Friday, July 24, 2009

Reno County is preparing to move from an AS400 computer system to a personal-computer-based system

Information Services director Mike Mathews said the county has operated from the same basic computer platform since 1986, and maintenance and upgrades became concerns

I hope they mean of their software? If they were worried about maintenance and upgrade of their iseries, someone was obviously giving them some very bad advice.

Calling an RPG program from Groovy

DON DENONCOURT shows how to call RPG from Groovy, via an sql stored procedure call

I've been integrating Java applications with AS400/iSeries/Systemi RPG programs for over ten years. I've covered it in my book (Java Application Strategies for the iSeries) as well as in many of my articles. Calling RPG from Java can be complex. There are 4 or so options but I've been fairly emphatic about using JDBC callable statements as it is the simplest approach. To do that you need to create a stored produce "wrapper" for the RPG. But the Java code still can be quite verbose. Not so with Groov

"We found out the hard way that turning the terminal off doesn’t necessarily end the job"


Since this is my first article, I decided to look back at my career. Starting out in 1996 with a small IT company, I was a fresh graduate and like other graduates, I had no idea what an AS/400 (which is what they called the iSeries back then) was. Naturally, I was pretty excited. When I say this big refrigerator in the middle of the room, I said to myself, “Cool! I get to program using a mainframe!” The other trainees and I were told later that day however, that it was a midrange.

“Huh? A mid-what?”

Since our exposure in college was focused on PC’s and DOS (Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was that long ago), we only had a rough idea of what other platforms were. Heck, we thought mainframes belonged to musuems even then. The dumb terminals that were assigned to us were really big…about the size of a microwave oven.

Eventually, the other trainees and I went through…well…training. We were all coding happily one day when one of us suddenly had an endless loop in a piece of code. No problem! Just press Ctrl-C or Ctrl-Break. But how? There isn’t even a Ctrl key!

Since it was almost time to go home anyway, we all suggested to our colleague, “Just turn the terminal off and we’ll go home. You can find the bug tomorrow.”

Imagine our suprise when we were all called down to our boss’ office the following day. We found out the hard way that turning the terminal off doesn’t necessarily end the job. We all were given a long lecture on how to use the System-Request key.

Exploring NFS on AS/400

This redbook explores the Network File System on the AS400 system.

The OS/400 Network File System (NFS) Support, which was introduced with V3R7 as part of TCP/IP Utility, provides a new system function for the AS400 system that allows you to construct a distributed network system where all users can access the data they need. This redbook will help you use the features of the NFS to share data across sytems. It explains the security considerations to be aware of while using NFS. It then goes on to explore the National Language Support features offered by NFS. Further on, it describes the enhancements in the NFS when compared to the File Server Support/400, which was made available for versions of OS/400 earlier than V3R7. This book also includes the steps involved to migrate from FSS/400 to NFS. The final chapter in this redbook covers a few common problems that you might come across while using the NFS and how to solve them. The intended audiences for this redbook are system administrators building up and maintaining a distributed network using NFS and AS/400 customers or programmers working with the Network File System. It is assumed that the reader has basic working experience with the AS/400 system

Chapter 1. Integrated File System Overview 1.0
Chapter 2. Network File System Overview 2.0
Chapter 3. Operating and Using NFS 3.0
Chapter 4. NFS Security 4.0
Chapter 5. National Language Support 5.0
Chapter 6. Migrating from FSS/400 to NFS 6.0
Chapter 7. Common Problems Encountered in NFS 7.0
Appendix A. Layout and Rules of the /etc/exports File A.0
Appendix B. Layout and Rules of the /etc/netgroup File B.0
Appendix C. NLS Code Page Example C.0
Appendix D. Installation of the Edit File (EDTF) command D.0
Appendix E. CHOWN() API Description E.0
Appendix F. PC NFS Client Considerations F.0
Appendix G. Displaying Exported Files G.0
Appendix H. Special Notices H.0
Appendix I. Related Publications I.0

Network File System on the AS400 system

Common High availability issues in an i5/OS High-Availability and Replication Environment

Joe Hertvik discusses the issues that can occur once you have you HA and replication environment up and running on your as400.

