Day: December 4, 2022

The Bell Tolls for Power 8

We have had many customers asking us this year, especially since the announcement of the Power 10 systems when we expect IBM to announce End of Support (EOS) for the Power 8 Systems.  Up until now, we were unable to provide a response.  Now on the back of the EOS announcement of OS 7.3 effective 9/30/2023, IBM has provided the announcement that we have long waited for.

On November 15, IBM formally announced End of Support for the beloved Power 8 Scale-Out and Scale-Up Systems.

For the Scale-Out Systems, this takes effect on April 30, 2024, for the Scale-Up Systems, this takes effect on October 30, 2024.  For more information, you can read the US Announcement here:

With 60% of the Global IBM i installed base at Power 8 or below, this represents a significant Customer base for IBM that is affected by this announcement.  The intent of the announcement is to provide ample time for organizations to plan, strategize and budget to make their technology refresh decisions prior to the EOS date.

There has recently been a significant increase in Hardware Maintenance (HWMA) costs and an additional increase is expected annually.  At the time of EOS, expect maintenance contracts to have annual price increases, and limited response times based on parts availability.

This is also an opportunity to look at Third Party Maintenance providers, such as Service Express.  TPM providers provide a great alternative to OEM maintenance after the warranty period at a greatly reduced cost while providing superior service.  In addition, you’ll find that Service goes beyond the IBM i with maintenance that covers everything in your data center, wall to wall.

Now is the time to properly consider your upgrade path from Power 8 to the newer technologies that IBM has invested heavily in over the years.

Some of the options available are:

  • IBM i In The Cloud – Cloud Hosting
  • On-Premise Power 10 – Technology Refresh
  • On-Premise Power 10 – Pay as you go Subscription

Engaging with iTech Solutions, we will assist you in understanding your options, providing you and your management with the best technology solution and business case, as well as implementing the chosen solution for you.

If your organization has a Power 8 or older technology system and would like to discuss your options regarding a technology migration or understanding extended maintenance, please reach out to your Account Manager or through …

A Look At VIOS Performance Advisor

There are several tools out there for measuring performance in Virtual I/O Server. However, there is one performance tool built in to VIOS that makes it easy to grab snapshots of performance and, at the same time, provide feedback on changes that could be made. The tool is officially called the VIOS Performance Advisor and ran by using the command part.

When it comes time for the busiest workload on your system for the day, connect to each of your VIOS LPARs via SSH or the console and run this command:  part -i 60 -t 2

This will capture performance data for 60 minutes at a detailed level. At the end of the 60 minutes, a .tar file will be in the /home/padmin directory that contains all the files generated. Use your favorite FTP tool pull that file down to your workstation. To extract the files in the .tar file, I recommend pulling down a copy of 7zip to quickly pull out the contents. The contents of the file will look like this:

The nice-looking report we want to look at is in vios_advisor_report.xml, but there is a catch  modern web browsers will not let you interact with the expand/collapse boxes in this report. Thankfully, there is a nice little workaround that will let you disable CORS for the purpose of viewing this report. For this example, I will use Chrome. Find your Chrome executable and create a new shortcut to it.

Once you’ve created the shortcut, you need to make one little change. Go to the Properties of the shortcut and add the following to the end of the Target:

–disable-web-security –disable-gpu –user-data-dir=~/chromeTemp

Altogether, it should look something like this:  “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –disable-web-security –disable-gpu –user-data-dir=~/chromeTemp

Open up Chrome and in the URL, key in the location on your workstation where you’ve stashed the .xml file and hit Enter. Use this data to help do fine-tuning and detect any bottlenecks.

More From This Month:

How IBM i Invokes Your System Startup Program

In dealing with several customers as of late, I realized that there seems to be some confusion as to exactly how and when IBM i invokes the system startup program that you have defined for your system.

