A couple weeks ago, I wrote Group PTF Currency. In that blog, I gave a very basic introduction to IBM i Services. This week, I’m going to provide a little more information on what they are and why you should be interested in them.
IBM i has many interfaces for a wide variety of tasks and there are many ways to access information about your i. You can use text-based interfaces to enter commands, display menus or call programs. There are graphical interfaces – client applications as well as browser interfaces – to manage your i. There are also application programming interfaces (APIs) that you can use to access information. IBM i Services provides another interface into system information using SQL.
Why would IBM add yet another interface to access system information?
There are many reasons, but in my opinion, there are two key benefits for an SQL interface to system information:
- Access to IBM i information using an industry standard interface.
Many people know SQL but they may not know IBM i. If you have someone who knows SQL, it will be easier for them to access IBM i information in a manner that’s familiar to them. Likewise, a cross-platform application could have extensions using a standard interface such as SQL to access IBM i specific information.
- Access to IBM i information using a mechanism suitable for the results desired. Often we want to get at information that is well suited to a query to find what you’re looking for. You might want to sort on a particular field or search for values that meet some criteria. You want results that are applicable to what you’re interested in, rather than copious amounts of information to manually review.
In order to take advantage of the IBM i Services, you need a basic understanding of SQL. The Db2 for i SQL Reference is a good place for getting started with SQL as well as a great reference for those who are experts.
Certainly some of the IBM i Services just provide another way to get at information you can already access via commands or APIs. But there are some services that provide access to information that otherwise might be difficult to get. A few examples are:
- System Health Services provide the capability to programmatically get at system limit information. Are you near the system limits for files or jobs or journals (or many other limits)? How do you know? System health services can help you answer that question.
- System temporary storage (SYSTMPSTG) service provides a programmatic interface to identify where the temporary storage allocations have been made. (This is only for 7.2 and later.)
- Group PTF Currency service provides a capability to check your installed PTF groups with the levels that are available on Fix Central (which I previously wrote about).
I plan to write a few more blogs where I will explore some of these IBM i services in greater detail.
For documentation, IBM i Services on the IBM i Technology Updates page has the latest information on what services are available on which releases and the PTF levels required. IBM has been delivering more and more services each year, so you probably want to watch this space when future announcements are made. The IBM i Knowledge Center is where you can find the formal documentation on IBM i Services, but it may lag slightly behind the developerWorks site with regards to the latest information.
Give some of these new services a try – it’s another tool in your toolbox for better managing your i.
This blog post was edited to fix broken links on April 12, 2020.
This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.