K3S Recommendations

Sections in This Document

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the K3S Recommendations Guide. From our years of experience working with customers who ask many similar questions, we have devised this document to help proactively answer those questions. The following list of recommendations can help you optimize your operating systems and prevent security breaches, saving you the time and money that is often required to correct these issues reactively.

This wide-ranging document covers multiple topics as they relate to the segments of your company that K3S works with to accomplish your buying goals. Some of these suggestions are specific to the buying department, but others are beneficial to other departments as well. Customers who enact these suggestions find greater success with their K3S purchasing solutions.

K3S can answer questions about these recommendations, as well as provide referrals to additional vendors who can help you accomplish them.

PURCHASING

  • Buying department regularly follows K3S best practices for purchasing The K3S Team has developed a list of 10 best practices for the buying department to ensure its K3S application is utilized as effectively as possible. This document is available on our wiki site (https://wiki.k3s.com), but is also often printed on K3S training materials (such as mouse pads).
  • Buying department is retrained every two years by K3S. With turnover, skill atrophy and performance complacency, it is important to invest in the education of the buyers to get the most out of your K3S investment. This means enlisting K3S to work with and refresh buyers’ skills every two years at minimum.
  • Each buyer has access to its own modern, updated workstation. K3S builds its software applications to take advantage of the newest web technologies. To ensure the best user interaction, K3S recommends a workstation with the following minimum attributes:
    • Windows 10 or macOS
    • Intel i3 or i5 or i7 processor (most computers released in past 4 years)
    • 8GB of RAM minimum (16GB recommended)
    • Google Chrome Browser
    • Minimum resolution 1440x900 (1900x1200 recommended)

MANAGEMENT

  • Company has a company-wide or per location buying strategy. It is important that each company (or each location, depending on company setup) develops an overall buying strategy in relation to service levels for various groups, alternate source opportunities, and forward buy opportunities. K3S can provide consulting services to help you develop a strategy that best fits your needs.
  • Company considers Alternate Source strategy. Alternate Source purchasing can be a very effective way for companies to increase profit on purchased products through strategic selection of vendors that offer lower priced opportunities. Some customers have seen an ROI of 10x-15x with a proper Alternate Source strategy.
  • Management sets buyer performance targets. Management should set specific targets for each buyer to ensure that the company’s buying strategies are being properly pursued. In order for the targets to be realistic and effective, they should be individually tailored to each buyer.
  • Management reviews monthly reports on buying department to create accountability. Monitoring buyers is a key component of a successful buying department. K3S offers a large swath of reports to inspect buyers’ status.

TECHNOLOGY

  • IBM i OS is running 7.3. The IBM i OS, like any operating system or software product, is best utilized with the latest mainstream release. Version 7.3 has many optimizations built into its code that can benefit every part of your company. If you do not have 7.3 it takes a lot of planning to upgrade. Each piece of software must be inspected for compatibility with 7.3 as well as the licensing to run it. Replenish and ReStore always runs on the latest version of IBM i OS, and upgrading to the newer OS on the same hardware does not incur any fee.
  • The latest IBM i PTFs are installed on a quarterly schedule. PTFs released by IBM contain fixes, security enhancements, new abilities and speed improvements for your current IBM i OS. As with any software product, keeping up to date with your patches and improvements takes planning and commitment to a schedule.
  • At least two CPU cores are activated for the K3S partition and SMP software product is installed and activated. Replenish and ReStore are intensive, database query-heavy applications. Even our smaller installs have tables with millions of records that can take time to process. With two CPU cores activated and the SMP software product installed and the option set to *OPTIMIZE, the system can use multiple cores for queries. This has a system-wide effect and improvement extends beyond just your K3S software solutions. Limited processing power on a partition can be a large cause of any application’s slow response time.
  • Proper subsystems are created and allowed for separation of different processes. To give each application in your system the server resources it needs to accomplish its tasks, it is best to create the proper subsystems and assign them as needed. This can help prevent bottlenecks by keeping processor-intensive programs from occurring in the same queue.
  • The server has been configured with SSD or upgraded to SSD hard drives. New hardware technology for hard drives can make a significant impact on your system performance for any application, but especially in K3S applications as they are I/O intensive. SSDs are ‘Solid State Drives’ that offer response and performance far above the older technology. All of your applications will load and perform signifigantly faster with SSDs. K3S applications load multiple queries on each page load on tables with millions of records. The response time for users is dramatically improved with SSDs.

SECURITY

  • The latest PTFs are installed on a quarterly schedule. PTFs released by IBM contain fixes, security enhancements, new abilities and speed improvements to your current OS. As with any software product, keeping up to date with your patches and improvements takes planning and commitment to a schedule.
  • Licensed experts perform a security audit. Any company can experience security cracks that could allow malicious activity. It is recommended with any setup to complete an audit at least once to close all practical areas of entry.
  • The entire network is behind a firewall and all external access occurs through a VPN or encrypted connection. Today, with the constant threat of hacker intrusion, securing your network behind a firewall is one of the smartest initial steps you can take toward eliminating the threat of data loss. Any access needed to your local network and server is best served by connecting to a VPN to reach your internal data.