmpl_t)

     d                                     based(tmpl_ptr)

     d tmpl_ptr        s               *

     d tmpl_len        s             10i 0

     d inx             s               *

     d optlist         ds                  likeds(inx_option_list_t)

     d                                     based(opt_ptr)

     d len_off         ds                  likeds(

     d                                       inx_entry_length_offset_t)

     d                                     based(pos_ptr)

     d opt_ptr         s               *

     d pos_ptr         s               *

     d entry           s             32a

     d inx_attr        ds                  likeds(matinxat_tmpl_t)

     d                                     based(inx_attr_ptr)

     d inx_attr_ptr    s               *

     d mod_opt         ds                  likeds(modinx_tmpl_t)

      /free

           // allocate and initialize index description template (1)

           tmpl_len = %size(crtinx_tmpl_t);

           tmpl_ptr = %alloc(tmpl_len);

           propb(tmpl_ptr : x'00' : tmpl_len);

           tmpl.bytes_in = tmpl_len;

           tmpl.obj_type = x'0E01';     // object type/subtype

           tmpl.obj_name = 'NIHAO';     // index name

           tmpl.crt_opt  = x'00000000'; // creation option

               // bit 0 = 0, existence attribute = temporary

               // bit 1 = 0, space attribute = fixed-length

           tmpl.spc_size = x'000000';   // do NOT have associated space

           tmpl.init_spc_val = x'00';

           tmpl.perf_cls = x'01000000';

           tmpl.ext_offset = 0;

           tmpl.inx_attr = x'70';       // index attribute

               // bit 0 = 0, entry length attribute = fixed-length

               // bit 1 = 1, immediate update = yes

               // bit 2 = 1, key insertion = yes

               // bit 3 = 1, entry format = index entries can

               //     contains both pointers and scalar data

           tmpl.arg_len  = 32;          // entry length = 32

           tmpl.key_len  = 8;           // key length = 8

           // create index NIHAO

           crtinx(inx : tmpl_ptr);

           // insert a couple of entries into NIHAO (2)

           entry = 'OBJD0200'

                   + '00010002'

                   + 'abcdABCD'

                   + 'ooooPPPP';        // key = 'OBJD0200'

           opt_ptr = %alloc(10);

           optlist.rule_opt   = x'0002'; // insert with replacement

           optlist.arg_len    = 32;

           optlist.arg_offset = 0;

           optlist.occ_cnt    = 1;

           insinxen(inx : %addr(entry) : opt_ptr);

             // on successful insersion, OPTLIST.RTN_CNT is set to 1

           entry = 'OBJD0400'

                   + '00080002'

                   + 'xxxxYYYY'

                   + 'zzzzQQQQ';        // key = 'OBJD0400'

           insinxen(inx : %addr(entry) : opt_ptr);

           // try to find out the entry with key value 'OBJD0200' (3)

           opt_ptr = %realloc(opt_ptr : 14);

           optlist.rule_opt   = x'0001'; // look for an equal entry

           optlist.arg_len    = 8;

           optlist.arg_offset = 0;

           optlist.occ_cnt    = 1;

           entry = 'OBJD0200';     // specify key value

           fndinxen( %addr(entry)

                   : inx

                   : opt_ptr

                   : %addr(entry) );

           if optlist.rtn_cnt > 0;

               dsply 'index entry found' '' entry;

           endif;

           // remove entry '0BJD0200...' from index NIHAO (4)

           rmvinxen( %addr(entry)

                   : inx

                   : opt_ptr

                   : %addr(entry) );

           dealloc opt_ptr;

           // retrieve index attributes (5)

           tmpl_len = %size(matinxat_tmpl_t);

           inx_attr_ptr = %alloc(tmpl_len);

           inx_attr.bytes_in = tmpl_len;

           matinxat(inx_attr_ptr : inx);

             // INX_ATTR.ENTRIES_INSERTED = 2

             // INX_ATTR.ENTRIES_REMOVED = 1

             // INX_ATTR.FIND_OPERATIONS = 1

           // modify index NIHAO (6)

           mod_opt.mod_sel  = x'40'; // modify immediate update attribute

           mod_opt.new_attr = x'00'; // do not immediate update

           mod_opt.reserved = x'0000';

           modinx(inx : %addr(mod_opt));

           dealloc inx_attr_ptr;

           // destroy index NIHAO (7)

           desinx(inx);

           dealloc tmpl_ptr;

           *inlr = *on;

      /end-free

 

Code Notes:

(1) Allocate and initialize index description template and then create the target index object with the initialized index description template using instruction CRTINX. In this example, a temporary index object named NIHAO is to be created with object type/subtype code hex 0E01, without an associated space, with fixed index entries. Length of index entries is 32 bytes, including the 8-byte key value portion.

(2) Insert a couple of entries into index object NIHAO using instruction INSINXEN with key values 'OBJD0200' and 'OBJD0400', respectively.

(3) Search index object NIHAO using instruction FNDINXEN for an entry whose key value is equal to 'OBJD0200'.

(4) Remove index entry whose key value is equal to 'OBJD0200' from index object NIHAO using instruction RMVINXEN.

(5) Materialize index attributes of NIHAO using instruction MATINXAT. Note that after the above operations on index object NIHAO, the materialized operation statistics attributes should be Entries inserted = 2, Entries removed = 1, and Number of find operations = 1.

(6) Modify index object NIHAO's "immediate update" attribute to "No immediate update".

(7) Destroy index object NIHAO using instruction DESINX.

 

Space Pointers

 

A space pointer addresses bytes within a space object. It is the pointer type used in both MI and high-level languages (HLL) to address program storage, such as stack, static, and heap storage. There are two types of space pointers:

  • Space pointers, aka space pointer data objects—Space pointer data objects are used heavily to represent data objects in HLLs, such as void * or char * in C, or * in ILE RPG.
  • Machine space pointers (MSPPTR), aka space pointer machine objects—There's no way for ILE HLL programs to utilize a MSPPTR. In MI programs, a MSPPTR can be used in most cases where a space pointer data object is allowed, with the following limits:
  • a MSPPTR cannot be passed as a parameter, be part of a structure (SPC), be based on a pointer, or be duplicated by MI instructions such as Copy Bytes with Pointers (CPYBWP). Also, a MSPPTR is logically only automatic (AUTO) in storage scope.

 

Different HLLs provide different space addressing support via space pointers. Space addressing support via space pointers in ILE RPG is discussed in the article "Use the MI to Work with Pointers in ILE RPG."

 

By using MI instruction Set Space Pointer from Pointer (SETSPPFP), you can address the associated space of an MI object. This instruction is especially useful when utilizing storage provided by space objects. The following example program T059 translates EBCDIC characters into ASCII characters by using the EBCDIC-to-ASCII translation table stored in space object ASCII. Space object ASCII contains the same content as table object QSYS/QASCII. A table object, with external object type *TBL, is a space object whose object type/subtype code is hex 1906. Table objects can be used to translate data or to specify an alternate collating sequence. The following is the source code of ILE RPG program T059, t059.rpgle. ILE RPG prototypes of MI instruction Resolve System Pointer (RSLVSP), Set Space Pointer from Pointer (SETSPPFP), and Translate Bytes (XLATEB) can be found in mih52.rpgleinc.

 

     h dftactgrp(*no) bnddir('QC2LE')

      /copy mih52

     d cvthc           pr                  extproc('cvthc')

     d     receiver                    *   value

     d     source                      *   value

     d     length                    10i 0 value

     d str             s              3a   inz('abc')

     d hexstr          s             16a

     /* system pointer to space object ASCII */

     d                 ds

     d   ascii_tbl                     *

     d   funny_ptr                     *   overlay(ascii_tbl:1)

     d                                     procptr

     d table_ptr       s               *

      /free

           // resolve table object (hex 1906) ASCII (1)

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_type = x'1906';

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_name = 'ASCII';

           rslvsp2(ascii_tbl : rslvsp_tmpl);

           // access data content stored in ASCII (2)

           table_ptr = setsppfp(funny_ptr);

           // before translation

           cvthc(%addr(hexstr) : %addr(str) : 6);

           dsply 'EBCDIC' '' hexstr;

           xlateb(%addr(str) : table_ptr : 3); // (3)

           // after translation

           cvthc(%addr(hexstr) : %addr(str) : 6);

           dsply 'ASCII' '' hexstr;

           *inlr = *on;

      /end-free

 

Code Notes:

(1) Resolve space object ASCII.

