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Announcing IBM i 7.4 TR1

On Tuesday, October 8 2019, IBM made several announcements, including the first Technology Refresh for the IBM i 7.4 release, as well as TR 7 for 7.3.

"You and i" in white against a purple banner, white chat bubble in righthand corner, with two planets colliding below.

On Tuesday, October 8 2019, IBM made several announcements, including the first Technology Refresh (TR) for the IBM i 7.4 release, as well as TR 7 for 7.3. For those who want the official announcements, here they are:

As usual, the IBM i development team made updates to the IBM i pages on the IBM Community pages (developerWorks). Those updates describe the announcements in more detail, if needed. The links for those are: The big-picture IBM i Roadmap (Figure 1) looks the same as it did when 7.4 was announced, because we don’t list all of the TRs, but you can see we continue to deliver new function twice a year, and we deliver it on the two most recent releases.
Figure 1: The IBM i Roadmap

Announcement Highlights 

The announcement letters have a very good summary of the key values provided in the announced functions, so I encourage you to go read them and then dig in to the things that interest you the most. Just to give you an idea, there is a long list of Db2 enhancements, an important addition to the system TLSv1.3 supported algorithms, support for IBM i in Nagios dashboards, highly requested functions in RPG, DLPAR enhancements related to SR-IOV, new RDi capabilities and great stuff in Access Client Solutions. But I think I’ll talk about two specific items that are in this announcement.

F8 Key Function

Within some parts of the user community, particularly within the COMMON Europe Advisory Council, a Request for Enhancement (124253) gained a great deal of support in the past several months. Anyone who has used a green screen knows that F9 is useful for retrieving recent commands. But, if you “press F9 one too many times and go past the command you want, you must either keep pressing F9 until you loop through all commands entered or blank the command line as start again.”
This request was for an ability to “undo an F9 with F8” or, as written in the RFE, to essentially allow the combination of F9 and F8 to “roll through” recent commands.
Initially, while we in IBM i development understood the value of the function, we didn’t see a good way to make it happen. And, since we are generally moving people to graphical interfaces and away from green screen, we didn’t put a lot of thought into it.
But our advisory councils pushed hard for us to reconsider, and Mike Russell, one of our developers, took another look at it. He found a way to make the F8 key function as requested in most situations (it cannot be allowed to override a user-defined F8 function, for example) and that new feature is making it into both 7.4 and 7.3.

Db2 Mirror Internal Storage Statement of Direction 

As I mentioned in my 7.4 announcement blog, the biggest thing we announced at that time was the continuous availability product, IBM Db2 Mirror for i.  
While it was initially made available only to clients using Storage Area Networks (SANs) it had become clear to us, even before the announcement, that clients who use internal storage would want to have the ability to implement Db2 Mirror. So, while it’s not quite ready for delivery yet, we wanted to assure our clients that it is coming, and soon, so we included a Statement of Direction in the announcement:
“IBM plans to introduce the support for internal disk as a storage option to the Db2 Mirror for i product.”
Now, there are other Db2 Mirror-related features announced—Live Partition Mobility and Application Evaluation Support are important for many clients—but we needed to get the news out about internal storage, so it was included in the announcement.

Learn More

Again, I encourage you to follow the links at the start of this post to see more details. And if you’re one of the people who will be attending the various IBM TechU, IBM iNext, RPG/DB2 Summit and COMMON events in the next couple months, you’re sure to hear more about these from the experts we have traveling to those events to speak.

Oh, and one final thing. Just because I know people will ask, no enhancements were announced for IBM i 7.2. That release is stabilized, with its End of Marketing announced for April 30, 2020, and its End of Service announced for April 30, 2021. This announcement was made on September 10, 2019. The US version of that announcement is here.
Until next time!
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