@LISUG_Official Don’t miss the #IBMi event of the month – LISUG’s Annual Night of 1000 Stars, this Wednesday 12/7 at Westbury Manor. Great presentations, networking, food, games and prizes. Lots of lots of PRIZES! Hope to see everyone there! @COMMONug @IBMChampions

@LISUG_Official Don’t miss the #IBMi event of the month – LISUG’s Annual Night of 1000 Stars, this Wednesday 12/7 at Westbury Manor. Great presentations, networking, food, games and prizes. Lots of lots of PRIZES! Hope to see everyone there! @COMMONug @IBMChampions

– Steven Wolk (@SWolk) (in reply to LISUG_Official)07:56 – Dec 05, 2022

The Four Hundred, Dec 5, 2022 – – Surprise #TR 13 For #IBMi 7.3; #ThoroughlyModern: Swiss Army Knife For IBM i Developers; Finding IBM i’s Place In Data Fabrics & Data Meshes; #SOAP Web Services Fail After #WebSphere Liberty Patched; IBM i #PTF Guide

The Four Hundred, Dec 5, 2022 – mailchi.mp/itjungle/the-f… – Surprise #TR 13 For #IBMi 7.3; #ThoroughlyModern: Swiss Army Knife For IBM i Developers; Finding IBM i’s Place In Data Fabrics & Data Meshes; #SOAP Web Services Fail After #WebSphere Liberty Patched; IBM i #PTF Guide

– IT Jungle (@ITJungleNews)04:00 – Dec 05, 2022

The Importance of Running on Supported IBM Hardware and Operating Systems

We’ve all got day jobs, and with those day jobs come priorities. Some tasks have to be completed that day, others you can leave until tomorrow, next week, or even next month, while other tasks end up falling off the bottom of a to-do list. If anything interrupts your day or impacts your ability to perform your role, it’s more like to get done – it’s human nature. Where does ensuring your business remains on supported hardware and operating sit on your list of priorities? Most IBM i shops now have multiple partitions, some have tens or even hundreds, and so both operating systems upgrades and Power System refreshes can be major exercises, often involving downtime and buy-in from the business. IBM does offer extended support, which in essence is standard support, but at a premium price.

To learn more about the supported status of both the IBM i operating system and Power Systems hardware:

https://www.maxava.com/ibmi-supported-releases

The pitfalls of delaying hardware and software upgrades shouldn’t be underestimated.

Support

Out-of-support hardware while still likely to be operating sufficiently well will start to be a cause for concern as parts will become harder to source and are less likely to be readily available. This could cause delays, and in extreme circumstances could lead to extended outages. In addition, it may be necessary to source parts via the second user market.

While many applications will run on older operating systems indefinitely the challenge comes should you require a fix. Typically, if an existing fix is available to resolve your issue it can be applied without concern. Trouble can arise if you encounter an issue that hasn’t previously surfaced as it tends to be standard practice to not code new PTFs if you’re on an unsupported release. Instead, customers are encouraged to upgrade.

Security

Vulnerabilities are being discovered all the time and many of which will be exploited by unscrupulous individuals. Ensuring that you are on a supported release will mean that fixes will be made available to close such vulnerabilities. On an unsupported release, these will remain vulnerabilities, exposing the business to threats.

An example of this is CVE-2021-4104 (log4j) which was detected in the heritage version of IBM Navigator for i but not addressed. Instead, customers are directed to and encouraged to use the new IBM Navigator for i and to cease using the older heritage version. Exploited vulnerabilities could harm business now and result in unfavorable press.

Staff Retention

Failure to keep up with the latest technology will, over time result in ambitious staff leaving the company to ensure they keep their skills and experience current. Personnel who are content with working on out-of-date software and hardware will see a gradual decline in demand for their skills in the market.

Features

New hardware generations see improved performance capabilities versus price coupled with smaller, more energy-efficient footprints. They are also capable of taking advantage of emerging technologies such as support NVMe devices which alone provide increased performance.

