It’s always exciting when IBM announces new hardware and today is no exception! We have been hearing about the new POWER9 Chip for several months. In December IBM released the first set of LINUX machines powered by P9. Now the next set of servers on the POWER9 chip is announced – the Scale-out line. IBM i has been running POWER chips since the POWER5 introduction in 2004 and the roadmap below illustrates the history and future of this powerful technology. Welcome POWER9!
This is part 2 of a 4 part series on the new IBM i 7.3 Upgrade. Links to the rest of the series are listed a the bottom of this article.
3. Increase the Licensed Internal Code space
If you are upgrading from 7.1 to 7.3 you need to increase the Licensed Internal Code space on the load source disk. All server models with IBM i 7.1 or earlier releases require more reserved storage before IBM i 7.2 or 7.3 can be installed. Your upgrade will stop during the installation if you do not allocate the additional space.
You can do this by issuing the GO LICPGM on the command line, selecting option 5 on the menu to Prepare for upgrade, and then selecting the option to increase License Internal Code space. Remember, your load source will need to be at least 70GB for a physical disk drive and 35GB for a virtual disk drive.
IBM i and its predecessor the AS/400 have always been known for reliability, integration, dependability, ease of use, and of course full functionality. To this end, most of the systems even today are sold with internal storage. It’s just another piece of the IBM i integration puzzle. From the setup, to the administration, to the day to day use of the storage is so easy with internal disk. Yet, the industry is changing. External storage and specifically Storage Area Networks (SANs) are one of the hottest topics in IT today. Why, I believe part of it has to do with virtualization, and the other part is cost.
If every server (Power, Windows, Linux, etc.) or partition has its own independent storage, then I have to manage all the storage independently. This increases our administrative costs, as well as the skills required to manage our storage. In addition, if one system is using 20% of its storage, and another system is using 98% of its storage, it is usually not possible to move the storage from one server to the other. This is where virtualization plays a key part to drive down our administrative costs and acquisition costs, but can increase the skills required to manage the new virtualization. On the IBM Power platform, we have VIO Server (You might hear this called VIOS or Virtual I/O Server) to help with storage virtualization. VIO Server is extremely powerful when it comes to virtualizing storage and networking, but it does require some additional skills that most IBM i shops don’t have, since VIO Server is a subset of IBM’s AIX operating system. VIO Server can connect to almost any external storage. This is probably its biggest virtualization benefit. So, you may be wondering why IBM i can’t connect to everything. IBM i uses 520 byte sectors for disk, and the industry uses 512 byte disk sectors. Most SANs use 512 byte sectors, which provides difficulty for IBM i to connect to. Although, you can connect VIO Server to the storage, and then let VIO Server virtualize the storage to IBM i. This works great, but again you have to have VIO Server skills.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an IBM i like Storage Area Network. One that was easy to use, easy to administer, competitively priced, had a great GUI front end, and connected to IBM i directly. Well, up until last week I would have said that the IBM Storwize V7000 was all that, except you had to have VIO Server host the storage to IBM i. As of today, the IBM i can directly attach to the IBM Storwize V7000 and its lower priced brother the Storwize V3700, and this is great news for IBM i. It’s the best of two worlds coming together.
The V7000 is enterprise class storage at an affordable price that is ease to use and manage. It has a remarkably easy to use GUI interface that is intuitive and almost self-guiding. Each time I have used the GUI I am just amazed at the graphics. The V7000 uses the same code that you will find in many of the IBM SANs, such as the SAN Volume Controller (SVC), and includes so many enterprise class options enabled. By the way, if you have ever looked at PureFlex system, it also comes with an integrated V7000 for storage. Some of the features includes with the Storwize V7000 are:
- Thin Provisioning – storage is not allocated until data is written
- Full Copy of volumes and space efficient snapshot offloads CPU resources from Hypervisor hosts
- Easy Tier™ – automated tiering between SSD and HDD storage
- Real-Time Compression – Automatically compress data with no performance impact.
- Remote Mirroring – with Global and Metro Mirror.
