BCD Tweaks Web Dev Tools. . . Focal Point Updates DR FlashCopy. . . Boadway Puts IBM i Performance Data on the Cloud. . .
May 20, 2015 Alex Woodie
Rounding out our IT Jungle coverage of the recent COMMON conference held at Disneyland last month, we bring you product news from three IBM i software companies focusing on Web development and modernization, hosted high availability and disaster recovery, and IBM i performance tuning.
BCD Tweaks Web Dev Tools
by Alex Woodie
BCD ships two editions of WebSmart, including ILE RPG and PHP editions, but the features in version 10.8 focus mainly (though not entirely) on the RPG technology. “Our PHP edition has received a lot of attention lately, but we’re committed to the ILE edition as well, which is very popular,” says Marcel Sarrasin, vice president of corporate marketing for Quadrant Software, the parent company of BCD.
According to Sarrasin, the new features in WebSmart ILE version 10.8 are aimed at giving PRG programmers more flexibility in how they create RPG-based Web apps. To that end, the new release features enhancements in the following areas:
BCD also updated Presto, its tactical Web app development tool for transforming 5250 screens into Web- and mobile-enabled UIs. With version 6.1, the company has bolstered various aspects of modernizing an IBM i application with Presto.
For starters, in the Visual Editor (which is used to fine-tune the look and feel of a screen after it has been modernized with a pre-built “skin”), Presto now makes it easier to add Web browser tabs to IBM i application screens. The tabs automatically “snap” together now so they don’t have to be manually aligned. BCD also allows the developer to align the tabs vertically, along either the left or right side of the screen, instead of just along the top or bottom.
Other enhancements to the Visual Editor includes support for HTML5 input types, including email, telephone, and date, thereby streamlining what the end-user sees on the screen. The Visual Editor also now supports inline editing, which will be handy for adding text constrains or containers, the company said.
Presto 6.1 also introduces a collapsible mobile side menu, which will make it easier for users to access function keys and allow modernized IBM i apps to behave like other mobile apps. This release also brings automated Internet reconnections.
As mobile users move through the field, they can enter and leave cellular and Wi-Fi coverage zones, but now Presto-enabled apps will go with the flow and prompt users to re-connect as they do so.
Lastly, Presto has been augmented to enable users to automatically launch PC applications from their Presto-augmented screens. This is done by using the STRPCCMD command. The new feature will be particularly useful for launching document viewers, such as Acrobat for PDFs.
Focal Point Updates DR FlashCopy
by Alex Woodie
Focal Point Solutions Group was also at the recent COMMON conference in Southern California, where it launched the latest release of its hosted disaster recovery solution for IBM i customers, called DR FlashCopy.
DR FlashCopy, you will recall, is a hosted disaster recovery solution that combines familiar DR, high availability software, cloud hosting, and storage array technologies, but does it in a unique way.
It all starts with an HA application from Vision Solutions (either MIMIX or iTera) and a secondary IBM i server running in the private cloud of managed service provider (MSP)–in this case, Baseline. The HA software gets installed on the customer’s productions system, and starts replicating transactions to the backup server in the cloud.
But instead of running the secondary IBM i server on a plain vanilla setup with internal DASD, it hosts it on IBM‘s Storwize storage arrays. Putting the backup data on Storwize enables Focal Point and Baseline to take advantage of IBM’s FlashCopy technology, which produces full copies of an IBM i partition very quickly–in a matter of minutes. The whole point of this exercise is to streamline testing of the data replication setups, which is the Achilles ‘ heel of HA. Instead of stopping replication to test the HA, users can use FlashCopy to duplicate it and test it at their leisure.
With DR FlashCopy version 2, Focal Point has made iterative improvements to the software. The focus with version 2 was around several key themes, including:
The new Innovation Center is located within Baseline’s data center in Indianapolis, and will provide the companies with a place to demonstrate the solution to clients. According to Focal Point, Baseline’s data center features the latest in security and redundancy.
“DR FlashCopy points to the future of HA,” says Pete Elliot, a partner with Focal Point. “It leverages our Innovation Center to provide extensive testing facilities for the IBM i community to evaluate the many scenarios available for implementing HA and DR services.”
Boadway Puts IBM i Performance Data on the Cloud
by Alex Woodie
Mike Boadway has been helping IBM i customers tune their application environments and get the most bang for their hardware buck for years. Now, with the latest update to MB Software & Consulting‘s Workload Performance Series, that performance data can now be conveniently housed in the cloud.
Workload Performance Series is designed to help shops identify processing bottlenecks in their code and correct performance issues for applications running on a variety of operating systems. Among the tasks the product handles are analyses of batch jobs, SQL performance tuning, optimization of data replication latency, and capacity planning exercises.
At the recent COMMON conference, the company unveiled version 8 of the Workload Performance Series. The key new feature with this release is the introduction of a portal at MB Software’s website where customers can store performance data from their applications.
Log files can be pretty voluminous, so taking advantage of the cloud to store this data can eliminate one of the costs associated with performance optimization. For more info, check out the company’s website at www.mb-software.com.