As Mike discussed in a previous post, IBM has announced that they have no plans to support IBM i Access for Windows clients beyond Windows 8.1. That announcement, along with the upcoming July release of Microsoft Windows 10, has many organizations considering a move to the next Windows connectivity solution: IBM i Access Client Solutions.
But how do you actually get IBM i Access Client Solutions? Where can you find more information?
Where to Find IBM i Access Client Solutions
You will be happy to know that a General Availability version of IBM i Access Client Solutions has been available from IBM for some time now. The latest version of IBM I Access Client Solutions (5733-XJ1) is available to any IBM customer with a current IBM i software maintenance agreement (SWMA) and it can be downloaded from the Entitled Software Support (ESS) web site under 5761-SS1 (feature code 5817, 5818 or 5819) or under 5770-SS1 (feature code 5817, 5818 or 5819). You will also need the user license from 5733XW1 in order to use the ACS product, which is the same license used for the entire Access product family.
A technology preview for IBM i Access Client Solutions with an evaluation period of 120 days is also still available. The technical preview software is kept current so it will be the same as what’s included in the GA version. You can use this technical preview on one or more clients in your environment to evaluate the impact of migrating to IBM i Access Client Solutions and verify that there are no surprises before upgrading your entire organization.
It’s important to note that if you use the technology preview you must still get a GA version when your 120-day evaluation period runs out. At that time, you’ll need to obtain and deploy the latest version of IBM i Access Client Solutions from the Entitled Software Support (ESS) website in order to maintain uninterrupted connectivity to your IBM i. The move from a technical preview version to the GA version should be a simple directory change since all of the configuration files completely apply.
There are two optional platform-specific packages also available, which include middleware for using and developing client applications for Windows and Linux:
- IBM i Access Client Solutions - Windows Application Package to provide middleware for using and developing client applications to a user who is running Windows operating systems.
- IBM i Access Client Solutions - Linux Application Package to provide an ODBC driver for using and developing client applications for a user who is running Linux operating systems.
Physical media with IBM i Access Client Solutions may be ordered for a fee. The physical media contains a runnable version of the product, which allows you to run the product directly from the CD. It also includes a zip archive of the product that can be copied and extracted to a location of your choice. Note that the physical media will not contain the optional Windows and Linux Application Packages as these packages are only available from the ESS website.
Access Client Solutions Resources
More information for IBM i Access Client Solutions and links to the ESS website or to download the technology preview zip file are on the IBM i Technology Updates page for IBM i Access Client Solutions, part of IBM’s new wiki that provides a single point for learning about all IBM i enhancements.
For anyone unfamiliar with navigating the IBM i Knowledge Center or developerWorks, here are some directions to help you get to the IBM i Technology Updates page for IBM i Access Client Solutions:
- Log on to the IBM i Knowledge Center and take the link to developerWorks, or log directly into developerWorks.
- In developerWorks, take the “Technical topics” link.
- Scroll down to the “IBM ” link and take it to go to the IBM i page.
- Click on the “Access technology updates” button to be taken to the IBM i Technology Updates page – a great wiki with loads of information about IBM i enhancements.
- Scroll down to the box titled “IBM Technology Updates – by IBM i product or subject matter” then locate and click on the line titled “IBM i Access Client Solutions.” Eureka! You’re taken to the IBM i Access page, which has all of the IBM i Access product-related announcements, including June 2013: General Availability of IBM i Access Client Solutions, and Technology Preview announcement.
- Finally, click on the “IBM i Access Client Solutions” link in the announcement titled June 2013: General Availability of IBM i Access Client Solutions to get to the page with product links.
Another useful source of information is the documentation included with all versions of IBM i Access Client Solutions in a directory aptly named Documentation. The section on Getting Started has a Quick Start guide with instructions for deploying IBM i Access Client Solutions that will work for most users running Windows, Mac or Linux.