(2) Address the associated space of space object ASCII by using instruction SETSPPFP. The ILE RPG prototype of instruction SETSPPFP can be found in mih52.rpgleinc.

(3) Translate EBCDIC characters to ASCII characters according to the translation table stored in ASCII.

 

Call program T059, and you will get the following result:

 

DSPLY  EBCDIC    818283

*N                    

DSPLY  ASCII    616263

 

Data Pointers

 

Data pointers are a special form of space pointer. In addition to storing the virtual address of a data object, a DTAPTR also stores data attributes (scalar data type and length) in its reserved bytes of its high-order 8 bytes. The following figure is the binary layout of the high-order 8-byte value of a data pointer representing a packed decimal (6, 2) scalar data object.

 

060210LiFigure4

Figure 4: DTAPTR stores data attributes.

 

This is the binary layout of a data pointer:

 

Bits 0-3 of byte 0 are always set to hex C for a data pointer.

 

Bits 4-7 of byte 0 are scalar type represented by a data pointer:

  • Hex 00, signed binary
  • Hex 01, floating point
  • Hex 02, zoned decimal
  • Hex 03, packed decimal
  • Hex 04, character
  • Hex 06, ONLYNS
  • Hex 07, ONLYS
  • Hex 08, EITHER
  • Hex 09, OPEN
  • Hex 0A, unsigned binary

 

Bytes 4-5 are scalar length:

  • If zoned decimal or packed decimal, byte 4 stores the number of fractional digits; byte 5 stores total number of digits.
  • If binary, bytes 4-5 store a 2-byte binary of value 2, 4, or 8.
  • If float, bytes 4-5 store a 2-byte binary of value 4 or 8.
  • If character, bytes 4-5 store a 2-byte binary-length value in bytes.
  • If ONLYNS, bytes 4-5 store a 2-byte binary-length value in number of double-byte characters.
  • If ONLYS, bytes 4-5 store an even 2-byte binary-length value in bytes, including any SO and SI.
  • If EITHER or OPEN, bytes 4-5 store a 2-byte binary-length value in bytes, including any SO and SI.

Note: Four data types are supported for data pointer definition of extended (double-byte) character fields: ONLYNS, ONLYS, EITHER, and OPEN. Except for ONLYNS, the double-byte character data must be surrounded by a shift out control character (SO = hex 0E) and a shift in control character (SI = hex 0F). The ONLYNS field only contains double-byte data, with no SO or SI delimiters surrounding it. The ONLYS field only contains double-byte character data within an SO/SI pair. The EITHER field can consist of double-byte character or single-byte character data but only one type at a time. If double-byte character data is present, it must be surrounded by an SO/SI pair. The OPEN field can consist of a mixture of double-byte character and single-byte character data. If double-byte character data is present, it must be surrounded by an SO/SI pair.

 

One cannot change the offset in a data pointer directly. To change the offset of a data pointer, you must first convert it into a SPCPTR by MI instruction SETSPPFP. To set the modified virtual address back to a data pointer, you should use Set Data Pointer Addressability (SETDPADR).

 

Data pointers can be used to manipulate indeterminate scalar data objects in OPM programs. For example, Copy Bytes Left-Adjusted (CPYBLA) accepts either data pointer operands or scalar operands. By modifying the attribute of a data pointer operand using Set Data Pointer Attributes (SETDPAT), you might determine the number of bytes really copied by instruction CPYBLA at run time. In contrast, in OPM programs, data pointers are far less often used in ILE HLL programs. Below is an example of using data pointers as operands to instruction Copy Extended Characters Left-Adjusted with Pad (CPYECLAP). This instruction copies data between extended (double-byte) character fields with padding or truncation. CPYECLAP accepts two data pointer operands as the receiver and source operand, respectively, and a padding operand that indicates the single-byte padding character and the double-byte padding character. The following is the prototype of instruction CPYECLAP extracted from mih52.rpgleinc.

 

     d cpyeclap_pad_t  ds                  qualified

     d     single_byte_pad_value...

     d                                1a

     d     double_byte_pad_value...

     d                                2a

     /* CPYECLAP, copy extended characters left-adjusted with pad */

     d cpyeclap        pr                  extproc('_CPYECLAP')

     d     receiver                    *

     d     source                      *

     d     pad                             likeds(cpyeclap_pad_t)

 

The following ILE RPG example program t060.rpgle demonstrates the difference between copying an OPEN character field with truncation using ILE RPG operation code EVAL and using instruction CPYECLAP.

 

      /if defined(*crtbndrpg)

     h dftactgrp(*no)

      /endif

      /copy mih52

     d pad             ds                  likeds(cpyeclap_pad_t)

     d reply           ds

     d   answer                       4a

     d   next_fld                     8a   inz('(yes/no)')

     d rcv_ptr         s               *

     /* DBCS string: 'OK' (yes/no) */

     d yes             s              6a   inz(x'0E574C59E10F')

     d src_ptr         s               *

      * scalar type: Open; length: 4 (1)

     d rcv_attr        s              7a   inz(x'09000400000000')

      * scalar type: Open; length: 6 (2)

     d src_attr        s              7a   inz(x'09000600000000')

      /free

           // set var ANSWER with op code eval (3)

           answer = yes;

           dsply 'EVAL' '' reply;

             // answer = x'0E574C59'

           // set scalar attributes into data pointers(4)

           rcv_ptr = setdp(%addr(answer) : rcv_attr);

           src_ptr = setdp(%addr(yes) : src_attr);

           pad = x'404040';

           // copy YES to ANSWER with truncation using CPYECLAP (5)

           cpyeclap( rcv_ptr : src_ptr : pad);

             // answer = x'0E574C0F'

           dsply 'answer' '' reply;

           *inlr = *on;

      /end-free

 

Code Notes:

(1) Scalar attributes of the receiver field are represented by data pointer rcv_ptr. Scalar attributes of the source field are represented by data pointer src_ptr.

(2) Copy OPEN field yes to OPEN field answer using ILE RPG operation code EVAL directly. Since the copy operation is unaware of the character attribute of the receiver field, the SI character is truncated by EVAL, and the resulting data content in field answer becomes invalid.

(3) Set scalar attributes into data pointers using Set Data Pointer (SETDP).

(4) Copy OPEN field yes to OPEN field answer with truncation using CPYECLAP. The last double-byte character (OK) is truncated and an SI character is appended properly to indicate the end of the double-bytes string in field answer.

 

Run ILE RPG program T060, and you'll get this result.

 

DSPLY  EVAL      OK

*N                          

DSPLY  CPYECLAP  OK (yes/no)

 

 

Invocation Pointers

 

An invocation pointer identifies a specific call stack entry in the call stack of a thread. Invocation pointers are primarily used in exception management MI instructions, such as Return from Exception (RTNEXCP), and message-handling APIs, such as the Promote Message (QMHPRMM) API. An example of using invocation pointers and label pointers to perform a non-local goto is available in section "Label Pointers."

 

Procedure Pointers

 

A procedure pointer identifies a specific instance of an ILE procedure within the scope of an MI process. Attributes of a procedure pointer include the following:

  • Containing program—A system pointer to the ILE program object (of type either *PGM or *SRVPGM) that contains the procedure
  • Containing process—A system pointer to the process control space object that contains the procedure's activation group
  • An activation group mark of the activation group that contains the activated procedureAn activation mark of the activation of the ILE program that contains the activated procedure
  • Module number—Index in the module list of the ILE program for the module whose activation the pointer addresses
  • Procedure number—Index in the procedure list of the module for the procedure addressed by the pointer

 

After a procedure pointer is returned by an HLL operation loading the address of a procedure (such as invoking BIF %paddr and passing a prototype name in ILE RPG) or returned by MI instruction Materialize Activation Export (MATACTEX), procedure pointer calls can be made via the returned procedure pointer.

