Jul 21

New Journal codes added to V5R4 which are not clearly documented

We had a problem at a customer site where a message would be sent when ever we tried to extract journal entries from the journal using the QjoRetrieveJournalEntries API on V5R3. The message which is sent simply states the Journal Codes requested are invalid, no mention of which ones these are! After some investigation and help from IBM we identified the Journal Entry Types (The message states Journal Codes but in fact the problem was the Entry Types we passed in) in question and fixed up the programs to pass the correct parameter list dependent on the OS level. The manuals generally marked API and information changes using the blue >> << markers, I reviewed the API docs and nothing was mentioned about the new codes which had been added for V5R4 and therefore not available for V5R3! In the end we had to take the list of entries from each manual and compare which were supported. this allowed us to narrow our search down and identify which entries we had to pay special attention to.

If you are going to be using the QjoRetrieveJournalEntries API and need to support different OS levels it is important to carefully review the supported Journal Codes and Entry Types.

Chris….

Jul 21

Watch Exit programs require restart

If you have implemented the new watch programs for message notification you should be aware of a problem when you replace the exit point program. If you replace the exit point program (The program called when the watch request is met) the watch program will not be found. Somehow the OS is linking the object when the watch is loaded, if you subsequently replace the program the watch no longer works! In V6R1 this is compounded by the fact that no errors are returned to the user or QSYSOPR message queues so you have no idea why the watch is not firing. Simple solution is to always reload the watch if your exit program is ever replaced.

We have asked IBM for a Doc APAR to add this to the usage notes.

Chris…

Jul 16

RAP Version 3.1 is available for download

If you are in the market for an Availability Solution, do yourself a favor and try out this latest version. The product continues to grow adding customer driven features with every new release. This release has many new features which make it more like a High Availability Solution than ever before. Installation can be undertaken by anyone with an understanding of the iSeries Licensed Program commands, configuration takes minutes and you can be up and running in a matter of hours not days.

Simplicity

Customers get sticker shock when they see the cost of a HA solution, its not just the cost of the hardware and software but the cost of installation. The HA providers have gone to extreme lengths to make the product very flexible in how it can be configured. This has resulted in complexity which needs a consultant to understand, having been certified to install the MiMiX product I know just how complex the configuration can be. Yet what most customers end up doing is replicating everything in sight! I am not sure what the current policy is for HA installations, but previously you had to have a certified consultant do the installation with you. iTera came out with a remote installation policy which seemed to be a simpler solution, however it generally meant you had to go to the iTera location and sit with the installation consultants while they configured your system remotely!

RAP has a simple configuration, we only apply what is journalled, profile replication is at the system level and objects are driven by the client on a scheduled basis. This means we only need to know what journal to work with and we even make that easy by exploring your system to find all of the remote journals you have configured. A reasonably skilled iSeries technician should be able to install RAP and have it configured in less than 1 day!

Features

We have been adding new features to the product every release, this is the 4th release and adds new features not found in any of the HA products available today. We have listened to our customers comments about the limitations of the original releases and developed simple yet effective solutions to meet the customers needs. Here are a few of the new features for this release.

  • iASP Support for data segregation
  • Email notification of monitored messages
  • Automated switching to remove complexity and human error
  • Receiver Chain Management to ensure effective DASD management
  • Improved status reporting and startup management
  • Additional auditing and data repair capabilities
  • Improved Source File replication technology (Non journalling)

Apply Technology

The product will continue to be developed using the base technology provided by IBM. When IBM introduced the Remote Journalling Technology it revolutionized the HA market space allowing ISV’s to provide much more effective data transport than anything which had gone before it. Using that same concept we have taken the decision to base the apply process on IBM’s own apply technology which gives us very impressive apply rates that cannot be matched by any other apply technology in use today. If IBM makes any changes to the journal support we have immediate support in the product which will provide our customer base with up to date replication technology without any updates to our apply process management.

Future improvements

RAP will continue to develop using customer experiences and requests as the main input channel for new features and capabilities. Think of it as having your own development shop with the added benefit of having other customer experiences to provide guidance. We are working closely with a number of new customers and prospects and listen to what they need, we even find solutions to their problems using methods which were not originally imagined when we developed the code base. Expect to see a number of new features which will tie up the objects and data to the application in a way which will make recovery much more effective.

Webinar series

If you have been wondering about a solution but don’t have the ability to download and trial the product we are going to be providing a number of webinars where we will demonstrate the product and show how easy it is to install and configure. These webinars will be run on Thursday’s at 2pm EST and require registration to attend. We have provided a registration form on our website with a list of the dates for the webinars, simply fill in the request and we will attempt to fit you into the date requested or send a list of alternatives. Space is limited on these webinars so it is important that you register early.

Chris…

Jul 10

Systemi Portal dragging our website to a crawl!

I was noticing a big slowdown when trying to connect to our websites the last couple of days, I thought it was due to either my iSP or the link provider we have. After some investigation I discovered that the problem was the Systemi Portal scripts as the server at Systemi Portal takes forever to service the script requests!

So if like me you have added the Systemi Portal scripts to your website your visitors will be noticing a big slowdown in your pages loading. I noticed sometimes it was taking 2-3 minutes to respond. I have now removed the link and all is well. Sorry Systemi Portal but free advertising on our site cannot ruin the visitors experience!

Chris..