The manageable, highly available IBM i is the solution for today's information-driven fast-paced business environment. IBM i can provide your company with a serious competitive advantage over competitors running less stable, less scaleable, less reliable, and less manageable platforms.

Platform manageability is an increasingly important part of the initial buying decision. You don't want to base your business on a platform that can't be managed – particularly with the rapid delivery of new and changing technologies, e-business and Web opportunities, the 24 hour a day services required by your customers, and business decisions. Today's buyers need to ensure that they can manage their platforms and environments in the event of power outages, have the ability to plan for seasonal computational needs or monitor key resources, and the need to be as efficient as possible with their IS staff. This is what IBM i platform manageability is all about – providing a set of solution options to meet the needs of today's business.

IBM tools to manage i:

Partner tools to help manage IBM i

Additional information

Performance management provides the capabilities for customers to understand and manage the performance of their computing environments.

To support these capabilities, products and tools, data collection facilities, and instrumentation are required.

Size and complexity of customer computing environments - client/server, cooperative and distributed applications, distributed data, local and wide area networks, Web/intranet/internet, third-party and home-grown applications, heterogeneous computing resources - all place ongoing demands on the capabilities for understanding and managing performance.

Technologies supporting these capabilities include: GUI, automation, data base, performance data visualisation, correlation (establishing the relationship among pieces of data that originate from different sources), decomposition (breaking down a time measurement, e.g. response time, into its components), and standards.

Performance Data Collectors -- There are four collectors on IBM i that collect performance related data and store the information in database files, each having their own unique characteristics: Collection Services, IBM i Job Watcher, IBM i Disk Watcher, and Performance Explorer.

Performance Data Investigator (PDI) -- Use the Investigate Data task found in the web-based IBM Navigator for i to view and analyse the data collected from any of the four data collectors found on IBM i: Collection Services, Job Watcher, Performance Explorer, and Disk Watcher. This powerful tool allows you the ability to work with the data interactively in chart or table form. It also includes the Batch Model and Graph History functions.

iDoctor for IBM i (US) -- A family of products (including Job Watcher, PEX Analyzer, and Heap Analysis Tools for Java) focused on assessing the overall health of a system by providing automated analysis on a variety of performance related data.

PM for Power Systems (US) -- A tool that can automatically collect system utilisation information and can produce regular reports which show the utilisation and growth trends of your system.

Performance and Scalability Services (US) -- Plan and prepare for changes in the data centre when using the IBM i operating system on Power Systems hardware with help from IBM Systems Lab Services and Training. Whether assessing how an application performs when moving to the next release, determining the impact of application changes or understanding the benefits of new hardware, our team provides the hardware located in the Performance and Scalability Services Center in Rochester, MN, configured to your specifications, to test applications and evaluate performance benefits and scalability capabilities.

Benchmark Center (US) -- Services available in Poughkeepsie, NY and Montpellier, France to assist you with the measurement and validation of system performance.

Performance tools for IBM i

The Performance Tools for IBM i product includes the collectors, commands and a set of useful tools for viewing, analyzing, reporting and graphing performance data. This includes:

Investigate Data task within IBM Navigator for i (also known as Performance Data Investigator or PDI) which provides reports and graphs for the above collections as well as Batch Model and Graph History functions

Performance Explorer

The Performance Explorer is a data collection and reporting tool that helps performance analysts identify the cause of performance problems that cannot be identified by other tools in the IBM i operating system or by most of the reporting facilities in the Performance Tools for IBM i product. The collection function in the Performance Explorer is included in the IBM i operating system. The reporting function is a special advanced type of performance report that is available only through the Performance Tools for IBM i licensed product.

Power System servers are regarded as one of the industry's most scalable and highly integrated servers. IBM i automates a majority of the storage management tasks with state of the art disk storage subsystems, self-managing and easy to use interfaces, and sophisticated software automation such as:

Power Systems IBM i servers are renowned for high volume transaction workloads that are typical in the commercial computing environment. This scalability and performance can be provided by either the self-optimising integrated storage management architecture of IBM i or through SAN attached storage.

Virtual optical library and transition from 3995, 3996, and 399F

  • Image Catalog optical media library for archive

    New capabilities are available to provide virtual optical library support with the IBM i 7.1 image catalog, easing transitions from IBM 3995, IBM 3996 and Plasmon optical libraries. These capabilities are available through an IBM Lab Services Offering and PTFs beginning in i 7.1.

    The image catalog optical media library (virtual optical library) is an alternative to physical optical libraries that attach to the IBM i for use as an archive storage repository with existing applications. Because this offering is based on virtual optical media stored in IFS directories, it has no dependencies on optical library hardware or host system adapters that can no longer be purchased. It is compatible with the latest POWER systems hardware and IBM i operating system versions. It maintains current application interfaces, so it offers a migration path from existing optical library media and preserves optical library enabled application investments.

