IBM i 7.4 TR4 offers enhanced performance, usability, and integration

IBM United States Software Announcement 221-073
April 13, 2021

Table of contents
OverviewOverviewTechnical informationTechnical information
Key requirementsKey requirementsOrdering informationOrdering information
Planned availability datePlanned availability dateTerms and conditionsTerms and conditions
Program numberProgram numberOrder nowOrder now


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IBM® i integrates a trusted combination of relational database, security, web services, networking, and storage management capabilities. It delivers a broad and highly stable database and middleware foundation for efficiently deploying business applications.

IBM i 7.4 Technology Refresh 4 delivers the following new features and capabilities for small, midsized, and large companies:

  • IBM Db2® for i is enhanced to help enable new capabilities for database engineers to programmatically supervise the SQL Query Engine.
  • IBM i Services, the SQL alternative to APIs and CL commands, provide enhanced productivity and insight to all IBM i users.
  • Clustering is enhanced to allow the user to view or monitor the progress of a switchover of a Cluster Resource Group. Each step of the switchover is written to a cluster log file.
  • Save/Restore is enhanced to save time by automatically bypassing ENDSBS command processing if the system is already in a restricted state.
  • IBM i Common Cryptographic Architecture Cryptographic Service Provider (CCA CSP), delivered as IBM i Option 35, now includes support for Release 5.6.x for CCA for the IBM 4767 Cryptographic Coprocessor.
  • IBM Rational® Development Studio for i provides several new features for the RPG programming language.
  • IBM Db2 Mirror for i adds security, Db2 for i performance improvements, and support for new objects.
  • IBM Backup, Recovery, and Media Services for i (BRMS) adds new functionality based on user requests.
  • IBM PowerHA® SystemMirror® for i brings a new set of enhancements centered around switchover, automation, and simplification.
  • IBM i supports the hardware and I/O that are being announced on April 13, 2021, providing operational efficiency and increased configuration flexibility.

The Description section includes detailed information about these new functions and enhancements for this release.

For additional information on the IBM i 7.4 TR4 enhancements, see the following:

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Key requirements

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IBM i 7.4 TR4 is supported on selected IBM Power® Systems servers with IBM POWER9™ and POWER8® technology-based processors.

Clients using blades or IBM PureFlex® systems, and those using servers with IBM POWER7, IBM POWER7+, or earlier processors, need to move to newer systems to take advantage of the features in IBM i 7.4 TR4.

For up-to-date information on all types of code levels needed for support of a particular feature, see the IBM Prerequisite website.

See the Technical Information section for specific hardware and software prerequisites.

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Planned availability date

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April 16, 2021

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Db2 for i

Db2 for i, the integrated database for IBM i, is known for containing the attributes valued by business computing solutions. Db2 for i is enhanced to include new capabilities for database engineers to programmatically supervise the SQL Query Engine.

To learn more about these and other Db2 for i enhancements, see the database section of the IBM Db2 for i - Technology Updates wiki page.

Db2 for i enhancements

With this update, Db2 for i now offers a Query Supervisor feature. The Query Supervisor gives clients the ability to establish automated controls for supervising the on-going consumption of system resources by SQL Query Engine (SQE) activity.

User-established threshold levels for CPU consumption and other criteria guide the Query Supervisor. When a threshold is met, a user-supplied exit program is called during query execution. The exit program can initiate immediate notification, log the detail, terminate the query, or otherwise take immediate action.

The Query Supervisor feature will be delivered with the Db2 for i PTF group (SF99704) on May 14, 2021. For more information, see the Db2 for i 2021 PTF Group Schedule support page.

Db2 for i Services

Db2 for i continues the tradition of providing advanced and easy-to-use tooling to the database engineer by providing new procedures, such as:

  • GENERATE_SQL and GENERATE_SQL_OBJECTS: These procedures, used to generate the SQL statements for corresponding database objects, are enhanced to include an option to direct the output to an IFS stream file
  • CLEAR_PLAN_CACHE: This procedure, which removes plans from the SQL Plan Cache, is enhanced to give the caller the ability to clear specific plans, providing a granular and programmatic tool for plan management
  • DUMP_PLAN_CACHE_TOPN: This procedure, which captures deep detail about the most expensive SQL queries, is enhanced to include dump categories, allowing the DBE to easily focus on the top consumers of CPU, storage, and other resource categories

These and other enhancements are delivered with the Db2 for i PTF group (SF99704) on May 14, 2021.

