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January 22, 2013

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Bob Cagle

I upgraded our System i5 520 to 6.1 in October of 08, and just upgraded to 7.1 this last weekend... and I felt like I was way late on that upgrade.

I don't think I could work at a shop that hasn't upgraded past v5r4!

Scott Klement

I could conjecture on this, I suppose. I know that in my prior job, I had a really hard time making the migration away from V5R4.

One of the big reasons is the need for program conversion on the upgrade to 6.1. This broke a lot of vendor software. Rather than just assume that existing programs would run normally (which is the usual case with an IBM i upgrade) we were forced to get assurances from all software vendors, often including upgrading through many versions of packages, since we did not keep them all up-to-date all of the time.

Worse, however, was IBM's tool that estimated the program conversion time. The tool told me that we had to find a 40 hour window just for our program conversions to run -- and finding a downtime window that was 40 hours long was extremely difficult. However, when we actually ran it, the program conversion only took about 1/10 the time that the estimator said it would. Because of this overly high estimate, we delayed our upgrade for more than a year.

Finally -- why would people upgrade to 6.1 instead of 7.1? Frankly, because not everyone is "in the know". We all work with software packages every day, and with every software package we work with (aside from IBM i) is a much bigger upheaval when crossing major version boundaries. Common wisdom is that jumping from 5.4 to 6.1 will be tough because it's 5.x to 6.x. Likewise, jumping from 6.x to 7.1 will also be a big, probably difficult jump.

Now, you and I know this isn't true. Really, 7.1 should've been called 6.2, so as not to scare people!

Joanthan Heinz

We just upgraded from v5r4 to v7r1 a few months ago, but it has been on our task list since end of 2010. The upgrade got continually postponed due to other more important projects and change requests related to business requirements. But I'm glad we did it in the end and hopefully we won't have to do such large upgrade again.

Susan Gantner

@Scott - Wow - I had no idea that IBM's program conversion estimates could be so far off. No wonder people are putting off the task! I understand IBM wants to be conservative in their estimates, but that's a bit excessive.

Have other people found the estimates to be exaggerated by such a huge factor?

Susan Gantner

@Bob - Sounds like you're in a shop that keeps on top of things - relatively speaking, anyway. I agree that it would be tough to be forced to work in a back-level environment for such a long time.

@Jonathan - So you made the jump to 7.1, I assume successfully. Saved yourself an extra upgrade process. At least there's that up side to waiting so long to upgrade.

@Scott - Forgot to mention in my earlier comment - good thought about calling it 6.2 vs 7.1. I'm sure there are reasons why the version boundary was done, but I'm guessing the fear factor it caused probably didn't enter into the decision.

Jack Callahan

Been planning and prepping for a 5.4 to 7.1 conversion off and on for over 12 months, but generally has a lower priority than most other IT projects since there isn't an additional business value being delivered.

Largest barrier has been replacing third party software critical to production that won't make the jump to 6.1+.

Sandy set the schedule back a bit, too. Fortunately one of the projects we pursued before upgrading to 7.1 was establishing an IBMi HA solution.

Birgitta Hauser

I still have to compile everything to V5R4 (and we did not decide to go to V5R4 before Mai 2012), since around 50% of our customers are still on V5R4!!
Being a small software house we have to care about every customer.

Quite often I have to provide 2 versions of my programs (Release V5R4/Release 7.1), expecially when using SQL, which means double development and test time. (Hard to explain it to my manager!) But why should those who have already upgraded suffer from the omission of others?

... and unfortunately I hear quite often:
We do not upgrade, because the higher releases do not run on our machine and we have to move off the IBM i the next few month/years, what is really SAD :(

Birgitta

Dan Devoe

We have two boxes - a 9408-M25, which is at 7.1, and a 9406-720 that is at... gasp... 5.2

(We have been working to get off of the 5.2 box for some time now - it presently just hosts our EDI applications).

