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Windows 10 & IBM i

In this resource article, we wish to take you through how Microsoft Windows 10 and the IBM i can work together.

As FormaServe are Microsoft Partners, we had the opportunity to review the Windows 10 Technology Preview. For this article, testing was performed on build B10041. The applications I intended to check were System i Access, Rational Developer for i, System i Navigator, HMC access, data transfers, PHP connectivity.

To save having to wipe desktops and re-install previous versions of Windows, we utilised a virtual machine on a laptop. For this, I used Microsoft Hyper-V™ software.

This new OS can be seen in the figure below.

Windows 10

System i Access for Windows

The first task was to install the latest version System i Access for Windows, Version 7.1. Installation was fast and non-eventful.

Windows 10

As with Windows 7 & 8, the AFP and SCS printer drivers do not automatically install, if you need these drivers, follow the instructions here ...

On installing the latest service packs, it was necessary to install the Visual C++ Redistribute software from Microsoft. As I had a 64-bit Windows 10 version, I had to install both the 32-bit and 64-bit Visual C++ software. Once this pre-requisite had been installed, the latest service pack SI55797 whizzed on.

Now we have, System i Access installed, on with the testing!

I would say the main use of System i Access, is 5250 connectivity. Using previous versions of windows, I have had a few problems with 5250 sessions signing on automatically using my Windows account details. Windows 10 gave me no such problems, both display and printer sessions fired up quickly and ready for use.

Data Transfer

Another popular feature of System i Access is data transfer. A quick download of our car file produced the results we wanted.

Windows 10

The output results, in HTML format, are shown below.

Windows 10

I am not sure anyone is going to own up to having a pink Audi TT!

System i Navigator

Now onto System i Navigator, or iNav for ease. All connectivity to our partitions performed seamlessly. When doing the system scan, it stated that additional plugins were available for BRMS and performance tools, these were additionally installed. The next test was to access service tools from the GUI, not something I do that often to be honest, but a very useful tool for system admins.

The graphic view of our servers' disk units was successfully displayed.

Windows 10

Rational Developer for IBM i

Next on the testing list was our favourite development tool, RDi (If it is not, let us know, maybe we should do an article on that!)

RDi version was the software I used for this testing. Once we had the latest version of Installation Manager (1.8.2), RDi did not have any install problems, easier than many Rational installs I have completed!

Now, let's try using it!

Windows 10

Firstly, using RDi's excellent import function, I quickly and easily imported all my connections and settings – thanks for that IBM!

No problems were found with editing, compiling and moving objects between partitions.

Browser Access

Now onto the browser access. As some of you may know, Internet Explorer in Windows 10 is 'brown bread' as we say in London and will be replaced with Project Spartan. Project Spartan was not available on the build 10041 of Windows 10 so I had to upgrade to build 10061, and here we have Spartan.

Entering the URL for our HMC into Spartan came up with a certificate error, just as we have all seen with Internet Explorer. However, I could not get around this by taking the link to ignore the certificate error.

Windows 10

Adding the HMC certificate manually, did not resolve this issue, therefore we had no remote HMC access.

Using a PHP application running on our IBM i (written in house using Zend Framework) using Spartan as the client produced an authentication problem straight away. The application uses Apache authentication which prompts for an IBM i User ID and password. Spartan by-passed this Apache directive totally so we were not able to access our application using Spartan.

Windows 10

If I used Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10, the application, along with the Authentication prompting, ran successfully.

Windows 10

PHP Applications

Our application, running on Zend Server, as intended is shown in the figure below.

Windows 10


Therefore, in my conclusion, unless you need, or intend to us use Spartan, Windows 10 did not cause me any problems doing my normal development role. The end result from my limited testing so far is that, unless you intend to use Spartan (in its current form), Windows 10 should not pose many issues to your continued IBM i productivity.

Yes, Spartan caused issues, but it is very early days for this new technology. I am sure Spartan will be a lot more stable before it is finally released to the public. The issues I encountered with Spartan access have been reported to Microsoft, and I await their response.

The Legal Stuff

Windows 10 Technical Preview may be substantially modified before it is commercially released. We make no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here.

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