Scott Forstie on IBM i 7.3 TR2 and IBM i 7.2 TR6 Enhancements
Paul interviews IBM's Scott Forstie, Db2 for i business architect, about IBM i 7.3 TR2 and IBM i 7.2 TR6 enhancements.
By Paul Tuohy02/22/2017
Paul talks to IBM Senior Technical Staff Member Scott Forstie about the upcoming Database enhancements in V7R3 TR2/V7R2 TR6 and about this “new” app called Spotify! Details of the technology refresh may be found at https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/ibmi/techupdates/i73-TR2 and https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/ibmi/techupdates/i72-TR6.
Paul: Hi everybody and welcome to another iTalk with Tuohy. Delighted to be joined again, yet again, very quickly again today by Scott Forstie. Hi Scott.
Scott: Hey, good morning Paul.
Paul: I've got to watch it here. This is turning into the Paul and Scott show. [Laughs]
Scott: How about a trifecta?
Paul: We'll work on that, Scott. We'll work on that.
Scott: Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK.
Paul: OK so there is a very specific reason though that we are talking today Scott and that is because TR2 for V5 or V7 or 3. My God, this is time traveling. I have to stop. OK our TR6 if you are still back on 7.2 has just been announced so I think maybe first thing I want to touch on or just maybe just ask you to talk about before we get into some of the details on the technology release itself—
Paul: Scott is something that we were just chatting about beforehand which was the fact that it is TR2
Scott: Oh, yeah. So the previous TR, TR1, came out on November 11 of 2016. Usually IBMers talk about these technology refreshes and we talk about—we wax poetic, Paul. We say twice a year they come out. I had to look at the calendar and say wait a second. This is not six months later. [Laughs] Also worth noting, this announced material is going public on February 14. Can you think of a better Valentine's Day present?
Paul: I think I'll leave it up to my wife to explain that to you Scott. [Laughs]
Paul: I don't think I'm going to get away with that if I go to Fil, turn around to her and say, “Look what I got you dear. It is the new technology release from IB… “—yeah. I can what the response is going to be but yeah. I mean so are you going to tell me why, why so soon together?
Scott: Well why so soon together is announce day is a complex thing because are a part of the Power systems right so it is not simply about the software enhancements so in this case sure enough the hardware enhancements in Power systems were the driving force for this date being chosen.
Paul: Ah. OK. OK.
Scott: But we rose to the challenge. Steve Will and Alison Butterill came to the team and said, “Hey everybody, I know it is earlier than what you would prefer but let's see what we can get done. Why don't we start with a blank slate in database?” (Pretty much a blank slate.) And I'm just amazed how well our team rose to this challenge. I hope clients really enjoy these enhancements.
Paul: OK. Now that is the best lead-in I can think of Scott so come on. Tell me about the database enhancements.
Scott: OK. There are three topics I want to leave you and your readers with. First, one is our enhancements for the database application developer. These are anybody using SQL on DB2 for i at 7.2 and 7.3. They will have more capability built into the database for consuming and working with JSON, which is certainly a hot topic in the database industry. Pushing that logic as close to the database usually yields lots of benefits and we've extended our support for JSON in DB2 for i with something called JSON Query predicates.
Scott: Yeah, so a query predicate can quite simply take the next step with working with JSON. Previously we gave you JSON table to be able to deconstruct JSON documents into relational data. These predicates allow you to substantiate some business rules, some constructs above the professing of JSON, making sure you have a valid JSON document and making sure that certain elements within the JSON document are filled in rather than missing. Things like that.
Paul: Huh. Cool. So pretty much you're in the process of bringing the database up to speed with JSON exactly with—or in comparison with XML so mix and match.
Paul: OK. Cool.
Scott: That's a great way to think of it and the timeline that I show audiences has a little gap on it. You know I'm hoping that in the next round of TRs we will get tot talk again and have yet another enhancement in this form.
Paul: Cool. Cool; OK so that's the first one.
Scott: Yeah, the first one. So the second one would be these things we call BRMS services. You know think of these as getting more value out of your query engine in SQL in the sense of being able to improve your systems management in different way. You know the SQL language and the query engine can beyond just extracting data and with new services for IBM i operating system proper, you can take the next step in they are modernizing, extending or automating systems management topics. Most noteworthy I think is the ability to manage security with SQL.
Paul: Oh, now that's interesting.
Scott: Yeah. This is obviously a pretty important topic for people and we now have a SQL version of display OBJAUD.
Scott: It's called object privileges. Every row that is returned from that will indicate one instance of a user or public authorization for any object you want to study.
Scott: All right so one of the things that is a reality for many clients is excess authority exists. So how do you study excess authority? Well you know there's lot of answers to that question. I want to put into the equation a few SQL queries like for example in some of my presentation I will show clients how to pretty easily study who has high or elevated privileges to certain objects. It becomes simple to automate this sort of thing in what reporting structure you have.
Paul: Yeah. Yeah. I—well you know Scott that I'm a big fan of the work that you guys do and especially that you do with all of these services. I think they're one of the biggest steps forward on the platform definitely in the last few years.
