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Increase Flexibility and Minimize Business Disruptions with the Latest IBM i TR

IBM i Product Marketing Manager Brandon Pederson details the latest IBM i Technology Refresh and what’s included in the October 6 announcement.

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Our passionate community of clients, business partners and ISVs has come to expect the continuous enhancement of the IBM i portfolio through our twice a year Technology Refresh (TR), and today is the latest one with IBM i 7.3 TR9 and 7.4 TR3. Alongside the TR being announced today, we are also making a larger announcement around additional enhancements to the IBM Power Systems™ software portfolio, including AIX®, PowerHA®, VM Recovery Manager, PowerVC®, PowerVM®, PowerSC MFA and Db2® Web Query. These enhancements will help our clients get the most out of their existing IBM i and Power Systems™ environments while also preparing for the future. We continually invest in our clients’ success and closely listen to users’ needs through various client and partner feedback councils, and everything being announced today was the result of that direct input we received from the community. Here are the highlights of everything being announced today: 

Open Source Freedom and Flexibility  

With this TR we’ve delivered 15 new or enhanced open-source packages for the platform, including pigz, chsh, MariaDB and PostgreSQL for database flexibility. These additional open-source technologies allow us to open the platform up further to a new community, helping to reduce the skills gap, and give developers more freedom of choice when building applications on IBM i. Liam Allan, an IBM Champion for Power Systems, was one of these developers introduced to the platform through open source. He gives an example: “To me, PHP being available through RPM has changed the game—but not as much as what you can build in Node.js and ODBC. Doing modern things has become unbelievably easy recently.” Visit our IBM i open source repository to see what is possible.    
The team has also created new IBM i Playbooks for Ansible®, further extending the use of a consistent skill set to shrink the skills gap. Not familiar with Ansible? Ansible automates various mundane tasks like provisioning cloud environments, deploying applications, applying security patches and more, and is available to use with IBM i just like any other platform. Benoit Marolleau, Power Systems Pre-Sales Architect, detailed the business value of automation with Ansible for IBM i in this 2020 iSight blog post back in July.     

Taking Security to the Next Level

Security is at the core of IBM I; as we like to say it’s the most secureable platform on the market. We continue to enhance security with every TR, and today is no different. Base authentication in IWS no longer requires an HTTP server, and IWS also now enables the use of third-party security services. PowerSC MFA can now be run on IBM i alongside AIX® and Linux®, allowing for security management of any environment from a single dashboard. Multi-factor authentication has also been built-in to the latest release of PowerVC, increasing security of private cloud and virtualized environments.  

Minimizing Disruptions to Business 

Most likely, you and your teams are still working remotely, maybe even through the rest of this year and beyond. Back in April, IBM Power Systems Vice President of Offering Management Steve Sibley highlighted here on the 2020 iSight blog why and how IBM i is the best platform to be on for remote work, and one less thing to worry about during this time we are all living through. We’ve seen our clients during this year have tremendous success and no disruptions to their businesses simply by having their employees set up at home, connect to their IBM i and Power Systems environment back at the office, and continue operations as usual. Albert Jagger, a manufacturer and supplier to several industries in the United Kingdom, was even able to gain a competitive edge by running their business on IBM i during the lockdown, returning their teams to the workplace safely 2-4 weeks earlier than expected.  
With the announcement today, we’ve taken business continuity a step further with updates included in the IBM i Technology Refresh and enhancements made to PowerHA, VM Recovery Manager, Db2 Mirror and BRMS. With PowerHA, users can manage HA and DR from a single user interface, and fewer commands are needed to deploy HA environments, simplifying things for systems administrators who are already trying to balance life and working remotely. Continuing on the theme of simplified business continuity, more automation has also been built-in to our HA and DR portfolio with at-a-glance health monitoring. We’ve added more object types and improved application evaluation for Db2 Mirror, and BRMS delivers significant ease of use based on IBM i Services. 
Head to the newly refreshed IBM i landing page to check out all the latest on the platform and our customer story page to read more stories of innovation and success from our clients. 
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