IBM i 7.3 TR12: Technical Update Incompatible With TR . Technology

May 16 2022

Alex Woody

The release of the IBM i Technology Update Program 7.5 and 7.4 a few weeks ago has received a lot of interest from the IBM i community, thanks to the new capabilities they bring to the platform. But IBM is also bringing some of the same improvements to IBM i 7.3. And while it bundles PTFs that deliver the 7.3 improvements into a TR12-branded package, it’s not officially TR, IBM officials say.

IBM plans to release the IBM i 7.3 TR12 on May 24, according to the IBM i TR version 7.3 page on the IBM support website. This is the same day that IBM plans to introduce the IBM i 7.4 TR6. A package of 7.3 TR12 improvements will be delivered in Group No. PTF SF99727 Level 12, the site says. Similar information appears on the IBM support page for IBM i Resaves.

Support for Power10 devices, including input devices and mid-range devices due to ship in July, is one of the most obvious new features that IBM is introducing with the IBM i 7.3 TR12. But a quick look at the IBM i Technology Updates webpage reveals that many other features offered in the IBM i 7.5 and 7.4 TR6 will also be delivered via PTF to the 7.3 TR12.

Many of these improvements are delivered via new or improved IBM i Services, those SQL-based alternatives (or duplications) to the traditional commands that have proliferated in recent years. Among the new or improved IBM i services coming to the IBM i 7.3 TR12 are:

  • Thirty new or improved application services such as QSYS2.ACTIVATION_GROUP_INFO();
  • Seven new or improved communication services such as QSYS2.ACTIVE_DB_CONNECTIONS();
  • Twelve new or improved IFS services such as QSYS2.IFS_WRITE();
  • Five new or improved journal services such as QSYS2.ASSOCIATE_JOURNAL_RECEIVER();
  • Three new or improved office services such as QSYS2.JOURNAL_INHERIT_RULES;
  • Six improved message handling services such as QSYS2.HISTORY_LOG_INFO();
  • The new performance service, QSYS2.COLLECTION_SERVICES_INFO;
  • Three new or improved product services, such as QSYS2.LICENSE_INFO;
  • Four new or improved PTF services such as SYSTOOLS.FIRMWARE_CURRENCY;
  • Twelve new or improved security services such as QSYS2.SQL_CHECK_SPECIAL_AUTHORITY();
  • Five new or improved storage services such as QSYS2.SPOOLED_FILE_INFO();
  • Five new or improved storage services such as QSYS2.ASP_INFO;
  • Three new or improved system health services such as QSYS2.SYSLIMTBL; And
  • Twenty new or improved business management services such as QSYS2.SYSTEM_STATUS_INFO_BASIC.

In addition, the IBM i 7.3 TR12 gets many other improvements, including new HTTP functionality in QSYS2 that can be used to create REST-based web services without overburdening the JVM, as found in SYSTOOLS; And the number of parameters supported in the Procedures for Communication Services Program (QARUCLSP) API expanded to 248.

The IBM i HTTP server (you know, the Apache powered server) is also getting an update with the IBM i 7.3 TR12. With the PTF SF99722 Level 39, IBM will offer many things, including security fixes, a new version of the IAS Liberty runtime, and updates for i Navigator, among others.

Most of these things are fairly small. Big items revealed by IBM only support newer versions, including Boolean (only IBM i 7.5) and Merlin (7.4 and 7.5) support, which provide a lightweight IDE encapsulated with DevOps and CI/CD software for updating applications. Anything connected to the Db2 Mirror will also not run on IBM i 7.3.

IBM traditionally only actively updates two versions of IBM i at the same time, although there are exceptions to this. With the release of the IBM i 7.3 TR12, it looks like IBM is taking an approach that lands somewhere in the middle. Although it does not provide updates for 7.3 (which debuted in April 2016 and is expected to be actively supported until 2023) as regularly as it does for 7.4 (released in June 2019 and expected to be supported until 2026) Big Blue still wants to get some of the new features its developers have built into the hands of IBM i customers.

Alison Patrell, IBM’s Global Director of IBM Offerings, released this statement to IT Jungle Regarding the IBM i 7.3 TR12:

“The term ‘technology update’ is used by the Power Development Team to refer to changes made to the firmware and supervisor,” Patrell wrote. “In IBM i software we mean a set of new functions that are added to the firmware, the hypervisor Plus functions in the operating system. There are some PTFs for IBM i 7.3, which will allow it to run on Power10 hardware and maybe some improvements from 7.5 to 7.3. But it’s not the full set of updates available for 7.4 and 7.5. So, we’re talking about this where PTFs are delivered – not a full TR. “

However, IBM still calls it TR in its support documents. All this makes the IBM i 7.3 TR12 officially not another TR. Like the May 2020 PTF combinations for the 7.4 TR2 and 7.3 TR8, as you will undoubtedly remember.

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Tags: Tags: CI/CD, DevOps, IBM i, IBM i 7.3, IBM i 7.3 TR12, IDE, Power10, PTF, SQL

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