TUG Buzz! for March 23, 2018


IN THIS ISSUE:


Plan to join your peers for two days of intensive professional development, networking and fun at TEC 2018, where we intend to "TEC it to the Limit!" To celebrate our 25th TEC, your TEC committee has arranged for a special new venue (The Toronto Don Valley Hotel) and are inviting the world's top IBM i speakers. We will be providing sumptuous meals, digital handouts, free parking, and much more... Mark you calendar now for Wednesday & Thursday May 30 & 31, 2018, when you will be able to deepen your knowledge on the latest IBM i technologies.

Note: Earlybird promotion continues through March 31, 2018. TUG members can take advantage of a $100 discount on the admission fee.

Our developers are working on an enhancement to our new registration system which will allow you to sign on and register multiple people on a single order. However, for the time being, each attendee must create their own profile and register individually. Nevertheless, if you want multiple registrations to be combined on a single invoice, let us know and we will accomodate you. (Sorry for the temporary inconvenience.)

Register for TEC 2018 at: www.tug.ca/tec/Reg



Conference Prices:

    Full Conference Rate:
        • TUG Members $695 (plus HST)
        • Non-members $795 (plus HST)
       
    Early Bird Discounts:
       TUG members save $100 on a full conference registration
        until March 31, 2018.

 

TEC 2018 PDF flyer

TEC is the Toronto Users Group’s annual Technical Education Conference. We have a very intense lineup of topics including, but not limited to:

    • IBM i & RPG IV Application Development
    • Performance Management
    • Web and Mobile Development on IBM i
    • Modernizing your IBM i Applications
    • Accessing and Optimizing IBM i data
    • IBM i System Management
    • Client Connectivity
    • Database Design & Normalization
    • Open Source Languages
    • Virtualization
    • IFS

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Register (as a TEC EXPO sponsor) online at:
www.tug.ca/tec/SponsorRegForm.php Read More

Download the Sponsor Invitation (PDF) at: www.tug.ca/tec/TEC2018_Sponsor-Invitation.pdf Read More

Download the TEC 2018 conference brochure (PDF) at: www.tug.ca/tec/TEC2018_flyer.pdf Read More

 

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TUG Golf Tournament 2018

On Tuesday June 26th, 2018 we are back at St. Andrews Valley Golf Club in Aurora for the 30th Annual TUG Charity Golf Classic.

Register now at: www.tug.ca/golf

Proceeds to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

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TUG Gold Sponsor article

By Matt Paterini,
Canada Regional Director UCG Technologies

How a Single Solution Solves Multiple Backup and Recovery
Challenges for Canada’s Largest Mining Company

 VAULT400 satisfies reporting requirements imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley, automates off-site backups and provides cost effective disaster recovery

A day rarely, if ever, passes when ill fortune doesn’t blindside an organization with an event that disrupts its data management infrastructure. Most of us in IT can personally attest to the fact that the aftereffect is painful if not costly, regardless of the precipitating circumstances. It is at this juncture where recovery strategies are taken most seriously.

TeckWith several backup, recovery and DR options available in the IBM i marketplace, it’s difficult to conceptualize which one best suites your unique needs. According to technologists who work at the Center of Excellence for JDE Support for Teck Resources Ltd. in Trail, BC, Canada, a solution offered by UCG Technologies meets their challenging backup and recovery requirements while also delivering some well received, yet unexpected benefits. Matt Paterini, Canada Regional Director for UCG Technologies noted, “Teck Resources is a great example of a forward thinking organization leveraging VAULT400 for data protection. Having automated backups with fully managed DR is a winning combination for efficiency and security.”

Almost 10 years ago in December 2009, Teck Resources Ltd. deployed VAULT400 (vault400.com) from UCG. VAULT400 is a business continuity solution for virtualized backup and recovery. It secures Teck’s business-critical data by transmitting highly compressed and encrypted data packets over the web to two secure managed data centers.

VAULT400 is comprised of multiple components for data collection, compression, encryption, and replication. An agent resides on Teck’s production IBM iSeries model 800 and the data is sent to a pair of data centers hosted by UCG. Teck’s time and date stamped data backup sets are instantly available for immediate, user-initiated recovery 7/24/365.

Teck is Canada’s largest mining company, headquartered in Vancouver, BC. It operates in more than 20 countries and mines natural resources such as gold, coal, copper, zinc, and other specialty metals. Teck employs approximately 9,500 people globally, and in 2016 it booked nearly $9 billion in revenues.

