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Cloud, IBM Support, AIX History and More

Recently my wife and I traveled cross-country via car. We spent time with family in Virginia and then drove north through Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York state. After celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday, we circled back through Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico before returning home to Arizona.

Over two weeks, we covered thousands of miles, encountering varying weather conditions—fog, rain, snow—and stages of road construction. I guess spending that much time on the interstates made me a bit loopy, but I maintain that “Uranus Fudge Factory” is a funny name, and their billboards made me legitimately curious about the quality of their fudge.

I used Google Maps to navigate the journey. Initially we avoided the tolls, which took us to some interesting back roads and out of the way places. But as we got closer to home, we opted for the most direct route, never mind the cost. Toward the end I know I was just ready to be done with the drive.

Still, I’m glad we didn’t fly. For the most part I enjoyed the journey and the changing scenery. Driving naturally gave me time away from my phone, my email and work in general. It gave me a chance to think—though for better or worse, that eventually led me back to work considerations.

One thing I kept thinking of was companies’ adoption of cloud technology. It’s like driving or flying, at least in the sense that there’s more than one way to get there. It could be a quick trip, like a plane flight, or a longer road.

Some companies want everything to remain on-premise. An onsite data center and IT staff is what they know; it’s what’s worked. In a sense, their journey may never begin. Other companies are taking action by enabling rapid provisioning or live partition mobility. Theirs might only be a short journey, but they’re moving forward.

Then there are true hybrid cloud environments, where software and/or infrastructure may be deployed as a service. Other companies no longer manage their own servers. Everything has gone to the cloud. Or they may still own the servers but pay service providers to manage them day to day.

In short, we all have different needs and priorities. Every company has unique goals. So of course every cloud journey is different.

A Change From IBM Support

Just as there are pros and cons to driving versus flying, there are pros and cons to the many available options for supporting your business. One size may not fit all, but it is good to have options.

On that note, IBM Support recently announced that it is providing customers with greater flexibility to add and invite team members to work on support cases:

“Coming soon, users on your accounts will have new flexibility over who they can invite as team members on support cases. New team members do not need to be associated with the account or have an IBM ID.

As an administrator, you will no longer be required to take the time to approve new team members. While this change gives users more freedom to add team members, you will still receive email notifications when someone on your accounts adds a team member. You can still use the User Administration page to remove users you don’t agree to from your cases, just as before.

Here’s how it works
When a user creates a case, they simply select Add A Team Member from the Add Team Members menu, then enter the new team member’s name and email address, and then click Search.

If the person they enter does not already have an IBM ID, the person opening the case clicks OK to confirm that they’d like to invite the new team member to the case.

The people added to cases with this method will have full access to the case they are added to. They will be able to add comments and edit the case. They will not have access to any other cases.”

Support Ending for Unencrypted Fix Downloads

IBM recently announced that it will no longer support unencrypted fix downloads. This change is set to go into effect on February 15, 2023.

From IBM Support:

“Many leaders of the internet industry—such as World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) and Internet Architecture Board (IAB)—state that universal use of encryption is the way forward for the internet traffic.

Therefore web platforms should be designed to actively prefer secure communication so data is protected in transit and at rest.

Aligned with this industry direction, IBM IT Security Standards have been enforcing the use of encrypted communications.

Therefore IBM Electronic Fix Distribution (EFD)/IBM Electronic Customer Care (ECC)/IBM Fix Central systems will stop supporting unencrypted fix downloads on February 15, 2023, to improve user privacy and security and enforce compliance with IBM IT Security Standards. Shortly after that date, unencrypted fix download flows will NOT be allowed anymore.

Recommended Action
Ensure as soon as possible that the connections made to IBM fix download servers are secured.

The IBM fix downloads servers currently support HTTPS, SFTP, FTPS and DDPS secure download protocols. Ensure you have secure protocols in place and update any procedures, including existing jobs, scripts or tools to use the secure fix download protocols.

You can use secure protocols now, but they will be the only options when they are enforced on the deadline specified above.

If you are still using an unencrypted fix download protocol (such as HTTP, plain FTP or DDP) then make sure you switch to an encrypted one (such as HTTPS, SFTP, FTPS or DDPS).”

A Brief History of AIX

Nigel Griffiths recently updated this document that features release/end of support dates and notes for each AIX version from 3.1 through 7.3. The doc also includes a brief AIX timeline as well as tips and other “often forgotten” details.