When we bought the M25, it was at 5.4 - we upgraded to 6.1 prior to putting the box "live", to be sure that all vendor applications ran without issue. Granted, we had the luxury of running our business on another box, so downtime wasn't a big issue for us - which was a good thing - we put 6.1 on the box shortly after it was announced (normally we follow the N-1 or N-2 release philosophy). There were several hiccups that occurred during the upgrade. But I'm attributing most of that to the OS being so new at the time. But because we were moving to a new box, and wanted to host a Linux *NWS without an HMC, 6.1 made sense.

This past May, we upgraded to 7.1. It went quite smooth.

Once 7.2/8.1 comes out, one of our big concerns & requirements will be the ability to still run our VRPG applications. Whilst one wouldn't think the OS version would matter, there was a patch that was required in order to run the applications on 6.1.

If such a patch is required again during another OS upgrade, in several years, we may be one of those shops who is still stuck on 7.1 once EOL is announced.

Bruce Battersby

In our case I inherited a model 825 with 6 production LPARs and full production mirroring to another model 825. the biggest problems is that we have one test LPAR for 5 of the production LPARs and a separate test LPAR for the 6th. One of the 5 LPARs runs an ERP package that we do not have support for and cannot get a new license key. We are in the process of replacing all of the LPARs with JDE EnterpriseOne on anther IBM i machine which was suppose to be a 3 to 5 year conversion but so far has been over 7 years and will take at least 7 more. We also are converting from Showcase to Cognos but only when we convert from legacy to JDE. The version of Showcase cannot be upgraded unless we want to touch every desktop to unload and reload and also recompile every query built out there and no one knows how many that is as the users created them. We are stuck in several holes that we cannot dig our way out of so we will pay the extended support cost to keep on support until 2016 and then punt after that. Not to mention the cost of the hardware and software support keeps going up each year and we could replace the system with a new smaller machine for less over 3 years if we could resolve the migration issues. Luckily we do not have to follow PCI compliance.

Adrian Davis


We were planning on upgrading from V5R4 to V7R1 only to find out via our BP that our SAN is not supported for V7R1, only V6R1. So we are stuck with V6R1 til our next Hardware upgrade, just another IBM feature!!

iRaider

Our new IT Manager doesn't know iSeries and prefers MS technology (you all know the story). He's been trying to rip it out the server room since 2008, but he can't find software/hardware that will replace it, and still meet our business requirements. So our 810 is still running! Unfortunately, it's languishing on V5R4.

J Taylor

One reason to go to 6.1 instead of 7.1 is that not all hardware running v5r4 will run 7.1.

iAmbiorix

@ iRaider, same thing over here with us.

Shortsighteness, tunnelvision and pure plain stupidity. Well, he got sacked and we are still on (rumble) ... V5R3.

So, we are - finally - upgrading to V7R1. We're quite excited.

We will be scrapping all old hardware and go directly for the new hardware.

Has anything been done like this ? We have one big advantage. We can keep the old V5R3 as a fall back. It just keeps running ... and finally we can do so real webserving stuff.

We were thinking of setting up 6.1 LPAR's and restoring all software on those LPAR's and go on from there. Any tips ?

Pete Massiello

I average over 75 IBM i upgrades a year, and last year I probably did a few more than that. I can tell you that every one was successful, because of planning and following the steps. You can certainly upgrade from V5R3, but you would only upgrade to 6.1 first, and then upgrade from 6.1 to 7.1. Can you upgrade directly to 7.1, sure, but it isn't a supported upgrade path. The ANZOBJCVN program will work at V5R3 & V5R4 to determine which programs will be able to be re-encapsulated as you cross the 6.1 boundary. Once you are on 6.1, the upgrade to 7.1 is very easy and straightforward. If you have any questions, let me know.

Don't forget, when migrating from one hardware platform to the other, it is always easier to do when the machines are at the same os release.

Pete

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