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March 21, 2015: Volume 17, Number 12|
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February 21, 2015: Volume 17, Number 08
February 14, 2015: Volume 17, Number 07
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Years ago, back when the IBM i platform was called the iSeries and IBM had just caught the Linux bug pretty bad, many of us had the idea that IBM should open up the OS/400 operating system and let it be driven more directly by a community of end users. The idea was to emulate the open source community that had fostered the maturity of the Linux kernel and the many thousands of other projects that make their way into a Linux distribution. As it turns out, Big Blue is starting out with opening up the hardware and from the looks of things at the OpenPower Summit last week in San Jose, alternative Power-based platforms are set to take off.
A month ago when IT Jungle reported that CEO Mike Lawrie was blaming a lack of IBM i skilled professionals for a revenue shortfall at Computer Sciences Corp, the volume on this topic has been turned up considerably. That's good. This is a discussion that needs to be heard. In the just-released IBM i Marketplace Survey, half the respondents listed IBM i skills depletion as a top concern. Much of this discussion is defined by whether a shortage exists or whether companies are doing a poor job with workforce management.
Flash storage is not something you will find in the typical IBM i shop, which doesn't get all worked up over shiny new technologies. But if a recent test that that pitted an IBM i host against an IBM FlashSystem 840 storage array--with Tributary Systems' Storage Director 5.0 managing traffic in the middle--is a sign of things to come, then flash may be here sooner than you think.
Loyal IT Jungle readers who have come to know Timothy Prickett Morgan through years of reading his IBM midrange analyses and insights have a rare opportunity to hear TPM expound on IBM i, IBM Power Systems, and the far-reaching ecosystem that challenged us, charmed us, frustrated us, and more or less defined us as IT professionals. Thursday, March 26, he will be part of a webcast panel discussion that reviews the recently released IBM i Marketplace Survey that was conducted and compiled by HelpSystems, a vendor in the IBM i community for more than 25 years. Joining TPM on the panel will be IBM's Ian Jarman and Alison Butterill, along with HelpSystems' Tom Huntington.
IBM has patched several security vulnerabilities in the IBM i OS recently, including some lingering problems with OpenSSL, as well as new ISC BIND Delegation Handling vulnerability. The vulnerabilities affect multiple releases of the IBM i OS, and could enable an attacker to successfully crash impacted servers, so go get your PTFs applied as soon as possible.
IBM next week will begin delivery of DataMigrator for i, a new extract, transform, and load (ETL) solution unveiled in February that's designed to work with DB2 Web Query software. DataMigrator for i will give customers a better and more automated way to feed their IBM i-based BI and analytics applications with data originating from (gasp!) outside the platform.
Multi-platform application development is often paired with modernization projects that are lighting up the project scoreboards in the IBM midrange. Companies rank modernization as one of their top priorities. Application modernizations are more business logic oriented and more frequently involve database programming as well. Midrange Dynamics, a provider of application development software and consulting services, has all this in mind with the release of a new product and an update to its reputable CMS.
Don't look now, but OAuth, the open standard for authentication first described by Twitter for allowing people to share data without using a password, is making its way into the enterprise. It's even becoming adopted in the IBM i ecosystem, where a number of vendors, including BVS Tools, are adopting it as a standard authentication system for IBM i communication utilities.
Organizations that are looking for an affordable way to monitor their IBM i servers may want to check out the new iEventMonitor product unveiled this month by Kisco Information Systems. For less than $400, the software will automatically send an alert to administrators when it detects potential problems, as manifested through message queues.
Tree structures are a part of life, especially in the world of manufacturing, where I make my living, so we may as well learn to deal with them. Today I return to this topic, featuring another tool that you can use to tackle the traversal of trees.
"Due diligence" and "risk assessment" are phrases that should be running through your head anytime technology decisions are being made where new tooling or ideas are being put into production. The same is true when considering whether the Ruby language has a place in your shop. After all, it is a significant change in direction when introducing a new language to your technology stack.
We have all encountered decimal data errors at some time or another. The biggest difficulty they present is that, by the time they have been detected, no recovery is possible. Or to be more precise, no practical recovery is possible. In my previous tip, I mentioned that one of the benefits of data structure I/O is that you can avoid decimal data errors. In this tip I'm going to show you how and why that works.
The world today is a much different place from the one that the AS/400 was launched into nearly three decades ago. Back then, it was exotic to be moving from basic accounting systems running on batch oriented machines to real-time transaction processing and database querying using relational database technology. It was also a big deal to be moving away from homegrown software to packaged applications tailored to specific industries. Software is far more complex and so are the systems it runs across, and IBM reflects the complexity of the market it serves.
Companies are looking to MSPs to help them obtain operational efficiencies and increased value from their IT investments. I wouldn't call it a hive of activity, but there are more frequent indicators of shops wanting to consolidate IT investment and avoid the upgrading hardware expenses. It is pushing new decisions. Two Connectria Hosting customers that I spoke with last week fit both those descriptions. Here's what brought them to the popular IBM i MSP.
Tracking down problems in the modern data center can be an exercise in extreme patience. Today's mantra of "loosely coupled yet tightly integrated" sounds great theoretically, but doesn't give you much to go on things start to fail. When the going got tough for one multi-billion-dollar ecommerce operation that relies heavily on the IBM i server, it turned to Splunk to sort it all out.
In the IBM midrange, tape backup is what we do. None of the backup alternatives are even a close second. Internet-based vaulting services, however, continue to make inroads as organizations study ways to achieve quicker recovery times without stepping into the high cost and high complexity of high availability. One of the service companies to keep an eye on is the off-site backup company Storagepipe Solutions.