 

Here is an example of making procedure pointer calls via procedure pointers materialized by MATACTEX from a service program object. The following is the source code of ILE RPG program t061.rpgle. ILE RPG prototypes of instruction RSLVSP, ACTBPGM, and MATACTEX can be found in mih52.rpgleinc.

 

     h dftactgrp(*no)

      /copy mih52

     d dfn             ds                  likeds(actbpgm_dfn_t)

     d mar14a          s               *

     d haha_ptr        s               *   procptr

     /* procedure exported by *srvpgm MAR14A (1) */

     d haha            pr                  extproc(haha_ptr)

     d   msg                          8a

     d rtn             s             10u 0

     d msg             s              8a   inz('Huh')

      /free

           // resolve *srvpgm mar14a (2)

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_type = x'0203';

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_name = 'MAR14A';

           rslvsp2(mar14a : rslvsp_tmpl);

           // activate *srvpgm (3)

           actbpgm(dfn : mar14a);

           // materialize procedure haha exported by *srvpgm mar14a (4)

           matactex( dfn.act_mark   // activation mark

                   : 1              // by export ID

                   : 1              // export ID

                   : *null          // name operand, not used

                   : haha_ptr       // returned procedure pointer

                   : rtn );

           if rtn = 1;

               // invoke procedure haha (5)

               haha(msg);

           endif;

           *inlr = *on;

      /end-free

 

Code Notes:

(1) The prototype of procedure haha is exported by service program MAR14A. Here, procedure haha is declared based on procedure haha_ptr.

(2) Resolve the system pointer mar14a to service program MAR14A.

(3) Activate MAR14A by using MI instruction Activate Bound Program (ACTBPGM).

(4) Materialize procedure pointer to procedure haha using MI instruction MATACTEX.

(5) Call procedure haha via the returned procedure pointer.

 

Instruction Pointers

 

An instruction pointer identifies a specific instruction in the instruction stream of an OPM program by instruction number. An instruction pointer is one of the possible branch targets of OPM MI instruction Branch (B). The other valid branch targets of instruction B are an instruction number, a relative instruction number, a branch point (a label), or an element of an instruction definition list (an IDL is an array of labels).

 

The benefit of an instruction pointer is that, among all the possible branch targets, an instruction pointer is the only variable one. You can use Set Instruction Pointer (SETIP) to set or change the value of an instruction pointer at run time.

 

Also, an instruction pointer is used as the return-target operand of the OPM MI instruction Call Internal (CALLI). The CALLI instruction sets the instruction pointer operand to point to the instruction immediately following the CALLI instruction. Later, a Branch (B) instruction can be issued on this instruction pointer in the called sub-invocation to cause the control to be passed back to the instruction immediately following the CALLI instruction.

 

Label Pointers

 

A label pointer is somewhat the counterpart of an instruction pointer in ILE programs. A label pointer identifies a specific statement in an ILE procedure by statement ID. (A statement ID is a compiler-provided 4-byte unsigned binary value.) A label pointer has the following attributes:

 

  • Containing program—System pointer to the program object that contains the label pointer
  • Module number—Index in the module list of the bound program for the module containing the label pointer
  • Procedure number—Index in the procedure list of the module for the procedure containing the label pointer
  • Internal identifier—A machine-dependent value that identifies the label relative to the internal structure of the program (for use by service personnel)
  • Statement ID—Each statement ID is a compiler-supplied unsigned bin(4) number that allows the compiler to identify the source statement associated with a particular sequence of instructions

 

To generate a label pointer to the current statement in an ILE procedure, you might use system built-in __setjmp or __setjmp2. __setjmp2 generates a label pointer to the current statement in an ILE procedure, while __setjmp additionally generates an invocation pointer to the current ILE procedure. The invocation pointer and label pointer saved by __setjmp can be used later by invoking ILE C function longjmp in another procedure to restore the saved stack environment and return control to the point identified by the saved invocation pointer and label pointer. The values of all variables (except register variables) available to the procedure receiving control contain the values they had when the longjmp function was called. Prototypes of system built-in __setjmp and __setjmp2 are extracted from mih52.rpgleinc.

 

     d jmp_buf_t       ds                  qualified

     d     inv_ptr                     *            

     d     lbl_ptr                     *            

     d     num                       10i 0          

     /* __setjmp */

     d setjmp          pr            10i 0 extproc('__setjmp')

     d     jmpbuf                          likeds(jmp_buf_t)

     /* __setjmp2 */

     d setjmp2         pr                  extproc('__setjmp2')

     d     lbl_ptr                     *

 

The following is an example ILE RPG program, t063.rpgle, that demonstrates the usage of system built-in __setjmp and ILE C function longjmp.

 

     h dftactgrp(*no) bnddir('QC2LE')

      /copy mih52

     d pos             ds                  likeds(jmp_buf_t)

     d rtn             s             10i 0

     /* prototype of ILE C procedure longjmp */

     d longjmp         pr                  extproc('longjmp')

     d   jmp_buf                           likeds(jmp_buf_t)

     d   val                         10i 0 value

     d err_ind         s               n   inz(*off)

     d i_always_fail   pr

      /free

           // save current stack environment (1)

           if setjmp(pos) <> 0;

               // longjmp() has been invoked

               // to resume from error condition

               err_ind = *on;

           else;

               // invoke procedure i_always_fail()

               i_always_fail();

           endif;

           if err_ind;

               // error occurs

           endif;

           *inlr = *on;

      /end-free

     /* procedure i_always_fail */

     p i_always_fail   b

     d                 pi

      /free

           // assume that unrecoverable error occurs here

           // call longjmp to recover stack environment before

           // procedure i_always_fail was invoked. (2)

           longjmp(pos : -1);

      /end-free

     p i_always_fail   e

 

Code Notes:

(1) Save the current invocation entry and statement ID into the invocation pointer and label pointer in structure pos of type jump_buf_t. __setjmp returns 0 after saving the invocation pointer and label pointer. If __setjmp returns as a result of a call to longjmp(), it returns the second argument to longjmp() or 1 if the second argument passed to longjmp() is 0.

(2) Call longjmp() to restore the stack environment.

 

Note that some MI instructions, but not all, can be invoked from ILE HLL programs. In IBM's documentation of HLLs, these MI instructions are referred to as "system built-ins." To distinguish between these MI instructions and those of common HLL procedures, ILE HLLs add an underscore (_) before their MI instruction names, conventionally. For example, the system built-in name of MI instruction FNVINXEN is "_FNDINXEN". Some system built-ins can be used only in ILE HLL programs. For example, __setjmp and __setjmp2.

 

Suspend Pointers

 

A suspend pointer identifies a suspend point or a resume point. It is a location within an invocation's routine where execution was suspended due to a call, an interrupt, or a machine operation. A resume pointer is a location within an invocation's routine where execution will resume if execution is allowed to resume in the invocation. A suspend pointer has the following attributes:

 

  • Containing program—A system pointer to the program object that contains the suspend point or resume point
  • Module number—Index in the module list of the bound program for the module containing the suspend point or resume point
  • Procedure number—Index in the procedure list of the module for the procedure containing the suspend point or resume point
  • Number of statement IDs—Number of entries in the statement ID list (multiple statement IDs may be associated with a single location in the created program due to optimizations that combine similar code sequences)
  • Statement ID—A compiler-supplied, 4-byte unsigned binary number that allows the compiler to identify the source statement associated with a particular sequence of MI instructions
  • Internal identifier—A machine-dependent value that locates the suspend point or resume point relative to the internal structure of the program (for use by service personnel)

 

MI instruction Materialize Invocation Attributes (MATINVAT) can be used to materialize the suspend point and resume point of a particular invocation.

