December 2008 Newsletter


It is the magical time of year that the holidays always bring, and we know you are busy, but we just wanted to pass on our greetings.  We will start back up with our technical newsletters in January.  We have enjoyed working with you this year, and look forward to another outstanding relationship in the years to come. Everyone at iTech Solutions just wants to wish you a Happy Holiday, Seasons Greetings, and wishes for a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New year.

Release levels and PTFs

iSeries Family

People are always asking me how often they should be performing PTF maintenance, and when is the right time to upgrade their operating system.  I updated this article from last month with the current levels of PTFs. Let’s look at PTFs.  First, PTFs are Program Temporary Fixes that are created by IBM to fix a problem that has occurred or to possibly prevent a problem from occurring.  In addition, some times PTFs add new functionality, security, or improve performance.  Therefore, I am always dumbfounded as to why customers do not perform PTF maintenance on their machine at least quarterly.  If IBM has come out with a fix for your disk drives, why do you want to wait for your disk drive to fail with that problem, only to be told that there is a fix for that problem, and if you had applied the PTF beforehand, you would have averted the problem.  Therefore, I think a quarterly PTF maintenance strategy is a smart move.  Many of our customers are on our quarterly PTF maintenance program, and that provides them with the peace of mind of knowing their system is up to date on PTFs.  Below is a table of the major group PTFs for the last few releases.  You might notice that this week, IBM just created a new Security PTF Group, so I have added this to our list, as we are installing this for our customers on iTech Solutions Quarterly Maintenance program.

                     6.1    V5R4    V5R3    V5R2
Cumul. Pack   8288   8305    8267   6080

Grp Hipers       25      89      161      189

DB Group          7       18       23         25

Java Group       5       17       22         27

Print Group       5       26      17          7

Backup/Recov.  5       23      32         31

Security Group  4        4         4           –

The easiest way to check your levels is to issue the command WRKPTFGRP.  They should all have a status of installed, and you should be up to the latest for all the above, based upon your release.  Now there are more groups than the ones listed above, but these are the general ones that most people require.  We can help you know which group PTFs you should be installing on your machine based upon your licensed programs. Here is a nice tidbit.  The Cumulative PTF package number is broken down as YDDD, where Y is the year and DDD is the day it was released.  Therefore, if we look at the cumulative package for V5R4, the ID is 8183. We can determine that it was created on the 183rd day of 2008, which is July 1st, 2008.  Look at your machine and this will give you a quick indication of just how far out of date in PTFs you may be.  I left V5R1 off the list, because if you are on V5R1, you don’t need to be worrying about PTFs, you really need to be upgrading your operating system.  The same can be said for V5R2 and V5R3, but there are still customers who are on those releases.

If you have an HMC, you should be running V7R3.3.0 with Service Pack 2, or V7R3.4.0, with PTF MH01148 installed. This PTF is Required for V7.3.4.

For your Flexible Service Processor (FSP) that is inside your Power 5 or Power5+ (520, 515, 525, 550, 570), the level should be 01_SF240_358. Power 6 customers should be running EL340_039 (for 940x M15, M25, M50 machines. Also 8203 E4A and 8204 E8A) and EM340_039 (for MMA machines. Power 560 and Power 570 machines). If you have a 595 (9119-FMA) then you should be on EH340_039.
If you need help with upgrading your HMC or FSP just give us a call.  We will be happy to perform the function for you or assist you in doing it.


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