Now that IBM i 7.4 is available, many shops will want to upgrade their i 7.2 and 7.3 installations. Organizations migrating to i 7.4 should do their homework to ensure a problem-free migration. Here’s how to get started and some of the hardware and software items to check as you prepare to upgrade.
The first thing to do is check IBM’s Installing, upgrading, or deleting IBM i and deleted software Web site. This site is a fairly comprehensive Web document that walks you through pre-requisites, upgrade planning, and other things you need to know to upgrade your i operating system.
The basic drill for i 7.4 upgrade planning involves the following steps:
- Make sure your IBM POWER hardware supports IBM i 7.4.
- Understand whether your system console supports i 7.4 and ensure your console will work under i 7.4.
- Survey your third-party software vendors to make sure they’ll run under i 7.4. Gather any materials you’ll need to upgrade and run your third-party products under i 7.4.
- Review and choose what type of installation media you’ll use for your i 7.4 upgrade.
- Prep your IBM i 7.2 or 7.3 operating system software for replacement.
- Upgrade your system to i 7.4.
- Install any additional i 7.4 licensed programs you’ll need.
- Run any special instructions for configuring IBM licensed programs or changing third-party software for i 7.4.
- Install IBM product and third-party license keys.
- Install cumulative PTFs and the latest Technology Refresh.
- Reset any special configurations that you changed for i 7.4 installation.
Be sure to check out IBM’s Web site for complete setups, configurations, and installation information for your shop. There are, however, several critical items covering IBM hardware, licensed programs, and third-party packages that you should know when upgrading to i 7.4.
i 7.4 Hardware requirements
You’ll have to check off on these hardware-related requirements before you’ll be able to upgrade to i 7.4.
POWER machine type: IBM i 7.4 is only supported on IBM POWER8 and POWER9 hardware. IBM i 7.4 is not supported on POWER7 and other older hardware.
Load-source disk requirements: Load-source disk space requirements are much higher for i 7.4 than they were i 7.2 or 7.3. i 7.4 requires approximately 8 Gb of system ASP free space before an upgrade can occur. An IBM i 7.4 upgrade will not complete during licensed internal code (LIC) installation, if you don’t have that free space.
System memory: i 7.4 requires a minimum of 2 Gb of memory for each partition. IBM recommends that you allocate at least 4 Gb of memory for each 7.4 partition. You’ll need to upgrade your partition memory if you’re below 2 Gb.
Console solutions: For LAN attached Operations Console users, the LAN console feature in IBM i 7.1 Access for Windows client is no longer supported and it will not work after an i 7.4 upgrade. IBM i Access Client Solutions is now required for using LAN Console in i 7.4 systems. Upgrade your console and your IBM i Access Client solution before you upgrade your system, to avoid losing your console after the upgrade.
For i 7.4 software requirements, the first thing you’ll want to check is the IBM i 7.4 Memo to Users. The Memo to users is divided into four sections containing this critical information for installing and upgrading to i 7.4.
- The Read this first section provides pre-installation information for system management.
- The Operating system section contains information on operating system changes that can affect how OS commands and programs run.
- The Options section provides information about licensed program option changes.
- The Licensed programs section reviews individual licensed programs that have been modified, changed, or no longer supported.
If you’re upgrading from IBM i 7.2 to 7.4, skipping an IBM i 7.3 upgrade, be sure to check out the IBM i 7.3 Memo to Users for any software changes that occurred between i 7.2 and i 7.3.
Some of the more notable software changes to review in IBM i 7.4, include:
Operating system changes:Record format changes for command output options, security audit record changes, and changes to system printer files and other IBM-supplied objects.
IBM i commands: Additional parameters and removed parameters for several IBM i commands.
SQL and SQE changes and SQL complier changes: One compiler change could cause source compiled at IBM i 7.4 to fail.
Changes to programs called by the Password approval program (QPWDVLDPGM) system value: Exit programs specified in QPWDVLDPGM will not be called when the approval program is running in a system job, subsystem job, or the SCPF job.
The Integrated Server Support feature (5770-SS1, Option 29) is no longer supported and has been removed.
IBM WebSphere Application Server 8.0 (5733-W80) is no longer supported and won’t work with i 7.4: The minimum supported versions of WebSphere are V8.5 at the 188.8.131.52 product fix pack level or V9.0 at the 184.108.40.206 product fix pack level.
IBM Db2 Web Query for i (5733-WQX) version V2.2.0 and earlier are no longer supported and will not function on i 7.4.: Update to version 2.2.1 or above.
IBM Developer Kit for Java (5770-JV1) 7.0 and 7.1 (options 14 and 15) are no longer supported on i 7.4: The new default JVM on i 7.4 is Java 8.0 64-bit (option 17).
IBM i Access for Windows (5770-XE1) is out of service: The suggested replacement is IBM i Access Client Solutions (5733-XJ1). This could be critical for making sure your server console is still functional at i 7.4 (see hardware section above).
Third-party software requirements
Make sure to check with your non-IBM vendors to make sure your software is compatible with IBM i 7.4. You’ll need to identify whether each third-party package is compatible, incompatible, or needs updates to run under i 7.4.
Many third-party packages may not be rated to run with IBM i 7.4, especially those packages that depend on older unsupported versions of WebSphere Application Server and Java. Unsupported third-party software can shut down a planned upgrade just as quickly as unsupported IBM i hardware. Check with your vendors and upgrade or replace, if necessary.
Check, prep, and Upgrade
This post is a good starter list for getting started with an IBM i 7.4 upgrade, and some of the pitfalls you may encounter. Be sure to check with IBM’s Installing, upgrading, or deleting IBM i and deleted software Web site, your business partners, and your third-party software vendors for help in planning your own upgrade.