 

Synchronization Pointers

 

A synchronization pointer is utilized by pointer-based mutexes that can be manipulated through mutex management MI instructions and POSIX semaphores implemented by i5/OS. When a named or unnamed pointer-based mutex or a POSIX semaphore is created, a synchronization pointer is generated by the system to identify the instance of one of the two synchronization primitives. For example, when a pointer-based mutex is created by using Create Pointer-Based Mutex (CRTMTX), a synchronization pointer is created based on CRTMTX's first space pointer operand. By using MI instruction MATPTR, you can tell which type of synchronization primitive is represented by a synchronization pointer: a pointer-based mutex or a POSIX semaphore.

Summary

As an OS-level virtual machine interface, the design of the MI layer originated from S/38, the direct ancestor of i5/OS. It is a creative and alive design that not only decouples application programs and hardware architectures, but also hides the implementation details of system objects behind a set of relatively stable interfaces. There's no doubt that it is a design ahead of the times. If you decided to learn more about this charming design, understanding the MI pointers may be a good start point.

Appendixes

 

Appendix A: ILE RPG Prototype of Independent Index Management Instructions

 

The following ILE RPG prototypes of independent index management instructions are extracted from mih52.rpgleinc; ILE RPG header for MI instructions (system built-ins) are provided by the open source project i5/OS Programmer's Toolkit.

 

     /* template of CRTINX */

     d crtinx_tmpl_t   ds                  qualified

     d                                     based(dummy_ptr)

     d     bytes_in                  10i 0

     d     bytes_out                 10i 0

     d     obj_type                   2a

     d     obj_name                  30a

      * creation option

     d     crt_opt                    4a

      * recovery option

     d     rcvy_opt                   4a

     d     spc_size                  10i 0

     d     init_spc_val...

     d                                1a

      * performance class

     d     perf_cls                   4a

     d                                3a

      * extension offset

     d     ext_offset                10i 0

     d     ctx                         *

     d     acc_grp                     *

     d     inx_attr                   1a

      * argument length

     d     arg_len                    5i 0

      * key length

     d     key_len                    5i 0

      * longer template

     d                               12a

      * template version, must be hex 00

     d     tmpl_ver                   1a

      * index format,

      *   0=maximum object size of 4G bytes

      *   1=maximum object size of 1T bytes

     d     inx_fmt                    1a

     d                               61a

      * template extension of CRTINX

     d crtinx_tmpl_ext_t...

     d                 ds                  qualified

     d                                     based(dummy_ptr)

     d     usrprf                      *

     d                                4a

      * domain assigned to created object

      *   hex 0000=the domain will be choosed by the machine

      *   hex 0001=user domain

     d     obj_domain                 2a

     d                               42a

     /* template of MATINXAT */

     d matinxat_tmpl_t...

     d                 ds                  qualified

     d                                     based(dummy_ptr)

     d     bytes_in                  10i 0

     d     bytes_out                 10i 0

     d     obj_type                   2a

     d     obj_name                  30a

      * creation option

     d     crt_opt                    4a

      * recovery option

     d     rcvy_opt                   4a

     d     spc_size                  10i 0

     d     init_spc_val...

     d                                1a

      * performance class

     d     perf_cls                   4a

     d                                3a

      * extension offset

     d     ext_offset                10i 0

     d     ctx                         *

     d     acc_grp                     *

     d     inx_attr                   1a

      * argument length

     d     arg_len                    5i 0

      * key length

     d     key_len                    5i 0

      * index statistics

     d     entries_inserted...

     d                               10u 0

     d     entries_removed...

     d                               10u 0

     d     find_operations...

     d                               10u 0

     /* CRTINX, create independent index */

     d crtinx          pr                  extproc('_CRTINX')

     d     index                       *

     d     tmpl                        *   value

     d

     /* DESINX, destroy independent index */

     d desinx          pr                  extproc('_DESINX')

     d     index                       *

     /* MATINXAT, materialize independent index attributes */

     d matinxat        pr                  extproc('_MATINXAT')

     d     attr                        *   value

     d     index                       *

     /* option list structure used by INSINXEN and FNDINXEN */

     d inx_option_list_t...

     d                 ds                  qualified

     d                                     based(dummy_ptr)

     d     rule_opt                   2a

     d     arg_len                    5u 0

     d     arg_offset                 5i 0

     d     occ_cnt                    5i 0

     d     rtn_cnt                    5i 0

      * offset 10

      * returned index entries: entry length 5u0, offset 5i0

     d inx_entry_length_offset_t...

     d                 ds                  qualified

     d                                     based(dummy_ptr)

     d     length                     5u 0

     d     offset                     5i 0

     /* INSINXEN, insert independent index entry */

     d insinxen        pr                  extproc('_INSINXEN')

     d     index                       *

     d     argument                    *   value

     d     opt_list                    *   value

     /* FNDINXEN, find independent index entry */

     d fndinxen        pr                  extproc('_FNDINXEN')

     d     receiver                    *   value

     d     index                       *

     d     opt_list                    *   value

     d     argument                    *   value

     /* RMVINXEN, remove independent index entry */

     d rmvinxen        pr                  extproc('_RMVINXEN1')

     d     receiver                    *   value

     d     index                       *

     d     opt_list                    *   value

     d     argument                    *   value

     /* template of MODINX */

     d modinx_tmpl_t   ds                  qualified

      * bit 1, immediate update

      *   0=do not modify

      *   1=modify

      * bit 2, index coherency tracking

      *   0=do not modify

      *   1=modify

     d     mod_sel                    1a

      * bit 1, immediate update

      *   0=no immediate update

      *   1=immediate update

      * bit 2, index coherency tracking

      *   0=do not track index coherency

      *   1=track index coherency

     d     new_attr                   1a

     d     reserved                   2a

     /* MODINX, modify independent index */

     d modinx          pr                  extproc('_MODINX')

     d     index                       *

     d     opt                         *   value

 

 

Appendix B: Example of Using MI Instruction Activate Program (ACTPG)

 

Activate Program (ACTPG) creates an activation entry for the OPM program that is identified by a resolved system pointer, if it uses static storage. If the program specified is of any other type, an invalid operation for program (hex 2C15) exception is signaled. No operation is performed for a program that does not require static storage.

 

The following is the ILE RPG prototype extracted from mih52.rpgleinc.

 

     /* ACTPG, activate non-bound program */

     d actpg           pr                  extproc('_ACTPG')

     d     ssf                         *

     d     pgm                         *

 

If an activation entry is created or an activation entry already exists for the program within the target activation group, a space pointer to the static storage frame is returned. The static storage frame is allocated and initialized according to specifications within the program. The static storage frame is 16-byte aligned and begins with a 64-byte header. The header is not initialized and is not used by the machine. The header is provided for compatibility with prior machine implementations. If the program does not use static storage (hence, no activation entry is created), a copy of the program pointer in operand 2 is returned.

 

In the following examples, ILE RPG program T054 activates OPM program SPR1_A, which contains a static variable hello of type char(32) and with initial value "hello, hello, hello how are you?" Here's the code of the little MI program, SPR1_A.

 

DCL DD HELLO CHAR(32) INIT(

  "hello, hello, hello how are you?"

);

PEDN;

 

To compile the little MI program, you can either use MI compilers such as mic provided by the open-source project i5/OS Programmer's Toolkit or call the Create Program (QPRCRTPG) API directly. For example, to avoid storing the source lines to a source physical file member or a stream file, you might invoke mic from QShell and input the source code directly from the standard input.

 

> export OUTPUTDIR=SOMELIB # select a target library other than *CURLIB

  $

> mic -o spr1_a -q*replace  << eof

> dcl dd hello char(32) init(

>   "hello, hello, hello how are you?"

