DB2 for i › Trust, but Verify

October 8th, 2014 Comments off
I am often asked about the risk of migrating to a new version/release of IBM i; "should we go to 7.1 or 7.2"?

The same can be said about moving to the latest technology refresh (7.1 TR9 and 7.2 TR1 were just announced by the way).

I prefer to talk about the rewards of keeping up with the advances in technology - keep the tool belt fully stocked so to speak.

So, should you install the latest and greatest?  My usual answer is "yes, and...".

Whether you are configuring new hardware, putting on a new set of group PTFs, installing the latest TR or migrating to IBM i 7.2, my sincere advice is based on an old Russian proverb:

Trust, but Verify

What this really means is, YOU should be testing the new hardware, testing the group PTFs, verifying the TR code or the latest version of IBM i.  And I don't mean give it a spin for a few days on the development system.  I'm talking about proper and adequate testing; a real verification of the features and functions. Find out for yourself, do they behave as advertised?

Now here is the issue...  proper and adequate testing must be based on science, and some art.

SCIENCE, as in, using the scientific method:

  • Purpose or Question
  • Research
  • Hypothesis
  • Experiment
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion

And ART, as in - you have to be clever about how, when and where you apply the science.  If you are not testing the business processes that produce the transactions occurring in the production environment, you are not actually verifying anything, nor are you mitigating any risk. You are just fooling yourself.  And if you cannot pin down the variables and repeat the process consistently, the experiment will be inconclusive, and a waste of time.  I don't know how many times I have been in awkward conversations that go something like this:

DB2 user: "we just upgraded, my queries don't run fast anymore"

Mike: "I'm sorry to hear this... do you have any information captured about how the queries were running prior to the upgrade"?

DB2 user: "no"

Mike: "can you tell me how the queries were running prior to the upgrade"?

DB2 user: "yes, fast"

Mike: *heavy sigh*



When it comes to DB2 data integrity and data processing, three fundamental things need to be tested and verified:

  1. Correct results
  2. Performance
  3. Scalability

Correct results is obvious - did my request or process produce the expected answer or result?

Performance gets a lot of attention - did my request or process complete in the time expected?

Scalability is much more difficult to understand - did my request or process complete in the time expected when running with the full data set and under the stress of all the normal production activity?

My recommendation is that you get in a position to test (and verify!) that the new hardware and/or software meets your requirements BEFORE implementing anything in the production environment.  And with that said, verify your rollback strategy if something does slip by.

When it comes to testing and verifying DB2 for i, the point person should be your database engineer. If you don't have one, now is a good time to establish the position, install the candidates, and provide training and support. Don't forget to give them clear responsibility and authority to do the job.

If you don't have, or don't want to invest in a full fledged testing environment, or you want the subject matter experts to look over your shoulder, make a visit to IBM Rochester, Minnesota and embark on a performance and scalability engagement.

If you would like to discuss the science and art of verifying DB2 for i, please contact me.  We are here to help you be successful, and to mitigate risk.


Read the original at DB2 for i.

Categories: Blogs Tags:

I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs › RPG Technology Releases for IBM i 7.1 and 7.2

October 7th, 2014 Comments off
this is a real TR7 not the IBM RPG sort of TR7

IBM has announced it's latest round of "technology Refreshes" (aka PTF's or service packs) for the IBM i operating system. A couple of nice tweaks to RPG are included in TR9 for IBM i 7.1 and TR1 for IBM i 7.2. For RPG, we will have enhanced ALIAS keyword support, and a streamlined DataStructure I/O support making tihngs just a bit easier for us coders:

Extended ALIAS support for files

The ALIAS keyword can now be specified for any externally-described file.



If the ALIAS keyword is specified for a global file that is not qualified, the alternate names of the fields will be available for use in the RPG program.



In the following example, the field REQALC in the file MYFILE has the alternate name REQUIRED_ALLOCATION. The ALIAS keyword indicates that the name for this field within the RPG program will be REQUIRED_ALLOCATION.

dcl-f myfile ALIAS;



read myfile;

if required_allocation <> 0

and size > 0;

  ...

