SEQUEL Updates i OS Time and Date Override Software
September 1, 2009 Alex Woodie
Need to simulate dates or do time-zone shifting in i OS without using LPAR? Then you might want to check out a new release of the AnyDate utility. Developed by SEQUEL Software–the former Advanced Systems Concepts business that was recently spun out into its own entity by Help/Systems–provides a safe and easy way to change the system time and date values for the purposes of application testing, re-running reports, or shifting time zones at service bureaus. And with version 2.0, it no longer violates security level 40.
As an enterprise server that’s used to run the primary businesses of far-flung Fortune 500 businesses (and not just smaller departments of these big companies, as IBM would have you believe), the System i server is capable of keeping track of the different time zones that different departments, subsidiaries, or companies may be required to use.
But in many cases, harboring different time zones within the same server requires the different entities’ applications to be separated by logical partitions, or LPARs. This can create a stumbling block for companies or service bureaus that prefer to run different time zones within the same LPAR.
AnyDate can provide a solution to this dilemma. When this product is activated using the OVRSYSDATE command, every job that runs under that user’s profile is subject to the time override function. In other words, you can set the system date to any point from 1928 to 2071, and it doesn’t affect any other jobs on the box. (Yes, to IBM’s chagrin, the AS/400 has been, and will be, around for that long.)
And when the DLTDATEOVR command is run, all jobs go back to using the correct system time. The software can also be used in batch processes, for which SEQUEL provides some sample code that you can integrate into your routines.
Floyd DelMuro, senior consultant for data access technologies at SEQUEL Software, recently discussed some of the primary uses of AnyDate.
For starters, AnyDate can be used to see if a System i server can handle a certain date in the future. The Y2K episode was obviously a big driver of AnyDate sales nine years ago, but companies still run into date-related issues with their System i servers from time to time, and they can be safely simulated with AnyDate.
Re-running an important report is another popular use for AnyDate. “It’s to have the report all clean and neat, so they can have the official close date, even though they may have had some sort of snafu,” DelMuro says. “They may be running things three days later because it takes them that long to consolidate month-end, yet they want it clean, so they run it as if it were done on the first as opposed to the third or fourth of the month.”
AnyDate is also great for outsourcers and service bureaus, DelMuro says. While some customers may demand their applications and data reside in their own private LPAR, many outsourcers keep things separate and secure using libraries instead. But without LPAR keeping things separate, it becomes next to impossible to maintain different system dates–unless a utility like AnyDate is being used.
“If you’re client A on the East Coast, and the company is based in the Central Time Zone, I can set you up and everything looks like its coming in with your date and time,” DelMuro says. “When they sign in, they are automatically offset an hour either way. And that way they can also see things in real time as it pertains to them.”
SEQUEL Software required the help of IBM system engineers to develop AnyDate 2.0. Some of the vendor’s customers requested that the software be compatible with i OS security level 40, which is the security level that IBM recommends customers use.
But the first release of AnyDate was nowhere near level 40 compliant. “It was a little more smoke and mirrors back in the Y2K days,” DelMuro says, “but it only worked under level 30. In and of itself, what it did was a violation of level 40, so we needed to get the IBM guys involved.”
Pressed by big name Fortune 500 firms, IBM eventually relented and agreed to provide SEQUEL Software with the needed APIs to allow AnyDate to do its time-shifting magic, without the smoke and mirrors that violated security level 40. The result of that work is on display with AnyDate version 2.0.
AnyDate 2.0 is available now. Pricing ranges from $2,500 to $4,000. For more information, visit the new www.sequel-software.com Web site.