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IBM i 7.4

Learn which enhancements come with IBM i 7.4 and Db2 Mirror for i.

IBM has announced IBM i 7.4. I listened to the COMMON IBM i Announcement webcast, and spent time pouring over the RFA and the 7.4 Knowledge Center (yes, the 7.4 documentation is already available). Updates are not yet published about 7.4 on developerWorks, but I anticipate we’ll see information there soon.
Steve Will’s blog, Announcing IBM i 7.4 and Db2 Mirror for i, is a great starting point and he covers Db2 Mirror for i and enhancements to authority collection. There were a lot of smaller items in this announcement, and as is typical for this blog, I want to point out a few hidden gems.  
As expected, there are a number of new and enhanced IBM i services, and Access Client Solutions will have even more “Insert from Examples.” New services include a DATA_AREA_INFO service to allow you to view the contents of a data area and a MESSAGE_FILE_INFO service to view message descriptions, among others. Look for an update to ACS this week, as it too has some great enhancements. 
Service tool enhancements are focused around service tools user IDs. There are now command interfaces to create, change, or delete service tools user IDs, as well as a command to specify attributes for password composition.  You will be able to define password composition rules for your service tools user IDs to be consistent with your IBM i user profiles. Having a command interface to do this configuration is great, since you can easily configure multiple partitions to be consistent, document your configuration with a CL program, or recreate your environment if necessary.
IBM has made it possible to specify a workload group on a job description. This makes it much easier to have individual jobs in a subsystem run under different workload group limits, or to have jobs in different subsystems be controlled by the same workload group.
One enhancement I’m sure we all will love is the ability specify generic job names on the DSPLOG command. In the past, you were able to search for messages on a simple job name for a full qualified job name.  Generic job name support will make it easier to find messages when the simple job name has many variations, such as QPADEV* interactive jobs.
There are a number of small enhancements, such as an ODBC driver that runs on IBM i, enhancements to Administration Runtime Expert, Digital Certificate Manager (DCM) APIs can now automate the management of certificates, a new system job to manage QHST logging, and more.  
IBM finally deprecated old protocol support in 7.4. Support for DDI, Token-Ring, Wireless, Frame Relay, SDLC, TDLC, and X.25 protocols has been removed. AnyNet configurations have also been removed. The Memo to Users documents all these changes. 
The list of additional enhancements is too long to mention.  Much more will be written on this release in the weeks and months to come and I’m looking forward to its availability in June.

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