Relaxed rules for data structures for I/O operations

An externally-described data structure or LIKEREC data structure defined with type *ALL can be used as the result data structure for any I/O operation.


Read the original at I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs.

Categories: Blogs Tags:

I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs › How to fix Windows 10 Problem – VPN ​Failed to initialize connection subsystem in Cisco anyconnect

October 3rd, 2014 Comments off
Starships are powered by microsoft windows - windows into space duh!

A day after installing the Windows10 Technical Preview I have nothing but nice things to say about it!

Well... that is not quite accurate as I have hit one or two niggling problems... but here is the solution to the main finger biter:

SHREWSOFT VPN FAILS TO CONNECT

Problem

Shrewsoft VPN 2.2.2 reported "network not available" and would not connect to remote VPN

Solution

Easy... just re-install the VPN Software from https://www.shrew.net/download/vpn

 

CISCO: Failed to initialize connection subsystem

Problem

Cisco AnyConnect reported "Failed to initialise connection subsystem" and would not connect to remote VPN

CISCO connection error with windows 8 and windows 9 and windows 10

Solution

OK, so this one is a little trickier to fix as a simple re-installation did not fix the problem. I read a few different sources from the web and finally found a straightforward solution. I am going to place the blame at Cisco's feet but also blame Microsoft as well... shame on you both! I want you both to go and sit on the naughty step!!!!


Read the original at I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs.

Categories: Blogs Tags:

I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs › Windows 9 is Windows 10 – What?

October 1st, 2014 Comments off
this appeared in search results for "windows 10" and who am I to argue with Google?

 

Windows 10 Technical Preview Will Be Available For Download Today

which is fancy speak for "a free testing version of the new windows can be downloaded today" and *click* I am downloading it right now....

Here is the skinny from techCrunch

The company’s new operating system is a long-awaited replacement for its beleaguered Windows 8.x platform. That version of Windows saw limited business adoption, and consumer fatigue.

On stage, Microsoft executive Terry Myerson stated that Windows has 1.5 billion users. Myerson indicated that Windows is at a “threshold,’ ironically. For more on the new operating system, head here.

The ‘Insider Program” is designed to let people get the new code, but with the expectation that they new stuff will be a bit off, here and there. New code is new code, after all. Myerson indicated that the new code is an attempt to “share more than ever before.” The goal, he said, is to build something for every Microsoft customer.

Windows 10 is the name for the “product family,” according to the company.


Read the original at I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs.

Categories: Blogs Tags:

Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise › Zend Framework 2 performance optimization: it works

September 26th, 2014 Comments off

Zend Framework 2 (ZF2) provides optimization techniques that are often overlooked by published performance tests. One excellent source for such techniques is a presentation by Gary Hockin. I was thrilled when my client and friend King Harrison IV of K3S began testing the effect of these techniques on his ZF2 application running on IBM i.

King’s initial tests produced a 600ms reduction in load time, obtaining respectable performance for his database-heavy application. He plans to update his blog post with further speed improvements as he implements them.

Read King Harrison IV’s blog post about ZF2 performance improvements.


Read the original at Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise.

Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise › Save your fingers when using PHP-CLI

September 12th, 2014 Comments off

In Batch PHP I showed how to call PHP from a command line. For example, with Zend Server 6 or 7 on IBM i, one would launch a PASE command line using the command CALL QP2TERM, or launch QShell using QSH, then type a command such as this:

/usr/local/zendsvr6/bin/php-cli myscript.php

For those of us who use PHP-CLI often, the above command can be a finger-buster. Let’s shorten the path by creating a symbolic link:

cd /usr/bin
ln -s /usr/local/zendsvr6/bin/php-cli phpc

I created the symbolic link in /usr/bin, a directory that is likely to be in any user’s path.