> );

> pend;

> eof

  mic:  -- program SPR1_A     is placed in library SOMELIB

  $

 

Or you can call the QPRCRTPG API to compile OPM program SPR1_A directly.

 

CALL QPRCRTPG PARM(

  'DCL DD HELLO CHAR(32) INIT("hello, hello, hello how are you?");PEND;'

  x'00000034'

  'SPR1_A    SOMELIB   '

  'Program text -------------------------------------'

  'QADBCCST  QSYS      '

  'NOSUCHMBR '

  '1100505010101'

  'QSYSPRT   QSYS      '

  x'00000001'

  '*CHANGE   '

  '*REPLACE   '

  x'00000001'

)

 

Here's the source code of ILE RPG program T054. Please refer to t054.rpgle for the latest version.

 

      /if defined(*crtbndrpg)

     h  dftactgrp(*no)

      /endif

      /copy mih54

     /* layout of an OPM program's static storage frame (SSF) */

     d ssf_t           ds                  qualified

     d   header                      64a

     d   data                        32a

     d pgm             s               *

     d ssf             ds                  likeds(ssf_t)

     d                                     based(ssf_ptr)

     d ssf_ptr         s               *

     d argv            s               *   dim(1)

      /free

           // resolve OPM program SPR1_A (2)

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_type = x'0201';

           rslvsp_tmpl.obj_name = 'SPR1_A';

           rslvsp2 (pgm : rslvsp_tmpl);

           // activate OPM program SPR1_A (3)

           actpg (ssf_ptr : pgm);

           dsply 'Static variable' '' ssf.data;

           // deactivate OPM program SPR1_A

           deactpg (pgm);

             // pgm SPR1_A is deactivated;

             // see activation entries of AG x'00000002'

           *inlr = *on;

      /end-free

 

Code Notes:

(1) This is the layout of an OPM program's static storage frame (SSF) described by data structure ssf_t.

(2) Resolve system pointer pgm to OPM program SPR1_A.

(3) Activate OPM program SPR1_A using ACTPG, and then access storage in SSF of SPR1_A.

 

When you invoke ILE RPG program T054, you will receive this greeting from OPM program SPR1_A:

 

DSPLY  Static variable    hello, hello, hello how are you?

 

 

 

Junlei Li

Junlei Li is a programmer from Tianjin, China, with 10 years of experience in software design and programming. Junlei Li began programming under i5/OS (formerly known as AS/400, iSeries) in late 2005. He is familiar with most programming languages available on i5/OS—from special-purpose languages such as OPM/ILE RPG to CL to general-purpose languages such as C, C++, Java; from strong-typed languages to script languages such as QShell and REXX. One of his favorite programming languages on i5/OS is machine interface (MI) instructions, through which one can discover some of the internal behaviors of i5/OS and some of the highlights of i5/OS in terms of operating system design.

 

Junlei Li's Web site is http://i5toolkit.sourceforge.net/, where his open-source project i5/OS Programmer's Toolkit (https://sourceforge.net/projects/i5toolkit/) is documented.

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    The DR Strategy Guide for IBM i is brought to you by Maxava – innovative global leaders in High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions for IBM i.

  • 2016 State of IBM i Modernization White Paper

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    After surveying 400+ IBM i professionals, we discovered:
      -  The state of IBM i modernization in today's businesses and their goals for the future
      -  The effect legacy applications have on the businesses' internal and external processes
      -  The #1 concern upper managers have with the IBM i, and how to combat it

    ...and much much more!

    Download your copy of The 2016 State of IBM i Modernization today.

  • Virus Got You Down?

    SB SkyView PPL 5418

    Does a virus have your server down? Perhaps it’s the latest worm, Trojan horse, buffer overflow or denial of service attack that’s got you or one of your servers down. While one of these bugs may be affecting one or more of your servers in your enterprise, it is highly unlikely that the server affected is a Power server running IBM i. IBM i may be running your core business applications or it may be hosting your website or running Domino. Whatever its function within your enterprise IBM i has remained unaffected by virus and malware attacks. Why is that?

    Viruses and other ailments spread by infecting a host that is vulnerable. Let’s take a look at how IBM i and the applications running on it can remain unscathed by the viruses and malware that are so prevalent today.

    In this white paper, Carol Woodbury of SkyView Partners defines each “ailment” and then describe the defenses and protection mechanisms provided by IBM i to ward off the attack.

  • When Management Turns its Back on Security: The Business Effects

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    In this white paper we hope to explain why the decision to secure- or not secure – data on the IBM i needs to be a business decision ... not a technical decision.

    Something is preventing management from understanding the need to secure the electronic data. So let’s explore why we think this happens....

  • 2017 State of IBM i Security Study

    SB HelpSystems WP 5453For every breach that makes headlines, dozens of other organizations have had data stolen or corrupted by hackers—or even their own users. Cyberthreats become more sophisticated every year, raising the importance of proper security controls.
    The 2017 State of IBM i Security Study proves once more that many organizations running the IBM i operating system rely on system settings that leave data vulnerable. This is true across all industries for businesses large and small.
    Weak passwords, lax system auditing, and overly privileged users leave your server vulnerable to internal and external threats. A data breach caused by a cybercriminal or a negligent insider can cause irreparable damage to an organization of any size.
    The annual State of IBM i Security Study strives to help executives, IT managers, system administrators, and auditors understand the full extent of IBM i security exposures and how to correct them quickly and effectively.

    Order your copy of this year's guide here.

  • 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!

     

  • Building a Sound Investment Strategy Through Technology

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    Learn how to combine automation software and IBM i to increase revenue and enhance customer experiences. Download the exclusive Help/Systems White Paper “Building a Sound Investment Strategy Through Technology.”

    This free four-page PDF, written by Help/Systems Director of Automation Technology Chuck Losinski, is packed with concise tips for IBM i. You’ll learn why Power Systems running IBM i are the key to a sound investment strategy. You’ll also discover how automation technologies such as batch processing, agent tasks, interactive processes, backups, report management, and system and message monitoring can save your company money while making your operations more reliable than ever.

  • A Successful Approach to Automated Monitoring in a Complex World

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    In this 45-minute recorded webinar, we dissect complex system monitoring by introducing best practices and smart techniques that will help you reduce and simplify your multi-platform monitoring workload.

  • Achieving Business Value Through VIOS

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    In this 45-minute recorded webinar, virtualization specialist Glenn Robinson joins Ash Giddings to discuss the use of VIOS in today’s demanding Power Systems environments. VIOS can help you realize real business value by reducing IT expenditure and adding the flexibility to grow and shrink resources according to data center demands through virtualization across IBM Power Systems estates.

  • ​Multi-Platform Application Monitoring

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    Make Application Monitoring Easy Across the IBM i, Windows, AIX, and Linux Platforms in Your Environment
    IT departments are constantly bombarded by information from a wide variety of operating systems, business applications, and critical processes. At the same time, the department must support a complex array of servers and devices running across their entire network.
    With limited resources and the need to keep costs in check, more and more is expected of operational staff to handle this information efficiently.
    In this 45-minute recorded webinar, we’ll dissect complex systems monitoring by introducing best practices and smart techniques that will help you:
    - Ensure vital business applications run smoothly and without disruption
    - Respond swiftly and with appropriate actions
    - Confirm that essential data is received at the right time
    - Prove service levels are maintained
    - Keep contingency and high availability strategies fully operational

  • ​IBM i War Stories from the Front Line

    SB Halcyon WC Generic

    IBM i is great at managing varied workloads—the OS offers many built-in work management and system utilities to aid administration.
    But greater customization is sometimes necessary in the line of duty.
    Halcyon has built upon these utilities to deliver a number of advanced functions designed for you to take control of all of your day-to-day IBM i activities.
    During this on-demand webinar, our experts will demonstrate some of Halcyon’s capabilities and describe real-life scenarios that highlight how you can:

    - Reduce your alerting footprint by implementing leading-edge monitoring techniques 
    - Identify both organic growth and spikes in disk space utilization
    - Automate time-consuming housekeeping tasks
    - Take advantage of the powerful IBM i Services
    - Automate literally anything

    Set your sights on having the right monitoring solution, no matter what comes your way. Watch the recording today!

