The Fall Technology Refreshes Are Almost Here
October 5, 2020 Timothy Prickett Morgan
There has been a spring-fall rhythm to the cadence of software updates for along time, but the creation of the OpenStack cloud controller by NASA and Rackspace Hosting really snapped the commercial Linux distros into an April and October cycle of commercial rollups. And so, after many years of Technology Refreshes that follow the same rhythm, we come to expect updates to IBM i about now.
And starting tomorrow, IBM will be rolling out the fall Technology Refreshes for the current releases. That would be IBM i 7.3 TR9 and IBM i 7.4 TR3. And these, unlike those partial Technology Refreshes that came out in May earlier this year, are real Technology Refreshes with all of the updated code that will be rolled up into a Technology Refresh PTF group, as customers and partners have some to expect. Here is a roadmap of sorts to give you a feel for the modern cadence, compliments of Steve Will, the IBM i architect at Big Blue:
The other two releases that still have some form of technical support have been withdrawn from marketing and therefore do not get Technology Refreshes anymore. And to be precise, IBM i 7.2, which first shipped on May 2, 2014 was withdrawn from marketing on April 30 this year and regular support for this release ends on April 30, 2021, with an expected minimum of three years of extended support being added before too long. Perhaps even on Tuesday of this week, when all of these announcements debut, but we think not or else Alison Butterill, the IBM i offering manager at Big Blue, would have mentioned that to us on a call we had last week getting a preview of the announcements. As we report separately in this issue of The Four Hundred, IBM i 7.1, which was first delivered on April 23, 2010, which IBM stopped selling on September 30, 2017, and which had regular support end on April 30, 2018, is getting extended extended support lasting five years. That will make IBM i 7.1 the longest supported release in the history of the AS/400 and its progeny.
Butterill and Will graciously gave us a preview of the Technology Refresh updates ahead of the formal announcement, for which we thank them. And we want to also let you know about three webcasts that IBM is hosting with COMMON. The first on Tuesday is with Will going over the Technology Refreshes in general for IBM i 7.3 and IBM i 7.4. On Wednesday, Jesse Gorzinski, business architect for open source on IBM i, will talk about the open source enhancements, including many items we have already covered here at The Four Hundred such as Red Hat Ansible integration with IBM i and support for different databases on the platform. And on Thursday, the Dynamic Duo of Scott Forstie, Db2 for i architect, and Tim Rowe, architect for application development and systems management products, will talk about enhancements to Db2 and Access Client Solutions. You can sign up for these webcasts at this link. We will be plowing through the announcement letters and listening in on these webcasts to drill down into the details over the coming weeks for you.
In the meantime, we can give you a bit of a preview to whet your appetite. Here is the overview that Will is presenting, which encompasses all Power Systems platforms, including AIX and Linux as well as IBM i. Take a gander:
And here is the drilldown into things that are specific for the IBM i platform:
As is the case with all Technology Refreshes, there is not a huge wonking new piece of code that is being added to the IBM i code base, but rather a slew of tweaks and additions. We will gather it all up and organize it for you over the next week and then give you the rundown in future editions of The Four Hundred. Fear not. The Technology Refreshes are not available until November 13, so we have time to walk through it all.