What the End of IBM i 7.1 Support Means For You

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IBM i 7.1 is going to be headed for the IBM i support graveyard very soon.  IBM recently announced that IBM i 7.1 will be end of life on April 30, 2018, which means it’s time to move to 7.2 or 7.3.  We all know that you can stay on 7.1 and pay the service extension fees to IBM, but I’m not sure why you would throw your money away on that.

IBM i 7.3 has been GA for over a year and it is a stable release. In fact, iTech was a beta site for 7.3 and this release has been rock solid since the beta release. We’ve been busy helping our customers move to this release for a year now and we’re hearing from more and more of them every day that they want us to move them to 7.3.

The biggest challenge to every upgrade is the planning.  It’s not just about what version of Java you are running, or whether or not you have WebSphere, LAN Console, size of the load source, expanding the license internal code space, or having the correct preparation PTFs on. You have to be worried about vendor applications.  By now your vendors should have their applications supported on 7.3.

Should you go to IBM i 7.2 or skip to IBM i 7.3?

The answer should be to get to the latest and greatest version, if at all possible. You can make the move from 7.1 directly to 7.3, so that won’t be an issue. If your vendor applications can go to 7.3 then you really should make that jump now. We also have to insure that your hardware is capable of supporting 7.3

Upgrading will allow you to take advantage of the new features in 7.3 and will prevent you from having to make another upgrade when 7.2 is end of life. Also, the features in 7.3 that support temporal support and row and column access control can help you to provide the business with improved business intelligence and increased security.

When’s the last time you performed an upgrade?

How long has it been since you’ve done an OS upgrade?  If there answer is, it’s been a while, than we suggest you contact us for help.  We do multiple OS upgrades every week.  So, chances are we have encountered any issues your upgrade may encounter before, which means we already know what to do to solve it.

Why do I need to keep Current with OS Release and PTFs?

The rate of change in IT is staggering.  We all know that the IBM i is a solid platform, which is why people often are not as concerned with updating their OS levels.  The mentality has become, if it’s not broken then don’t fix it. This attitude has caused a lot of misconceptions about IBM i. Those who are not familiar with the platform think it is dead, old technology that needs to be replaced. They don’t realize all the new things that you can do with IBM i. They think it’s a green screen platform that has nothing new to offer to the business. This can’t be further from the truth. By not keeping your OS current, you could actually be working yourself right out of a job.

IBM has invested in support for Open Source, which offers you the ability to modernize your user interfaces utilizing modern programming languages like PHP, Java, Node.js, Python, Chroot with gcc, Git, along with various open source tools. This allows you to provide modern interfaces through multiple devices. It also allows you to bring in young programmers who can breathe new life into your applications.

Security is another major concern. A lot has changed since 2010 and you need to keep your OS current to ensure that your system is as secure as it can be.  Row and column access controls add a new layer of security to your data, which allows users to have access to information they need, while masking information they should not see. If you are using encryption, it’s even more important to stay current, as the new ciphers are maintained in the most current release of the OS only.

If you’re not keeping up, then you are behind. If you’re behind, then Management may think that the IBM i isn’t offering a new business value. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Protect your company’s investment in IBM i by ensuring that management understands what the platform has to offer. Educate them on everything they can do with today’s versions of the software and hardware. Invite them to attend conferences like COMMON, NEUGC, and others.

We are happy to be a resource. Contact us to provide an executive briefing to your management team.  If we’re not promoting the platform, the mentality that it is old and should be replaced will continue, despite the fact that it is the best business computer available!

 

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