For complete details on these enhancements and other Db2 for i Services enhancements, see the IBM i Technology Updates wiki.

IBM i Services

IBM i Services are the strategic method for gaining access to IBM i objects, system information, and much more. Leveraging the power of SQL and the Db2 for i SQL Query Engine (SQE), application developers, database engineers, and system managers can now explore IBM i objects and data in ways that were not possible with previous technologies.

In this technology refresh, these IBM i Services are added and enhanced, providing useful SQL-based alternatives to IBM i commands and APIs, such as:

  • NVME_INFO: Provides essential fuel gauge and related details on NVMe devices, providing a simple-to-consume solution for device management.
  • SYSDISKSTAT: The service that provides statistical insight into spinning disk and solid-state drives (SSD) is enhanced to include fuel gauge detail for SSD devices.
  • OBJECT_STATISTICS: This popular and powerful table function is used to find objects and is enhanced for improved performance through support for generic object names.
  • SECURITY_INFO: Using SQL to manage security takes a step forward with this new view that provides one plate to look for the current IBM i security configuration.
  • USER_SPACE_INFO and USER_INDEX_INFO: New views that provide details and attributes about user spaces and user indexes.
  • USER_SPACE and USER_INDEX_ENTRIES: New table functions that can be used to query the contents of user spaces and user indexes.
  • MESSAGE_QUEUE_INFO: The table function is documented and enhanced to include a message type filter, providing a performance-advantaged approach to finding specific messages.
  • QCMDEXC: The scalar function is added, providing an essential building block for clients to modernize SQL-based systems management solutions.
  • System Limits: New controls are provided that enable IBM i clients to control the system limits alerting capability. The alerting support is expanded to include more system limits.
  • ACTIVE_JOB_INFO: The SQL alternative to WRKACTJOB is enhanced by adding return columns for the job name, job user, and job number, which makes it much easier to search and subset active job detail.


Db2 for i provides working examples and tools in the SYSTOOLS schema. Like previous technology refreshes, SYSTOOLS is enhanced with tools to help clients move forward with extreme automation using SQL:

  • GENERATE_PDF: The table function is pointed to a spooled file and a PDF file is produced into a user-specified location within the IFS.
  • CHANGE_USER_PROFILE: The table function can be used to evaluate or deploy changes to one or more user profiles, greatly easing the complexity in managing user-based security.
  • Audit journal functions: Table functions unique to specific audit journal entry types are added to SYSTOOLS. The table functions return the basic audit journal detail, but also extract the entry-specific detail into easily consumed return columns.

Additional information

For complete details on these enhancements and other IBM i Services enhancements, see the IBM i Technology Updates wiki.

Base operating system

Clustering enhancement - Switch-over progress monitoring

Previously, when a system administrator requested switch-over of a Cluster Resource Group, the only notification would be the one to indicate the switch-over had completed, along with error messages if the request had failed. Any switch-over may take some time to complete and involves many steps. A new feature is added to Cluster Resource Groups by writing an entry to a cluster log file for each step of the switch-over so that the user can monitor the progress of the switch-over and determine how long each step takes. This new function will be available in a PTF by June 30, 2021.

See General IBM i Operating System in the IBM i Technology Updates wiki for more details.

Save/Restore enhancement - Improvement to Restricted State Processing for GO SAVE and GO RESTORE

A recent PTF enhancement improves restricted state processing when performing the GO SAVE and GO RESTORE menu options 21, 22, 23, and GO LICPGM menu option 40.

The ENDSBS command is processed as part of the GO SAVE or GO RESTORE menu options 21, 22, 23, and GO LICPGM option 40. Traditionally, while in an unattended mode, the ENDSBS command was issued even if the system was already in a restricted state. The ability to manually bypass the ENDSBS command was offered only while in an attended mode, and only for user data menu option 23 of the GO SAVE and GO RESTORE menus.

With the application of the new PTF, a pre-check will be performed to automatically bypass the ENDSBS command processing if the system is already in a restricted state. This applies to both attended and unattended modes. The advantage is avoiding the unneeded ENDSBS processing, thereby saving time. An additional benefit is that it can avoid ending limited mode TCP/IP services that can operate while the system is in a restricted state.

