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December 13, 2014: Volume 16, Number 50|
December 6, 2014: Volume 16, Number 49
November 29, 2014: Volume 16, Number 48
November 22, 2014: Volume 16, Number 47
November 15, 2014: Volume 16, Number 46
November 8, 2014: Volume 16, Number 45
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It is that time of year again, when I am surrounded by fruitcakes that are slurping up kirschwasser like hungry babies, turning them into full-blown, holy day, celebratory, and damned near incendiary, bricks to commemorate the ending of one year and, if need be, to be used as food or fuel in an uncertain New Year.
The systems that IBM uses to make its product announcements like to play a bit of cat and mouse with all of us, and those of you who know me know that I check the system religiously to see if anything interesting has come out. Before the Thanksgiving Day holiday, Big Blue did make a bunch of IBM i-related announcements, but they did not show up on my account until after we had already put the December 1 edition of The Four Hundred to bed.
IBM i shops that continue to use SSLv3 to encrypt their communications are susceptible to the POODLE security vulnerability and could have their data compromised, IBM warned today in a security bulletin. IBM also issued new security patches that disable SSLv3 in IBM i's Java runtime. While IBM recommends moving to the newer TLS protocol, many IBM i applications still require SSLv3 and will likely break when it's disabled, IBM warns.
My, what a year it has been. Seems like only yesterday we were chatting up what 2014 would bring, and now before we know it, it's already passed by. From IBM's new chips and its old chip business to security hacks and vendor consolidation, it was a fairly eventful year. Here's a look at the IBM i news highlights from 2014.
Where will IBM i products go in 2015? They will likely look a lot like 2014, which was heavy on mobile and Web development technologies, open standards, and security. Let's take a stroll through the Four Hundred Stuff (FHS) archive, now 13-years strong, and recount the top new, improved, or innovative IBM i products that we saw over the past 12 months, from a purely non-objective, editorially biased, seat-of-one's pants standpoint.
IBM i shops are better equipped to performance tune their infrastructure than they are to performance tune their IT workforce. On first glance, that may not raise many eyebrows. But the fact is that relatively few IBM i shops performance tune their infrastructure. What's that tell you about their investments in training and education? There's something stopping companies from making investments in skilled workers.
BCD Software has supported the PHP language with its WebSmart suite of IBM i development tools for several years. But with the last week's unveiling of WebSmart version 10.6, the Chicago-based company is allowing PHP coders to do more advanced development using object-oriented techniques thanks to the addition of Zend Framework 2 (ZF2) and PHP data object (PDO) templates.
We are closing out one year, and looking forward to another one. It is hard to believe that The Four Hundred has been around since the summer of 1989, and that writing this newsletter was my first real job out of college. We have changed a lot over the years, and we must still be learning because we are still changing.
It may sound trite, but during a disaster you can expect the unexpected. No matter how much planning you put into your disaster preps, chances are good you overlooked something. It's also true that, without any planning, your chances of surviving the disaster are poor. That's why high availability software vendor Maxava puts a strong emphasis on testing using its simulated role swap (SRS) functionality.
Business resiliency and business continuity are terms that are mistakenly used as synonyms with disaster recovery. A disaster is the worst type of disruption to business continuity. It is also the most infrequent. Like death from a thousand paper cuts, a variety of little things can play havoc with business resiliency. How much havoc is related to the value a company attaches to any aspect of the business that does not run at peak performance.
Auditors don't really care what kinds of servers you run in your institution--they just want to be sure their security settings are set appropriately and the exceptions duly noted. Now, thanks to the new Cross-Platform Compliance offering from Enforcive, organizations can automatically monitor their compliance with security policies across IBM i, AIX, Linux, and Windows systems with a single tool.
SQL allows you to use wildcard characters with the LIKE operator to search a column for a pattern. As they say in the GEICO commercials, "Everybody knows that." Well, did you know you can do the same thing in RPG programs?
Peripherals change with blazing speed in the IT market, and the Power Systems line, as a collection of various components, is no different from other systems out there. IBM can't keep all components in supply forever, and it has to move to newer components to stay competitive. And thus a bunch of devices for the Power Systems line are being sunsetted in favor of newer kit.
In the first part of this series, I introduced several of the DB2 for i enhancements made in IBM i 7.1 Technology refresh 8 (and in IBM i 7.2).
A new release of ManageEngine's cross-platform password synchronization tool, ADSelfService Plus, should make it easier for administrators to ensure that native password changes made from Windows are propagated to all other supported systems, including IBM i.
With remote monitoring and lights-out data centers, people think there isn't a need for system operators any more. And they're right-ish. There's little need for low-skill operators whose main function is watching the system and printing reports. But IBM i operations work isn't obsolete; it's just changed into a systems management function. Given that, here's my take on tasks a lower level IBM i system administrator can perform in 2015 and beyond.