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November 26, 2016: Volume 18, Number 48|
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It takes a bit of time to drill down into the annual Power Systems announcements from Big Blue, which in the case of this year happened across September and October. We have told you all about the new systems, such as they are, and updated IBM i 7.2 and 7.3 software releases, as well as various other components. In this week's installment, we are going to drill down into some of the new peripheral cards that IBM is putting into the Power Systems iron.
Different companies have different ways of dealing with the emerging IBM i skills shortage. Some shops may look to college grads for fresh new faces, while others may seek to retrain existing IT personnel in IBM i skills. Still others will seek to exit IBM i through wholesale migration to X86 or cloud platforms. At Fresche, the skills shortage presents an opportunity to get a well-regarded code analysis tool called X-Analysis into the hands of more people.
Midsize manufacturers and distributors have unique requirements when it comes to delivering their products to market. Automation and integration of business processes are playing a big role in achieving higher efficiency. For example, there was a time when GPS tracking gathered truck location and activity data for only the largest freight hauling specialists. But now there are small and midsize manufacturers and distributors that can track their own fleets, adding a customer feature that improves satisfaction rates and provides analytics that increase efficiencies.
Infor generally received high marks from users of its A+ application, according to a recent report by the Frantz Group. However, the fact that many users of the IBM i-based distribution system are going five to 10 years between ERP upgrades means many are missing out on potentially valuable features, the report concludes.
The IBM i community got a peak at the latest RPG website last week when the official wraps were taken off www.ile-rpg.com. While it may appear to be new, the website is in fact a resurrected (and updated) version of an older website, rpglanguage.biz, that was essentially abandoned by its previous owner. The website's new owner, TEMBO Tech Labs, is confident that it will help spread the word about RPG's prowess as a business language.
Even though high-level languages make it unnecessary--and in many cases, difficult--to understand what is going on "under the covers," I have always found a basic knowledge of internal processes to be invaluable. This is particularly true when it comes to resolving mystery bugs. I was reminded of this recently by a number of problems related to parameter passing that appeared on Internet lists and also in my email directly from customers.
The end of the year is upon us and the holidays are fast approaching. That sounds like a good excuse for some odds and ends. I hope you find something helpful here.
IBM i includes many reports that we can use to glean a lot of information. If you run packaged software, the vendor likely includes many other reports. The problem with such reports is that they often contain more information than what you need and want. After all, they're written for the world at large, not tailored for you. It may be that a utility that resides on your system can transform reports into something more suitable for you and those who use your system.
Koch Equity Development LLC, the private equity arm of Koch Industries, will invest more than $2 billion into IBM i ERP giant Infor, the companies announced last week. Infor says it will use the cash to expand its business, while news reports say some of it will go to pay off earlier investors in the company.
IBM recently hosted an SAP on IBM i conference for customers and business partners. The conference is described as a showcase of best practices and advice on deployment of the latest technologies. IBM's lineup of experts included Scott Forstie, DB2 for i Business Architect and a member of the DB2 on i Lab Services team. Forstie says interest in the new analytic features and OLAP functions available in DB2 for i surpasses anything to do with HANA.
With both the Supercomputing 2016 conference and Thanksgiving Day behind me, I find myself being thankful that the engineers that helped IBM make the transition from proprietary 48-bit CISC processors to 64-bit PowerPC processors in 1995--yes, that was more than two decades ago--were forward thinking. But as it turns out, there were other technologies, including massive floating point performance and database acceleration, that may in the long run help the entire Power Systems line not only survive, but thrive.
Here's what 90 percent of the companies don't do before, during, and after making the decision to migrate from IBM i to Windows. They don't plan the way they would for any other major business event. Quite possibly that's because management doesn't understand the system they currently have and how it works, nor do they understand what the new system entails. Hasty decisions can be costly decisions. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are wasted.
In this article I would like to introduce a service program that provides RPG subprocedure "wrappers" for using SQL scalar functions. This means you can use an SQL scalar function as if it were an RPG built-in function.
In the previous episode of this exciting series, I wrote about FOR, arguably the most useful of the SQL PL looping structures. Next in line of usefulness, in my opinion, is the LOOP structure. Like the rest of SQL PL, this is an easy structure to master, and I am pleased to write about it.
I have a problem with an FTP script. I wish to send a file in QTEMP to a remote system, but the script tries to send the file from QGPL instead. The PUT command does not tell which library to send the file from because our standards prohibit the use of hard-coded library names. Any thoughts will be appreciated.
We are always trying to get IBM to do more to promote the IBM i platform and the Power Systems hardware that comprises the physical part of that platform. In days gone by, Big Blue used to make very public and loud pronouncements regarding its ability to bring customers more value for the dollar, often above and beyond the Moore's Law capacity increases that are just part of the chip business and usually at the tail end of the product cycle as we are now with the Power8 machines that have been shipping since April 2014.