Day: September 23, 2021

How to Make Your E-mail Server Like You!

As a system administrator, getting email notifications when critical thresholds are hit can help you save your system and be the hero for the day. Setting up your IBM i server to be capable of sending emails isn’t too difficult, but there is a snag that you can run into when your company’s email server is a little picky.

Many email servers are configured to only receive emails from senders (think FROM: address) that belong to trusted domains. The server may happily receive and send emails that are from [email protected], but if it was to receive an email from [email protected], it would reject it if was not on the list of domains that it allows. The problem with the IBM i server often is that will send the email with a sender name that the email server does not like, so it tosses the email out – never to be seen.

In order to correct this, you first have to determine what your E-mail directory type is set to. The easiest way to look at this setting is to do a CHGSMTPA and prompt with F4.

If your value is set to *SMTP, do the following:

Still on the CHGSMTPA screen, add an acceptable domain to the SMTP domain alias parameter. Then use WRKSMTPUSR to add an entry for the user that will be sending the email.

If your value was set to *SDD, do the following:

Do a WRKDIRE and verify that an entry exists for the user that will be sending the email. If not, use option 1 to add the user to the directory.

After the entry exists, take option 2 to change the entry, and then do an F19 to ‘Change name for SMTP’. You may get a message that an entry doesn’t exist for it – just hit Enter to proceed. Fill out the screen that follows.

You’ve done it!

Make sure you can communicate with the mail server, that your IP address or host name is whitelisted, and that you’ve followed the steps above to make sure you have a domain name that’s acceptable to the server. Then all you have to do is make more room in your inbox!

More from this month:

Types of Mimix Switches and Best Practices

Currently there are three types of switches for Mimix. Planned Switch, Unplanned Switch, and Virtual Switch.

Virtual switch

This is a great way to test that your data is being replicated and your applications are functional. This requires no source downtime which allows you to complete this testing when you have your whole team available. The way this works is that once you virtually switch, Mimix keeps track of any changes made on the target during testing and will roll back all changes once you are completed and switch back. This is a great time to complete destructive testing since the data will be rolled back to before the switch. I recommend completing this type of switch three times a year.

Planned Switch

This is a full switch procedure that is controlled. You are able to switch Mimix when you know that the data groups are caught up and you have access to both source and target. This will give you the ability to not just test your data but also your network connections. This is important to complete yearly and will take a small downtime on source for the switch. This will replicate data from your testing to replicate back to your source, so you want to make sure any changes are ok to go back to the source.

Unplanned switch

This is a full switch procedure if your source system goes down and you have no access to it. This will switch the data groups to the target so you can prepare to replicate back once your source machine is back online. You do not want to have to run this type of switch and hope you do not have to execute.  This is why you have the protection of Mimix to be able to switch over in case of source outage.

So in closing, if possible you want to test your environment quarterly. Three virtual switches and a planned switch. This will make sure you can sleep at night knowing you are protected from an outage.

More from this month:

Need Another Tape Drive? Go Virtual!

The save/restore functionality that comes fully integrated with the IBM i operating system out-of-the-box is legendary, with a wide spectrum of functionality and device support there really is nothing that you cannot do with the native save/restore architecture on the platform. With respect to devices supported, the choices are many, you can save to physical tape, save to a save file, a physical RDX drive, etc., but did you know that you save/restore to/from a “virtual” tape drive?

The virtual tape drive functionality in IBM i is built upon the system’s rock-solid image catalog architecture where “volumes” are built in the IFS to emulate various types of storage like DVD storage for installation disk images, and, for tape virtualization, storage for virtual tapes where each volume in an image catalog is analogous to a discrete physical tape loaded into a physical tape drive.

Virtual tape drives have some nice advantages that you may want to look at to see if they may have a place in your environment, here are the main features that you may find interesting:

  • They are extremely fast, there is no physical tape that needs to be written to or read from, all virtual tape I/O is to/from disk so overall performance is incredible, and if you have solid-state disks the performance can go from incredible to spectacular
  • There are no physical tape cartridges that need to be handled (“handled” as in inserted, removed, or, dropped on the floor!)
  • Supports all IBM i save commands (except SAVSTG)
  • Can be used as the “source” tape device in a DUPTAP command to a “target” physical tape drive
  • Enables some creative ways to move data from one system to another by FTP’ing the image catalogs used to other systems so they can be mounted on virtual tape drives on those systems and read/duplicated

Creating a virtual tape drive is easy, and there is nothing to purchase or install, everything you need is fully baked into IBM i, just follow these easy steps…

  1. Create the virtual tape drive itself: CRTDEVTAP DEVD(TAPVRT01) RSRCNAME(*VRT)
  2. Vary-on the new virtual device: VRYCFG CFGOBJ(TAPVRT01) CFGTYPE(*DEV) STATUS(*ON)
  3. Create an image catalog that will hold the “virtual tapes” for the virtual tape drive where each catalog entry is a virtual tape: CRTIMGCLG IMGCLG(TAPVRT01) DIR(‘/tapvrt01’) TYPE(*TAP) CRTDIR(*YES)
  4. Add an image catalog entry for each virtual tape volume that you wish to have (e.g. VOL001, VOL002, etc.): ADDIMGCLGE IMGCLG(TAPVRT01)

September 2021 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

With Summer almost in our rear-view mirror, signs of fall are fast approaching. Everyone was expecting a new Technology Refresh for IBM i due later this Fall, but IBM released it earlier with the announcement of the POWER10 Enterprise server. The scale-out servers are coming “sometime” next year is what was announced. This means the POWER9 machines for most of the community are still the bell-weather state of the art, server to migrate to.…