With IBM i running on Power Systems, each version and release provides a huge number of features. In addition, with Technology Refreshes many features now get introduced this way.

Legal

For some, it is a legal requirement for the business to be using applications that reside on supported hardware and operating system versions. Failure to conform is likely to surface in an audit and result in a fine of sorts.

How Can Maxava Help?

Maxava can help IBM i customers migrate to new hardware or to later releases of the operating system without downtime while maintaining data integrity. Risk to the business can be reduced by utilizing Maxava’s proven replication technologies to copy data to new hardware while keeping synchronized in real-time allowing the data to be fully verified and audited.

For more about Maxava’s Migrate Live™

https://www.maxava.com/migrate-live

What’s in 7.5 TR1 and 7.4 TR7 for IBM i System Administrators?

In time-honored tradition, IBM has announced technology refreshes for IBM i 7.5 (TR1) and 7.4 (TR7), and with them an array of features, of which there are a number of useful elements for System Administrators.

SQL Services

As ever, SQL Services continue to be an area of growth and this technology refresh is no exception with more than 30 new services added along with a number of enhancements to existing services. The majority of the new services are in two distinct areas: NVMe where password protection policies can now be applied to physical disks and managed, and Db2 Mirror for i where submitted job tracking has been implemented to allow administrators to check the status of a job submitted on a node, even if the originating node is unavailable. There have also been some improvements in error logging. Remember these services are best run via Access Client Solutions.

Navigator for i

Another heavily enhanced area is Navigator for i where many items have been improved. The management of the IBM i Audit Journal (QAUDJRN) has traditionally been a green screen task, but with the technology refresh that is no longer the case. From Navigator for i you can choose to view, obtain details, and chart data having it filtered by user. A real game-changer when compared to 5250 limitations.

Everybody’s go-to command WRKACTJOB has had an equivalent in Navigator for some time, but the technology refresh sees the introduction of different modes. In basic mode, which is the default and ideal for most, the speed has been dramatically improved. Other settings provided are ‘ALL’ which is somewhat slower as it returns every column of data and ‘WORK’ which is in between ‘ALL’ and ‘BASIC’ in providing data for some key work management elements. When drilling into an active job you can now delve into the SQL details if applicable.

Several monitoring items have been improved: When viewing the QSYSOPR message queue you can optionally see just messages requiring a reply, for storage checking both SYSBAS and IASPs can now be seen, and Systems Monitors have been enhanced now providing a mechanism for you to right-click to visualize the data being monitored.

With the Performance Tools licensed program no longer a chargeable product, IBM has enabled the use of both job watcher and disk watcher within Navigator.

The area of Intruder Detection has been introduced providing the capability to define rules designed to notify should possible intrusions be detected.

High Availability

Within Db2 Mirror for i you no longer require PowerHA for IFS handling in certain configurations.

Power Virtual Server now provides hardware-based replication within the cloud with the announcement of Global Replication Services (GRS).

General

A new version (2.4.0) of Db2 Web Query was announced

Not specifically linked to the technology refreshes or IBM i specifically but worthy of a mention, all the same, is the fact that IBM documentation can now be used offline. Head to https://www.ibm.com/docs/en and after signing in you’ll be able to download technical documentation to a Windows PC (Mac is coming soon).

It should also be noted that in May 2022 a subscription offering for IBM i was announced.

Official Announcements

7.5 TR1 https://www.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/3/872/ENUSAP22-0273/index.html

7.4 TR7 http://www.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/4/877/ENUSZP22-0344/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en

Five Reasons Why Maxava HA Works for Large Users and Enterprise Workloads

Software-based logical replication for IBM i has been the mainstay for high availability and disaster recovery for many years, due to its ability to adapt to changing landscapes such as co-locations, and more recently the cloud. Maxava’s logical replication solution, Maxava HA, is based on remote journaling, an intrinsic part of the operating system with efficiency at its core, but what makes Maxava HA stand out from the competition?