- Non-Disruptive data migration within and between internal and external storage
The Storwize V7000 Unified allows you to use this storage for both your block (IBM i & AIX) and file (Windows) capabilities. It has support for NFS/CIFS/FTP/HTTPS/SCP file protocols in addition to existing block protocols (iSCSI and FCP). There is file replication and snapshots for business continuity and disaster recovery in addition to existing block functions.
I believe we will see a new era starting right now in midrange disk with the ability of IBM i to directly attach to the IBM Storwize V7000 & V3700. IBM i will be able to connect via a Fibre Channel Adapter over Fabric (via a Fibre Switch) or directly using a Fibre card. I see many new Power Systems running IBM i having a V7000 or V3700 to handle the needs of its storage, and the storage for the rest of the enterprise. I know this is what many of iTech Solutions customers will be requiring over the next few years as we work together to drive down their costs of storage acquisition, and allow for easier storage management all from a single interface.
An upgrade to your current IBM i (OS/400 or i5/OS) operating system is something you’ve been putting off for quite some time. Can you afford to keep waiting? IBM already made the answer pretty clear by announcing that it will discontinue its support for V5R4 in six months. As we mentioned in our February newsletter after September 30, 2013, if you are running on V5R4 you will have no support from IBM, as you will be on an unsupported operating system.
Six months is all that stands between either having the latest IBM features or being locked into a costly system that will become obsolete.
What’s holding you back? For a large number of organizations, they are simply not ready for the time and financial commitment required for such an endeavor. Back in 2010, when IBM was contemplating pulling the plug on V5R4, the main issue businesses confronted was the recession. Budgets were leaner and tighter than ever. Today, the economy is on a slight uptick, but clearly, budget constraints are still a source of contention.
In an article that iProDeveloper published, they also highlighted other areas of concern:
- Migrating directly from V5R4 to 7.1 (before 6.1) when 7.1 hasn’t reached maturity
- Having extended support for older systems yet prolonging the move to 6.1
- Missing out on the benefits of a newer kit around performance cost of ownership
The good news is that both 6.1 and 7.1 upgrades are primed and ready. IBM is certainly nudging IBM i users in that direction with their February Technology Refresh 6 release.
More good news: iTech Solutions can handle your system upgrade without putting a major dent in your budget or workflow. Our plan will enable you to upgrade to 6.1 or 7.1 seamlessly, affordably, and painlessly. Moreover, we can handle the entire upgrade process—from investigation, planning, and implementation—within the six month timeframe you are starring at. In addition, if you would like to run your applications on another machine at 6.1 or 7.1 to further test before your actual upgrade, we can provide you with a longer machine.
So there you have it. Beginning the upgrade process today will help you steer clear of added costs in the long run. iTech Solutions can help you take the first step. Contact us today to learn more!
Trust is a hard thing to come by in any walk of life, especially when business is on the line. You wouldn’t trust just anyone with the responsibility of managing your critical IT systems, would you? A large number of organizations are faced with that very prospect. It’s either a case of handling everything on their own or reluctantly passing the keys over to someone else.
At iTech Solutions, we like to think of ourselves as a happy medium. We are fully capable of providing hands-on management support for all of your IT needs—with IBM i (AS/400, iSeries) support being front and center. We can design and configure specific IBM i upgrades, installations, and cloud migration projects. We can also take a step back and help you develop a long-term, IBM i strategic roadmap.
iTech Solutions understands that you might desire your own in-house team to handle these odds and ends. However, when money, time, and resources are limited, we can fill the gaps. Why struggle for weeks on end with an upgrade project when we can take care of it in just two or three days?
No matter what, trust isn’t something you’ll have to worry about with iTech Solutions. We strive to be your partner throughout the process. Our goal is your goal, and vice versa. Ultimately, we want to help you gain the best i experience possible.
When it comes to IBM i, there really is no shortage of skills and devotion that we bring to the table. IBM i is in our DNA. We have an entire staff that has been trained and certified in IBM i best practices. Moreover, we want to pass our knowledge on to you through further training and technical support.
It’s all up to you. Whatever you need—from implementation and beyond—we can make it happen. For more information about how we can deliver the IBM i support you need to boost your business, contact our team today!