Prior to OS/400 V5R1, administrators were locked into a fairly familiar pattern when starting TCP/IP. On pre-V5R1 machines, you generally have to add the following Start TCP/IP (STRTCP) command to your startup program to make sure that TCP/IP was activated when you IPL'd your machine:
Using its default settings, STRTCP activates your iSeries and AS/400 TCP/IP interfaces; it also initializes and starts any OS/400 TCP/IP servers that are set to AUTOSTART whenever TCP/IP is started. To see these default settings, type in STRTCP and press F4 for parameter prompting. To automatically activate TCP/IP, you had to add this command to your OS/400 startup program (the location of which is defined in the startup program system variable, QSTRUPPGM).
With V5R1, IBM has added a new parameter to its IPL attributes that allows you to start TCP/IP upon an OS/400 IPL without having to edit the startup program. IPL attributes are used by your system to perform certain functions when IPLing. Among other things, these attributes control what type of hardware diagnostics should be performed during an IPL, whether or not OS/400 should clear output queues, whether incomplete joblogs should be cleared from the system, and whether OS/400 should automatically start any printer writers that are designated for AUTOSTART. To see your IPL attributes, enter the Change IPL Attributes (CHGIPLA) command from a command line, as follows:
This brings up your current settings and -- if you're running V5R1 -- you'll see a new parameter called Start TCP/IP. When you enter *YES into that parameter and press the ENTER key, it tells OS/400 to automatically start TCP/IP whenever you IPL. It's a simple change IBM slipped into V5R1, and Big Blue even set Start TCP/IP to *YES on a brand-new V5R1 iSeries box I was recently working with. Be careful, however, if you set this parameter on a machine you've upgraded to V5R1. On an upgrade, you may want to double-check your startup program to insure that you're not attempting to start TCP/IP twice whenever you IPL (once in the startup program and once in your IPL attributes). You should also be careful in how you set the other IPL attributes because -- depending on the attributes you set -- you could add extra time to your OS/400 IPL.
It's nice to see that it's not always the big changes that IBM focuses on in a release upgrade. Sometimes it's a small thing that shows you IBM still pays attention to details, by trying to group related functionality -- in this case, system tasks that are started during IPL -- in one place.
About the author: Joe Hertvik is an IT professional and freelance writer who has been working with OS/400 since the days of the System/38 in the mid-1980s. Joe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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