The iSeries Blog


December 12, 2007  3:55 PM

DB2 DDS and SQL on the System i

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

This week I spoke with the CEO of Resolution Software, a company that wants to make it easier for Data Description Specifications (DDS)-based System i databases to talk to SQL-based applications.

Resolution has been around for almost two decades, but it was just two years ago that it decided to delve into the System i. Starting in January, the company will start offering its Xcase software to users, an application that will allow DDS-based System i databases like DB2 to more easily communicate with SQL programs.

“We think that the System i market is a market where there is a lot to achieve,” Resolution CEO Elie Myal said. “Many shops today have not yet done the move to SQL, although they’re talking a lot about that. It is the time to do it, not 10 years ago, but now, when there is so much talk about modernization and so much talk about SQL.”

Resolution’s work is based largely on a 2005 IBM Redbook, “Modernizing IBM eServer iSeries Application Data Access,” which details a complex process on how to reverse engineer a DDS-based DB2 database and move toward SQL. IBM recommended the process because it said that SQL Data Definition Language (DDL) had surpassed DDS as the industry-standard way to define relational database management system (RDMS) databases like DB2.

Since that process is so long, Resolution has Xcase to basically automate it for you. At the same time, it doesn’t alter your original DDS-based databases, and thus doesn’t throw everything out of whack.

“The System i is a wonderful database machine because the database is built right into the operating system,” Muyal said. “It works much more smoothly and in a powerful way than when trying to combine hardware, OS and database technology from different vendors. But the database solutions are scarce.”

In addition to the software product, which you’ll be able to buy in January, Resolution is offering a modernization service on the System i right now.

December 5, 2007  11:02 AM

System i5 virus game winding down

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

There is only one week remaining in the i5 virus game, an interactive game developed by Bytware to raise awareness of System i security and using PHP on the platform.

The game, which The iSeries blog wrote about earlier this month, got its start at the Common Focus event in October. It starts out with a YouTube video and takes players to various Web sites, including Bytware, IBM, McAfee and php-security.org. The goal is to crack a System i security mystery involving an imaginary financial services firm. Solving the mystery could win you a Nintendo Wii and iTunes gift cards.


November 28, 2007  12:52 PM

New analysis of System i sales strategy

Mark Fontecchio Adam Trujillo Profile: Atrujillo

In a new IT Jungle article, Timothy Prickett Morgan discusses IBM’s Q4 sales strategy for System i. He offers some compelling arguments and analysis of IBM’s moves during 2007 as well as what the company’s short-term roadmap might mean for System i users. Here are some of the highlights I found interesting:

  • “IBM is expected to roll out the Power6 processor across the System i and System p lines in 2008, with the System i perhaps getting a revamp with a 615, 625, and 655 box in the late January to late February timeframe.”
  • “IBM is going to stop selling OS/400 V5R3 on January 4, 2008. No matter what, customers with AS/400 and iSeries 270s and 7XX machinery have to at the very least buy V5R3 before then because V5R3 is the final release to be supported on these machines.”
  • “Upgrades from iSeries Model 810 and 825 servers to user-priced System i 515 and 525 servers or a 550 Enterprise Edition are being withdrawn on December 1.”
  • “Upgrades to System i 5XX machines from iSeries 870 and 890 servers are still going to be available until April 8, 2008, and that is presumably because customers with these classes of machines need more planning time to figure out their upgrade path into the 9406-MMA 570 server that is a natural upgrade path for them.”


November 28, 2007  9:44 AM

Down on Microsoft and Vision

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

David Vasta at the System i Addict blog states his disdain for both Microsoft, which he says is “like the Titanic,” and Vision Solutions, which he says has a “horrible reputation for treating employees of newly acquire(d) companies like ‘poop,'” so you can imagine what he thinks of a former Microsoft executive joining Vision’s board of directors, which we reported yesterday:

I don’t know what he can do to improve the over all tarnished standing of a company they gobbles up other small competition just because they can’t beat them….oh now the move all makes sense…

Nice. Check out Vasta’s full post, too.


November 26, 2007  4:22 PM

Former Microsoft executive joins Vision’s board

Mark Fontecchio Adam Trujillo Profile: Atrujillo

System i high-availability company Vision Solutions Inc. announced today that Robert J. Herbold — a former Microsoft executive and a member of the board of overseers member at the Hoover Institution, a conservative organization — has joined the Irvine, Calif.-based company’s board of directors. Herbold’s résumé includes nearly 30 years at the Proctor & Gamble Co., serving on the board of directors for organizations like Agilent Technologies and intelligent design proponents Discovery Institute. Still high on the news of recent sales gains, Vision hopes that Herbold’s successful track record will follow him as he steps up to the board-of-directors plate.