See Improvement to Restricted State Processing for GO SAVE and GO RESTORE in the IBM i Technology Updates wiki for more details.

IBM i CCA CSP enhancements

IBM i CCA CSP, delivered as IBM i Option 35, is updated to support Release 5.6.x for CCA from 5.3.x for the IBM 4767 Cryptographic Coprocessor.

This support is provided with IBM i PTFs, which will be available by June 30, 2021. For the latest information, including PTF numbers, see IBM i Security in the IBM i Technology Updates wiki.


Rational Development Studio (5770-WDS)

IBM is delivering key new features requested by RPG developers. The following features are included in this update:

  • %LOWER and %UPPER built-in functions convert contents of a char variable from lowercase to uppercase or vice versa
  • %SPLIT built-in function splits a string into an array
  • %MAXARR and %MINARR return the index of the maximum or minimum element of an array

For more information about details and updates, see the RPG Cafe website.

Db2 Mirror for i enhancements (5770-DBM)

The Db2 Mirror product provides continuous availability for IBM i clients. The Db2 Mirror feature in IBM i 7.4 TR4 provides additional security, Db2 performance improvements, and support for new objects.


The Analyze Profile Activity (ANZPRFACT) command has been updated to consider Db2 Mirror environments. Prior to this enhancement, ANZPRFACT would consider activity only on the node where the command executed. This could cause active profiles on the other node to become disabled. This enhancement will now be multi-node aware and disable profiles only if there is no activity on either Db2 Mirror node.

Db2 for i performance improvements

Db2 for i has been enhanced to increase performance in a Db2 Mirror environment. Performance improvements vary based on application and database architectures. See IBM Db2 Mirror for i: Performance Considerations for additional information.

New objects supported

Data Queue entries are now supported in addition to the data queue itself. This is selected by the data queue and managed by the Replication Criteria List.

User Index and User Space objects can now also be replicated with Db2 Mirror. For more information on these new objects that can be replicated, see the Db2 Mirror topic.

BRMS for i (5770-BR1)

BRMS for i 7.2 and later has several enhancements:

  • New SQL services that provide similar views of BRMS log information as those provided by the DSPLOGBRM command.
  • BRMS network sync job improves performance by reducing the number of journal entries processed.
  • Improved cloud support for Network Installations using Network File Systems.
  • Integrated support for full system backups using IBM i iSCSI supported devices.

For BRMS 7.4, these enhancements are available with PTF SI74479.

PowerHA SystemMirror for i (5770-HAS)

PowerHA SystemMirror for i 7.4 TR4 brings a new set of enhancements centered around switchover, automation, and simplification.

Streamlined switchovers

PowerHA continues to provide simple and easy switchovers. The latest enhancements provide simplified node selection with automated recovery domain management with the ability to monitor detailed switchover and failover progress from a single node.

FlashCopy® automation

FlashSystem FlashCopy technologies are enhanced with integrated automation to simplify FlashCopy operations. Previously, Flashcopy automation required externally developed tools and scripts that performed multi-node operations.

Additional enhancements

PowerHA SystemMirror for i 7.4 TR4 offers additional enhancements, including:

  • Continued simplified management of PowerHA with interactive prompting
  • Additional simplified commands that provide contextual F4 prompt options that are optimized for a specific environment and configuration

For more information on these enhancements and to get started, see the IBM PowerHA SystemMirror for i wiki page.

The PowerHA enhancements will be available on June 25, 2021.

Hardware and I/O topics

With IBM i 7.4 TR4, IBM i supports new hardware and I/O offerings for Power Systems:

  • 12-core POWER9 processor option for Scale Out 2U servers
  • IBM i as a client of Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) for configurations with new 2-port, 32 GB and 4-port, 16 GB Fibre Channel adapters
  • Enterprise PCIe4 NVMe disk in U.2 form factor with a new lower capacity of 800 GB
  • New mainstream SAS SSDs
  • New enterprise SAS SSDs

See the Hardware and Firmware support page in the IBM i Technology Updates wiki for more details.

