November 2022 Newsletter

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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.

It’s empowering and yet humbling.  At iTech Solutions as well as all of Service Express we are here to help our customers reach their goals, hold their hands along the way, and provide knowledge, know-how, and experience to get them out of any situation, as well as guide them in new endeavors to get the most from their systems.

The depth of our technical and sales teams, now allows us to provide help to many customers at once, but each person on the team brings different knowledge and experience that our customers leverage in many ways.  As a customer, we hope you will tell us when we miss the mark, as well as when we hit the mark.  While my role is changing, I am always available for feedback, and you can always reach me at [email protected].  Your feedback greatly helps drive the changes we can make to serve you better.  That’s the iTech Difference. The iTech Difference is all about our people, and if you look at Service Express with its people-powered data centers, it is the same philosophy and ideals.  As the iTech Difference transitions to become the Service Express difference, you will still have the exact same people, processes, and ideals.  The only difference will be those great red shirts.

At the start of the month, we held our 2-day iAdmin 2022 Fall conference. With over 600 people from 47 states and 42 countries, we provided IBM i education to help the entire IBM i community meet their System Admin educational goals.  Who else in the community is doing anything like this?  No one else, in fact not only did we have our customers on it, but we also had non-customers, other Business Partners, and even IBMers attend our educational classes.  That is a testament to the speakers and talent we have here at Service Express.  We aren’t afraid to showcase that we are the best, we have the knowledge, education, experience, and know-how.  We had 25 sessions across 2 days.  We heard some great feedback, and lots of “thank you” messages on the quality, professionalism, and educational aspects of the 2-day event.  I am very proud of the iTech staff and the work that went on to put that level of a conference on.  We are already starting our plans for iAdmin Spring 2023. In fact, we are planning on quite a few events for 2023, and now that we are part of Service Express, look for additional events.

I attended the COMMON America’s Advisory Council (CAAC) in Rochester, MN on November 14 – 16th, where we worked with IBM to discuss and plan the future of IBM i.  We talked about future releases of IBM i and what would be added to those releases, along with newer hardware to go along with the new releases.  IBM was very forthcoming about the future of IBM i, and I would have to say it looks great. Ok, great is an understatement.  I would have to say that people looking at leaving this platform are making the wrong decision. While I can’t talk about many of the specifics, knowing that they are looking at adding many new features, addressing many security issues that we are dealing with today’s world, as well as planning for security issues of the future left me feeling very encouraged. It wasn’t just security, we talked about Cloud, AI, Containers, hardware, and the IBM i community itself. Not to anyone’s surprise, we talked about the follow-on chips to the Power10, which one can guess would be the Power11 and then Power12 chips. IBM is committed to the POWER product line and you can find some additional information by doing a simple google search. IBM hasn’t announced any dates for the servers these chips would allegedly go into. In addition, we spent lots of time with requirements.  This is when people submit “ideas” or requests for enhancements to IBM i. You can submit your own “ideas” anytime you wish for an enhancement or something you think would be a better change to IBM i. Now, to me what was impressive is that IBM not only listens to these but has put 627 ideas into IBM i 7.5, implemented after 7.4 came out.  I would certainly say that Steve Will and his team value the suggestions and have listened to the community.

Oh, by the way, did you know there is an update to the IBM strategy paper since 7.5 came out. You can find the white paper here.  Take a look at that white paper, and share it with people in your company.  Do you know that most people aren’t even taking advantage of the things IBM brought to market already?  There is so much more you can do, but if you don’t stay educated about what the platform can do, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your company.

So, by now everyone knows that IBM has announced that IBM i 7.3 will go out of service on September 30, 2023.  If you are still on 7.3 (which came out in 2016), it’s time to upgrade.  We recently did a podcast on this that is available now.  Now, while IBM will tell you to upgrade to 7.5, I am going to tell you to get off of 7.3, and get to either 7.4 or 7.5.  Either one is good, if you can get to the latest that is better, but just get off of 7.3.  If you are below 7.3, you should already have an upgrade plan as your release is already unsupported, and you should be on Extended Support.

Power 8 was also recently announced that it will go end of support in April 2024.  So, you still have some time, but why are you on a Power8?  Do you know that a Power10 has twice the CPW as a Power8, and you can replace those spinning drives with NVMe which are going to be so much faster?  If you need to get maintenance on your Power8 machines, let us know and we can also help you with that as we are part of Service Express, the leading third-party maintenance provider.

November and December are always busy months, between holidays, vacation days, and last-minute projects everyone wants to be done prior to the new year.  We are going all out, to meet our customer’s needs. Everyone at iTech Solutions hopes you had a Happy Thanksgiving. This will be the last regular newsletter for 2022, and our December issue will be a funny story on how iTech Solutions helped Santa save Christmas, yet again. Oh, and by the way I heard there is a new reindeer this year at the North Pole called Hacker, so stay tuned to what is in store as iTech once again helps Santa save Christmas.

Stay safe, enjoy the holiday season and I look forward to seeing you at future events.

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