    Image Catalog support is extended in i 7.1 to support loading a catalog to a 632B-001 virtual optical device in library mode. This enhancement of Image Catalog function enables the virtual optical device to function as a virtual optical library, and all volumes in the library-mode catalog are visible and accessible through the /QOPT file-system with no application changes. New virtual optical media types WORM and ERASE are also supported to emulate the characteristics of corresponding physical optical library media and facilitate compliance with data retention requirements.

    High speed migration of existing optical library media to the virtual device is supported with Image Catalog functions. New media images can also be created for ongoing archive production usage. Image Catalogs can be moved off-line or saved using backup/recovery strategies or individual volume images can be duplicated to recordable DVD media.

  • Using image catalog for enhanced optical library data migration

    New capabilities are available that enhance the process and speed of data migration from optical library devices on the IBM i. These capabilities are available through a Lab Services Offering and PTFs beginning in V5R4M5.

  • IBM 3995 migration to POWER7

Virtual optical devices and device virtualisation

  • 632B – Virtual optical devices

    Virtual optical using image catalog
    Device type 632B model 001 is a virtual optical device that uses image catalog images.

    Virtual optical using the Network File System
    Device type 632B model 003 is a virtual optical device that uses images shared with the Network File System.

  • 632C – Client virtual optical devices

    Client virtual optical devices are optical devices that are hosted or served by another system partition. The devices on the serving system partition may be physical optical devices or may be virtual optical devices.

    Supported serving/hosting Operating Systems

  • Embedded media changer

    Embedded media changer emulation, now available for IBM i 7.1, extends the automatic media switching capability of virtual optical device type 632B on IBM i virtual I/O serving partitions to the associated virtual optical device type 632C on IBM i client partitions.

3996 Optical Library with 30 GB and 60 GB UDO™

DVD Device and Media support

  • DVD Notes

    We currently support 3 DVD-RAM and 2 DVD-ROM internal drive types. All of these drives support reading CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-ROM (DVD5, DVD9, DVD10, and DVD18), 2.6GB/5.2GB, and 4.7GB/9.4GB DVD-RAM media. Double sided media require the media to be flipped in the drive to access the second side.

    All DVD-RAM drives support writing 4.7GB/9.4GB DVD-RAM media. Only 1 drive supports writing to the 2.6GB/5.2GB DVD-RAM media (must be in a cartridge). These drives are also available as external units (Bridge box or Multi-bay storage device enclosure).

    Bridge Boxes: IBM 7210 Model 025 DVD-RAM drive IBM 7210 Model 030 DVD-RAM drive Multi-bay storage device enclosure: IBM 7212 Model 102 IBM 7212 Model 103 House up to two drives and can be any combination of the feature codes below.


    When writing DVD-RAM media, i5 OS has ranked data integrity as the highest priority. To ensure this, we disable the drive's "Write Cache" function and write with a verify pass. This implementation results in a fairly large performance cost. When evaluating drive write speeds such as 2X, 3X, 5X(future), or 8X(future), you will see incremental improvement but will not attain these rated performance numbers.

    System Saves

    Most systems have a small window of time for their system back-ups. In most instances, tape is a preferred solution over DVD-RAM due to the slower write performance discussed above. When writing to DVD-RAM and using system compression, you will average a 3:1 compression ratio. With this, a single 4.7GB DVD-RAM media can save about 13GB of data in an unattended save mode. This may be suitable for backing up smaller iSeries models.

  • DVD IBM i internal devices
  • DVD IBM i external devices

    1 Bridege Box - stand alone enclosure that contains one device. Desk top or rack mount. (rack shelf kit, FC 8723).
    2 Multi-bay Storage Enclosure - 1U enclosure that holds up to two devices. Desk top or rack mount.
    3 Use of a cleaning kit could damage the drive.

  • DVD IBM i device system support
  • DVD-RAM media

    DVD-RAM Media


  • Applications

    The System i is the leading IBM Server in the utilisation of 3995 optical storage for data archive. Following are links to IBM software that use archive storage to enable very large amounts of data to be economically online.

  • Backup

    Online archive storage, like all DASD, should be regularly backed up to maintain complete data security and integrity. Five options are available to support backing up your optical data. For complete details, please refer to Optical Volume Backup in the Storage Solutions (Optical) (PDF, 1.8 MB) topic of Information Center.

System Models, I/O Adapters, and Cables

Software Level and PTF Requirements

Supported Optical hardware

Required IBM i PTFs and hardware feature information

I/O Processor and Adapter Support

Ultra Density Optical (UDO™)

Supported Optical hardware

Hardware feature information

I/O Processor and Adapter Support

System Models, I/O Adapters, and Cables

Media and format compatibility

System i DVD-RAM Media Support

System i DVD-RAM Media Support by Device