  • Work Smarter: Integrate IBM i and Desktop Applications

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    My desktop application users spend a lot of time manually generating and printing letters using IBM i data.
    Our team copies and pastes information between IBM i applications all the time. Launching a PC application from my IBM i screens is impossible today.
    Sound familiar?
    Too many businesses go through manual efforts to transfer documents and data across IBM i and desktop applications—especially ERPs. Whether you use JDE World, JDE EnterpriseOne, Infor, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics, or any other ERP, chances are your employees are stuck transferring information manually. And all of that manual effort leads to hours upon hours of wasted time.
    But it doesn’t need to anymore.

    See More

  • IBM i Resources Retiring?

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Let’s face it: IBM i experts and RPG programmers are retiring from the workforce. These folks have been managing all areas of your business—often manually and behind the scenes—for decades, everything from IT operations to data and documents to cybersecurity.
    Are you prepared to handle their departure?
    During this 30-minute recorded webinar, 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
    IBM i skills depletion is a top concern for IBM i shops around the world. 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.

    Watch this webcast now

  • IFS Security – Don’t Leave Your Server Vulnerable

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    Experts agree that one of the most overlooked areas of IBM i security is the Integrated File System. Available since V3R1, the IFS provides access for users carrying nothing more than a user profile and password, so it better be secure! If you believe nothing important is stored on your server's IFS, think again, because it's a conduit to many things, including the Operating System and all of your application libraries and files.
    Watch this important session to learn about securing the IFS, including:
    Why do we care about the IFS?
    Permissions versus Authority
    Root folder access
    Auditing IFS activities
    Read/Write versus *ALLOBJ
    Anti-Virus Considerations

  • Who’s Afraid of Linux on Power, AIX, and VIOS? Not i.

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    This 30-minute recording demystifies Linux on Power, AIX, and VIOS and teaches best practice techniques for maintaining and controlling critical processes and applications running on your Linux, AIX, and VIOS environments.

  • Backup and Recovery Considerations for Security Data and Encrypted Backups

    SB PowerTech WC GenericSecurity expert Carol Woodbury is joined by the newest member of the HelpSystems team: Debbie Saugen.
    Debbie is recognized worldwide as an expert on IBM i backup and recovery, disaster recovery, and high availability. For decades, Debbie has helped 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.

    Watch the webinar today!

     

  • Profound.js: The Agile Approach to Legacy Modernization

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    In this presentation, Alex Roytman (CEO, Profound Logic) and Liam Allan (2016 COMMON Student Innovation Award winner) 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

    Watch this Webcast NOW!

  • The Truth About Viruses on IBM i

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    Protecting your data from viruses or malicious code is not an unfamiliar concept, but understanding how these threats can affect your Power Systems server may not be as easy to grasp.
    There are many myths about viruses and IBM i—including the belief that the system is immune. Many Power Systems managers still don’t see viruses as a risk because they see them as a Windows threat. While this was once true, today’s connected environments operate under different rules.
    It’s time to take action and protect IBM i and the network that connects to it. This on-demand webinar will help you gain an understanding of the relationships between:

    - Viruses and the integrated file system (IFS)
    - Power Systems and Windows viruses
    - PC-based anti-virus scanning vs native IBM i scanning
    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. Learn the facts to ensure you're fully-protected.

  • Business Process Automation with Robot

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    Automate Process Flow Through the Data Center
    Typical “computerized” business processes are a combination of multiple schedulers, operational scripts, CL programs, and manual file checking, all backed up with the trusty runbook.
    Is there a better way to manage business processes?
    It is a common misconception that a business process cannot be automated if it’s too complicated or requires that someone verify each step. We’re here to tell you there is a better way to manage your business—process automation is possible!
    Take 30 minutes to learn the options for automating your business process flow and how they fit into your data center processing, including cases of:
    - Complex or iterative schedules
    - Event-driven dependencies
    - Multi-platform dependencies
    - Dynamically calculated parameters
    - Exception notification
    - SAP and Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne integration
    How do I know business process automation is effective?
    If you have any doubts that automating complex business processes will improve your level of service, you’ll also hear a success story from the senior systems administrator at Trident Seafoods who embraced automation using the Robot solution and is reeling in the benefits!

  • Find Out Why You Should Keep Data on IBM i

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    It’s simple. IBM i is the most reliable, securable, and powerful platform to house your critical business data.
    IBM i was built for business and has added features and functionality over the years to keep up with modern business needs. You can trust it to run your business, access your data in real-time, and keep your data secure. Plus, IBM i can scale to your business and handle all of your critical data.
    Can your other platforms do that?
    We didn’t think so.
    Watch this 30-minute webinar to learn why you should keep your data on IBM i, including:
    - IBM i is reliable
    - IBM i offers fast and secure real-time data access
    - IBM i helps your business prepare for tomorrow
    Plus, we demonstrate how Sequel Data Access helps you modernize IBM i data access and meet your business needs.

  • Mobile Apps for IBM i Monitoring

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    Overnight and weekend support can be a minefield for operations teams tasked with attempting to maintain system availability, especially when they must rely on laptop-based VPN access—where a delayed response can prove costly.
    With over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to use the BYOD movement to your advantage and start managing your IT infrastructure from the palm of your hand. Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how Halcyon has modernized this crucial layer of support by introducing mobile applications for IBM i monitoring.
    You’ll hear how one company has used the Enterprise Console mobile app to provide a valuable audit trail and speed up response time. You’ll also learn:
    - The benefits of mobile apps
    - How to respond to critical messages within seconds
    - How to get notifications your way on your device
    - How to set up escalation, ensuring alerts are always handled in a timely fashion
    If your team is responsible for managing IBM i applications and services after regular business hours, you won’t want to miss this one!

     

  • Speed Up Your Manufacturing and Distribution with Paperless Processes

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Your ERP system —whether it’s JDE World, Enterprise One, Infor, Epicor, Microsoft Dynamics, VAI, or anything else—is essential to maintaining your company’s key business information and processes. But you’re constantly generating and receiving paper and electronic documents, too, and it’s hard to keep everything straight. So, you wind up chasing documents and data around—and keeping your customers and vendors waiting.
    It’s time to make life easier and make your customers happier. With an electronic document management system, you can integrate with your ERP to keep all of your key documents and data in one spot.
    And when all of your documents are stored digitally, you can speed up your processes and get key documents (like purchase orders and invoices) approved faster.
    Watch the webinar and learn how to:
    - Integrate a document management system with your ERP
    - Capture all of your key shop floor, order, and shipment documents in one central repository
    - Improve customer, vendor, and employee response times
    - Accomplish more work without adding additional staff
    It’s time to deliver your shipments faster and keep your customers happy by streamlining your paperwork processes.

  • Dock Door Signing Made Easy

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    How long does dock door signing take your organization? Too long if you’re still using manual processes and paper.
    From generating to collating to printing to routing to signing, manual processes and paper slow down your organization—and your delivery times. Electronic documents and digital signature capture can change all of that. And your organization will be able to create, route, approve (with digital signatures), and retrieve documents faster.
    Learn how digital signature capture helps you:
    - Eliminate steps in your approval processes
    - Improve auditability
    - Reduce customer service time to resolve questions
    Plus, we’ll demonstrate how digitizing signatures and documents will reduce your organization’s costs over the long haul.