November 26, 2007  9:24 AM

Don’t miss out on the i5 virus game

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

The i5virus: A Game of Espionage and System i Security is a game developed by Bytware to get its name out there and perhaps liven up the days of System i administrators.

The mystery game, which started last month, offers contestants a chance to unravel the clues and win prizes such as an iPod and a Nintendo Wii. The story follows a fictional company whose System i server has been hacked into. Players follow clues by visiting different Web sites, watching videos on YouTube, and learning about PHP and i5/OS security. It’s a process that Bytware is hoping will lead you not only to the end of the game but also to its System i security software products.

The game begins with a YouTube video.


November 14, 2007  2:58 PM

Working with the Integrated File System (IFS)

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Check out the “Odds and Ends” column on IT Jungle looking at different issues in dealing with the Integrated File System (IFS).


November 14, 2007  2:45 PM

The System i Vertical Industry Program (VIP)

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

In January, IBM introduced the System i VIP, a way for users in particular industries — book publishing or sanitation supply, for example — to get hooked on the midrange server platform.

IBM’s goal was to win partners in the program who would then go out and sell IBM hardware and software, along with the partners’ products, to bolster the System i base. With a release last week, IBM is saying the System i VIP program has been successful thus far.

The only problem with that statement is IBM isn’t saying exactly how successful. In the release, it only says the program has “significantly increased the number of new clients choosing the System i business computing platform.” No numbers. No count of how many new System i users IBM and partners have captured.

Mark Dupaquier, the general manager of IBM’s Business Systems unit, said the program’s success is based on understanding that small and medium businesses “identify themselves in the context of their industry and therefore seek industry-specific expertise.” The Business Systems division, you’ll remember, is the byproduct of IBM splitting up System i. Larger boxes are now sold within the company’s Power Systems division, while smaller System i servers are in the newly created Business Systems division.

Needless to say, the absence of concrete numbers has brought out the skeptics. IBM does do a decent job listing some anecdotal successes in the release, and I’m not sure how Big Blue would be able to count exactly how many new System i clients came on board specifically because of VIP. But some numbers would definitely help.


November 14, 2007  1:07 PM

System i client operations software gets Linux support

Mark Fontecchio Adam Trujillo Profile: Atrujillo

Automated operations and business intelligence software company Help/Systems announced last week the addition of Linux support to its server operations event management software Robot/CLIENT. Here is what Robot/CLIENT does:

Robot/CLIENT acts as agent software running on non-System i servers, including Windows and UNIX. It checks server operational status, receives job status information, launches processes, monitors server applications and services, and transfers data. With Linux support, users can integrate their Linux servers into their System i procedures.

By using Robot/CLIENT agent software with Robot/SCHEDULE (the job scheduler and batch management software) as their master scheduler, users can schedule jobs on the server and receive a completion status; monitor server status; transfer files between the System i and the server; and much more. Linux servers managed by Robot/CLIENT run efficiently and reliably, expanding the scope of a System i-based enterprise.

Robot/CLIENT for Linux integrates with the other Robot Automated Operations Solution products, including Robot/ALERT for system event notification; Robot/CONSOLE for message, resource, and log management; Robot/SPACE for disk space management; and Robot/NETWORK for complete network management. Now, the System i automated operations team can control Linux systems, too.

Pretty cool stuff for shops running a variety of platforms that need to have their systems work together. Do you use this or other operations management software? Want to share your product reviews or offer tips to the rest of the 400 community about using Robot/CLIENT or like systems management software? You can always send me an email or leave your comments here.


November 13, 2007  9:29 AM

System i security Webcast

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

The PowerTech Group Inc. has long banged the drum on System i security, saying that most lapses in the space have to do with people, not the hardware or software.

The System i security software company has done System i security surveys in recent years. One last year looked at data from 177 security assessments on System i, iSeries and AS400 boxes, and found a few things:

  • 95% have more than 10 users with root authority, threatening data on the system.
  • 77% have more than 20 users whose passwords are the same as their user names.
  • 91% don’t control or audit changes made through PC access.

These are lapses you want to avoid. On Wednesday (that’s tomorrow), PowerTech will host a free 30-minute webcast on meeting requirements of auditors who want companies to better manage user access. You need to register with PowerTech to join.


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