First Option Newsletter

April 2017

Our Spring newsletter will focus on IBM i Cloud Hosting and our business partner MindSHIFT. The Cloud is a hot topic right now and we have some great articles for review.

Some of you may be thinking of going to the Cloud and we want to provide as much information possible to help you make your decision one way or the other. If you are already on our Cloud version we have a virtual tour of the data center and some case studies that are worth viewing. 

I have also started a blog on what to look for in a hosting service provider and tips on how to go about your search, which will be in our next edition. This will also go out in an email blast as well, if you or anyone on your staff would like to receive our blasts, please send me the email addresses. This info is also available on our social media and the help desk news section. 

On the IBM front, as a reminder, IBM will no longer provide maintenance for the Power 5 Systems as of January 2019. IBM released their 1st quarter results and are showing a strong growth in the Cloud with a slight decline in hardware sales.  IBM 1st Quarter

First Option programmers and consultants have been busy with a number of projects for the existing Financial customers as well as some other good sized engagements. If you have a project or interface that you need assistance with, please reach out and we can provide a quote. Also, the GUI version is available for those of you still using the green screen version, we would be happy to give you a demo and quote. 

On a personal note, Paul and I adopted two rescue puppies this past October. We had lost our beloved GSD, Ava a couple months before, at the age of 10 and decided saving a rescue would be a great tribute. Sure enough we went to meet one pup and ended up with two! They are both from different litters. Jax (white dog) is a husky cattle dog mix and Teagan (black and tan) is a lab/rottie mix. Both are reservation rescue dogs, one from northern Arizona and the other Gallup, New Mexico. They are lots of fun, sweet, and growing like crazy!

I have also included some important news from Paychex regarding some of the regulations that will affect businesses in 2017. 

Kind Regards,


  KB2Are All IBM i Cloud Hosting Providers the Same?
Your IBM i administrator/programmer has just announced retirement.  She is a 30 year veteran that performs your backups, server management, and knows your application.  She is also a key player in your Disaster Recovery plan.

This will be a very hard person to replace.

Based on the capital outlay and terms available for cloud services an IBM i Power Cloud solution makes sense.   It also works well with your future DR plans.

But, Are all IBM i Cloud hosting provider's the same?

The answer is no.

Each IBM i Cloud Hosting provider has their unique offerings and specialties. Some offer Tier levels so you may get in at different price points. Some are hardware vendors only and some are software providers as well. Each data center will be different and you want to pick a vendor that matches your particular needs and requirements. 

Pricing varies as well so make sure you are comparing apples to apples when looking at a quote. For example, number of interactive users, amount of disk, VPNs,  and 24x7 monitoring.

How often will backups be done, will they apply ptfs, do they utilize monitoring software in addition to a 24x7 NOC. What type of processor and how much memory will be available for your company?

Stay tuned for our next post regarding helpful tips on how to find the right IBM i Hosting Provider for your business needs.

If you have any questions or would like us to send you the tips now, email 

MindSHIFT Data Center Tour and Case Study
For those of you who are currently on our cloud hosted product, this is a quick virtual demo of the data center. Also included is a case study by MindSHIFT regarding our mutual business partnership. 

If you are considering moving to our Cloud hosted product, you will find this very interesting and informative. 
  KB2MindSHIFT Blog "Becoming Cloud Minded"

Below is a paragraph taken from MindSHIFT'S blog post. To read the full article click below. 

"According to a recent independent cost-analysis study commissioned by mindSHIFT, respondents felt their primary IT cost categories were hardware infrastructure, software licenses, and software." 
"When asked about the costs included in their IT budgets, over 40% of IT organizations surveyed don't consider staff, consulting services, electricity/HVAC, or rent/facilities as IT costs-possibly under representing the true cost of on-premises vs. cloud environments." 

Great information here and definitely worth the read!
Paychex Article Regarding Top 10 Regulations

Paychex article that details the top 10 regulatory issues in 2017 ranging from health care to Department of Labor regulations and what it means for businesses and employees. I found this very helpful and wanted to share.

Funny Dog Posts

First Option