Latest TRs For IBM i Now Available
November 20, 2019 Alex Woodie
IBM last week delivered the latest IBM i operating system Technology Refreshes, giving good IBM i boys and girls around the world early Christmas presents in areas like programing, operations, database, and security. Here’s a quick recap of the new stuff in IBM i 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7.
There were several general enhancements with IBM i 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7. For starters, administrators gained more control over resources available to the Integrated Web Server (the one powered by Apache) with the new capability to install it the Web server in a user-specified sub-system. Admins also get new functions in the cluster domain, such as for replicating encrypted passwords and allowing changes to the synchronization option on inactive nodes.
IBM is also allowing license keys to be added to an IBM i LPAR through the HMC or Novalink interface, eliminating the new for administrators to sign in to each LPAR individually. For more info on general enhancements, see “IBM i 7.3 And 7.4 Get Their Autumn Tech Refreshes.”
This includes DATA-GEN, which generates a structured document, such as JSON or CSV, from an RPG variable. Conversely, the new DATA-INTO operation converts JSON-type files into an RPG data structure. There’s also a support for the OVERLOAD keyword, a function commonly found in other languages.
Access Client Solutions (ACS) is the go-to client for programmers, administrators, and power users these days, and it received some compelling new features in conjunction with the TRs. This includes SQL Content Assist, which IBM says works like prompting “only better.” It also gets a couple of new buttons for downloading results and saving as new samples, as well as a new insert from examples feature.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the new F8 key function in the ACS emulator. Just as the F9 button lets users scroll through recent commands, users can now scroll backwards with F8. There’s also a new ACS Application Package for IBM i that provides ODBC-based access for application running in PASE, such as PHP, Python, and Node.js apps.
IBM is including a new wizard and plugin that helps users get up and running with Nagios for monitoring their IBM i environment. Nagios has grown in popularity considerably over the years, and this update streamlines Nagios support in IBM i.
A pair of new open source projects area also gaining IBM i support with 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7. This includes support for Redis, a popular multi-modal NoSQL database that’s being used for a range of use cases. The TRs also bring support for ZeroMQ, a universal messaging library that supports a variety of protocols. For more information on the RDS, ACS, and open source enhancements, see “Digging Into the Latest IBM i TRs.”
On the database front, IBM has added a slew of new features with 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7. For starters, there is the capability to add a new “child” table to Db2 for i without having an exclusive lock on the parent table. This feature is only available in 7.4. Administrators can also now grant and revoke access to database files using the GRTOBJAUT and RVKOBJAUT CL commands without having an exclusive lock on the file – a feature supported in both 7.4 and 7.3.
Just as it has with previous TRs, IBM is giving users SQL-based alternatives to traditional control language (CL) commands and APIs on IBM i. This includes SQL alternatives to the Display Program (DSPPGM), Display Service Program (DSPSRVPGM), Retrieve Directory Information (RTVDIRINF), Retrieve Object References (QP0LROR), and Retrieve Referenced Objects (QP0LRRO) commands. There are also new table functions. For more information on database enhancements, see “IBM i TRs Bring Database Enhancements, Too.”
High availability and security – those twin pillars of digital protection – was another area of focus for Rochester with IBM i 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7.
The buzz is still warm on Db2 Mirror for IBM i, the database clustering technology that IBM shipped in June with the delivery of IBM i 7.4. Now companies running the Power S922 server will be able to partake of Db2 Mirror goodness thanks to IBM adding support for the Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) over Converged Ethernet, or RoCE adapter, the high-speed interconnect that’s required to use Db2 Mirror.
The new Application Evaluation Support Tool for Db2 Mirror clients provides a GUI that helps customers gain a better understanding of how to incorporate applications into Db2 Mirror environments. And lastly, when it first shipped, Db2 Mirror required an external storage array. With 7.4 TR1, IBM made a statement of direction that it intends to add support for internal DASD storage with a future release.
IBM bolstered the GUI for PowerHA SystemMirror, which uses data replication (both software- and hardware-based) to provide resilience. The GUI can now be used to manage up to 200,000 resources, such as user profiles, system values, or device descriptions. The old limit was 45,000. IBM made several other PowerHA enhancements, which you can read about in “How The Latest TRs Bolster HA/DR And Security.”
BRMS also gained a new virtual tape image catalog feature that will bolster backup. The TRs also enable SR-IOV logical ports to be assigned to IBM i LPARs configured with restricted I/O, which removes a restriction on using Live Partition Mobility.
On the security front, IBM has made two important improvements. The first is support for new crypto libraries, such as elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman and ChaCha20 Poly1305 in TLS version 1.2 and 1.3. IBM also enhanced the IBM i Digital Certificate Manager with upgraded APIs and a new management GUI for managing security certificates.
IBM shipped the PTFs that make up IBM i 7.4 TR1 and 7.3 TR7 on November 15, just as it planned. IBM i 7.3 TR7 is available on machines that use Power 7, Power7+, Power8, and Power9 processors, which IBM i 7.4 TR1 is only available on iron using Power8 and Power9 processors.
For more information on IBM i 7.4 TR1, check out announcement letter 219-492. For more info on IBM i 7.3 TR7, read announcement letter 219-489. You can also access more detailed information on the IBM i technology updates webpage at IBM Community section of developerWorks. Or you can read IT Jungle’s TR-related content in reverse chronological order using our handy-dandy Related Stories found immediately below.