  • 5 Reasons Developers Love Robot Schedule

    SB HelpSystems WC Generic

    Why AppDev Should Embrace Automation
    Your application development team is an expensive resource that works hard to improve business processes, yet more and more IBM i shops are putting AppDev in charge of managing day-to-day system operations.
    Instead of taking their attention away from the website, business analytics, mobile, security, SQL data access, and more, streamline operations with automation and build in notifications so your teams have visibility into processing when they need it, and can manage the rest by exception.
    In just 30 minutes, our experts will show how AppDev teams can take advantage of Robot automated operations on IBM i and beyond so they can:
    - Stop programming for multi-platform job and file event dependencies
    - Stop struggling with incorrect parameter values
    - Stop wondering where to fit a process into daily, weekly, or monthly cycles
    - Stop the on-call headaches, the firefighting, and the lack of progress cycle
    - Go ahead, give your AppDev team a productivity boost!

  • Affordable Query Tool for Software Developers

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    NGS’ Software Developer Kit (SDK) gives IBM i developers comprehensive query, dynamic mobile reporting, analytics and Web report design features at an affordable cost. Install and create meaningful outputs for managers in one day! Web page and portal integration, email, FTP are included.
    The $895* SDK includes a one user license, online training, user manuals, one year of software maintenance; toll-free support and online incident reporting.
    - Want to modernize beyond Query/400 and PC files transfers?
    - Need a Web reporting solution without the learning curve and overhead of DB2 Web Query?
    - Have many reporting needs, but a tight budget and small staff?
    View the demo and request a FREE TRIAL of the SDK.
    * Limited time offer.

  • Your introduction to RCAC and Authority Collection

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    IBM has provided us with two powerful and very exciting security enhancements in the last two versions of IBM i.

    Scott Forstie of IBM joins Carol Woodbury to demonstrate and describe the V7R2 feature called Row and Column Access Control (RCAC), which extends how you define which users have access to specific rows in a database file. RCAC also provides a way to mask data for all or selected users.

    The recently released V7R3 adds Authority Collection. Authority Collection provides organizations and vendors with the ability to know exactly what authority is required to perform a task, eliminating the guesswork. Gone is the need to set *PUBLIC authority on database files to *ALL or to automatically grant service accounts *ALLOBJ special authority just because you’re unsure of what authority is required.

    Watch Scott and Carol as they discuss these and other new security features delivered in V7R2 and V7R3.

  • ​Getting Started with IBM i Security: Event Auditing

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    Learn why event auditing is necessary and how to configure it
    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.
    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.
    This second session of the series introduces event auditing, with Robin Tatam covering the basics and more:
    - Why auditing is necessary
    - Determine if IBM i auditing is currently active
    - How to configure auditing with one simple command
    - What audit events are recorded (and which are missed!)
    - How high availability (HA) applications often make critical events disappear
    - Event reporting and real-time alerting

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: Securing PC Access

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    Protect your system from unauthorized network access through readily available PC tools

    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.

    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.

    This on-demand webinar will show you how well-known services like FTP and ODBC enable users to access sensitive data without oversight or restrictions. Robin Tatam will also explain what exit programs are and how you can use them to protect your organization.

  • No Time for IBM I Security? No Problem

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    “Security” is definitely on your IT staff’s to-do list, but how often does this item get checked off?

    IT doesn’t have enough time for security—the 2016 IBM i Security Study proves it. The trouble is that data security isn’t a set-and-forget project. Data security on your IBM i requires on-going attention and expertise.

    In this on-demand webinar, you’ll learn how to save time and work more effectively. We’re cutting to the core of IBM i security by outlining the simple strategy developed by our experts.

    You’ll see a straightforward approach to understanding and addressing risk to your IBM i data. We’ll also show you how our world-class security services help people protect business-critical data when they don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to tackle IBM i security on their own.

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: System Values

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    Set the tone for data protection with security-relevant system values

    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.

    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.

    The series opens with an introduction to security-relevant system values.

    System values are one of the fundamental elements of IBM i security. The security system values enable you to “set the tone” of security on your IBM i, enforce password composition rules, and enable auditing. Watch this on-demand webinar to see Carol Woodbury describe these system values and provide guidance on their best practice settings.

  • Getting Started with IBM i Security: Integrated File System (IFS)

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    The IFS is one of the most commonly overlooked aspects of IBM i security
    Experts’ fears surrounding the risks associated with poor configuration were recently confirmed by the 2016 State of IBM i Security Study. Published annually, the results reveal most Power Systems lack adequate security controls and auditing measures.
    In this fast-paced webinar series, leading experts Robin Tatam and Carol Woodbury share insight into critical areas of IBM i security.
    This recorded session has Robin Tatam introducing IFS security:
    - Defining IFS
    - How the IFS is configured
    - Common IFS security mistakes
    - What a virus can do to IBM i through the IFS
    - Tracking user activity

  • ​7 Habits of Highly Secure Organizations

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    Everyone knows that cyber security is important, but getting started on the road to data protection and compliance can be confusing and intimidating. Understanding common vulnerabilities helps you focus your attention and resources on the areas that need the most help.
    We all want “best-practice” security, but what are top organizations doing to achieve and maintain it?
    Watch this webinar to learn the details about how to develop the seven habits that are part of daily life for secure organizations. You’ll learn how to:
    - Break the Ostrich Syndrome
    - Develop a Security Policy
    - Assess Current Standing
    - Perform Security Event Logging and Review
    - Use “Best of Breed” Technologies
    - Monitor for Ongoing Compliance
    - Plan for the Future
    This on-demand webinar examines what each of these habits means to IBM i, and helps you make sure that you don’t become the next security statistic.

  • An Introduction to PCI Compliance on IBM Power Systems

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    "From the world's largest corporations to small Internet stores, compliance with the PCI Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is vital for all merchants who accept credit cards, online or offline, because nothing is more important than keeping your customer’s payment card data secure.” — PCI Security Standards Council
    Complying with the PCI standard is a normal part of doing business in today’s credit-centric world. But, PCI applies to multiple platforms.
    The challenge becomes how to map the general PCI requirements to a specific platform, such as IBM i. And, more importantly, how can you maintain—and prove—compliance?
    Watch this webinar to understand:
    - How PCI requirements relate to IBM i systems
    - IBM i-specific barriers to compliance
    - How PowerTech security solutions help you fulfill PCI requirements, meet compliance guidelines, and satisfy auditors
    You’ll leave with the knowledge and confidence you need to evaluate PCI compliance requirements and prepare your IBM i system for today’s regulatory challenges.

  • Implementing Multiple Layers of Defense

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    Your IBM i holds a massive amount of data. In most organizations, that data constitutes a mission-critical and high-value asset.

    How do you adequately protect the data residing on your IBM i, given its value to your organization? IBM has provided us with many options for protecting our data, but it’s now always clear how to select and implement the best options for your circumstances.

    This recorded webinar describes IBM i’s different data security options, along with implementation recommendations and tips for getting started. Carol Woodbury, one of the world’s top IBM i security experts, also provides considerations to help you determine how many layers of security are right for your organization.

  • 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 Generic

    Watch 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!
    Watch this Webinar Now!

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

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    Modern, 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.
    We will demonstrate how Profound UI:
    - Goes beyond simple screen-scraping to truly modernize your RPG applications
    - Uses RPG Open Access and your own RPG code and development talent to modernize
    - Supports rapid development with an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop Designer
    - Integrates with our on-the-fly modernization, mobile development, and Enterprise Modernization solutions

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

    SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericHigh availability for IBM i has been a hot topic in 2017, jumping 20% from our 2016 survey to take the #2 seat on IT priority lists just behind cybersecurity. And no surprise with these two topics so closely tied to your most valuable asset: your irreplaceable business data.
    With major airline outages last year and the recent ransomware attacks, you 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—Tom Huntington, Matt Staddler, and Cole Ragland—deliver lively discussion around the top high availability issues of today, including:

    • 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

    There are no do-overs when it comes to your data. Once it’s gone, it’s gone...unless you have a data replication layer in place to protect it. Learn the value of these strategic solutions and how you can implement them in a hurry—watch now!

     

  • 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 5541Roses are red, your UIs are green...It's time to make your apps proud to be seen!
    Whether 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.
    In this webinar, you'll learn how you can use both Profound UI and Profound.js to:

    • 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

    This webinar will include a live product demonstration and Q&A with the presenters.

