IBM i 7.2 – A New Release!
Solutions for a modern mobile world
One of the key areas that we have been focused on over the past several years is ensuring that our users and application developers have solutions that continue to allow IBM i to be relevant in the new modern world. This focus has been especially true for system administrators and users for this release.
Over the past few years we have been focusing our development on interfaces that allow user easy modern access to the IBM i. Many of the tools over the years have been focused more on either green screen interfaces, or on tools that are ‘installed’ on a PC. These tools are really not modern and certainly are limiting. Only allow you to install support on a PC is not very useful for our Linux of Mac community. Based on this, we have been focusing more and more on Web interfaces that do not require any install at all. This makes these interfaces available to all PC based interfaces as well as making these available to mobile devices!
Starting in IBM i 6.1 we shipped our first version of the Web based Navigator. While this web based interface was rich in function, it was pretty weak when it came to usability and performance. These issues have been something we have been focused on correcting over the past couple of years. A year ago in January we shipped a significantly updated Web Navigator. Since then we have continued on this path. Since this is a new release of the OS, not only have we continued to address usability and performance, we have also delivered a wealth of new function!
The Web Navigator is shipped as part of the IBM i operating system. It is delivered as part of the SS1 Option 3. Fixes and updates are delivered as part of the HTTP PTF Group. Basically, you apply the PTF group and the Navigator has been updated. Nothing on your PC to do at all. Well, I guess that might not be entirely true, you do need to open a browser and enter the URL.
Lets cover some of the key new items that we added to Navigator for IBM i 7.2
- MonitorsFrom the web based Navigator, you can now create monitors for many system performance attributes and create monitors to watch for any message on your system. When a monitor hits a threshold, actions can be run in response. Create a monitor to watch the CPU usage for the system or a specif job, when a level is hit, you can run a command or send a notification. Likewise, watch any message queue for a specific message to be signaled. When that message appears, you have the ability to respond in an automated manner. Really, this support is similar to the support that was provided in the Management Central interface that was part of the PC installed client.
- PTF ManagementLoad and Apply PTFs from the Web based interface. You can process PTFs on your local system or you can send PTFs and Apply them to a group of systems. Navigator now has an web GUI based interface for you to review, search and manage you PTFs and PTF Group information on your system. One of the more interesting features we added is the compare support. Compare your local system to any number of other systems in your network. You can compare individual PTFs or all PTFs for a specified product; if the compare finds differences you can then automatically update any missing PTFs on the remote systems.
- Batch modelerThis is really cool stuff! First you start a collection for an existing batch job workload. Once you have this collection, then using the modeler, you can change a wide variety of parameters, run priorities, memory, CPU, disk, and such to then ‘model’ how these changes effects your batch runtime window. Graphical charts show you side by side comparisons of the starting point and the difference the updates have made (both good and bad). You can run the modeler many times to see the effect of various updates. Check to see if investing in SSD for example will actually benefit your workload, or maybe you would be better off add some additional memory to the memory pool.
- Performance Data InvestigatorThe PDI support is now properly placed in the left navigation area, many new IBM i 7.2 metrics have also been included. Within PDI there are many graphs and performance metrics sometimes it can be difficult to find the chart or metric you are looking for. That problem has been solved with the new fast PDI Search. Enter the metric (or collection service file) or graph you want and you are presented with a number of artifacts that contain that specific item. Click on the link and immediately you are taken to that page! Looking to find a graph that shows system CPU usage by job or task, you can wander about the PDI navigation or just enter CPU in the fast search. You are presented with a list of graphs for CPU including the graph for ‘CPU by task or job’ Click on the link and you are taken to that chart.
- Performance and UsabilityChrome is now a supported browser. A new ‘My Favorites’ list has also been added. You can now specify just about any page or table in the Web Navigator to be included as a Favorite. That will create a fast link under the My Favorites link in the left navigation area. Click on this user defined link and you are taken immediately to that saved location. A new fast path Integrated File System control. Instead of having to click to open folders, you can actually just enter the path and go directly there. Lastly, Navigator fast search. Find the pages or interfaces using the CL command names!! Enter WRKACTJOB in the fast search control and you can then go directly there with no extra clicks!
iAccess for MobileMobile is a huge focus area for user community. Users want to be able to access more and more things from the comfort of their mobile devices. We have many ISVs that provide solutions to help you create mobile interfaces over the top of their existing traditional applications (RPG or COBOL based). Well users and systems administrators also want to be access their IBM i for various tasks. To help address this we are delivering a new Mobile focused interfaces. You can now perform a number of popular activities using nothing more then your iphone, ipad, or favorite android based device!
This new support is being delivered as part of the existing iAccess for Web product (5770-XH2). The really good thing about this new support, while its been delivered with 7.2 it will run on both IBM i 6.1 and 7.1. Just install the 7.2 version of XH2 on your 6.1 or 7.1 system and you are set! There is one script that you need to run. This script will actually install this new support onto an ‘Admin’ server (ADMIN5 for those that really like to know those details, oh and that server is will be listening on Port 2011). Since this is a web based solution there is nothing to install on your mobile device. Open your browser, enter ‘http://hostname:2001/iamobile ‘. You are now presented with a mobile centric interface!!
From this mobile interface you can do the following:
- Printer Output
- Active Jobs
- 5250 Emulator
- Installed products
- System values
- Database file
- Run SQL Scripts
- IFS files
- Lots more
For more information on this exiting new support, check out the iAccess product web page. – www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/software/i/access/index.html. This page will be updated with all the details. Initially, this support is being delivered as a technical preview and once we hear from you we will be updating and delivering as an official product!
This is a real small sample of the support that was delivered with IBM i 7.2. I will be spending the next many blog entries going in to detail about the many new features delivered with IBM i 7.2. The best news, IBM i 7.2 positions the IBM i platform for a strong future both now and into the future.