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February 2017 IBM i Announcements

Once again it is announcement time, with IBM i 7.3 Technology Refresh 2 and IBM i 7.2 Technology Refresh 6 being announced.

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Once again it is announcement time, with IBM i 7.3 Technology Refresh 2 and IBM i 7.2 Technology Refresh 6 being announced.  As is somewhat typical for these Technology Refresh announcements, the content for both releases is quite similar.  Steve Will’s blog “Announcing IBM i 7.3 TR2 & 7.2 TR6” 
reviews the announcement overall.  I want to focus on a few enhancements that will make an IBM i administrator’s life a little easier.

IBM i Services
By now, you should anticipate some type of enhancement to the IBM i Services in a TR announcement, and this announcement is no different.  There are two new IBM i Services that will be made available:
    This service returns a list of objects secured by an authorization list. 
    The information returned is similar to the Display Authorization List Objects (DSPAUTLOBJ) command or the Retrieve Authorization List Information (QSYRTVAI) API.
    This service returns a row for each message in a message queue.
    This information returned is similar to the Display Message (DSPMSG) command
These services will be delivered as part of the DB2 Group PTF with a planned availability of March 31, 2017.

Serviceability Improvements
The RFA briefly mentioned some serviceability improvements for Main Store Dumps (MSDs).  If you ever have a situation where the system fails and a main store dump is needed (which should be very rare for IBM i), it can be difficult to take the time to collect the dump – you may find it’s more important to get the system back up and running for your business.  However, when system failures occur, IBM wants to diagnose and correct the situation and would like to analyze the dumps if possible.  So when a crisis such as a system failure hits, it is critical to collect diagnostic information as quickly as possible.

The serviceability improvements are geared toward getting MSDs done faster and more efficiently so there will be less disruption to your business should a critical failure occur.

Access Client Solutions
IBM continues to enhance Access Client Solutions and has been working on extending the DB tooling that was previously in System i Navigator to ACS.  Run SQL Scripts with SQL formatting is one example.  

Printer Output support has also been extended with additional filtering capabilities; support has been added to specify multiple output queues as well as filtering on user-specified data (“User Data” on the green screen interface).  

These ACS updates are available with the January 2017 update; more information can be found on the Access Client Solutions web page.

Open Source – Tools
IBM has been doing a lot of work in the open source arena and hopefully you are aware of the Open Source Solutions (5733-OPS) product.  The latest enhancements in this area are for Option 7, which contains a set of utility type functions commonly found on *nix environments.

Although unrelated to this February 2017 announcement, IBM recently made available a Group PTF for the Open Source Solutions product.  And a recent PTF (SI63665) made the text description for each installed option useful.

I’ve not written about the Open Source Solutions product before, but a great starting point for more information is the Open Source Technologies page on developerWorks.
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