    Download and watch today!

  • 2017 IBM i Marketplace Revealed

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    IBM i is one of technology’s best-kept secrets, with little information available about what IBM i users are doing on this server. Even companies that use this technology struggle to explain to their own teams what IBM i stands for and who else is using it.
    The IBM i Marketplace Survey—now in its 3rd year—was designed to solve this problem. Watch this on-demand webinar for the exclusive results of the 2017 survey. IBM i Champion Tom Huntington is joined by a panel of technology experts to discuss year-over-year trends and new insights. The panel will discuss:

    • What other platforms do you run alongside IBM i?
    • What programming and Open Source languages are you using?
    • What are your top IT issues?
    • What version of POWER and what OS level is most prevalent?
    • Are you expanding your usage of IBM i?
    • Is IBM i a good ROI?

    The expert panel will provide industry insight and comments about the results. When the webinar concludes, you’ll get access to the full results.

  • Accelerating Programmer Productivity with Sequel

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    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

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    Everyone wants a piece of your business data. But keeping up with data access requests in the era of constantly growing data is a challenge. As a result, your IT department can be overwhelmed, inundated, and constantly needing to play catch-up.
    It’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 in 2018.
    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

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    Let’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 noted 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...

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    There’s a better way to run your queries. With an advanced query tool like Sequel Data Access, you can deliver the IBM i data your organization needs quickly and efficiently—without the hang-ups.
    In this session, we’ll address common frustrations with Query/400, discuss major data access and distribution trends, and help you understand what to look for in a more advanced query tool.
    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
    • Watch the webinar and learn why you shouldn’t just settle for Query/400.

     

  • How to Manage Documents the Easy Way

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    What happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Everything is harder.
    Capturing documents means scanning and filing—which takes you away from tasks that actually matter to the business. Managing documents means sorting through an endless sea of shared folders or filing cabinets—and sometimes documents can’t be found. Distributing documents means following a frustrating, manual process for routing documents internally and sending them to vendors and customers.
    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

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    Get 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.

  • Monitor VIOS (and AIX) from Your IBM i

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    Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) runs on AIX and allows you to share input/output resources across logical partitions. The health of your VIOS server is critical to the performance of all your Power server partitions, so monitoring it is a must.
    Our 2017 IBM i Marketplace Survey Results uncovered a cool trend: an increasing number of IBM i shops are running AIX instances alongside IBM i on Power Systems servers. We like to see these systems playing nicely together on the same server, though it does shine a spotlight on shared resources.
    During this 30-minute recording, our experts demonstrate the new VIOS and AIX monitoring capabilities in Robot Monitor. You’ll learn about:

    • The top AIX metrics that impact VIOS
    • Real-time monitoring with dashboard displays
    • Threshold and notification options
    • Identifying trends to better allocate resources

    With VIOS/AIX running alongside IBM i, you need visibility into your entire Power environment.
    Watch now to see how Robot Monitor can get you there!

     

     

  • Overwhelmed by Operating Systems?

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    You’re responsible for looking after Windows, Linux, AIX, and VIOS, but you worry that you don’t understand their complexities well enough to make your job effective—or easy.
    No problem! Simplify the management of multiple operating systems and applications without becoming experts in each area.
    In 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 and shows how easy monitoring multiple operating systems and applications can be using point-and-click technology.

     

  • Real-Time Disk Monitoring with Robot Monitor

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    When IBM i disk space pulls its notorious disappearing act, you don’t have time to waste figuring out how the trick is done. You need to know when disk space starts to disappear and where it has gone before system performance and productivity start to suffer.
    Looking behind the curtain to keep a close eye on disk space—especially in a multi-partition environment—can have its challenges, but every good admin can have an ace up their sleeve. 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

    Start seeing through the sleight of hand and get instant visibility into disk usage. Add advance warning of potential threats and—abracadabra!—you’ll reduce the risk of disk space depletion and curb the sudden flurry of activity to clean things up.

     

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

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    Still following manual processes for extracting and transferring data across platforms? You’re not alone. Many business still depend on RPG for their daily business processes and report generation. And that leads to a lot of manual effort.
    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, you’ll see a demonstration of how data automation software from HelpSystems will help you finally stop re-keying data.

     

  • Survey Results: 2018 Top Cybersecurity Risks and Mitigation Strategies

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    Protecting your organization from cyberthreats has never been more important—or more difficult.
    IT pros have many tactics to choose from, but time (and budgets!) are not unlimited. The key is prioritizing risks and identifying the most effective ways to mitigate the danger.
    In 2018, HelpSystems surveyed more than 600 IT and cybersecurity professionals to find out what security exploits loom largest and what strategies they’re turning to for protection.
    In this on-demand webinar, our team of cybersecurity security experts analyzes results. You’ll learn about:

    • Security strategies your peers are most interested in implementing
    • How managers and executives prioritize security
    • Who is responsible for cybersecurity at organizations around the world
    • Where IT pros turn for assistance with security

    You'll also get practical tips for using this data to drive cybersecurity conversations at your organization.

     

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

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    When it comes to IBM® Rational® Open Access: RPG Edition (also known as RPG Open Access), 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"

    This Webinar features IBM i expert Alison Butterill, and Profound Logic’s Brian May and Alex Roytman.

     

    Watch the On-demand Webinar Now!

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

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    Do your users keep paperwork on their desk until it's processed?
    Are people constantly removing documents from filing cabinets?
    What happens when your company depends on an outdated document management strategy?
    Too much paper is wasted—approximately 1,000 pages per month per worker.
    Attempts to locate documents in endless filing cabinets drive your employees crazy.
    And distributing documents to customers, vendors, and business partners 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

    Plus, our experts will provide a live demonstration of how implementing a document management solution will quickly solve your paper-based problems, so you can be more

  • IBM i: It’s Not Just AS/400

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    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

     

  • TRY the One Package That Solves All Your Document Design and Printing Challenges

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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. Why support 5 different products, when you can do it all with MarkMagic?

    - Drive over 450 different printer types.
    - Create invoices, statements, checks.
    - Set dynamic rules that transform output on the fly.
    - Conditionally distribute via Email, fax, or PDF.
    - Integrate with your current applications in minutes.
    - Preview printing on screen.
    - Native System i, Windows, AIX, Linux.

    Try MarkMagic today for free

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

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    Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) 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 5413

    Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. 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
    Keep your critical applications and data available. Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

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    The thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot 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

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    For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. brKey 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.

  • MS Office Connector for Query/400...FREE Trial!

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    NGS' Qport Office enables Windows users to run IBM Query/400 queries to:
    - Create and update Excel spreadsheets and Access databases
    - Create Word documents
    - Send to Windows screen and PC printers
    No query conversion is required. Works with i5/OS V5R1 & above. Installs in minutes!
    If you don’t have a budget to replace IBM Query/400, but want your users to have one click enhanced output of their queries.... Request the online license agreement and product download instructions today!
    Offer good through December 31, 2016.

  • Control and Monitor User Access from Desktop PCs (ODBC, FTP)

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    Protect your company by monitoring network traffic to your IBM i servers with the industry-leading exit program, PowerTech Network Security.
    Without visibility into IBM i's exit points, your users could be viewing, changing, or even deleting sensitive data—and you wouldn’t know!
    Network Security lets you monitor and control access to over 30 exit points, including:

    - ODBC
    - FTP
    - DDM
    - Remote command
    - Fileserve (mapped drives to IFS)
    It’s easy to set up custom access rules and get notified in real-time when security events occur.
    Stop “back door” access today. Try Network Security free for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

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    More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. Managing the complexities of today's operating systems, business applications, and networks challenges even the most knowledgeable IT professionals. The cost to an enterprise of unplanned downtime, loss of human expertise during sick leave or vacation, and system/application or environmental failure can be devastating. 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 (and staff) efficiency.