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Surprise! It’s IBM i Technology Refresh Time

September 13, 2021

Alex Woodie

IBM surprised the midrange world last week with the announcement of Technology Refreshes (TRs) for IBM i 7.3 and 7.4, which were generally available on Friday. The Fall TRs, usually announced in October, introduced support for the new Power10-based Power E1080 server in addition to a number of improvements to the operating system and surrounding IBM i products.

The big news with the new TRs – IBM i TR 7.3 TR11 and 7.4 TR5 – is support for server based IBM‘s fast new Power10 processor, which is the first power chip based on its 7 nanometer process. Companies that are one of the new Power10 servers – starting with the high-end Power E1080, which is to be delivered this month – 7.3 TR11 or 7.4 TR5 must be running. The Power10 models in the middle and entry-level range, which are to be announced this year and until 2021, also require one of these two operating systems.

But IBM has packed a lot more goodies into these TRs (the fourth TR update during the COVID pandemic) that will interest the majority of IBM i stores (i.e. the 99.9 percent of us who don’t get the big new one right away) Take over corporate class.) Machine). We’ll give you a general overview of these goodies in this story, followed by more detailed stories about specific items.

Topping the list of TR enhancements is a full update to IBM i Navigator, the primary utility administrators use to monitor and manage IBM i systems. With this version, IBM Navigator has completely revised, rewritten in Angular and Prime and built entirely on SQL Services.

“It has become a strategic point for us to override our system [SQL] Services, and now that Navigator is built on that, we’re eating our own kitchen, ”said IBM i architect Steve Will IT jungle during a briefing.

IBM has completely rebuilt IBM i Navigator on Angular, Prime and SQL Services.

“But we’re also making it easier for Navigator to do something our customers have wanted for a long time, namely to have multiple IBM i images managed on a screen, a pane of glass, a browser interface,” he said. .

Not all of the features that are available in green screen commands or that were supported in the Heritage version of Navigator are not available in the new product, which IBM calls “New Nav”. But the new Navigator is IBM’s strategic direction for the future, and all new features will be included in it while the traditional Navigator product is stabilized, according to IBM i product manager Alison Butterill.

“Over time, we will upgrade to the newer version of the Navigator,” said Butterill. “We want customers to move there. It will surely address many of the concerns people have had over time. And we will be phasing out the older version, as you can imagine, since the Heritage version, for example, has multiple tabs to manage multiple systems. “

Speaking of SQL services, IBM has added 14 new SQL scripts for specific tasks that IBM used to call SQL services but now call IBM i services. Twelve of these new IBM i services target the audit journal and are designed to help IBM i professionals extract more useful data from the audit journal.

IBM has also improved a number of existing IBM i services. That includes QSYS2.NVME_INFO, which is “basically like a fuel gauge for your NVMe devices,” Will said last week during a web presentation hosted by. was organized COMMONthat you can pull up with this link.

The IBM i service with the name QSYS2.SECURITY_INFO has also been revamped. “We added more information to the SECURITY_INFO service to give you more information about how your security is configured,” said Will.

ACS now warns users when they have uncommitted database changes.

There are a number of new Db2 services (SQL services targeting the database) that these two TRs have provided. Corresponding the IBM support website, the 11 new Db2 services it has deployed allow SQL developers to use REST to handle HTTP requests to read and write data from the database. “The services provide the same functionality as the HTTP capabilities of SYSTOOLS without the hassle of creating a JVM,” said IBM on its IBM support website.

IBM Access Client Solutions (ACS), the Java-based client that runs on any web browser, also sees some actions with 7.3 TR11 and 7.4 TR5. Better memory management should improve user satisfaction when working with Executing SQL Scripts in ACS version 1.1.8.8. There are also new examples that customers can use and customize that “make it easy to be successful with SQL and IBM i Services,” the company said.

The most exciting new ACS features, however, are the new commit and rollback options, which add new controls and indicators to the ACS screen when changes to the database are still ongoing.

“People have started making quick changes to their database using Run SQL Scripts, but sometimes they get into the middle of the transaction [and don’t finish it]”Said Will. “[Now] There’s an easy, iconic way to apply or undo a change made through ACS. They have a visual marker on the screen that indicates that you are in the middle of a transaction. You haven’t done this yet. Before you leave this screen, do you want to make sure you commit it? “

Did someone say “open source”? Because with the new TRs, IBM brought a lot of new open source for IBM i, including: Node.js version 16; Python version 3.9; an update to the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC); the Source Forge tn5250 project; the dos2unix utility; Hexdump; Ghostscript; Free TDS; new bash internals; and last but not least (but definitely not least) the Chrono-Scheduler.

This is IBM’s updated IBM i roadmap for the second half of 2021.

But wait, there’s more! (Always there!) IBM has updated its Cloud Storage Solutions for i offering, which allows users to back up their IBM i data in object stores that run in the cloud. IBM now officially supports Amazon web services” Extremely popular Simple Storage Service (S3), as well as the S3-compatible Google Cloud Storage Object Storage (GCS). This comes in addition to support for the IBM Cloud, and in addition to the support for IBM Spectrum that we told you about earlier this year.

IBM also promises that with its Cloud Storage Solutions (5733-ICC) it has increased performance by increasing the maximum size of objects and improving the performance of sending objects to the cloud.

Do you know yourself as an IBM i developer? Or maybe you know someone who does that? In any case, you’ll be happy to know that IBM has expanded its two core development offerings, including Rational Developer for i (RDi) IDE and Rational Developer Studio for i (RDS), also known as “the Compilers”.

With RDi 9.6.0.11, IBM has provided what is known as a “new user experience” for green screen developers, which is intended to provide “an easier transition when transitioning to the desktop tools experience”. A number of other, mostly small improvements – many of which were requested by IBM i users through the IBM Request for Enhancement (RFE) program – adorn the new release. You can view the full list of RDi enhancements here.

IBM has added two new RPG features to RDS, including% FIELDS support for the SORTA operation on a data structure array. According to IBM, this new feature “enables programmers to sort a data structure by more than one subfield”. In addition, a new behavior has been added to the DEBUG (* CONSTANTS) function, with which named constants can be evaluated in the bugger. (IBM also announced new built-in array functions% MAXARR and% MINARR, but they look suspiciously similar what it has already announced earlier this year.)

Apart from the new cryptographic coprocessor 4769 (which will be delivered on September 30th and is actually more of a hardware thing) it was for the IBM i 7.3 TR11 and 7.4 TR5. The TRs reportedly became available on September 10, but some PTFs may not have shipped.

Well, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for future issues where we will dive into the details of the TRs. In the meantime, see the IBM i Technology Updates wiki for more information https://www.ibm.com/support/pages/node/1119129. Here you can find the official IBM announcement letter for IBM i 7.3 TR11 in PDF format here and you will find the official IBM announcement letter for IBM i 7.4 TR5 in PDF format here.

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