July 2012 Newsletter
i can do anything with iTech Solutions
Go for the Gold. Well perhaps you were thinking I was talking about the Olympics at the end of this month but I was talking about selecting the right business partner. Just like the Olympics the business partner who trains the hardest, spends the time improving themselves, and challenging themselves is going to be the partner that wins your confidence and work. Not all business partners are the same, have the same skills, invest in themselves, and can go the distance. Here at iTech Solutions we are investing in ourselves, our staff, our infrastructure, and our customers. This kind of training doesn’t just happen, it’s a way of life. If you aren’t working with us, perhaps it’s time you give us a call and bring home the gold yourself.
Let iTech Solutions be part of your team, part of your IT infrastructure, and part of your extended staff. Our services and knowledge are second to none, and we look forward to helping you leverage your investment in Power Systems and bringing home the gold for your company. Now back to the Olympics, I hope you get some time this summer to watch and enjoy your favorite summer Olympic sports. I know that I sure will.
Watch this space in August for some very exciting news on IBM i hosting, and additional offerings for running IBM i in the clouds.
This issue of our newsletter has five articles. In the first article, we will discuss the RUNQRY command. The second article is about what ports are needed to be open in your firewall if you want to use IBM i Access (iSeries Access) from outside the firewall. The third article lists some of the upcoming events in which iTech Solutions will be participating. The fourth article is using the Display PTF Cover letter command to find unapplied PTFs on your system. The last article is for your reference with updated PTF information. Please note that we have added a new PTF group to our recommended list, which is the High Availability Group. If you are an iTech Solutions PTF Maintenance customer, you will receive this on your next application of PTFs.
If you are still on V5R4, send Pete an email and he can help you upgrade to 6.1 or 7.1. With more upgrades than anyone else to 6.1/7.1 done to date you know iTech Solutions has the expertise and know how.
iTech Solutions can help you improve performance, perform security audits; implement a High Availability solution; perform health checks, systems management, remote administration, PTF management, blade installations, iSCSI configurations, backup/recovery; upgrade an existing machine; or upgrade to a new machine. If you are thinking of LPAR or HMC, then think iTech Solutions. We have the skills to help you get the most out of your IBM i.
An Oldie but goodie – RUNQRY.
I was at a customer a few weeks ago helping them with some data issues they were having, when I displayed a file on the screen and the customer was so impressed by the formatting of the data. I said surely you have used this command before, and they said they never even saw it. I thought, ok this will be a good newsletter article command.
Let’s start with what exactly is the Run Query command. This command can run an existing query or a default query if only a file name is specified. So, if I want to get a quick simple display of the contents of a file, with pack fields properly displayed on my screen, I just enter “RUNQRY *N filename”. Where filename is the actual file name, or library/filename. If I wanted to look at the records in the customer master file (called customers in library QGPL for example) I would just enter RUNQRY *N QGPL/CUSTOMERS. You can also enter RUNQRY QRYFILE((QGPL/CUSTOMERS)), but I find the *N an easier format to use. I would then see displayed every record in the file, with each field in its own column. This is a quick and fast way to look at the contents of a file, with each field being displayed in its own column.
You can only run this against one file, and there is the ability to do record selection as well by just adding the parameter RCDSLT(*YES) and then another screen is display where you can enter the selection criteria.
I have used this for many years, and was surprised that people didn’t know this existed.
Some of the events that we will be speaking at, or exhibiting at are listed below. Don’t forget the iTech Solutions web site at http://www.itechsol.com.
July 20th OCEAN User group www.ocean400.org of Southern California.
September 18 – Vermont User Group www.vtmug.org in Essex Junction, VT.
September 19 – The New England Midrange Users Group www.nemug.com of Rhode Island.
September 25 – COMMON Fall Conference in Columbus, OH. www.common.org
December 11 – FASUG CT www.fasug.org
Display not applied PTFs.
One of the commands that I find is always very useful when I am doing our quarterly PTF maintenance at a customer is the Display PTF Cover Letter command, DSPPTFCVR. The reason is not to just display cover letters, but I always want to see PTFs which are not yet applied. By issuing the command, with the SELECT parameter as *NOTAPY, I then get to see which PTFs are loaded either as *SAVFs on my system (that I downloaded using SNDPTFORD), or are not yet applied. I find this extremely useful when I want to look at the status of PTFs.
Recently, there were some PTFs for 6.1 that are required before doing PTFs (Yes, PTFs for the PTF process), and you must have them on and active before loading the next cumulative PTF package. So, after loading all the PTFs from our special image catalogue of PTFs, I was able to use the DSPPTFCVR command with SELECT(*NOTAPY) and verify that all my PTFs had been applied. Now, I knew I could proceed with the loading the cumulative package of PTFs.
Another good use for this, is if Service Director is enabled to download PTFs for you, remember Service Director will only download and not apply the PTFs that it determines are hardware critical PTFs. You can use the DSPPTFCVR command to see if there exists any PTFs on your system that have been downloaded and not applied, or even loaded and not applied.
|Release levels and PTFs|
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. This is what we are installing for our customers on iTech Solutions Quarterly Maintenance program.
7.1 6.1 V5R4 V5R3
Cumul. Pack 12115 12122 12094 8267
Tech. Refresh 4
Grp Hipers 62 122 179 169
DB Group 14 26 33 24
Java Group 8 19 29 23
Print Group 5 24 46 20
Backup/Recov. 15 28 45 33
Blade/IXA/IXS 10 24 15 –
HTTP 13 25 31 17
TCP/IP 6 14 21 16
Security 19 32 27
High Availability 1 1
Hardware 1 1
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 9104. We can determine that it was created on the 104th day of 2009, which is April 14, 2009. 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 & V5R2 off the list, because if you are on V5R1 or V5R2, you don’t need to be worrying about PTFs, you really need to be upgrading your operating system. The same can be said for V5R3, but there are still customers who are on those releases.
If you have an HMC, you should be running V7R7.5 with efix MH01312. If your HMC is a C03, then it should stay at V7R3.5 SP4.
For your Flexible Service Processor (FSP) that is inside your Power 5 or Power5+ (520, 515, 525, 550, 570), the code level of the FSP should be 01_SF240_417. Power 6 (940x M15, M25, & M50 machines, and 8203-E4A & 8204-E4A) customers should be running EL350_126. For Power6 (MMA, 560, and 570 machines) your FSP should be at EM350_126. If you have a Power6 595 (9119) then you should be on EH350_126.
Depending on which POWER7 model & generation (B or C). The firmware level is AL730_087 for 8202-E4B & 8205-E6B (710, 720, 730, 740), AL730_087 for 750 (8233-E8B) & 755 (8236-E8C). Use AM730_087 for 770 (9117-MMB) & 780 (9179-MHB). The firmware level is AL740-088 for 8202-E4C & 8205-E6C (710, 720, 730, 740). Use AM740_088 for 770 (9117-MMC) & 780 (9179-MHC).
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. Contact Pete Massiello.