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Announcing the POWER9 980 for IBM i and 7.3 TR5

August 7, 2018

IBM Power System E980

The phased roll-out of the POWER9-based systems started in February. IBM started with the “distributed” systems, so today’s announcement is for the larger systems, and for IBM i, in particular, that means our support of the IBM Power System E980 model 9080M9S. 7.3 TR5 and 7.2 TR9 will be required to support these new systems.

The planned availability for the TRs is September 14, 2018. The TR PTF Group, and the associated PTFs which deliver other related function become available on that date. The systems themselves start shipping on September 21, 2018. More information is available on developerWorks here and here

The IBM i team has a good starting point for the detailed information associated with these new systems and the associated technology here

To repeat what I said in the previous announce blog, I’m highly recommending that people who adopt POWER9-based systems also plan to move to IBM i 7.3 fairly quickly, as 7.3 will be the better release to take advantage of the future enhancements to those systems and the associated technologies.

Now let’s move on to the parts of the announcement that are not related to the new systems.

Db2 for i Enhancements

Database application developers have new capabilities for constructing data-centric SQL solutions:

  • Enhanced ILE RPG programming controls when using embedded SQL enables improved RPG programmer productivity when using SQL 

  • Improved code generation for SQL procedures, functions, and triggers yields improved performance when these objects are rebuilt 

  • New and enhanced SQL built-in functions enable you to push more business logic into SQL statements 

  • The IBM Toolbox for Java JTOpen JDBC driver offers capabilities to deploy highly available applications 

  • Improved code generation for SQL procedures, functions, and triggers yields improved performance when these objects are rebuilt

  • New and enhanced SQL built-in functions helps to push more business logic into SQL statements
  • The IBM Toolbox for Java JTOpen JDBC driver offers new capabilities to deploy highly available applications

These and other enhancements are delivered through Db2 PTF Group SF99703. See the IBM i Technology Updates wiki on developerWorks to learn more about all Db2 for IBM i enhancements. To see the Db2 for i PTF Group details, go to the Db2 for IBM i 2018 Group PTF Schedule wiki

SQL Services

In the tradition of recent Technology Refreshes, IBM i Services are added and enhanced, enabling useful SQL-based alternatives to IBM i commands and APIs:

  • The ACTIVE_JOB_INFO UDTF offers new optional input parameters and 70 new return columns. With these enhancements, administrators can more easily ask systems management-oriented questions using SQL. 

  • The JOB_DESCRIPTION_INFO view returns one row for each job description. This service adds to the set of work management topics that can be managed using SQL.
New capabilities are added for the database engineer.
  • The QSYS2.GENERATE_SQL_OBJECTS() procedure is added as a Db2 for i provided database service. With this procedure, Db2 for i analyzes dependent objects to produce perfectly ordered generated SQL, enabling a significant productivity boost.

IBM i Access Client Solutions

IBM i Access Client Solutions
is the strategic interface for accessing and managing IBM i. A new updated version (1.8) includes many updates for the IBM i user as well as for the IBM i Db2 database engineer. 

Note: To ensure compliance with the latest security recommendations, Access Client Solutions now requires a minimum of Java 8. The default Java version on your PCs should be updated to the latest version of Java 8 or later. Instructions on how to add a JRE to this deployment are in the developerWorks article (see sections "Optional JRE deployment" and "JRE deployment considerations"). 

Several parts of ACS have received significant updates. I will list the general areas, but the details are available on developerWorks.

  • Open source users, developers and deployers: ACS has been enhanced with new interfaces for managing open source packages on IBM i. The new interface offers a simple way to install, remove, or update open source packages, both on the system as well as in a CHROOT container. Note that this tool leverages RPMs and doesn’t require the 5733-OPS installed product (see the "Open Source" section for more information).
  • Db2 engineers working with Schemas: will be able to work with locked rows (table/table partition), lock holders (alias/index/table/view), will be able to cut/copy/paste (table/index) and much more.
  • Users of the 5250 Emulator for Print support will be able to take advantage of Java Print Service (JPS), which includes many things, including characters per inch (CPI), lines per inch (LPI), page size, font size scaling and more.
  • Rational Developer for i (RDi) has new features which make it easier for PDM developers to move to RDi, and adds more support for the DATA-INTO opcode. See the Rational Developer for i Hub site
  • IBM Backup, Recovery and Media Service for i (5770-BR1):
Backup, Recovery and Media Services for i (BRMS) 7.2 and later has been enhanced with Independent Auxiliary Storage Pool (IASP) support and archive dynamic retrieval.

Open Source on IBM i

As we’ve been talking about via social media (Twitter and blogs, as well as several articles) the strategic direction for distributing open source software on IBM i is now in line with the way open source software is distributed in the rest of the industry via package managers, in particular with RPM and yum. Many open source offerings are now available in RPM form. Large portions of the Linux community use RPM-based packages to distribute software. A package manager (yum) is also included. With these changes, more open source technology can be made available, and the management and installation of these packages can be done in minutes.

Here are some examples of common tasks that can now be accomplished with the ‘yum’ command:

  • yum list installed (list installed packages) 

  • yum list available (list available packages) 

  • yum list updates (list available updates to packages) 

  • yum install (install a package) 

  • yum search (search for a package) 

For information on how to get started with these new RPM-based technologies, see the IBM i Open Source Git repository. 

Other open source announcements relate to:

  • Language updates:
As part of the RPM-based offering set, Node.js version 8 and Python 3.6 are available
  • TLS 1.3 support
  • nginx HTTP server has been built to take advantage of OpenSSL 1.1.1 and therefore TLS 1.3
  • The ‘updatedb’ and ‘locate’ tools
  • GNU tools: As part of the RPM-based offering set, IBM delivers industry-standard 
    GNU forms of many common commands. Some examples include the following: 
• less • 
    grep • ls • awk • sed • find • patch • tar • iconv • sort 

  • GNU C Compiler (GCC) and surrounding toolchain: As part of the RPM-based offering set, GCC version 6.3.0 is available. Many tools that are often needed to build PASE or open source applications are also delivered. These include autoconf, automake, pkg-config, cmake, libtool, m4, and many more.
  • LFTP: the LFTP utility is now available. LFTP is a sophisticated file transfer program.
  • GNU nano: the ‘nano’ editor enables easy editing of files within a terminal session. It supports usability features such as copy and paste and search and replace with regular expressions. It can also be extended to support syntax highlighting for several languages.

I/O and Storage Capabilities

In addition, this Technology Refresh includes hardware-related support for:

See the Hardware and Firmware section of the Technology Updates wiki for more information. 

I’ve given a bit more detail in this blog than I have in recent announcements (though there is still plenty of detail I didn’t put in here—it’s on developerWorks) as a result of some comments from readers, and as a way to make it more likely an internet search will find links to new IBM i capabilities. Still, this is the overview. I hope this is helpful to you. Feel free to let me know in the comment section.

Next time: Fresh Faces in IBM i development.

  • VIOS configurations for NIC on the PCIe4 LP 2-port 100Gb ROCE EN IOA 

  • New 931GB, 1.86TB, and 3.72TB capacity solid-state drives (SSDs) 

  • Unmap of thin-provisioned external storage for IBM Spectrum Virtualize configurations with IBM i

  • Multipath support for 3592-E05 and 3592-E06 

Posted August 7, 2018| Permalink