The second mistake occurs when administrators don't make sure that replicated data stays in sync. Before a failover, perform further auditing on your data groups to make sure that someone hasn't accidentally removed a library from the replication scheme. My shop ran a test last month where we found a critical library was present on both the target and source systems, but its contents hadn't been replicated in six months. Replication had accidentally been turned off; the programs worked but the data was old. So in addition to making sure that you have the same libraries on both systems, make sure that the data is being kept in sync. Otherwise, you may have replicated the file structure perfectly but your data may not be up to date

OnDemand SQL Performance Analysis Simplified on DB2 for i5/OS in V5R4

The goal of database performance tuning is to minimise the response time of your queries. It is also to optimise your servers resources by minimising network traffic, disk IO, and CPU time.
This IBM Redbook helps you to understand the basics of identifying and tuning the performance of Structured Query Language (SQL) statements using IBM DB2 for i5/OS . DB2 for i5/OS provides a comprehensive set of tools that help technical analysts tune SQL queries. The SQL Performance Monitors are part of the set of tools that IBM i5/OS provides for assisting in SQL performance analysis since Version 3 Release 6. These monitors help to analyze database performance problems after SQL requests are run. In V5R4 of i5/OS iSeries Navigator provides a series of new tools to do SQL Performance analysis that we cover in this redbook. Among the new tools that we will covering are:
- Capability of visualizing the contents of the SQE Plan Cache
- SQE Plan Cache Snapshots
- The new reporting tool - Dashboard
- OnDemand Index Advisor
- Evaluators such as Index and Materialized Query Tables
This redbook also presents tips and techniques based on the SQL Performance Monitors and other tools, such as Visual Explain and all the tools provided in V5R4. You’ll find this guidance helpful in gaining the most out of both DB2 for i5/OS and query optimizer when using SQL

Chapter 1. Determining whether you have an SQL performance problem
Chapter 2. DB2 for i5/OS performance basics
Chapter 3. Overview of tools to analyze database performance
Chapter 4. Gathering SQL performance data
Chapter 5. Analyzing SQL performance data using iSeries Navigator
Chapter 6. Custom Database Monitor Analysis
Chapter 7. SQE Plan Cache and SQE Plan Cache Snapshots
Chapter 8. Analyzing database performance data with Visual Explain
Chapter 9. Index Advisor
Chapter 10. SQL Performance Analysis: A Methodology
Chapter 11. Environmental settings that affect SQL Performance
Chapter 12. Tips to pro-actively prevent SQL performance problems
Chapter 13. Using Collection Services data to identify jobs using system resources
Appendix A. Tools to check a performance problem

Four Ways To Encrypt i5/OS Backups

Joe Hertvik discusses techniques that i5/OS users have for encrypting backups for greater protection and to satisfy auditors and government agencies, explores what technologies are available, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using each technology

You generally have four options to encrypt backup media from your i5/OS systems.
Software encryption through IBM's Backup Recovery and Media Services (BRMS) licensed program (i5/OS V6R1 only)
Software encryption through a third-party product
Hardware encryption through tape drive capabilities
Hardware encryption through an inline encryption backup solution
All of these techniques do the job but they also exact some sort of processing price on your system. In general, software-based encrypt techniques are prone to the following problems:
They force you to rewrite your backup routines to whatever commands or techniques the encryption enabling package uses. This is true whether you're using IBM's BRMS package or whether you're using a third-party package to perform the encryption.
If you're using BRMS to encrypt your data, you have to upgrade to i5/OS V6R1.
Encrypted backups don't take well to media compaction techniques, so backed up files will generally take up more space on your backup media.
Software encrypted backups generally take longer to run, because there is less compaction going on with the backup and because encryption adds another level of processing to your backup routine.

Part I focuses on software techniques

Part II focuses on hardward techniques

More Ways To Encrypt i5/OS Backups to follow...

i:ASP Data Balancer and IBM's iSeries servers

IBM is continuing its push into SSDs (solid-state drives), announcing flash drives for server and storage platforms as well as new software for allocating data among different types of drives.

Enterprise SSDs allow for faster access to data but cost far more, per bit, than spinning HDDs (hard disk drives). IBM is clearly committed to the emerging technology, as are EMC and other enterprise storage vendors. IBM, though, doesn't believe SSDs will make up more than 5 percent of any average company's total storage capacity.

For the foreseeable future, SSDs will be used as part of tiered storage architectures alongside HDDs, said Charlie Andrews, director of marketing in IBM's Dynamic Infrastructure group. For that reason, the company offers a variety of software to help store "hot" data in SSDs and "cold" data on HDDs. Its latest announcement, the IBM i:ASP Data Balancer, automatically shifts different bits of data to the most appropriate tier in a storage system. The software uses an algorithm that draws upon information such as how often each bit of data has been used, Andrews said. The i:ASP Data Balancer is designed for IBM's iSeries servers, part of the company's Power