My job today is to hit the highlights of the release. These are the big-ticket functions that will be the focus of the marketing. But, as with every release, there are many functions that we include that don’t make the “highlights” list, but which might be a highlight for you. To get an idea of what those items are, be sure to visit Dawn May’s “i Can” blog today.
So, without further ado, here they are:
The IBM i 7.1 Highlights
• DB2 for i: XML datatype, column-level encryption and more
• PowerHA SystemMirror for i: asynchronous geographic mirroring, LUN-level switching and more
• Solid state drives: automatic data movement
• Rational Open Access RPG edition : New, open, modernization options for RPG
• Zend Server Community Edition: For IBM i, shipped with IBM i.
• IBM Systems Director Navigator for i: New Web-based management capabilities.
Now, each of these topics is going to be covered in much greater detail, either in this blog, or in articles to which I’ll be able to point, but here are a few words on each to introduce the topic.
DB2 for i: XML datatype, column-level encryption and more. Modern applications, especially those that have to exchange data across the Internet, often must consume data described with XML. In 7.1, DB2 for i adds support for XML with a new datatype, xml parsing, annotation (converting xml to traditional database data) and schema validation, allowing application writers to integrate XML and DB2 in a simple and powerful way. Additionally, DB2 for i, using the Omnifind product, can perform xml-aware data searches in an XML column. DB2 for i can also create XML directly from the data it contains. How does all of this work? Well, we’ll get you a good description of that in a few weeks. We’ll also show you how you can add the capability to encrypt the data stored in a particular column. Oh, and there’s a performance improvement awaiting many of you because we’re extending our high-performance query engine to cover logical files. This is good stuff! Stay tuned.
PowerHA SystemMirror for i: asynchronous geographic mirroring, LUN-level switching and more. PowerHA SystemMirror for i is the hardware replication high availability product we introduced first with IBM i 6.1. The new release enhances our geographic mirroring support by the introduction of an asynchronous protocol, which allows the mirrored and mirroring sites to be much farther away from each other. The 7.1 release also works with the IBM DS8000 and IBM DS6000 to allow data stored in IASPs controlled by these storage systems to switch from one IBM i to another, allowing data to remain available even when the primary IBM i system becomes unavailable. Again, we have the experts for this technology writing detailed articles on this function.
Solid state drives: automatic data movement. For a year IBM i has supported solid state drives. I blogged about that support, and the architectural advantage that IBM i has in making good use of SSDs, and now we have a chance to incorporate that support in a major release, and enhance it with the ability of the operating system to move user data to SSDs automatically when the integrated storage management determines your system performance will benefit from the movement.
Rational Open Access RPG edition: New, open, modernization options for RPG. Here’s an enhancement that’s really an architectural change that opens RPG up to whole new uses. And it’s being brought to the community by IBM i, our friends in IBM Rational, and several ISVs who’ve been working with IBM to hit the ground running. The idea behind the new capability is to remove the necessity for all output from RPG programs to be forced into the limited 5250 data stream. Instead, it can be passed to handlers, which can transform it in any way the handler wants. Wrap it in XML; put it in the format required by a pervasive device; make a Web page that doesn’t look like a 5250 screen; whatever you want. And, while this is being released in conjunction with IBM i 7.1, the capability will work with the 6.1 release as well.
Zend Server Community Edition: For IBM i, shipped with IBM i. The new Zend Server Community Edition can do everything Zend Core could do, and more. Now it’s loaded with every 5.4, 6.1 or 7.1 release of IBM i you receive, at no additional charge. If you haven’t started using PHP yet, well, go ahead and get started. It’s in there and better than ever!
IBM Systems Director Navigator for i: New Web-based management capabilities. Dawn covered the various management tools for IBM i in her blog recently. In particular, the IBM Systems Director Navigator for i, the Web-based interface to manage IBM i, is enhanced with additional capabilities for journal, database, performance-data investigator and tape as well as considerably more capability for plug-in products BRMS, advanced job scheduler (JS1) and omnifind (OMF). Brand-new capabilities such as set target system and an integrated command (5250) emulator round out a rich delivery of new Web function. Some of these functions were previously only available in the client-based (Windows OS-based or Linux technology-based) Navigator product and several are brand new. As Dawn mentioned, the strategic direction for management tools is browser-based, so it was very important to our customers that we add these critical functions to the tools that will be the focus of future development.
As I said before, these are the highlights, but they’re not the entire release – not at all! And I’ve only been able to scratch the surface of each of the highlights. Over the next few months, Dawn and I will bring you descriptions of each of these, or we’ll point you to other places where our technical experts are writing articles describing them – or both!
These are exciting times. Stay tuned!