Now try the shortened command:

phpc myscript.php

To test the shortcut without a PHP script, use the -v switch, which requests version information (‘v’ for version) about your PHP installation.

phpc -v

The above command will return version information that starts out something like this:

PHP 5.3.6 (cli) (built: Apr  7 2011 09:37:14)                                
Copyright (c) 1997-2011 The PHP Group                                        
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2011 Zend Technologies                
    with Zend Extension Manager v5.1, Copyright (c) 2003-2010, by Zend Techno
logies                                                                       
    - with Zend Data Cache v4.0, Copyright (c) 2004-2010, by Zend Technologie
s [loaded] [licensed] [disabled]                                             
    - with Zend Guard Loader v3.3, Copyright (c) 1998-2010, by Zend Technolog
ies [loaded] [licensed] [enabled]                                            
    - with Zend Job Queue v4.0, Copyright (c) 2004-2010, by Zend Technologies
 [loaded] [not licensed] [disabled]

By creating a symbolic link to the PHP-CLI binary, practitioners of PHP can speed their work while saving their fingers.

For more about symbolic links, see my article Link up with QShell.


Read the original at Alan Seiden Consulting: PHP and IBM i Expertise.

I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs › Learn to bang a drum like a rockstar

September 11th, 2014 Comments off
rob litten drummer with timshel

OK - So I must admit to being slightly biased as Rob Litten happens to be my cousin but... Rob has grown from the gangly kid that I remember into a quite astounding musician. When he's not drumming away on any nearby acoustic surface (my granite kitchen has never quite recovered) he is either being very loud playing in his band or... in professional mode.... he earns his living by being one of England's best known drum instructors and the force behind the astoundingly successful Drums the word website and youtube video phenom.

Rob Litten - Drums the Word

Rob is college trained and one of the elite few to achieve a National Higher Diploma in drum performance as well as BA(Hons) Degree in music specifically for the drum kit. A Percussion genius. Nuff said.


Read the original at I Think - Therefore "IBM i" blogs.

Categories: Blogs Tags:

iDevelop › Tidbits on Java Programmers and Apple Announcement

September 11th, 2014 Comments off
Training the Next Generation of RPGers We just finished delivering the second part of an introductory RPG class to the group of Java programmers that...


Read the original at iDevelop.

i Can › IBM Power Systems Technical Symposium in Melbourne and Auckland and Enjoying the Land Down Under

September 8th, 2014 Comments off
Recently I attended the IBM Power Systems Technical Symposium in Melbourne Australia, followed by a similar conference the next week in Auckland New Zealand. This...


Read the original at i Can.

DB2 for i › Ready or Not?

September 5th, 2014 Comments off
The following message is brought to you by senior level consultant, long time member of the IBM DB2 team, and my good friend Mr. Jim Denton...

______________



Ready or not …


Here it comes.  Change is one of constants in our lives as IT professionals – we are often confronted by new business requirements,  increasing data and transaction volumes, shifting strategic priorities, opportunities to leverage analytics, data model limitations, long running or erratic queries, new user interface demands, integrating new applications, managing business consolidations and acquisitions, etc.  And practically everyone will have additional challenges to add to that list.

As part of the DB2 for i Center of Excellence team, I often get the opportunity to teach both the SQL Performance and the Advanced SQL courses.  Practically every session of those courses includes students saying “I wish I’d known.”  They’ve spent valuable time writing a complicated program instead of just a few carefully crafted SQL statements.  They’ve rewritten code to improve performance without knowing there were several easier options.  Or they’ve used SQL without leveraging SQL’s strengths for set-based processing.

Clearly, knowledge is our best defense against an onslaught of change.   So what can you do to prepare yourself?  Here are some ideas:

  • Keep reading blogs like this one!
  • Take advantage of the DB2 for i homepage and in particular, the vast array of whitepapers on the Resources tab

We understand your frustration when we are forced to cancel public workshops due to low enrollments.  Ask us about a private session.  It is probably less expensive than you think and we can train more members of your team at the same time.  We can also customize content and focus on what’s important to you. 

One last point -- I highly recommend that you always take credit for your successes.  This can be anything from talking to your colleagues at the coffee machine to executive level presentations.  This is no time to be modest!  Taking credit builds organizational momentum and demonstrates the value of ongoing investments in DB2 for i skills.

Your company has made significant business investments in IBM i and you have a long list of technical challenges which require new knowledge and new skills.  Take a minute and ask yourself:

Are you ready?



Read the original at DB2 for i.

Categories: Blogs Tags:
css.php