04 - System Administration (EN)

IBM i 7.4 Announcement (En)

Last Updated on 1 August 2019 by Roberto De Pedrini

Comes directly with the Easter egg this IBM announcement for the news of the IBM i 7.4 version, iNext version according to the IBM i Roadmap until a few days ago.
Actually in the egg we find only the ad, but what an ad!, … for the market release you have to wait until June 21 (an extra opportunity to participate in our next Faq400 training event, ONLi-DAY (https://www.faq400events.com), two days dedicated to training for the IBM i Italiana Community, between 32 sessions There will also be the presentation of the 7.4, probably by Alison Butteril, IBM i Offering Manager, now fond of our appointments.

In truth some lucky, like myself, has already seen the presentation of the 7.4 preview a few weeks ago (certain privileges of us IBM Champions!): a lot of stuff, guys, in this new release we find absolutely disruptive things, like the DB2 Mirror , and other interesting innovations in security, application development, databases, etc.

Probably many of you have already read the various posts, videos and documents fired by the IBM i International Community: for those who have not yet done so here is something in Italian in this Faq400 Blog… at the end of the post you will also find references to posts, official ads, webcasts etc.

DB2 Mirror for IBM i

Surely the most obvious novelty of the 7.4, DB2 Mirror for IBM i, Synchronous Replication for Continuous Availability: we are not talking about logical or physical replication (things like Mimix or PowerHA), we are talking about a replica within the same data center, two systems (POWER 9 or POWER 8 ) connected to each other with a special “cable” high speed ethernet, RoCE (max 100mt), work simultaneously on data replicated in real time.
We can finally talk about RTO and RPO pretty much zero
! Unlike a Clustering logic where system A or system B works, we are talking about two systems that are active at the same time, perhaps with a number of users working on one and other users/applications on the other system (but all transparent as if work on it).
It is called DB2 Mirror for IBM i but it manages the “replication” of all objects, not only those of Database, USRPRF, PGM, Authorities… In short, eve
rything! It is therefore a solution that guarantees the “Continuos Availability” but does not replace, rather, complements, DR/HA solutions type Mimix, PowerHA, a solution for customers who aspire to bring the goals of recovery time (RTO) and recovery point (RPO) tending to
zero. We’ll hear about this DB2 Mirror for i!

RPG & Cobol Enhancements (and a few treats for Rational Rdi)

RPG and Cobol always remain the languages for IBM application development the most used and IBM laboratories with each new release or technology refresh, we reserve some i
nteresting cookies: For RPG the Array to Variable Size, think an array with a number as you add elements, the Array becomes larger dynamically: isn’t that great? How many times have we fallen into errors or reports about the size of lightly sized arrays? Also in RPG the
management of the SAMEPOS keyword in DS, something similar to OVERLAY but very useful when dealing with tables with identical n-fields (12-month statistics etc):

dcl-ds ds extname('SALESFILE');
   sales like(sales1) dim(12) samepos(sales1);

Several new features also for Cobol: COPY Enhance, Conditional Compilation, FREE and ALLOCATE statement, INITIALIZE statement, EXIT statement, Inline comments.
For Rational Rdi, too, interesting things are expected.

Open Source and New Programming Languages (RPM, Node.js 10, R-Language, Java 8)

Let’s officially say goodbye to the 5733OPS program product… all Open Source for IBM i will be released via RPM (Red Hat Package Manager)… with all management directly administered by ACS Access Client Solution: release and update speeds, new packages, cross-checking updates between packages.
Node.js version 10 already available but you are already working on version 12;
Python, several new Python packages for machine learning and AI; R-
Language for IBM i, it should be added to the different languages now available on the platform: Node.js, Python, Ruby, PHP and even .NET… of course Java (which from 7.4 is by default Java 8!). It
is now clear, application logic in RPG and Cobol (largely already written in the past) and Web presentation with more effective languages and frameworks, open and rich in ready-made open source soluti
ons. ODBC drivers also for IBM i, for simplified porting of applications from other platforms. A
pache Active MQ is another Open Source package that is always available in RPM format.

DB2 for

In addition to the novelty of the Mirror for DB2 for i presented just above there are, of course, several new things also side DB2, SQL etc. Scalar Native Function for HASH, updates to the RPG precompiler and Cobol SQL, improved RGZPFM, improvements to the SQE engine for performance optimization. Interesting new IBM service: spool management, data region, message files make it easy to manage system objects and functions without resorting to complex APIs. Thank you Scott Forstie!

IWS Integrated Web Service Server

Important news also IWS side … interesting to publish as REST directly a SQL to DB2: publishing DB2 data and functions via Web Service will be even easier, those who today provide Stored Procedures for communicating with other platforms will be able to switch to Web Services in a way that Quick.

Security: TLS 1.3 for SSL and Authority Collection

Increases the security of communications encrypted with TLS 1.3, which is active by default from 7.4, and disables less secure protocols such as TLS 1.0 and TL
S 1.1.The Authority Collection by User Profile & Object features allow you to set and verify permissions on each individual object from each individual user, for more control.


Also announced is the new version of ACS Access Client Solution with interesting news. Actually for this novelty we do not have to wait for June, but already in a few weeks it will be available… we’ll make a special post!

Websphere Application Server WAS and

Important updates also Websphere Application Server, always with a view to security and new features

SMB V3, Samba 3

Also for folder mapping and network drives comes SMB3 on IBM i.

IBM I Roadmap Update through 2032

Maybe this news has been a little overshadowed… but IBM has updated the IBM i Roadmap ensuring the development of the platform until 2032… They may be happy those who had complained about the roadmap last year where IBM was committed “only” until 2028 (but have you seen any other company that has such a long commitment to its own operating system? (and Microsoft mutates!)).


We’ve seen a lot of new, so many interesting things, in this new release of IBM i, installable version on Power 8 and
Power 9.Some features are still available with the 7.3 at Technology Refresh 6
, TR6. The invitation of Faq400, now you know us, is to stay up to date, as training, as an operating system: if you want to start with yourself, for your professional, personal growth and to create a network of relationships with others of the Community IBM i Italiana, don’t miss the big 2019 event for IBM i in Italy: ONL-i DAYS – Milan – 10/11 Giungo 2019, two days to grow together!

… and kind of like I’m Steve Jobs I’m telling you,

Keep learning,

stay upgraded,

stay safe!

Bibliography and links:

Announcing IBM i 7.4 and Db2 Mirror for i – Steve Will on IBM System Magazine

IBM i 7.4 Rolled Out, And IBM i 7.3 Tech Refresh Rolled Up – T Pricket Morgan – IT Jungle

More about IBM i version 7.4 and 7.3 TR6 – Simon Hutchinson – RPGPGM.COM

Paul Tuohy interviews Scott Forstie about Db2 Mirror for i – IBM System Magazine

Paul Tuohy interviews Alison Butterill about IBM i 7.4 – IBM System Magazine

What you need to know about IBM i 7.4 – Pete Masiello – Itech Solutions

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