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Automate Extra IPL for PTF Install

March 15, 2011

This week's blog was written by Ellie Streifel.  Ellie works in the IBM i development lab on the Software Service team and has extensive knowledge on the IBM i PTF process.  Ellie worked on the Technology Refresh support as well as the function she describes in this blog article. Ellie will be at COMMON in Minneapolis (along with co-worker Dennis Martin) presenting the session, “What is an IBM i Technology Refresh – and Why do I Care?” 

Do you get annoyed when it takes two IPLs to install a PTF package? If so, we’ve got a great, new function for you in IBM i 7.1. When you’re installing PTFs, there are two conditions where we prompt you to perform an IPL to apply some of the PTFs, require you to restart the PTF install after the first IPL, and then make you perform yet another IPL to apply the delayed PTFs:

1.    When installing a cumulative PTF package that contains special handling pre-apply PTFs.

2.    When installing a technology refresh PTF at the same time as a technology refresh requisite PTF. This can occur when installing the HIPER PTF group, the technology refresh PTF group, or a cumulative PTF package.

We can’t eliminate the extra IPL, but this new function can automate it for you. If an extra IPL is required, we’ll save off of your PTF install parameters and use them during the next IPL. Instead of seeing “Confirm IPL for Technology Refresh or Special Handling PTFs” panel, you’ll see a new message CPF362E: “IPL required to complete PTF install processing”.  Actually, if you select Automatic IPL=Y on the “Install Options for PTFs” panel, you won’t see any messages or panels, we’ll just power down. On the next normal IPL, we’ll do your second “GO PTF” during the “PTF Processing” IPL step in the SCPF job, and then automatically do a second IPL of the partition. So when the system IPLs the second time up to sign-on, your PTFs are all activated and ready to go.

Your total PTF install time will be shorter since we won’t start any of the system jobs during the first IPL when we restart the partition. However, you’ll have a somewhat longer IPL time since we’re doing the work you previously did interactively – the second GO PTF to set all PTFs for delayed apply. If you’re wondering why the IPL is taking so long and what it’s doing, you can always bring up the console. The “Operating System IPL in Progress” panel is shown in the following PDF link with the “PTF Processing” IPL step active (Download ICan 3.15.11 Figure1).  Previously, we only displayed “Applying PTFs” for the Activity in this step.  But now you will also see “Loading PTFs” or “Setting IPL Action for PTFs” if the previous PTF install was incomplete. When all PTFs have been set for delayed apply, you’ll see “IPL requested by PTF processing” status message at the bottom of the screen and then the partition will be restarted again to apply the delayed LIC PTFs.  The next time we reach the “PTF Processing” IPL step, we’ll display the usual “Applying PTFs” and the IPL will continue.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to take advantage of this new function:

1.    You must have PTF SI42445 (PTF management code) temporarily applied before you perform your PTF install. Note: if you have HIPER PTF group SF99709 installed with level 26 or higher, you have PTF SI42445 applied.
2.    If an IPL is required for a technology refresh PTF, the new function only supports installing from a virtual optical device or *SERVICE (PTFs downloaded electronically to save files).  If you’re installing from a physical optical device, you’ll still need to perform the extra IPL and second GO PTF manually. If you received your PTFs on physical DVDs, just create yourself an image catalog from the DVDs and use the new support.
3.    If you’re doing your PTF install and you’re not yet ready to IPL the partition, remember, we’ll use the same PTF install parameters the next time you IPL. That includes the image catalog and virtual optical device you were using … so don’t delete the image catalog until PTFs are active.
4.    If you’re installing PTFs from a shared virtual optical device or a network optical device, we’ll access the remote device from the SCPF job on the next IPL without bringing up TCP/IP. Make sure the server partition and remote optical device are available when you IPL the client partition.  Also, PTF SI42302 must be temporarily applied to the server partition that contains the image catalog with the PTFs you are installing. PTF SI42302 contains the required image catalog and optical code to support the new “Automatic-IPL” function.
5.    Since this new support was delivered via a PTF, the new messages seen from GO PTF and the “Operating System IPL in Progress” panel are English only. They will not be translated until the next IBM i release.

When a new Technology Refresh is announced, a corresponding Licensed Internal Code Resave is also released. If you want to avoid, rather than automate, the extra required IPL, install the corresponding LIC Resave. The latest LIC Resave for 7.1 has the latest technology refresh PTF already permanently applied.  For more information on Technology Refresh, see the IBM i Technology Refresh website.

Posted March 15, 2011| Permalink

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