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Reference information

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For information about IBM i 7.3 TR10, see Software Announcement 221-074, dated April 13, 2021.

For additional information about hardware and I/O, see:

  • Hardware Announcement 121-013, dated April 13, 2021, IBM Power Systems enhancements
  • Hardware Announcement 121-001, dated April 13, 2021, Hardware Management Console (7063-CR2) based on POWER® technology

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Program number

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Program number VRM Program name
5770-SS1 7.4 IBM i 7.4 TR4

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Offering Information

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Product information is available on the IBM Offering Information website.

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Software Services

IBM Software Services has the breadth, depth, and reach to manage your services needs. You can leverage the deep technical skills of the lab-based software services team and the business consulting, project management, and infrastructure expertise of the IBM Global Services team. Also, IBM extends the reach of IBM Software Services through IBM Business Partners to provide an extensive portfolio of capabilities. IBM provides the global reach, intellectual capital, industry insight, and technology leadership to support a wide range of critical business needs.

To learn more about IBM Software Services, contact your Lab Services Sales or Delivery Leader.

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Technical information

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Specified operating environment

Hardware requirements

IBM i 7.4 TR4 is supported on select Power Systems servers with POWER9 or POWER8 processors. Clients using blades or IBM PureFlex systems, and those using servers with POWER7, POWER7+, or earlier processors, need to move to newer systems to take advantage of the features in IBM i 7.4 TR4.

For up-to-date information about all types of code levels needed for support of a particular feature, see the IBM Prerequisite website.

For additional information, see the System to IBM i maps website.

Software requirements

To find the supporting technical details and software requirements for IBM i 7.4, see the TR4 enhancements website.

IBM Support

IBM Support is your gateway to technical support tools and resources that are designed to help you save time and simplify support. IBM Support can help you find answers to questions, download fixes, troubleshoot, submit and track problem cases, and build skills. Learn and stay informed about the transformation of IBM Support, including new tools, new processes, and new capabilities, by going to the IBM Support Insider.

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This offering is delivered through the internet and as physical media.

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Ordering information

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Consult your IBM representative.

Charge metric

Not applicable.

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Terms and conditions

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The information provided in this announcement letter is for reference and convenience purposes only. The terms and conditions that govern any transaction with IBM are contained in the applicable contract documents such as the IBM International Program License Agreement, IBM International Passport Advantage® Agreement, and the IBM Agreement for Acquisition of Software Maintenance.


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This software license includes Software Subscription and Support (also referred to as Software Maintenance).

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Software Subscription and Support applies

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While your Software Subscription and Support is in effect, IBM provides you assistance for your routine, short duration installation and usage (how-to) questions, and code-related questions. IBM provides assistance by telephone and, if available, electronic access, only to your information systems (IS) technical support personnel during the normal business hours (published prime shift hours) of your IBM support center. (This assistance is not available to your end users.) IBM provides Severity 1 assistance 24 hours a day, every day of the year. For additional details, go to the IBM Support Handbooks page.

Software Subscription and Support does not include assistance for the design and development of applications, your use of programs in other than their specified operating environment, or failures caused by products for which IBM is not responsible under this agreement.

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System i Software Maintenance applies


Variable charges apply


Educational allowance available

Yes. A 15% education allowance applies to qualified education institution clients.

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Statement of good security practices

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IT system security involves protecting systems and information through intrusion prevention, detection, and response to improper access from within and outside your enterprise. Improper access can result in information being altered, destroyed, or misappropriated or can result in misuse of your systems to attack others. Without a comprehensive approach to security, no IT system or product should be considered completely secure and no single product or security measure can be completely effective in preventing improper access. IBM systems and products are designed to be part of a regulatory compliant, comprehensive security approach, which will necessarily involve additional operational procedures, and may require other systems, products, or services to be most effective.

Important: IBM does not warrant that any systems, products, or services are immune from, or will make your enterprise immune from, the malicious or illegal conduct of any party.

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Not applicable.

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IBM Global Financing offerings are provided through IBM Credit LLC in the United States, and other IBM subsidiaries and divisions worldwide to qualified commercial and government clients. Rates are based on a client's credit rating, financing terms, offering type, equipment type, and options, and may vary by country. Other restrictions may apply. Rates and offerings are subject to change, extension, or withdrawal without notice.

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