IBM i Technology Refresh News

Steve Will

Today, IBM announces IBM i 7.3 Technology Refresh 2 (TR2) and IBM I 7.2 Technology Refresh 6 (TR6). Technology refreshes typically include incremental enhancements that have been requested by users and new hardware I/O virtualization capabilities. The latest announcement covers both bases.

IBM Systems Magazine talked with Steve Will, the Chief Architect for IBM i, to get this thoughts on the latest technology refreshes and why February was the ideal time for this announcement.

IBM Systems Magazine (ISM): What kinds of incremental enhancements were made?

Steve Will (SW): We have a number of announcements associated with open source tools and capabilities, as well as the next advancement in our JSON integration into DB2 on IBM i.

Whether you’re looking for incremental enhancements to help you manage and write software on the system, or you’re looking for something to replace that low-end box you’ve been sitting on for a long time, that’s what this announcement will deal with.

ISM: How will this Technology Refresh benefit the user community?

SW: There’s a new, small system⎯the S812⎯being supported by IBM i which will be the kind of system that somebody who is on small, older generation systems will want to use. For clients who have stayed on POWER6 for a while because they just haven’t needed to move up, this smaller, non-virtualized system might be exactly what they’ve been waiting for to move up to more current technology.

The low end of our POWER7 and now our POWER8 systems has had more cores, more I/O options and more I/O slots than previous generations. Some of our clients really don’t need multiple cores or multiple partitions to run their workloads. But they would like to take advantage of some of the new database capabilities and new security features that we have in the latest releases. But they found that these higher core, higher I/O systems just cost more than they thought it was probably worth, so that slowed them down.

With this lower-end S812, those folks might see the economic benefit to moving forward and taking advantage of those newer capabilities.

ISM: Why did this announcement come out today?

SW: The Power Systems brand chose to put the S812 announcement in the earlier part of the year. Simon Porstendorfer is the offering manager around this S812, and I have my own view, but my guess is once it was ready to go, he wanted to have as much of the year as possible to get it to the marketplace. So given that it’s available for AIX and IBM i, we had to produce the technology refresh for 7.2 and 7.3 so that we could support this new model. If we had delayed our technology refresh until April or May, when Power technology refreshes have normally been coming out, we would have been two or three months behind the support of AIX. There was no reason to do that.

So since the technology refreshes had to come out with the new system, we also put out capabilities around database and open source because we like to have all of that function and announced at the same time.

For More

For the full scoop about IBM i 7.3 TR2 and IBM i 7.2 TR6, read Steve Will’s blog post on the announcement here. Dawn May focuses on a couple of enhancements that specifically help IBM i administrators in a blog post linked here

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