March 2009 Newsletter


Spring? Well the weather outside sure doesn’t seem that way yet, but I can see the signs that it won’t be long now.  We have a packed newsletter full of great information, and some pretty cool offerings as well.
This issue of our newsletter has five articles. In the first, we want to make you aware of a new program for customers with older AS/400s and iSeries that can help save you quite a bit of money moving to newer, faster, less expensive hardware. The second article, is about a seminar discussing the new technology with voice integration and the IBM i. As we like to keep you abreast of technology, our third article is about Solid State Disk technology and IBM i. The fourth article is IBM i Education and where in the New England area you can find the premier IBM i education in April. The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information for your use.
For a list of events that we will be attending over the next few months, please go to Events, as we will be in, Framingham, MA, Reno, NV, and Woodbury, NY.
Just a reminder, that support for i5/OS V5R3 is ending April 30, 2009. Give us a call and we will do the upgrade to V5R4 or V6R1 for you.

iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, upgrade i5/OS, perform security audits, implement a High Availability solution, VoIP, Systems Management, PTF management, Blade installations, iSCSI Configurations, upgrade an existing machine, or upgrade to a new machine.  If you are thinking of LPAR or HMC, then think iTech Solutions.  We have the skills to help you get the most out of your System i.

For more information on any of the articles below please visit us at on the web at iTech Solution  or  email iTech Solutions.


for older machines

This is a great offer from IBM for those of you with older machines.  If you have an older IBM iSeries model from the list below, IBM is offering some very generous savings when migrating to a new Power 6 machine running IBM i. In addition, we will be able to save you enough money on your hardware and software maintenance to usually pay for your new machine. For orders received by June 19, 2009  and shipped before June 30, 2009, IBM will give away the first IBM i processor enablement (a value of $2,245/$14,995/$44,000 for P05/P10/P20 CPU tier boxes respectively) for free. Additionally, IBM is giving 50% off on user licenses (savings of $125/user, sold in 5 and 10-user packs depending on the CPU tier) and modest trade-ins on old boxes. IBM Global financing is cooperating with low interest leases.

Eligible CPU’s:

  • 9406-170 to 1-core
  • 9406-820 to 2-core
  • 9406-600 to 1-core
  • 9406-270 to 1-core
  • 9406-825 to 2-core
  • 9406-620 to 1-core
  • 9406-800 to 1-core
  • 9406-830 to 2-core
  • 9406-S20 to 1-core
  • 9406-810 to 2-core
  • 9406-720 to 1-core

New Power 520-CPU

  • 8203-E4A 1-core, free $2,245 entitlement
  • 8203-E4A 2-core, free $14,995 entitlement
  • 8203-E4A 4-core, free $14,995 entitlement
  • 8204-E8A, free $44,000 entitlement+ 50% off IBM i users beyond any that come with an express edition

Glenn Ericson is willing to help you out with how you can save money on moving to a new machine that is cheaper to operate, reduced cost for hardware and software maintenance, and will have a lot more CPU power. You can contact Glenn at 718-898-9805 or email him at [email protected].


Smart Voice Integrations on the IBM i


IBM and iMessaging have invited iTech Solutions and our customers to participate in a special web debriefing on new advances in voice integrations on the IBM i.

This by-invitation-only event, entitled Smart Voice Integrations on the IBM i, takes place Wednesday, April 22 at 1:30 EDT.

Click here for the full abstract and registration info

Register here using Invitation Code ITECH31

In brief, IBM’s Mike Rousseaux, a key UC strategist, will explain how you can now affordably free your voice integrations from your telephony platform and move them onto the reliable IBM i, where they can easily be integrated with your core business applications.

This move sets the stage for cost-saving business process improvements that also enhance service to customers, business partners and employees – often with quick and significant ROI.

In this debriefing, you will learn how you can structure voice integrations that:


  • Handle higher call volumes with existing staff
  • Improve service levels
  • Cut infrastructure costs
  • Simplify your telephony structure
  • Prepare you for the move to VoIP and UC
  • Future-proof your voice integrations by making them vendor-neutral

Register here using Invitation Code ITECH31


Solid State Disks

Solid State Drive
Solid State Disk (SSD) technology will be coming to IBM Power Systems this summer. While we have known about this for some time, Mark Shearer of IBM discussed it during a user group meeting last month, which allows us to now write about it.
An SSD is a data storage device that uses solid-state memory to store persistent data.  An SSD emulates a hard disk drive, thus it should be relatively easy for IBM to incorporate this technology.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the technology, you can relate it to the USB thumb drives that you have for your PC.  You have seen how big the capacity of those has become over the years.  Well the devices that would go on an IBM i would be much larger and more reliable than a thumb drive, but the key is no more moving parts.  These new SSD will not be cheap, and IBM never discloses prices before the official announcement, but this technology in other markets is about 10 times the price of existing disk.
Most IBM i shops tend to do a lot of I/O. While we aren’t certain how well these will perform, it’s a good bet that they will be extremely fast compared to current disk technology.  With no moving parts, SSD are less fragile than hard drives and are also silent as there are no mechanical delays. There is no rotational delay, low access time, and low latency. The disks won’t be for everyone right away, as the price point will probably be high, but for the larger shops with very heavy I/O these are going to be very very interesting.  I would imagine you will have to be current on your operating system, so don’t expect to put them on anything less than i5/OS 6.1.