Scott: Oh, thanks.
Paul: It's a really interesting twist. Really interesting twist.
Scott: We also have services for authorization lists so let me ask you a question. In all of your travels and interactions, how popular do you find authorization lists are?
Paul: Oh, I think generally people try to avoid them.
Scott: Oh, really?
Paul: That would be my experience. Yeah. Yeah. See now you should have talked to me about this before Scott. [Laughs]
Scott: Well thud. Come on people.
Paul: No, no, no. I mean I know a lot of people use them but I know generally … well OK. You've got to remember that I'm more used to working sometimes with people who when you say security, they go hmmm. What was that? [Laughs]
Scott: Well I just think authorization lists are a real wonderful topic for security management and our services show how you can use SQL to assess all of your authorization lists, either the users or the objects and you know kind of lend some rigor to security management.
Paul: Yup. Cool.
Scott: That and others.
Paul: OK. Third one. Third one then.
Scott: Third one. OK. Third one would be IBM i access client solutions, the Java based alternative to the browser and System i Navigator. What we have done in access client solutions or everybody loves to call it ACS is we have added in—well we've extended what is already there. That's kind of typical but the brand new launch actually the upper most portion of ACS is something called schemas.
Scott: Schemas is under the database category and it allow you to navigate through schemas or if you are not familiar with that term, libraries.
Scott: All the database objects within them.
Paul: Cool. So this is a little like schemas was back in the old System i Navigator?
Scott: Yes, very similar so if you know it through System i Navigator, you will recognize this interface. We have found that encoding if you will, that support in a tool worked quite well but we wanted to be served up from this Java based tool and allow clients to use ACS and not have to do some hybrid cross launch to a browser navigator so just stay resident in ACS.
Paul: Cool. So and again I don't know whether or not you will know this Scott but do you know if there are any of those new ACS stuff, if it has been linked into RDI?
Scott: There has been some work there. The team, the RDI team, includes ACS within RDI …
Scott: So if you have never downloaded ACS, you are going to get it.
Scott: And if … conversely if you have been staying current with ACS and maybe your version of ACS is more current than your RDI level, we'll use what you have installed.
Scott: So that sounds like a good combination of support.
Paul: Yeah. Yeah. So excellent, really excellent. Looking forward to—
Scott: In a short time.
Scott: In a short time. Paul: Yeah. Yeah. So I've decided I'm going to have a word with Steve and Alison and sort of tell well I mean since you guys did so well in four months, I think two months is all you need for—
Scott: Hey now. [Laughs] Oh. All the database enhancements I'm talking about become available on March 31.
Scott: Some of other technology refreshes are actually coming out a little bit earlier in March but I asked Alison, I pleaded, give me very day possible and she did so March 31st it is.
Paul: OK. OK.
Scott: Get the DB2 PTF group.
Paul: OK. Excellent. OK so before we leave then Scott when we were chatting beforehand, you were telling me about this great new app that you have.
Scott: Oh, yeah for my phone.
Scott: First off, I've found that there is value in talking to your children. My oldest son probably gets the credit for helping me understand this great new app that is available. It's something I discovered over the New Year spending time with him and I tell you. I've just been having a banner year so far in 2017 using this app. It's called Spotify.
Paul: Yeah. A new app. OK.
Paul: OK so when you say new app, I assume by this you mean new to you app.
Scott: Oh, yeah. Yeah. It's actually highly rated.
Paul: Yeah, yeah it is. Actually it is highly rated that I think you will find a lot of kids have moved on past it to use different things though.
Scott: Oh, no. Seriously?
Paul: Yes. But anyway—
Scott: Maybe I'm not an early adaptor on this thing.
Paul: Yeah. There is—you know you can take the man away from Mainframe but … [Laughs]
Scott: This is true. Yeah, I did spend my time in the Mainframe.
Paul: OK so why are you having so much fun with Spotify?
Scott: Well I can explore music I haven't seen or knew existed quite easily and still go back to my tried and true standards. Like for example last evening we had the Grammy Awards here in our country and it is a celebration of music.
Scott: And, oh boy. I was just strutting around—well not actually strutting but with my gals at home, I said, “Chance The Rapper.” I am so down with that. I love his album. They were like who is Chance?
Scott: But you know look at me.
Scott: Word. [Laughs]
Scott: But you know look at me.
Scott: Word. [Laughs]
Paul: OK. I just love how …
Scott: How many times have I left you speechless?
Paul: I've … I've … I've … I think on that note. [Laughs] So yeah on that note. I really don't know what to say to that Scott so I think that's a good place to leave it so everybody go check out Spotify. Actually we are going to be looking for—there is a rumor going around that IBM are going to add Spotify as a column attribute in the database. [Laughs] New way of storing, this Spotify interface. OK, listen Scott. Thank you. Thanks a million for taking the time to talk to me today.
Scott: You're welcome.
Paul: OK. That's it for this week everybody. Tune in again for the next iTalk, which I promise you will not be with Scott. OK, that's it for now everybody. Bye.
Paul Tuohy has specialized in application development and training on IBM midrange systems for more than 20 years.