January 2023 Newsletter

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First, from everyone here I would like to wish you a safe, happy, and healthy 2023. If you are an existing customer, thank you for bringing us into your company and trusting us with your most precious system, your Power System running IBM i.  We promise to do our absolute best in supporting you, no matter what it takes.  If you aren’t yet a customer, we hope you realize just how good we are from all our webinars, seminars, 2-day conferences, blogs, podcasts, and newsletters that you give us a chance. To IBM and our competitors, let’s help each other grow the community, because when the tide comes in, all ships in the harbor rise.

I think that 2022 was the year we got back to “almost” normal, at least as it pertains to COVID.  The masks for the most part were gone, we started to socialize again, attend in-person conferences, people were back in the offices, and travel resumed. I really enjoyed visiting customers and seeing people at conferences again. Plus, did you ever try to install a new Power machine with a mask on, it’s not the easiest thing to do.  Of course, the biggest news in the iTech Solutions world was the acquisition of iTech by Service Express in July.  I was extremely busy prior to the acquisition providing details about everything you can imagine while still running and growing the company.  I think I aged 5 years during those 6 months.  Then after the acquisition, we were in the transition phase and that kept me just as busy.  Things have finally settled down, and the transition has gone great. To make it even more interesting, throw into that a new release of IBM i, 7.5 which came out in the late spring, and then the release of the scale-out Power10 machines in July, and you have the recipe for gray hair, or maybe no hair. 

Looking back, 2022 was the year of change for everyone in the IBM i community, and especially for us here at iTech. I said this last year, “It is hard to say what will happen a month from now, much less a whole year!” boy was that ever true.  So, where am I going with this rambling? One of the reasons why we stress the importance of planning, preparing, educating, and having the right team is that when change happens, you need to be prepared. While we are all making resolutions to maximize our opportunities in the year to come, so are hackers resolving to increase their strength and productivity in 2023. So, if you’re making resolutions to improve your health and well-being, let’s not forget about the health of your systems.  

Having a good security plan, backup strategy, OS & PTF Upgrade strategy, disaster recovery, cloud options, and high availability are no longer nice to haves, but requirements. When you add encryption, look at performance improvements, single sign-on, hands-free tape operations, rolling out new versions of ACS, dealing with the next Log4i, or learning about new features and functions, the average IBM i shop can quickly become overwhelmed. Maybe swamped is a better word than overwhelmed.  This is where iTech Solutions, now Service Express, can help you. Whether it is a block of hours, bringing us in for an individual project, or having us as your technical support team, we are here to help in so many ways.  We have the knowledge, experience, and know-how to help you with any IBM i project. Start the year off on the right foot and contact us.  

We installed a lot of IBM Power 10 Servers in the last 6 months of 2022, plus IBM external storage during the entire 12 months of 2022.  I think every single configuration was slightly different, but then again every customer’s needs are slightly different, and we spent a lot of time in computer rooms performing those installs.  Coupled with updates of HMCs, FSPs, and PTFs, plus performing OS Upgrades we did a lot of maintenance to keep customers up to date. Staying up to date is extremely important as during the year we saw a few security alerts that we had to help customers with as well. But that is why we invest in our skills so we are ready to help you when you need it.    

Amazingly, we did 26 virtual events in 2022, with a total of 81 sessions. I don’t know another Business Partner who even comes close to that.  I had someone ask “Why?”  It’s simple. We love what we do, we are good at what we do, and we enjoy sharing our knowledge with the entire IBM i community.  We plan on continuing to be there for you this year and beyond.  We are planning on doing both a Spring and Fall 2-Day iAdmin conference again in 2023, plus continuing our Webinars, Blogs, Podcasts, newsletters, and more. In addition, expect to see us in person at all the major conferences like NEUGC, COMMON, WMCPA, and others. 

Before we get too comfortable, let’s not forget that support for Power8 servers will expire on March 31, 2024, or May 31, 2024, depending on which model you have.  That is a little over a year from now, so it’s not too early to start to think about a new Power10 which will be twice as powerful as a Power8.  In addition, IBM i 7.3 will go standard end of service on September 30, 2023.   That’s just 8 months from now, so if you are on 7.3, you need to start thinking about upgrading NOW.  Please do not wait for August to start your upgrade project. 

Stay safe, and I look forward to seeing you at future events. 

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