Admin Alert: Robot/SCHEDULE’s DST Work-Around and More
February 25, 2009 Joe Hertvik
Rather than cover one topic this week, let’s look at three issues that recently crept into my in-box. I’ll explain some additional work you may need to perform to keep Help/Systems’ Robot/SCHEDULE software running fat and happy during Daylight Saving Time changes; go over my updated list of i5/OS system monitoring tools; and expand on what type of post-upgrade backups you should perform after an i5/OS software upgrade.
Another Daylight Savings Problem To Worry About
United States Daylight Savings Time (DST) begins this year on March 8, 2009.
Believe it or not, it’s only been since i5/OS V5R3 that IBM added automated DST support to the operating system. Before then, most shops had to grow their own solution for automatically changing system clocks or somebody had to get up at 2 a.m. (in one or more time zones) to manually adjust and change system time settings. With V5R3, DST support appeared and life got easier for automatically making DST changes in March and November.
Unfortunately, this situation isn’t totally automated for some i5/OS third-party products. I was recently reviewing the February 2009 issue of Help/Systems’ Robot/New newsletter. In this issue, Help/Systems is telling its customers that “…the most important thing to keep in mind is that Robot/SCHEDULE must be inactive when the [DST] time change is made,” and they provide instructions for how to keep SCHEDULE in sync with your system during the DST cutover. So even though i5/OS has automated DST time changes, if you use Robot/SCHEDULE in your shop, you will still need to shut down and restart SCHEDULE to make sure it works properly after the time change.
Help/Systems does not mention why you need to shut down and restart SCHEDULE during the DST time change, only that you need to do it. They also don’t provide which versions of SCHEDULE are affected by the time change, so it’s prudent to assume that this requirement affects all versions.
Given Help/Systems’ warning, you have four options for dealing with Robot/SCHEDULE on March 8 at 2 a.m.:
Help/Systems’ Website also contains configuration instructions for running any jobs that were missed while Robot/SCHEDULE was turned off.
So if you’re using Robot/SCHEDULE as your job scheduling solution, be sure to check out Help/Systems’ information to see if you need to stop and restart the product during the DST change.
More i5/OS Monitoring Software Vendors than Joe Thought Possible
In recent articles, I mentioned several vendors who offer i5/OS automated monitoring tools for alerting you when problems occur on your system. I previously spotlighted Bytware’s MessengerConsole, Help/Systems’ Robot/ALERT, and CCSS’ QSystem Monitor package, as well as Halcyon Software’s Message monitor package, which is part ofHalcyon’s Monitor Suite package for iSeries.
I thought I had all the packages nailed when just last week, reader Mark Lazarus told me about another monitoring package. Software Engineering of America (SEA) also offers a System i message management product called absMessage, which Mark tells me is quite a good piece of software. So be sure to add SEA to your list of vendors to evaluate when looking for system monitoring software.
The encouraging news here is that unlike other i5/OS product segments where companies are buying each other up and there aren’t as many choices as there used to be (ERP vendor diversity, anyone?), the System i monitoring and messaging marketplace is flourishing, and there are a decent number of products to choose from. However, I should be careful when saying this because the first whiff of i5/OS system monitoring consolidation may already be upon us. With Help/Systems and Audax’ recent purchase of Bytware, Bytware MessengerConsole and Help/Systems Robot/ALERT products belong to the same company and the i5/OS system monitoring marketplace may be in the first stages of product niche consolidation.
The Things Joe Missed When Talking About Upgrades
In my article on Time Gobbling Tasks for a System Upgrade, I suggested that if you didn’t have time for a full-system backup after your i5/OS upgrade ends, you could perform the following saves to save time by only backing up critical files and objects.
Readers and friends-of-the-column Ernie McCormick and Pete Massiello both wrote in to tell me that my post-upgrade save strategy didn’t go far enough. Both of them suggested that if you can’t complete a full system backup after a system upgrade, you should run Option 22, System data only, off the Save menu (GO SAVE). This save will perform the following i5/OS commands that are critical for saving your system configuration, but not your data.
Thanks to Ernie and Pete, I stand corrected. Please disregard my earlier advice on post-upgrade saves. The best option is still to perform a full system backup of your upgraded system (Option 21, Entire system, from the Save menu). However if you don’t have time for a full save, be sure to perform a System Data Only save (Option 22 from the Save menu) to get the critical objects.
In my previous article, I also covered how to initiate faster database header file conversions to avoid slow response time while the system rebuilds headers. The problem was that I only discussed how to rebuild database headers, which is only one of four required conversions you should perform to maintain system performance directly after the upgrade. Pete said that he performs 75 to 80 upgrades a year and he always makes sure to perform the following conversions after an upgrade.
Database file header conversions, which I discussed in the system upgrade article.
Data queue conversions, which can be accomplished by submitting the following Display Object Description (DSPOBJD) command to batch by using the following Submit Job (SBMJOB) command:
SBMJOB CMD(DSPOBJD OBJ(*ALLUSR/*ALL) OBJTYPE(*DTAQ) OUTPUT(*PRINT)) JOB(DSPOBJD)JOBQ(QSYS/QSYSNOMAX)
User queue conversions, which can be done by submitting this command for batch execution:
SBMJOB CMD(DSPOBJD OBJ(*ALLUSR/*ALL) OBJTYPE(*USRQ) OUTPUT(*PRINT)) JOB(DSPOBJD)JOBQ(QSYS/QSYSNOMAX)
The Start Object Conversion (STROBJCVN) command converts programs, service programs, modules, SQL data and packages, and database files to the new operating system format. This command can be run in batch by executing the following SBMJOB command.
SBMJOB CMD(STROBJCVN LIB(*ALLUSR) OBJTYPE(*ALL)) JOB(STROBJCVN) JOBQ(QSYS/QSYSNOMAX)
The common thread here is that all these objects need conversions to be used under the new operating system. Conversion is started for your objects either by first touch (the first time one of these objects is used) or by running these commands, which forces first touch on many objects at the same time. Conversion can also be initiated for all system objects by performing a full system backup (Option 22 on the Save menu), which forces first touch conversions as it saves each individual object. I personally favor performing a full system backup to running the four commands, because a system save only has to be performed once to convert all the objects and it doesn’t miss anything.
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