As many of you know, there is a system startup program defined in system value QSTRUPPGM that you can display using command DSPSYSVAL SYSVAL(QSTRUPPGM) and it will give you this result:

The above example shows the native (base) IBM i operating system startup program QSTRUP in library QSYS being used as the startup program, but you can of course use any custom program that you have in any library.  Most IBM i installations have custom Control Language programs that they have written that start their environments, and you most likely do as well.  But “how” exactly does this system startup program get called and specifically “when”?

The system startup program by the widest possible definition gets called whenever the QCTL controlling subsystem is started, which will be one of the following two scenarios:

  • When the system is IPL’d
  • When the system is in a restricted state and is brought out of a restricted state by the issuance of the STRSBS SBSD(QCTL) command

Now from a system work management perspective, “how” does the startup program get called?  This is accomplished by the use of an Autostart Job Entry in the QCTL subsystem description.  If you display the QCTL subsystem description on your system using the command DSPSBSD SBSD(QCTL) and take option #3 (“Autostart job entries”), you will see this entry:

Because of this job entry, which is the system shipped default configuration, whenever the QCTL controlling subsystem is started, a job named QSTRUPJD will be started in the subsystem using job description QSTRUPJD in library QSYS.  If you display the QSTRUPJD job description using the command DSPJOBD JOBD(QSTRUPJD) and page down to see the “Request data” entry you will notice that system program QSYS/QWDAJPGM is being called:

What the QWDAJPGM does is critical, it directly calls the system startup program that you have defined in system value QSTRUPPGM.  This job description is why you see a batch job named QSTRUPJD running in QCTL calling program QWDAJPGM after every IPL or after you bring your system out of a restricted state.  Also worthy of note here, the QSTRUPJD job description also specifies what user profile to use when running the system startup program, the shipped …

Five Reasons Why Managed Security Makes Sense

Ransomware is a real threat, and many companies are turning to Cyber Security Insurance to help protect them in the event of an attack. Companies often need to implement solutions like anti-virus, anti-ransomware, and MFA to qualify for this insurance policy. The risk without it is too high.

Compliance is another reason that companies need to implement different security solutions like encryption, exit point monitoring, elevated authority monitoring, and exception reporting. Protecting the data is a crucial part of compliance.

Part of compliance is reviewing your security data for signs of a potential threat. In addition, compliance requires audits, which request lots of data about security events. The data is available in the QAUDTJRNL of the IBM i. Software solutions make it easier to access the data and report on it. Some solutions can also alert you in real-time to potential threats, which is when you want to find out about them.

Implementing security solutions is becoming more critical for companies. The struggle for companies is often the lack of resources or knowledge to do it adequately. I’ve been working with IBM i companies for over twenty-five years, and there is one thing that hasn’t changed: they have good intentions regarding security but often lack the resources or knowledge to do it properly.

# 1 Software becomes shelfware

Before I worked at iTech, I sold software for twenty years. One of the common issues companies have with acquiring software is they need to become an expert in that application. That means investing in training and then spending the necessary time to become familiar with the inner workings of the solution. The problem is often time. I’ve repeatedly seen that software becomes shelfware when no one is focusing on it. This is an even bigger issue with security because it can expose your data.

Not only is this a security threat, but it’s also an expense. The software has maintenance fees that you pay year after year for new releases and fixes. Often when the software becomes shelfware, companies continue to pay the maintenance, with the best intentions to use the software.

#2 New Threats

Security is not a set-it-and-forget-it item, or it shouldn’t be. There are always going to be new threats and vulnerabilities. This means you must continuously review your security posture and make continuous improvements. Things that were once deemed secure are identified as new threats, and you …

November 2022 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

When you live in the northeast United States, each season has its own charm and it is totally unique. Although nothing beats a New England fall, it is certainly hard to see the sunlight each day decrease as the cold starts to surround your body every time you go outdoors, but the beauty is amazing.  Starting in October, and ending in early November, the leaves turn from green to sunlit yellow, vibrant orange, and strawberry reds appear all over the gentle hills and the cool crisp air reminds you that snow isn’t too far away.  Fall’s transformation reminds us of the constant change in our lives and the ability we have to create change for others, as well as improve our customer’s IBM i environments.…