Spring Announcements and IBM i in developerWorks
Today, April 12, is a big day for IBM i. First of all, we’re announcing a new set of capabilities. Secondly, the IBM i Technical Topic in developerWorks has been launched. I’ll briefly explain the newly announced functions, then give a bit more time to the new IBM i content in developerWorks (dW).
If you’ll recall, we’ve been preparing to be able to announce new virtualization capabilities on a regular basis by creating Technology Refreshes for IBM i 7.1. There are several of these in today’s announcements. One of these is the new “virtual tape” capability. It allows a tape drive to be used by one IBM i partition when the tape drive is assigned to a second partition, without the use of PowerVM’s Virtual I/O Server (VIOS). Another significant new virtualization enhancement is the “Suspend/Resume” enhancement, which works with VIOS to allow an IBM i partition to be temporarily suspended, then started back up again at a later time. Dawn May’s “i Can” blog will cover Suspend/Resume in detail this week, so be sure to read it for all the details.
Technology Refreshes are also used to deliver new I/O capabilities, and there are some interesting new I/O features that will be supported by 7.1 TR2 when it becomes available on May 13. These include a couple of methods for having a higher density of storage: the new 571 GB SAS disk drive, which provides a lower cost per gigabyte and more gigabytes per 2U rack space; and the new EXP24S SFF Gen2-bay drawer, which has a higher physical density, fitting 24 solid-state drives (SSDs) or hard disk drives (HDDs) disks in the space that used to fit just 12.
In addition to the functions provided by TR2, the announcement letter also talks about several new software enhancements. We’re bringing back to IBM i 6.1 some Systems Director Navigator support that was initially made available only in 7.1. We also have a whole set of new DB2 for i enhancements. If you want to see the entire announcement letter, visit the IBM Offering Information Web page and search for the announcement letter numbered 211-108.
We may cover some of these in more detail in future blogs, but you’ll also be able to find out about new support by visiting the new IBM i Technical Topic in dW.
IBM dW is a free online resource where IBM gathers technical information about many of its technologies to help developers build better software, and to help system administrators find methods for simplifying their jobs. For several years, both AIX and Linux have been featured prominently on dW in the Technical Topics section. (They called these areas “zones,” but I understand that terminology is being phased out.) While we’ve had IBM i content on dW, it hasn’t been in one place nor has it been very easy to find.
I’ve been talking to Linda Grigoleit about this for quite some time, and she says it very well:
“Our main goal is to help make our IBM i technical content easier to find and to improve the integration of IBM i, AIX and Linux technical content in one location for our Power Systems community. We have been hearing from our IBM i community they would like to see technical content in one place and it made perfect sense to us to put it on developerWorks.”
Two people from Rochester, Minn. have been working to gather and organize the technical content: Scott Forstie, who works on our IBM i development team as a DB2 expert; and Kent Milligan, who works in our IBM Lab Services and Training organization, and spends a great deal of time helping ISVs use IBM i technologies. They’ve done a great job, so I asked Scott to tell me what we can expect to find in the new IBM i Technical Topic.
Here’s what he told me:
People who want to find technical information about IBM i, or want to connect with others in the IBM i community can visit the IBM i technical topic to access a wealth of information contained within these 6 main categories:
• New to IBM i
• Technical Library
• Forums and Community
• Technology Updates
• Tools and Downloads
You’ll want to look around at all of these, but I thought I would highlight two of them: the Technical Library and the Technology Updates.
The Technical Library contains new articles on many topics. We’ve written many articles in the past, and this is a great place to gather them as they’re written. We’ll be adding to the library regularly. On launch day we have these articles ready to go:
1. Next generation RPG documentation
2. How to boost application performance using Solid State Disk devices
3. Power HA System Mirror for i: Ready to switch
4. IBM i Performance Data Investigator: Browser-based viewing of performance data
5. MERGE ahead: Introducing the DB2 for i SQL MERGE Statement
6. Revolutionize your application and product support: IBM Application Runtime Expert
You can check back for new technical articles or perhaps you’d prefer to use the dW subscribe capability to see updates as they happen via an RSS feed. I should add that technical articles can be contributed by anyone; it's not limited to IBMers. I encourage you to help others in the IBM i community by sharing your expertise and experiences. Just click on the "Submit an article or idea" link at the bottom of the IBM i technical topic landing page.
In the Technology Updates section we’re providing a centralized location for communicating enhancements made in between major IBM i releases. It’s in these pages where the functions announced for TR2 and the related software enhancements will initially get documented before they find their way into the Information Center permanently.
Just to set expectations, I want you to realize that only part of the information will be in the dW IBM i Technical Topic at the time of the announcement. Other information will be added over time, some of it on or around the availability date (May 13 for most of the functions in the announcement).
The technology update material has been organized by subject matter and category of enhancement. You can enable self notification of future changes by selecting the "Notify me of Page Changes" option.
By gathering the technical information IBM development and services professionals write, and by allowing the IBM i customer, ISV and business partner community to add their own content, we hope to encourage a more agile, community-oriented method of getting useful information into the hands of those who need it.
I know this blog entry has gotten a bit longer than usual, but I think you can see we have a lot to talk about this week. Thanks for sticking with me for the duration, and please take a look at the RFA and the new IBM i Technical Topic in developerWorks to find out about the new features IBM i is making available.
Twitter: #ibmi @Steve_Will_IBMi