Admin Alert: What Should an IBM i Administrator Do, Part 2
December 17, 2014 Joe Hertvik
Last week, I discussed why shops still need IBM i administrators and started describing a checklist of tasks that are well-suited for less experienced administrators. My checklist showcased duties that can easily be turned over to lower level administrators, leaving more experienced people free to complete projects that benefit your organization. Today, I’ll complete describing the IBM i administrator checklist.
The Checklist Continued
As discussed last week, here’s a starter list of duties that can easily be turned over to an IBM i system administrator.
Last issue, I looked at items 1 through 3. This week, let’s cover items 4 through 8 and see how they can help keep your shop moving while more experienced people work on business-related projects.
The List, Part 2
4. Backup and media handling–Once backup procedures are created, IBM i administrators can easily handle all the tasks associated with backing up your system, including:
5. Configuration, maintenance, and repair of companion equipment–Many different locations including remote warehouses and branch offices, need to communicate with your IBM i server using different devices. These companion devices include scanners, high-speed printers, label printers, thin clients, and dumb terminals. While managers will need to set up maintenance contracts for repairing companion devices, an IBM i system administrators can easily handle trouble-shooting and coordinating off-site repair and replacement of this equipment.
6. IBM i operations help desk–System administrators can be the first line of defense when users have issues connecting to an IBM i partition. Some Help Desk functions that administrators can perform include:
In many organizations, it’s natural to have your IBM i administrators work with the Help Desk and have them handle duties for IBM i and other network connected devices. They can be used as a subset of your Help Desk function and resolve IBM i and other device issues. In shops I’ve worked in, service desk personnel support PCs and other devices, network connectivity, and IBM i connectivity.
7. Printing IBM i reports and forms, as needed–While electronic form delivery to users and customers is common, not every shop has digitized all their forms. In these cases, someone may still need to print and distribute invoices, customer communications, special forms, etc. This is a perfect duty for an IBM i administrator.
8. Other items unique to your organization–While this list is fairly inclusive, there will always be special situations where you need day-to-day service for short-term projects or other permanent duties. This can be assigned to an administrator rather than having a higher-level IBM i manager or engineer handle them.
The Vital Piece
As long as there are IBM i systems, there always will be a need for IBM i administrators to handle day-to-day issues while more experienced personnel handle project work and provide new capabilities. These are just some of the tasks that can be handled by good capable IBM i administrators. Keep in mind that this is a starter checklist that you can build on and use for planning and staffing requirements.
Goodbye For Now, My Last Column
Today’s issue is my last Admin Alert column for the foreseeable future. I’m leaving IT Jungle to pursue my content strategy business. I’m grateful to have written this column for 12 years and proud to have worked with Tim Prickett Morgan, Dan Burger, Ted Holt, Jenny Thomas, Alex Woodie, and the other great pros at IT Jungle.
I was a charter member of the IT Jungle guild when it started life as Midrange Server in 2001, working with Tim’s crew to start this publication when we found ourselves out of work after Midrange Computing’s untimely demise. So this feels a little bit like leaving home. Thanks Tim and company for the great gig.
I also want to thank all of you who’ve been reading the hundreds of columns (I’ve lost count) I’ve written since 2001. It’s been my pleasure to write for all of you and I hope these columns have helped you better manage your IBM i shops. Thank you for all your feedback, questions, support, and great emails. I’ll miss writing these columns for you.
Bye for now and may God bless you all.
Joe Hertvik is an IBM i subject matter expert (SME) and the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a content strategy organization servicing the computer industry. He also runs a data center for two companies outside Chicago, featuring multiple IBM i ERP systems. Joe is a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column since 2002. Check out his blog where he features practical information for tech users at joehertvik.com. Joe can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.