If you need more disks today, give us a call and see how quickly and easily we can help you with your current disk needs. As new technology arrives, you need to be current on your PTFs and your version of i5/OS. If you prefer to have iTech Solutions handle any of your systems management, which includes PTFs, i5/OS upgrades, or even Technical iSeries question-and-answer sessions, then  give us a call at 203-744-7854 or contact us via email and we can work on this together with you.

i5 Education

– NEUGC April 6, 7, 8th

Northeast User Groups Conference
If are in the New England area you should plan to be in Framingham, MA on April 6 to 8th to attend the Northeast User Groups Conference. There will be over 100 sessions during these 2 1/2 days
with Labs and seminars. You will learn all there is to know about V6R1 and some other announcements from IBM.
iTech Solutions will be presenting the following sessions there:
Understanding the HMC, FSP, and Firmware
Visit the website to read about all the
sessions Do you know there will be more System i knowledge in Framingham Mass than any other place on the planet other than Rochester MN on April 7th and 8th. Why would you be anywhere else but at
NEUGC. We hope to see you there, so stop by the iTech Solutions booth which will be locate just inside the vendor ballroom.
Let iTech Solutions provide you with additional education for your staff, or provide detailed technical knowledge transfer.  Contact Pete Massiello.

Release levels and PTFs

iSeries Family

People are always asking me how often they should be performing PTF maintenance, and when is the right time to upgrade their operating system.  I updated this article from last month with the current levels of PTFs. Let’s look at PTFs.  First, PTFs are Program Temporary Fixes that are created by IBM to fix a problem that has occurred or to possibly prevent a problem from occurring.  In addition, some times PTFs add new functionality, security, or improve performance.  Therefore, I am always dumbfounded as to why customers do not perform PTF maintenance on their machine at least quarterly.  If IBM has come out with a fix for your disk drives, why do you want to wait for your disk drive to fail with that problem, only to be told that there is a fix for that problem, and if you had applied the PTF beforehand, you would have averted the problem.  Therefore, I think a quarterly PTF maintenance strategy is a smart move.  Many of our customers are on our quarterly PTF maintenance program, and that provides them with the peace of mind of knowing their system is up to date on PTFs.  Below is a table of the major group PTFs for the last few releases.  You might notice that this week, IBM just created a new Security PTF Group, so I have added this to our list, as we are installing this for our customers on iTech Solutions Quarterly Maintenance program.

                     6.1    V5R4    V5R3    V5R2

Cumul. Pack   8365   8305    8267   6080

Grp Hipers       32      96      166      189

DB Group          8       19       23         25

Java Group       7       19       22         27

Print Group       7       29      18          7

Backup/Recov.  5       23      32         31

Security Group   5        6        5           –

Blade/IXA/IXS    8       10       –           –
Http                   5       16      17         –

The easiest way to check your levels is to issue the command WRKPTFGRP.  They should all have a status of installed, and you should be up to the latest for all the above, based upon your release.  Now there are more groups than the ones listed above, but these are the general ones that most people require.  We can help you know which group PTFs you should be installing on your machine based upon your licensed programs. Here is a nice tidbit.  The Cumulative PTF package number is broken down as YDDD, where Y is the year and DDD is the day it was released.  Therefore, if we look at the cumulative package for V5R4, the ID is 8183. We can determine that it was created on the 183rd day of 2008, which is July 1st, 2008.  Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be.  I left V5R1 off the list, because if you are on V5R1, you don’t need to be worrying about PTFs, you really need to be upgrading your operating system.  The same can be said for V5R2 and V5R3, but there are still customers who are on those releases.

If you have an HMC, you should be running V7R3.3.0 with Service Pack 3, or V7R3.4.0, with PTF MH01148 installed. This PTF is Required for V7.3.4.
For your Flexible Service Processor (FSP) that is inside your Power 5 or Power5+ (520, 515, 525, 550, 570), the code level of the FSP should be 01_SF240_358. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A & 8204-E4a) customers should be running EL340_039.  For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM340_039. If you have a Power6 595 (9119-FMA) then you should be on EH340_039.
If you need help with upgrading your HMC or FSP just give us a call.  We will be happy to perform the function for you or assist you in doing it. Contact Pete Massiello.


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