Database 101: Why You Can Rely on IBM i

August 19, 2016


You know you have IBM Power Systems, and you know your system has databases that store your key business information. That much is clear, but beyond that, you might wish you knew more about how to make the most of your IBM i.

To help you begin to better understand your IBM i and make it work for you, here is a breakdown of:

  • IBM i history
  • IBM i basic functions
  • Why rely on IBM i
  • How to maximize databases

IBM i: A History

IBM i traces its roots back to 1979. Only, back then, it was called IBM System/38. Since then, it’s held several names: AS/400 (1988), eServer iSeries (2000), System i (2006), and finally IBM i (2008).

While the name has changed throughout history, one thing has not: IBM i continues to be counted on as a stable and reliable platform. Long-time users know they can count on IBM i because the platform has proven its worth time and time again, and they know how the IBM i works.

But what about new (or new-ish) users? How do you know if you’re getting the most out of your IBM i?

IBM i Basics

IBM i can hold several types of objects: files, programs, journals, and so on. These objects are kept in a library, which is an object type on your system resembling a folder. Libraries can be used across your organization—by programmers, by upper management, and by everyday users.

There are many types of files that you may use or encounter on your IBM i. The most common IBM i object is a physical file. Otherwise known as a Data Description Specification (DDS) file, it contains data, records, or information to help run the business. Other files include: a logical file that provides a view of the actual data and is typically created by a programmer, and multi-member files, which are physical files comprised of multiple members.

There are several commands that you can use with your files on IBM i. The structure of a command can be:

  • Action + Object
  • Action + Object + Noun
  • Action + Noun

Here is a table breaking down the possible components of a command:

Action Object Noun
Create: CRT Library: LIB Attributes: A
Display: DSP Object: OBJ Description: D
Work with: WRK Job: JOB File: F
Send: SND Message: MSG Queue: Q
Change: CHG Password: PWD Entry: E
Copy: CPY User Profile: USRPRF
Start: STR Writer: WTR
Delete: DLT Status: STS

For example, the command to display a file would be DSP + F = DSPF.

Why IBM i?

IBM i is a complete package that makes it easier for your company to manage and run the business. OIBM i comes pre-built with security that locks down the system and objects.

Object-level security on IBM i allows you to control which users can access, view, change, or delete an object. You can even exclude users from certain libraries and all objects stored in those libraries.

For instance, a user may need to have access to a library in order to view a transaction file, but you can set the object-level security so that the user can’t see another file or object stored in that same library.

IBM i makes user authority and security customizable based on your needs and requirements. You can also add other software to enhance your security to better meet your needs.

How to Maximize Databases

IBM i is an ideal platform for building and accessing data. It’s powerful and flexible. For instance, you can access data on DB2 for i or DB2 for SQL.

IBM i comes with several ways for users to get data out of files. For instance, you can use commands to access your data, like Display File (DSPF). IBM i also includes a built-in data access tool, Query/400. Query/400 makes it possible for IT to access data, but its ability to report on data is lacking. Additionally, outputting data is challenging, and as a result, it’s difficult to meet a business user’s need for flexible formats. To get more out of your data, pair a more powerful data access tool or solution with your IBM i.

A modern data access solution works with your IBM i to give you maximum functionality in data access and reporting. Sequel Data Access is one such tool, and it delivers usable data in flexible formats that IBM i commands Query/400 simply can’t deliver.

Ready to Learn More?

For more information on making the most out of your IBM i databases:

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