Matt PateriniTeck shifted its computing strategy from one that called for IBM midrange systems running JD Edwards Enterprise One and World situated at each site to a virtualized strategy, with control centralized in Vancouver. In part, Teck made this decision because of the limited computing skill sets available at desolate areas where the mines often exist. While many of Teck’s mining sites now operate under the new virtualized construct, others continue to run their own systems with assistance from their partners in Vancouver. Still, Teck’s new standards for IT, which are in part driven by Sarbanes- Oxley legislation, apply to all of their facilities. Such is the case for Teck’s operation at the Highland Valley Copper Mine, situated about 35 miles southwest of Kamloops.

Teck previously relied on a tape backup routine that included daily, weekly, and monthly saves. side from being relatively labor intensive compared to an automated system, tape backups left them vulnerable to common tape failures. Furthermore, roughly two hours had to be carved out every night to run backups. During this time, users couldn’t access their apps and batch jobs had to wait in the queue. Decision-makers at the corporate level decided to implement a unified backup level of automation, offsite replication, and technology that could accommodate limited bandwidth and facilitate a full recovery in less than 48 hours. In response to corporate directives, technicians at ighland Valley Copper and Trail Operations began to investigate disaster recovery options.

In February 2009, Mario Amantea (now retired), a member of Teck’s Center of Excellence for JDE Support, began to help the Highland Valley team find a suitable solution that met the company’s stated criteria. Amantea’s search unearthed VAULT400. UCG explained its tiered recovery options that accommodated 1-, 12-, and 24-hour recovery windows.

Vaulting fits new disaster recovery strategy
Teck sat in on a web-based demonstration and soon decided that VAULT400 met their technical and budgetary requirements, and opted for the 24-hour DR recovery option. Implementation was straightforward, and the vault was seeded in less than four hours with VAULT400 compressing 125 gigabytes of data to 40 GB. According to Teck’s Larry Holm, the technician tasked with managing the implementation, “I arrived at the Highland Valley site at 8:30 AM and was finished by lunchtime. The installation was all menu driven and really easy to use. At first our firewall blocked our transmission out, but we quickly diagnosed the problem and created an exception within the firewall.”

An initial DR test was conducted where technicians from the mining company, aided by a recovery specialist from UCG, restored access to all of their core business applications over a VPN connection that tunneled through Teck’s Vancouver facility. “We told everyone that we were simulating a disaster at a specific time and date,” said Holm. “First, UCG configured an iSeries environment that mirrored the one in Highland Valley. We obtained temporary codes for our applications, and once the system was ready to go and we had our devices connected to it, we entered our password and were back in business.” To check the integrity of the remote system, Teck ran payroll along with a few applications on the purchasing side. The outcome matched earlier benchmarks obtained from the Highland Valley system.

After the test, UCG provided Teck several documents including a 49-page DR plan detailing the processes that occurred throughout the test to serve as proof of recoverability. In short, it took 147 minutes to prepare the hosted system for recovery. This included the installation of the operating system at the appropriate release level, a disk configuration re-build, the installation of logical partitions and PTFs, and the configuration of a TCP/IP connection. It then took UCG 381 minutes to restore user profiles, user libraries, the IFS, and perform all remaining necessary tasks rior to going live. “On our first pass, we were able to recover in roughly one fifth of the amount of time that we specified as our RPO,” said Holm. “Elsewhere in the organization where the computing environment is completely virtualized, recovery procedures take about the same amount of time.”

Soon after, Teck worked with UCG’s engineers to simulate a disaster. They ran reports, documented financials, and had a restore completed to one of UCG’s machines. Teck verified with members of different departments all of the data and information over the period of several days. All data was confirmed. Holmes commented, “I found this to be a worthwhile exercise and gave us the confidence that in a disaster our information would be fully restored and available.”

Data available 7/24/365 for day-to-day recovery
Holm adds that Teck didn’t subscribe to VAULT400 necessarily for the ability to granularly restore individual files and folders as they were accidently deleted or corrupted on an ongoing basis, but they are finding this feature much more convenient than restoring using the old manual tape-based process.

Encrypted files are immediately available online, which is much easier than going off-site to locate the tape & specific file. Frequent incremental vaulting backup intervals are used to satisfy daily, weekly, monthly and annual backup requirements, and maintain parity between Teck’s production system and their offsite backup. “The backup solution was a bonus for us. Because we’re managing as much of this operation as possible from hundreds of miles away, we were relieved when we realized that we didn’t need to have people mount tapes and run backups,” says Holm. “Once everything was set up, it was a runaway and there wasn’t much to do. Now we can do backups on the fly with no downtime and it’s completely automated.”

