In the current scenario, this is one of the most frequently asked questions regarding IBM iSeries. Most of the people ask — Should I upgrade to IBMi 7.3 or 7.4? The one-word answer to this question is — it depends!
While deciding on up-gradation, you need to consider dependencies, life expectancy, and features into consideration.
End of Marketing and Program Support for IBMi 7.2
Recently IBM announced that it would end the program support for IBMi 7.2 by April 30, 2021. The market support had been already stopped the support on April 30, 2020.
Identify the IBMi Version Your Hardware Can Support
Before you reach any conclusion, verify the version your IBMi can support. As described earlier, there are dependencies between the hardware on which your current system is running and the OS it can help. If you have limited hardware, then there is no choice left for you. But as per our suggestion, upgrade your system to the latest hardware and OS.
POWER7 and POWER7+ servers support IBMi 7.1, 7.2, and 7.3. Moreover, POWER8 and POWER9 can support 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, and 7.4, which means you have more choices with this hardware.
Check Compatibility Between Business Applications and IBMi
After hardware compatibility, things come to software compatibility, and things need to be considered as per setup availability.
It is essential to verify which IBMi versions your existing business applications can support. By now, multiple vendor applications should be ready to help 7.4. So, you may also check ancillary solutions like Java and WebSphere.
Features that offer value
Once you have identified the issues with your existing setup and checked hardware compatibility, you should consider features available with the latest versions and how they can be beneficial for your business. IBM iSeries is evolving continuously and providing business value.
Have a look at few offerings of 7.3 and 7.4
IBMi 7.3 offers lots of functionality in temporal support, row and column access control, and support for languages like — Node.JS, Python, and Git. Such things prove that our platform is modern.
Authority Collection by the user was also implemented in 7.3. This permits you to evaluate the users’ current security level and what level they need to run the application. This helps certify your users that the minimum amount of authority is required.
IBMi 7.4 linked with DB2 Mirror for extending continuous support. One thing to notice here is — this is not about the availability of the environment, it’s only about the availability of data. If you need continuous availability, then 7.4 is the best choice.
The Authority Collection can be run on objects in 7.4, letting you look at security from an additional angle. Using Authority Collection for things, you will know what authorities are required to perform business tasks. This will permit you to increase security around your crucial activities to ensure no one has unnecessary rights.
These features are a trailer of what IBM iSeries can offer. To know about complete offerings, you need to go through the documentation and read about each available case. This will help you to decide what’s best for your business.
The life expectancy of your IBMi OS
Despite what few techies are saying, IBMi is here to stay. IBM has published a roadmap till 2031. The final consideration is the life expectancy of the OS. If you are like many other customers, who have not upgraded the OS as often, you should do it now.
Integrative Systems is here to help
We at Integrative Systems understand the market so well, and we know that customers were hoping for an easy answer for this question, but again the truth is — it depends upon various factors. If you want the best possible solution for your business, feel free to share your requirements with us at [email protected], and we will be happy to help you with the best possible solution.