Key announcements included the introduction of the Python programming language, the availability of Java 8 and the introduction of JSON Store to DB2 (you can read IBM’s full announcement letter here).
IBM i 7.2 TR2 also contained support for native and VIOS attachment of the FlashSystem 900 (pictured). Previously, IBM i required SVC to attach a Flash system.
PowerWire author Glenn Robinson found this to be the most significant of the new updates.
He said: “For any existing IBM i customers who are still sceptical about IBM i with external storage, this should allay any remaining fears. Most IBM i customers will expect an average disk response time of 3-5 milliseconds from their disk subsystem. With FlashSystem 900 they can now expect average response times of around 150 microseconds – yes, that’s 0.150 milliseconds.
“Using the IBM FLiP tool to analyse the performance benefits of Flash storage for IBM i workloads is a great way to justify the move from internal disks to Flash storage for both performance and cost reasons.”
Another PowerWire regular, Andy Youens, noted that the i’s specific flavour of DB2 appears to be lagging behind its counterparts.
Youens said: “On the DB2 side, the new TR features seem to be bringing DB2 for i more in line with the LUW and z/OS versions; DB2 for i always last! JSON support in DB2 is a great enhancement, which gives an excellent alternative to using XML. JSON support in DB2 for z/OS, as far as I know, has been available for the past few years.
“As a developer, introducing Python was smart move from IBM. The more modern languages we can use on our favourite box, the more we are going to introduce new blood. Let’s hope its uptake in the UK is quicker than PHP has been. Additionally, I’m interested in the continuing new features for REST web services and integration with RPG.”
Similarly, Steve Bradshaw, who as well as being a member of the PowerWire team is also technical director of IBM i user group i-UG, commented: “The addition of Python and JSON support is a key part of IBM delivering on their promise to make developing on i more desirable for the next generation of programmers.
“Combine this with Ruby and, of course, PHP and you have got a platform that is way more appealing to work on for the next crop of developers. Java 8 is important to existing dev teams, offering new functions and better performance, as you would expect.”