The iSeries Blog

June 23, 2009  4:17 PM

RPG as a service

Leah Rosin Leah Rosin Profile: Leah Rosin

Beyond the world of IBM i, the hottest topic in IT right now is “Cloud Computing,” which is essentially a mix of platform and software-as-a-service (PaaS and SaaS) offerings that are available on-demand. So it was with a little amusement and some interest that I read the press release from vLegaci offering RPGAAS. That’s right, RPG as a service.

“… designed for companies who don’t always have an RPG programmer available, or need quick, cost-effective programming results…”

After a year of reading emails from readers inquiring about a variety of topics, I have to think that there is a market for such a product, and vLegaci’s President, Steve Kilner, says that Gartner’s findings support this supposition.

“Consensus is emerging from IT thought leaders such as Gartner Group and Capers Jones that maintaining and modernizing legacy systems gives the best possible return on IT dollars,” said Kilner. “For businesses with legacy RPG systems, the dwindling pool of RPG programmers poses the challenge of how to get unfamiliar programmers up to speed rapidly on complicated legacy code. vLegaci addresses this through the use of its innovative program comprehension tool, Codelyzer. This static and dynamic analysis tool enables new programmers to quickly assess unfamiliar RPG programs, thereby enabling the concept of a service such as RPGAAS.”

What do you think? Is this a service your company could use?

June 9, 2009  3:17 PM

IBM cuts prices to a bunch of Power Systems upgrades

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Big Blue has slashed prices for most of 20 different upgrades on Power Systems, some by as much as 54%. Some of the upgrades include moving from a Power 5+ processor to a Power 6, and adding memory. There are two upgrade changes that are price increases.

The announcement letter has a list of all the price changes, but there is also a more detailed look at what the feature upgrades are.

June 8, 2009  5:59 PM

Take System i classes over the Web

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

IBM System i high availability software vendor Vision Solutions is now offering a host of courses on the System i platform and high availability. The great majority of them are related to Vision products like iTera, Mimix and Orion, but there is one introductory course on the i5 operating system.

The press release describes the new online program, and you can start checking them out at Vision’s education page.

June 2, 2009  4:14 PM

Rich Internet applications on IBM i

Leah Rosin Leah Rosin Profile: Leah Rosin

At COMMON in April, I met with Alex Roytman of ProfoundLogic Software, who shared the company’s Profound Logic TV initiative to share educational videos with IBM i professionals.

Last week the company released their newest video on Rich Internet applications (RIAs) for the IBM i. Roytman provides some background information on the technology and compares RIAs with traditional Web applications, and shows how RIA Libraries and Frameworks can help create powerful user interfaces with little to no coding.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

The team at Profound Logic is interested in getting feedback on what you would like them to cover in future videos. Leave your comments here or contact them directly.

May 29, 2009  3:02 PM

New IBM Redbook on IBM i v6.1 security

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

The IBM i OS (previously i5/OS) is known as one of the more secure operating platforms, but that doesn’t prevent users running the System i from suffering security lapses. Most of these lapses happen not because of the security technology on the platform, but often because the people running the platform aren’t aware of all the security technology available.

A new IBM Redbook is out that could help that problem: Security Guide for IBM i v6.1. The 426-page book is available online and tackles topics such as extended password rules, networking security improvements, and DB2 column encryption.

May 28, 2009  3:12 PM

Young i Professionals keep doing good work, this time in the sandbox

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

The Young i Professionals have stormed onto the System i scene, injecting some needed energy into the platform. In addition to the social aspects of the group, YiPs has created a sandbox for applications on its website, which we have written about before.

The sandbox is a free way for System i users to test out applications online without any ramifications on their own systems. The new sandbox application from the YiPs is webERP, a Web-based accounting and ERP program. The only things needed to use it are a Web browser and a pdf reader.

May 28, 2009  3:05 PM

Some COMMON presentations

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

If you weren’t able to attend the COMMON conference this year, we’ve done our best to keep you apprised of what’s been happening. Now we can share with you a presentation on Rational Developer for System i and WebSphere Development Studio Client.

The presentations are courtesy of David Gibbs, a System i software engineer who writes at

May 28, 2009  2:52 PM

IBM i: The tree falling in the forest?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

The writers at iDevelop bring up an interesting analogy: Is the IBM i — and its many feature sets — becoming like the tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it?

As proof, the blog cites an example of their own ignorance of a particular IBM i feature. Take a look:

Case in point. We try to keep up with the majority of new stuff, particularly in as much as it affects application development, but we missed this one. It concerns the ability of an RPG program to directly create PDF files. This topic is near and dear to the hearts of many of our clients and often comes up in internet lists. Yet we’ve seen nothing about this–it is buried in the “What’s New” documentation and even once we knew that it was there it still took some time to find it.

This goes beyond just RPG abilities on the System i, of course. If IBM isn’t out there selling the System i to anyone other than people already on the System i, who even knows about it? The tree falling in the forest is slowly disappearing because there are fewer and fewer people around to hear it fall.

May 28, 2009  2:31 PM

The Smart Cube i now on sale in the U.S.

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

We reported on the IBM Smart Cube i back in December, noting that IBM seemed to want to keep the product secret from many, though it was rolling it out mainly in India. The Smart Cube is almost like a server appliance for the System i, and here are some of the details:

  • Three Power-based configurations, with one, two or four processing cores activated.
  • Can run IBM i, AIX or Linux using 4.2 GHz Power6 chips
  • Includes a stack of systems and application software called the Smart Business Software Pack for i, which runs on the IBM i 6.1 OS

Now the Smart Cube is apparently being rolled out in the United States. The U.S. version, according to the story, has 17 ISVs that are configuring the cubes to run combinations of 45 different applications.

May 14, 2009  1:48 PM

More details on the Power6+ System i boxes

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Timothy Prickett Morgan has a good, detailed article on Power6+ midrange servers — the 520, 550, 560 and JS23 and JS43 blades. The servers will be available on May 22 and run on System i 6.1, but unavailable on i5/OS V5R4. The new servers will also support AIX 5.3, AIX 6.1, Novell SLES 10 or later and RHEL 4 Update 5 or later.

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