IBM Navigator for i

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

The new IBM Navigator for i has been available since the end of September 2021 and it is an absolute revelation! Until now, despite IBM’s best efforts with iSeries and Operations Navigator, followed by the (now older) web-based Navigator for i, many System Administrators still used the 5250 interface as their go-to tool for the day-to-day management of IBM i. This is about to change with the 2021 version of IBM Navigator for i.

To use the new IBM Navigator for i you will need to be running HTTP Group V7R3 (SF99722) minimum level 32 or at least level 13 for V7R4 (SF99662). The HTTP *ADMIN1 server will also require starting using the command STRTCPSVR Server(*HTTP) HTTPSVR(*ADMIN1) – remember to add this to your startup program. The old IBM Navigator for i runs on port 2001, with the new version on port 2002. If you need to change the port that Navigator runs on, please click this link.

Using your favorite browser point to http://systemname:2002/Navigator and the first thing that you’ll notice is the new welcome screen.

One thing that stood out immediately is the speed of the new navigator, comparable with the fastest 5250 green-screen response times, and always a factor when choosing tools to work with on a daily basis.

After signing in with your IBM i credentials you’ll be presented with the dashboard view showing a summary of CPU, the occupancy of *SYSBAS % full, and the number of active jobs on the partition.

Hovering over the horizontal lines will present you with several actions, one of which allows you to add a new node specifically designed for environments where multi-partition monitoring is required. Having the ability to manage and graph metrics more than one partition on the same display makes the new Navigator stand out versus the old one, especially as System Administrators are almost without exception now tasked with managing more than a single node/partition.

If you opt to manage the current node, you’ll see the last 20 samples of CPU and *SYSBAS utilization.

Using the widgets positioned down the left-hand side of the browser window provides you with the ability to manage work management, configuration and service, system, monitors, your work, network, security, users, performance, bookmarks, and serviceability. Each widget branches off with up to 12 further elements, the example below showing active subsystems within the work management capabilities.

A single right-mouse click on an active subsystem brings up another layer of options, including the ability to end the subsystem. The actions button located in the top left of this, and many other displays provides further options applicable to the current display. For subsystems, it provides the capability to start an entirely new subsystem.

Something that may not be noticeable to begin with are the three icons positioned in the top right-hand corner of this and many other screens. The star provides the capability to bookmark the current display as a favorite and the circular arrows refresh the current display. The SQL option shows the underlying SQL statement that was used to present the data currently visible, and you will see this SQL button on many pages within Navigator.

This SQL can then be used manually via Access Client Solutions (ACS), or you can make use of the ‘Run in ACS’ option to have ACS launched and the statement automatically run.

For this to work you will need to have previously started Navigator Requests from within ACS. To start this use TOOLS | NAVIGATOR REQUESTS from the ACS main menu.

From the resultant display choose to start Navigator Requests for the partition in question. The status will change to ‘listening for requests’.

Another neat feature is custom charts, enabling you to choose and plot multiple metrics for the same partition or the same set of metric(s) for multiple partitions. The latter being new to Navigator, and again in response to the desire of the community to monitor and report on larger IBM i estates.

The new version also delivered a large number of IBM RFEs that have been raised by the IBM i user community. There’s nothing like IBM Navigator for i for Linux, Windows or AIX that comes totally free of charge.

The new IBM Navigator for i will certainly go a long way in the ongoing quest by both IBM and the wider IBM i community to modernize the platform.

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This article is written by Ash Giddings, Product Manager at Maxava