It’s October 20 – announcement day! We’re very pleased to bring you these enhancements to IBM i – many of them in direct response to your requirements and feedback. We’re supporting new IBM System Storage solutions, enhancing our PowerVM I/O virtualization support, introducing a new BladeCenter offering, enhancing support for SSDs, offering new I/O options, and the list goes on:
- We are announcing IBM i 6.1.1. (For those of you familiar with V5R4M5, this is the same type of enhancement, with the updated numbering format). IBM i 6.1 with 6.1.1 machine code provides enhanced support for IBM System Storage, PowerVM virtualization and I/O enhancements. IBM i 6.1.1 is supported on POWER6 processor-based servers and blades as well as POWER5 processor-based servers and System i models 800, 810, 825, 870 and 890.
- IBM i 6.1.1 expands support for IBM System Storage DS5100 and DS5300 via native Fibre attachment to the IBM i 6.1.1 environment on POWER6 processor-based servers.
- IBM i 6.1 and 5.4 support the IBM System Storage DS8700 models 941 and 94E enterprise storage system via native Fibre attachment to POWER5 and POWER6 processor-based servers. In addition, the DS8700 and the DS5020 are supported with IBM i 6.1 partitions via PowerVM VIOS attached to POWER6 processor-based servers and blades.
- PowerVM is providing additional industrial-strength virtualization technology. For enhanced availability, IBM i 6.1.1 partitions can be configured in multipath configurations where one IBM i 6.1.1 partition uses redundant VIOS partitions to connect to the same IBM System Storage device. Also, IBM i 6.1.1 partitions support N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV), providing enhanced support for selected attached IBM System Storage solutions. NPIV provides better backup support in VIOS configurations for our server and blade customers with Fibre Channel Tape Libraries.
- The i Edition for BladeCenter S has been enhanced with a second configuration option that includes BladeCenter S SAS RAID Controller Modules and preload of IBM i. The SAS RAID Controller Modules provide RAID support up to 12 disk drives in the IBM BladeCenter S chassis.
- IBM i 6.1.1 provides additional support for solid state drives, including enhanced performance of the SSD data balancer, additional intelligent system data placement and SSD-aware utilities. IBM i 6.1.1 environments can also leverage SSDs in PowerVM VIOS and IBM System Storage configurations. A new SSD Analyzer tool is available to help determine if SSDs can help improve your application performance. The tool runs on your IBM i 5.4 or 6.1 system and gives you an indication if you should do further investigation into the value of SSDs for your specific environment, You can download the tool.
- IBM i 6.1 Integrated File System (IFS) is enhanced with support for a temporary file system. This new option can improve performance for applications that use temporary data in a file system. The files in a temporary file system are deleted by the system when the system is restarted or when the file system is unmounted. Because of this, these files don’t require the extra disk operations that protect the non-temporary files stored in the existing file system. The temporary file system is a special type of user-defined file system (UDFS) and can be created, mounted and then used much like a permanent UDFS.
- IBM i can now be upgraded from an image on the network. An IBM i 6.1 environment on POWER6 processor-based server can be upgraded to IBM i 6.1.1 with an image on the network file server.
- The Performance Data Investigator is a tool provided in IBM i 6.1 to analyze IBM i performance information captured with collection services. The tool is part of the Web-based Systems Director Navigator for i. Several enhancements have been made to the Performance Data Investigator, including graphical health indicators for system resources such as CPU, disk and memory. The performance images can be exported to be used by presentation tools. The tool can also take the measured data from collection services and input it into the IBM Workload Estimator (WLE) for system sizing analysis.
- IBM i is enhanced to support the following I/O configurations and devices on POWER6 processor-based servers:
* Dual SAS RAID Adapter support improves availability by enabling two adapters in an IBM i 6.1.1 environment to be connected to the same RAID set. The following adapters are supported in dual configurations:
o PCIe 380 MB Cache SAS RAID Adapter (#5903)
o PCI-X DDR 1.5 GB Cache SAS RAID Adapter (#5904, #5906, #5908)
* Hot Spare for Mirroring enables a drive to be automatically substituted for a failed drive in a mirrored pair in IBM i 6.1.1 environments.
* Higher capacity 139 GB SAS SFF Disk Drive (#1888) in IBM i 6.1 environments.
* 12X I/O Drawer for PCIe adapters (#5877). This diskless drawer is supported with IBM i 6.1.1.
* SSD support in 12X I/O Drawer with IBM i 6.1 environments.
* PCIe 380 MB Cache SAS RAID Adapter (#5903) with IBM i 6.1.1.
Windows 7 Anyone….
We’ve firmed up our plans for supporting Windows 7 with the 6.1 version of i Access for Windows. A planned service pack on December 1 will enable support for Windows 7. The 6.1 version of the client code can work with IBM i 5.3, 5.4, and 6.1 on the server side.
South Carolina Student Loan (SCSL) is a midsize, non-profit organization that originates and services postsecondary educational loans for students, parents and higher education institutions in South Carolina. SCSL has around 200 employees and has serviced more than $7 billion in federal and private student loans for more than 400,000 borrowers. Their large accounts and demanding compliance requirements make a comprehensive business intelligence (BI) solution crucial to the SCSL mission. SCSL is Implementing IBM DB2 Web Query for i to enable more robust, efficient reporting and significant performance improvements.
“In looking for a BI solution, it was important for us to be able to use the Query/400 objects we had already invested in,” says Alan Taylor, Senior Systems Engineer at SCSL. “Rather than going through a mass conversion, we wanted to be able to leverage that legacy data and be able to do things with it that our legacy BI tools weren't able to do, like providing real-time information and reports to management on key performance indicators.”
With the legacy Query/400 tool, reports were generated and delivered to administrators monthly. By that time, reports were often too dated to allow for timely adjustments to meet goals, so they were simply used for review. To meet the organization's need for real-time data access, SCSL chose IBM DB2 Web Query for i to help improve data query capabilities. “No other solution allowed us to leverage our legacy query objects,” says Tom Dunnigan, CIO of SCSL. “DB2 Web Query was the only one.”
“Within seconds, users are getting information that they previously had to wait up to 30 days for,” says Dunnigan. “Specific departments have certain goals, and they are now able to get immediate feedback on where they stand in reaching those goals. We do a much better job of maintaining compliance with DB2 Web Query because the feedback is real-time.”
You can learn more about the SCSL solution with the IBM case study.