Friday, July 30, 2010

Implementer 2010 is Here

MKS just released Implementer 2010 today, which features over 100 separate improvements. Implementer is an integral part of our MKS Integrity offering that focuses on the change control and ALM needs of the IBM i community. Our development team and many others worked very hard on the project to meet both quality and schedule commitments. Kudos are in order for all.

As a product manager here at MKS my sense of timing could come into question on this release. I planned (or perhaps did not plan) this release to coincide with the last day of our fiscal quarter (a hectic time for some), before a holiday weekend in Canada (where corporate HQ is), and right before I go away for a "staycation" in downtown Chicago next week. No big deal... I had great confidence in the team to deliver the release on time. Our development team may have other words for this. In the end, the release rolled out very smoothly. I spent the last couple days crossing t's and dotting i's and getting in the way. One change to our roll-out plan this time around was the addition of an "update social media" activity. So here I am blogging away on a Friday night, now that the release is on the shelf.

Here are some of the nuts and bolts of the release. First and foremost, the features in this release were driven by listening to our customers and working closely with IBM on the latest release of the IBM i operating system. This new release is chock full of support for and utilization of new IBM i 7.1 capabilities like data encryption (SQL field procedures), solid state devices (SSDs), new SQL XML data type, and SQL Alter Table changes. On the integrations front, support is included for LANSA 12 and IBM Rational Developer for Power Systems 7.6 (and 7.5). Numerous improvements in our CA 2E support have also been made. Host-based developers will also notice improvements when checking out, compiling, promoting, rejecting locks, and working with projects. Expanded support for SQL will help those modernizing their applications and development practices. And for our Japanese customers, the RD for Power integration (including RDi and WDSC) has been translated into Japanese and now supports DBCS development. CCSID 1399 is also supported. There is more, but that hits most of the high points.

Over the last couple of years I had requested via the Common User Group and in passing conversations with IBM DB2 gurus Kent Milligan and Mike Cain to change SQL Alter Table to support inserting columns somewhere besides the end of the table.... So not long ago I had a thought. SQL Tables should be able to be altered and retain the column order of another table. I told IBM. Now look at IBM i 7.1. I told them what to do and they did it. I'm Marty Acks. I'm a Power System and IBM i 7.1 was my idea.. When I start channeling Microsoft commercials something is wrong in the world.

Registered customers can find out more about Implementer 2010 at the MKS Customer Community at Others can check us out at or feel free to contact me directly at

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Monday, July 26, 2010

IBM i local user groups go to back to school

I recently returned from the a day-long conference hosted by the Ocean User Group of Southern California. As is the case at most of the volunteer driven events, it was well run by a core group of dedicated volunteers. Ocean and other local user groups are always looking for a few extra volunteers. The user groups I have seen thrive have a good mix of new and old blood. Give your local user group a call or e-mail to see how you can help.

While the primary business purpose for my attendance, I suppose, is to find new customers, as a product manager at MKS I find these events to be a great chance to get in front of people in the Power Systems and IBM i community and see what they are really doing with the platform. We are continuing our participation in these conferences this fall and into next year. I'd encourage you to get out one to one of these when it comes to your area. They all offer something a different. Check out their agendas and speakers in detail before you choose the one that is right for you. These conferences are a great opportunity to improve job skills and find out what other companies are doing. If you have never been to one of these, now might just be the time to start. To see a list of conferences MKS will be at, see our conference calendar at By the way, there are also a few non-IBM i shows here also.

One trend that I have noticed with conferences run by local user groups is the move from hotels to university campus settings this year. The recent Ocean conference was held at National University in Costa Mesa, California. Recent Detroit-area Mitec conference run by Southeast Michigan iSeries User Group and the Toronto User Group for Power Conference were also held in university settings. In talking to the organizers, this allows these groups to significant lower their conference fees. For example, one hotel was charging up to $3.50 for soft drink with a 35% surcharge on top of that alone, when you adding up the food and other incidentals the costs can be rather significant. And you thought room service was expensive. Plus there was a nice sense of bonding as some of us stayed around at the end of the day and helped clean up.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recognized as A Core Vendor of ALM

In a recent article published by ITKnowledgeExchange MKS was recognized as a leader in ALM:

According to Theresa Lanowitz, founder of IT analyst firm voke inc., the core vendors in the Application Lifecycle Management market are HP, IBM, Microsoft and MKS. That’s not to say there aren’t other vendors that are making strides in ALM. “I see two other types of vendors emerging: vendors with a unique take on the application lifecycle approach and vendors who are delivering tremendous innovation in the application lifecycle with unique product offerings for the dynamic environment that is ALM,” Lanowitz said. Her firm’s research on the ALM marketplace and its players can be found on the voke site’s Lifecycle Transformation page.

Click here for complete article by IT Knowledge Exchange