What’s New in V7R5 for IBM i System Administrators?

Virtual Serial Numbers

Businesses are challenged with regards to 3rd party vendor licensing on IBM i, with many vendors choosing to tie keys down to serial number. While this has worked well, in the past 4 years we’ve seen considerable growth in cloud migration, to a subscription-based as-a-service model and away from perpetual licensing. Although public cloud offerings tend to have the ability to pin partitions to a specific serial number, by opting for this eliminates the ability to start a partition on any node. A big plus with cloud. With the introduction of virtual serial numbers on POWER9 and Power10 for V7R2 (with a PTF enabler), IBM have made partitions much more portable and cloud friendly.


Power Virtual Server

Power Virtual Server is IBM’s off-premise solution enabling Power Systems clients to run workloads on both scale out and scale up environments in the cloud. The announcement sees this solution include a consumption-based model with terms available for periods of between 1-5 years.


Save and Restore

The algorithm used for saving and restoring objects has had a makeover and is both faster and less intensive on Power10 hardware. The compression ratio has also been improved.

When saving IFS objects there is a new default to the ASYNCBRING parameter on the SAV command. It now defaults to *YES and will result in better performance. There is also a process to enable this default when using BRMS.

When restoring objects, the progress message now includes size of objects restored – especially useful in the event of a disaster.


Security

A welcome change has been made to CPF22E2, where whether an invalid user profile or password is entered, the same ‘User &1 does not exist or password not correct for user profile’ will be shown.



System Value QPWDLVL can now be set to 4, which when used will result in support for passwords of a length of 1-128 characters while removing passwords for password levels 0, 1, 2, and 3 from the system.


IBM i Services

A huge area of growth in recent years, IBM i Services are the modern way to interrogate a multitude of system metrics, via Access Client Solutions. With V7R5 comes two new services in TELNET_SERVICE_ATTRIBUTES and CHECK_PASSWORD. In addition, 13 existing services have been enhanced.


Integrated Job Scheduler (WRKJOBSCDE)

This free, simple scheduler now includes the ability to schedule jobs to run annually with the introduction of the *YEARLY frequency. In addition, you can hold the job scheduler itself via HLDJOBSCDE while maintaining the status of the individual jobs coupled with the RLSJOBSCDE command to release the scheduler.




Access Client Solutions

By popular demand, the Run SQL Scripts function of ACS now has tab support, although beware when switching between the tabs that there is only one results panel.


For those using ACS with many partitions, the ability to logically group servers will be a welcome addition.

Open Source Package Management has moved from the TOOLS dropdown and can now be found in the main Management area of ACS.


IBM Navigator for i

An addition to this tool is the audit journal visualization feature allowing you to see either a detailed or chart view of one or more entry types in either a daily or weekly view. Much friendlier than the green screen equivalent.

The PDI area of Navigator now includes a method to filter data you’re specifically interested in and to investigate the data of interest in a new tab while preserving your current view.

Support for configuring TCP Servers SMTP, SNMP and LDAP is also now included.


Db2 Mirror for i

Touted as a continuous availability solution for IBM i after being announced with V7R4 by writing to two nodes at the same time, this high-end product now has the capability to flag one of the nodes as active and the other as read-only. Use cases for the read-only node include BI. You can also mix releases and run V7R5 with V7R4.


Modernization Engine for Lifecycle Integration – MERLIN

Although not strictly aimed at System Administrators, this stand out feature is worthy of a mention. To stop businesses from potentially leaving the IBM i platform, MERLIN has been announced to help modernize, simplify, integrate, and automate workloads and applications. Built in an OpenShift container it is designed to guide modernization and can form part of DevOps and CI/CD as well as talking to GIT repository with ease.