On April 11, 2017, IBM made an important announcement about IBM i Operating System that went largely unnoticed. In announcement letter 917-080, IBM announced that IBM i 7.1 will lose support on April 30, 2018. If you, like many other IBM i users, had not heard the news, give it a minute to sink in. In the typical IT calendar, April 2018 is just around the corner.
To be fair, IBM i 7.1 is the longest supported release of any IBM i midrange platform in the history of the AS/400 and its progeny, so IBM cannot be accused of cutting its life short. That said, as of April 30, 2018, you will need to upgrade off of 7.1 in order to maintain IBM support.
So, what does this mean for you? If you are currently running 7.1, now is the time to plan when you will upgrade to 7.2 or 7.3 (of course 7.3 is the better choice). There’s going to be a mad rush to update come the end of the year and getting ahead of the crowd can only help. Depending on how complex your project is and when your busy season is, an upgrade could take a while. Now is the time to get this upgrade on the calendar.
Some Things to Keep in Mind
IBM will be offering extended support contracts to those who want or need to support 7.1 past the cutoff date, but it will most likely be rather expensive.
As this article from IT Jungle highlights, when support is shut down for any IBM i release, all of the licensed program products affiliated with that release are also withdrawn.
Don’t forget to consider your ERP system. Whether you’re running PRMS, JDA, JBA, or JD Edwards World, all will be affected by your OS upgrade. You will also need to look at third-party tools, including forms packages, EDI Systems, communication processes, and others, to make sure they’ll work on the new version of IBM i.
If you’re going to do the upgrade anyways, go to the latest version, 7.3, if possible. This will extend your time between eventual upgrades and keep you up to date on the latest technology and capabilities of IBM i. Your ERP and third-party tools will help determine which OS option is the best for you.
Depending on which hardware platform your organization is running, an OS upgrade may trigger a hardware upgrade as well. Certain hardware platforms are capped at a certain operating system level, and many hardware platforms are capped at IBM i 7.1. So, if you’re running hardware that is capped at 7.1, you will have to update your software before updating your OS.
Here’s a chart from IBM that can help you figure out if you need to update your hardware if you’re updating IBM i 7.1.
Do you need to upgrade off of 7.1 before support ends? Have another IBM i project that needs help? Contact our team.