To prove that Teck’s data was accessible and recoverable, Holm deleted several files on Highland Valley’s server. He then accessed the data from VAULT400, drilled down to the files he needed to restore, tagged them, and in a few seconds verified that they once again appeared on the Highland Valley Copper production server.

Upon factoring the cost of human capital, hardware, software, and offsite storage hardware, the investment associated with implementing VAULT400 was much less. ” We weighed the value of re-platforming the Highland Valley Copper site to conform to our virtualization initiative, and also considered making another machine available. But besides requiring hardware, we’d need staff,” said Holm. “Then, we’d need a way to replicate the data across to that machine. We looked at all the prices and VAULT400 really stood out as the most cost-effective option. And when our vaulting requirements grow, VAULT400 will accommodate us.”

Related articles on UCG’s strong Canadian commitment
UCG Announces Launch of UCG Technologies, Inc. in Mississauga, ON Canada
UCG Technologies Newest Sales Executive Took an Unconventional Path to Success

UCG Technologies Inc.
Toronto Airport Corporate Centre
2425 Matheson Boulevard East - 8th Floor
Mississauga, Ontario L4W 5KW
Canada

ucgtechnologies.com|info@ucgtechnologies.com

 

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TUG's New Meeting Registration System

We have a new system for registering for TUG meetings. You no longer have to enter your contact information every time you register for a TUG event. You just create a profile using your email address and create a password. Then when you want to register for a TUG event, you simply sign on and click a checkbox beside the event you plan to attend. (Or if you need to cancel, you uncheck that checkbox to unregister for the event.)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Follow the link to SIGN ON / REGISTER below, or on the TUG Web site main page, or on the TUG Agenda page.
  2. Click “CREATE PROFILE”, fill in your contact information, and click “ENTER”.

            (A verification email will be sent to the email address that you supplied.)

  1. Close the current window and follow the verify email link in order to activate your new account.
  2. Enter your email & password and click SIGN ON.
  3. You can now click on a checkbox beside an event for which you want to register.

            (For future events, repeat steps 1, 4,  and 5 only.)



Notes:

• For more information about an event, click the + sign beside the event.

• To see whether you are already registered for an event, sign on and look at the check box beside that event. If there is a check mark there – you are registered. If you are unable to attend, please make sure to cancel your registration (by unchecking the checkbox). Thus, you can help save our members’ money, by allowing us to make an accurate count of seats and meals required.

• At any time, you can sign on and EDIT your PROFILE.

• Optionally, you can add additional email(s) to your profile. This is a good idea because, in case one of your emails becomes inoperable – you can still sign on with an alternate email & password. (By the way, you can use the same password for multiple emails if you wish).

• The email(s) that you use to sign on do not affect your subscription to the TUG Buzz, or other email lists from TUG. This is a separate process. To subscribe, see “SUBSCRIBE TO TUG BUZZ” under the “FUNCTIONS” pull-down menu.

Phase II:

• We are currently wortking on Phase II enhancements. The main new feature to be incorporated will be the ability for a person with a profile to register other people for an event. (For example, you could register a foursome for Golf, or register multiple people for TEC, to be combined on a single invoice.) The registrant will receive an email to let them know who registered on their behalf.

• If you register someone who does not have a profile, that person can create a profile at a later date, and their registration info will be linked up with their profile info.

• For the time being, each person wanting to register for a TUG event will have to create their own profile. Sorry for the (temporary) inconvenience..

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iDev Cloud

Sign up now for iDevCloud! You will be able to:

  • Share between multiple developers
  • Get private library and storage
  • Have access to most of the IBM i development tools
  • Have all compilers for IBM i tools available

The Performance is monitored by system managers with adjustments as needed. The system is accessible at anytime from anywhere in the world. Just a computer and an internet connection are needed. Any work done on the system stays on the system until removed by its owner.

Contact Leo Lefebvre at leo@tug.ca to get started.

(*Free startup for TUG members.)

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The Toronto Users Group for Power Systems (TUG) is a user group/forum for the exchange of ideas, and specializes in providing affordable education relating to the IBM iSeries, AS/400, System i, and Power Systems platforms. TUG is in its 32nd year of operation.



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