Surprise! There’s a Tech Refresh 13 For IBM i 7.3
December 5, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Well, we bet you were not expecting that. Or, based on past history, maybe you were. But when IBM put out the two Technology Refresh updates for IBM i 7.4 and IBM i 7.5 last Friday on December 2 as planned – that would be TR1 for the latter and TR7 for the former – the company also sneaked out an unofficial TR13 update to IBM i 7.3. With this Tech Refresh, IBM i 7.3 has many of the same updates that came to the two more current releases of IBM i.
If you look at the IBM i Technology Updates page at the IBM Support site, you will clearly see that TR11 was the last “official” Tech Refresh for IBM i 7.3. TR12, the first “unofficial” Tech Refresh for IBM i 7.3, was announced in the wake of the Spring updates for IBM i 7.4 and IBM i 7.5 back in May. On May 24, to be precise.
IBM i 7.3 was first generally available back in April 2016 and is getting a bit long in the tooth, but is an important release because it runs on older iron than does either IBM i 7.4 or IBM i 7.5. At this point, Big Blue has set April 28, 2023 as the end of marketing for IBM i 7.3 and September 30, 2023 as the end of standard support. After that, if history is any guide, this IBM i 7.3 release will have three and perhaps four years of extended support, which means a limited number of fixes and some installation support at a much higher price than standard support.
It is peculiar that IBM is tweaking IBM i 7.3 unofficially, given that you can still buy it and you can still get standard support for it, but there you have it. But IBM does this sometimes. Like with the PTF rollups for IBM i 7.4 TR2 and IBM i 7.3 TR8 back in May 2020, too.
In any event, Sugar Frank 99727 is Technology Refresh Level 13 for IBM i R730, as you can see with your own eyes right here, which was last updated on December 1 and put out there for the world to grab on December 2 along with IBM i 7.4 TR7 and IBM i 7.5 TR1, which are Sugar Frank 99737-740 and Sugar Frank 99957-750 respectively.
IBM i 7.5 TR1 had a mere 12 PTFs rolled up, which is expected since this is a fairly new operating system release. IBM i 7.4 had a total of 95 unique PTFs in its TR7 update, and IBM i 7.3 has a total of unique 220 PTFs in its TR13 update. This stands to reason because all Technology Refreshes are cumulative, meaning that they always include all content from previous TRs for each release. We can’t find the TR12 PTF list so we can’t see how many incrementally have been added to see what the new functions are and how many of them there are in TR13. But it just looks like three main ones were added in TR13. IBM i 7.5 TR1 had a dozen patches, as we said, and the new patches in December for IBM i 7.4 TR7 came in at nine, with the remaining 86 coming from its prior TR1 through TR6 updates.
IBM i 7.3 can run atop Power10-based Power Systems. And the three patches it has with TR13 allow it to run atop the new Power S1022s machine that has a pair of four-core Power10s in it. There is also a patch to support for VIOS 3.1.4 and another one to provide “base function to enable future extensions,” as IBM put it. IBM i 7.3 TR12 had five patches, TR11 had eleven patches, and TR10 had nine patches. And so on all the way back to its TR1 way back in November 2016, which had 34 patches.
Now remember, we are just looking at patches to the operating system here with the Technology Refreshes. Other parts of the IBM i stack, which includes compilers, database, middleware, and tools, are also updated as part of the TR process. So there is a lot more code change in a TR than this shows.