Have you ever called IBM for help with an IBM i error message and been told there is a PTF for that issue? Maybe you’ve been told you are just too far back in fixes and need to get current before they can help resolve the issue?
If so, you were probably already dreading giving up another weekend to install the updates.
IBM is constantly updating the available Program Temporary Fixes (PTFs) and providing them for those with current support (https://www-947.ibm.com/systems/support/i/fixes/index.html).
But repeatedly updating your system with the latest PTFs is a daunting task and perhaps you can’t even get a suitable outage window more than once or twice each year. With that in mind, it is important to get the right PTFs installed each time.
The key to a successful PTF update is to put the effort into the research ahead of time. The starting point is to review and order the latest cumulative and group PTFs containing all the PTFs related to a software component on your system. These are ordered through IBM’s Fix Central and can be downloaded or ordered on media (https://www-945.ibm.com/support/fixcentral/).
In addition to the groups, there are individual PTFs which may not have made it into the groups that need to be reviewed.
With that in mind, I recommend that you research all the following:
- Review the individual PTFs by topic on IBM’s recommended PTFs link (http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=nas8N1021480 ). Then pick the PTFs that are recommended for various key functions that are not included in the cumulative group you are installing. Make sure to follow the links to the iAccess Windows and Web service packs as well.
- There are also various security vulnerability PTFs available. These can be reviewed by searching on IBM vulnerability PTFs, or, preferably, subscribing to IBM’s “My Notifications” and keeping a log of ongoing vulnerability PTFs (https://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/einfo.html). It is key to review any “Workarounds and Mitigations” these PTFs list as functions on your system may be affected.
- Check with your third-party software providers to see if they have lists of recommended or required PTFs that should be included.
- You can review the PTF cover letters at https://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=nas8N1021943.
- There is also a listing of known defective PTFs that should be reviewed and compared to your currently installed PTFs.
- You will also want to review the current cumulative PTF group installation instructions to see if you need any requisite PTFs in place before the install. If there are PTFs required before the install, you will want to order them separate from the rest of the PTFs.
Once you have identified all the PTFs you need, you can go back to IBM Fix Central and order them.
With all the PTFs in hand you can schedule the update work. As a final note, in case anything does go south, make sure to have a good recovery point (backup before the work) as well as planning to get another backup afterward that will capture all these new fixes.
Once you’ve completed all the planning, that late night or weekend you’d rather be at home will be much smoother.
About the author
Paul Lesle is our Power Systems Technical Team Lead and has been involved in activities including evaluating specific client requirements and recommending solutions, evaluating current system performance, performing installation readiness reviews, and implementing IBM server solutions. He has taken the lead in designing a wide range of solutions for customers’ IT infrastructure needs.