Audits

Maxava HA has the capability to use before and after images, a feature provided by remote journaling which has credible benefits to the area of audits. The before image is used to check that a record is as it should be before it is updated to the after image. If a difference is detected between the before Image and what is on the TARGET server prior to update, corrective action is automatically initiated by requesting a partial audit of the file along with a check for any other bad records, fixing just the bad records found. This gives Maxava HA better real-time in-flight data consistency checking which in turn means that both SOURCE and TARGET are synchronized more than some other HA solutions, resulting in fewer resources being required to maintain synchronization. Maxava HA is conducting continual audit checking on an update-by-update basis, self-healing where possible while flagging exceptions which may require further investigation.

CPU Consumed on Production (SOURCE)

While some logical replication solutions are fully dependent upon the IBM i Audit Journal (QAUDJRN) as a foundation for high availability, Maxava have opted for a different approach. The primary use of QAUDJRN is auditing and relying on it for high availability can have an unwelcome impact on the SOURCE server’s resources. As an example, in busy environments the Audit Journal can become a bottleneck, potentially causing a delay in transactions being processed and sent before being applied to the TARGET machine, leaving you potentially exposed. Maxava HA has no requirement for there to be any core jobs active on the SOURCE server reading QAUDJRN.

Maxava’s innovative command intercept method has been designed to remove much of the resource required to maintain high availability away from the SOURCE server with most of the processing taking place on the TARGET, away from the demands that running production environments bring. This approach relays activity in the order in which it occurs, meaning the TARGET system need only process the activity it is sent, without the need for any re-sequencing.

Maxava HA has been designed to have a small and efficient footprint and is suitable for the most demanding environments with the largest transaction volumes. This efficiency has been achieved with the introduction of a library called MAXSYS which contains a copy of IBM commands necessary to perform dynamic replication. The MAXSYS library sits above QSYS in QSYSLIBL (System Library List). Each copied command has its CPP (Command Processing Program) changed to a Maxava version and is also tagged with an exit point program to initiate a Maxava HA function prior to the normal execution of the QSYS command of the same name. This Maxava HA action has no significance to applications and the QSYS command executes as normal. As such both object and data activity are captured and moved off the SOURCE server immediately and without the delays that pre-processing introduces. Because of these efficiencies, Maxava HA has fewer reasons to audit and fix, which in turn reduces the overhead on the SOURCE system.

Price and Flexibility

The most popular pricing option throughout the industry is now subscription-based and Maxava is a pioneer of this offering, having provided it for several years. Subscription-based pricing allows you to switch from a traditional capital expenditure model to an easier-to-digest monthly or annual operational number. Subscription pricing provides the opportunity for you to adapt and flex as your requirements ebb and flow.

Perpetual license and maintenance options are still available for those preferring this traditional approach to software ownership.

Cloud Ready

Maxava has a long-standing pedigree in working with both Managed Server Providers operating their own Power Cloud, and Public Cloud providers such as Skytap and IBM (Power Virtual Server). Our Migrate Live™ service supports customers when they need to upgrade their IBM i environment or migrate to a new system, either on-premise or to the Cloud, without downtime thereby ensuring data integrity. Maxava’s replication technologies are a quick and dependable way to enable data to be copied to a new system while keeping it synchronized in real time.

The Cloud is also a popular option for those looking to move away from on-premise or co-location forms of disaster recovery while taking advantage of consumption-based pricing and eliminating the need to pay for hardware and software maintenance. Maxava HA provides fast and reliable real-time IBM i replication to the Cloud.

Maxava HA runs natively in the Cloud, from region to region or between Cloud providers.

Support

Maxava offers 24 X 7 customer service and support having adopted a follow-the-sun model with fully qualified experienced personnel in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Japan. This model enables Maxava to offer first-class local support while reducing response times and delays when solving customer issues and queries.

This article is written by Ash Giddings, Product Manager at Maxava

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