Volume 7, Number 25 -- July 11, 2007

Admin Alert: More Info on SAVSYSINF, Green-Screen Printing, Performance PTFs, and Batteries

Published: July 11, 2007

by Joe Hertvik

When writing a weekly column like Admin Alert, mistakes can inadvertently sneak into the final copy. Fortunately, I have alert readers (pun intended) who correct me on any errors that I may have made, providing me with additional information on many topics in the process. So in the spirit of setting the record straight, here are some reader-provided corrections and additions to material that I published in earlier columns.

Corrections of FSB Meditations

In my recent column on Full System Backups, I wrote that IBM's Save System Information command (SAVSYSINF) allows you "…to save the cumulative changes that have occurred to your licensed internal code and QSYS library since the last Save System command (SAVSYS) was completed, and you don't need to be in restricted mode to run SAVSYSINF."

This statement is wrong, as reader Jim Deddens emailed me. According to IBM's entry on the subject in the i5/OS Information Center, Version 5, Release 4, SAVSYSINF does not save the following objects.

I apologize for the error. According to IBM, SAVSYSINF should be incorporated into your backup strategy only after a base Save System command (SAVSYS) has been successfully implemented in restricted mode. After the SAVSYS occurs, SAVSYSINF will save the following system information.

  • Critical system objects including job descriptions, job queues, subsystem descriptions, commands that have changed since the last SAVSYS was performed, and a few other objects.
  • The system reply list, service attributes, environment variables, a number of system values, and network attributes.
  • PTFs that were applied to operating system programs 5722SS1 and 5722999, provided these PTFs were copied into the system's *SERVICE area. IBM lists a procedure in the i5/OS Information Center for using the Change Service Attributes command (CHGSRVA) to modify your service attributes to automatically copy PTF save files to *SERVICE when loading PTFs from media.

What this means is that you still need a recent base SAVSYS backup to restore all licensed code and QSYS library changes to your system, but you can use the SAVSYSINF backup (and its companion Restore System Information command, RSTSYSINF) to save and restore user-applied changes to system objects and temporarily applied PTFs.

To save SAVSYSINF information with your other system backup data, you can modify the alternative full system backup (FSB) that I presented in last week's column to include a SAVSYSINF backup at the beginning or the end of your backups. IBM provides several examples for incorporating SAVSYSINF with other save commands in its i5/OS Information Center entry.


Reader John Trotter wrote in regarding the SMIOSTCPGT system performance problem that I discussed a few weeks ago. John noted that the i5/OS V5R4 MF41299 PTF that deals with this problem was released as a HIPER PTF on May 15, 2007. So it may not be necessary to separately order this PTF for V5R4, if you are keeping current with your cumulative, HIPER, and database PTFs.

Another Alternate Way to Print PC5250 Green Screens

In another recent article, I presented two alternative ways to send PC5250 screen shots to i5/OS printers and to collect and print multiple screen shots at one time. In that article, I suggested modifying your PC5250 keyboard in order to set up a keystroke combination for sending PC5250 screens to your default i5/OS printer via the HOST PRINT function. However, a reader who only identified himself as Jeff the Green Screen Dinosaur emailed to remind me that you can use HOST PRINT to easily send screen prints to i5/OS printers by using the following sequence in PC5250.

  1. In a PC5250 session, right-click anywhere in the screen area. An input box will appear that contains several buttons for accessing PC5250 features. You will also see two radio buttons inside that box labeled Pad 1 and Pad 2. If the Pad 2 radio button is not already selected, turn it on.
  2. The Pad 2 buttons will display a number of features that can be selected. If you click on the HostPrn button, it will activate the session's 5250 HOST PRINT function. This function sends a screen shot to the default printer device or output queue defined for this user. The target output queue or writer is determined by a combination of values in the Print Device (PRTDEV) and Output Queue (OUTQ) parameters in the signed on user profile. If you set up these user profile parameters in one of the following two ways, it will direct HOST PRINT output to the correct printer output queue.

If you set the user profile's PRTDEV parameter to an i5/OS printer/writer name and then set OUTQ to '*DEV', it will redirect any HOST PRINT screen shots to the output queue assigned to your PRTDEV printer.


If you set the user profile's PRTDEV parameter to '*WRKSTN' and then set OUTQ to any valid i5/OS output queue and library name, HOST PRINT screen shots will be sent to that output queue for printing.

This is a nice technique that when grouped with the other techniques that I described in my earlier article, gives us five different ways that we can send PC5250 screen shots to an i5/OS or PC/networked printer.

  • By clicking on the Print Screen icon in the PC5250 tool bar, screen shots are sent to the session's default Windows printer.
  • By clicking on File, Print Screen from the PC5250 menu bar, screen shots are also sent to the session's default Windows printer.
  • By assigning the HOST PRINT function to a PC5250 keystroke combination, screen shots will be sent to the user's default output queue when that key combination is pressed. Before doing this, you may want to check to see if the HOST PRINT function is not already assigned to the CTRL-PAUSE keystroke combination, as that combination is sometimes set by default in certain PC5250 keyboard maps.
  • By bundling a group of PC5250 screen shots to be sent to the session's default Windows printer using the Collect Print Screen and Print Collected screen functions. The process for using these features is explained in the earlier article.
  • By clicking on the HostPrn button in the pop-up Pad 2 input box, as described above.

And Finally, a Word on Batteries

Our final piece of feedback came from reader Jim Horn, who added the following information about checking and replacing the lithium ion batteries that IBM uses on system i machines to provide disk caching.

In your article, you mention that the disk cache batteries are hot-swappable. This is only true for certain controller cards. While it works for the 2780 cards you show on your sample screen, it's not true of the 2757 cards which have to be pulled from the system to get access to their battery pack. This requires downing the system or partition. The 2780 cards are designed so that the batteries can be accessed without disturbing the card seating.

Thanks to Jim for catching this one. While the 2780 battery packs are hot-swappable, the 2757 packs are not. In the IBM System Hardware Information Center, IBM documents the procedure for changing 2757 cache battery packs. That procedure does specify that the 2757 card must be removed from a system PCI-X slot in order to replace the battery pack. So be aware that you may need to schedule some downtime if you are replacing cache battery packs on non-2780 cards, or if you have any of the metal nickel batteries that came with older iSeries and AS/400 machines.

Always Room For Feedback

Thank you to everyone who emailed to provide more information on these topics. While it's not always possible to hit every point dead-on the first time, I'm always open to reader feedback and I will be glad to post any relevant corrections or additional information as I receive it.

About Our Testing Environment

Most configurations described in this article were tested on an i5 550 box running i5/OS V5R3. Many of the commands may also be available in earlier versions of the operating system running on iSeries or AS/400 machines. The SAVSYSINF and RSTSYSINF commands are only available in i5/OS V5R4. If a command is present in earlier versions of the i5/OS or OS/400 operating systems, you may notice some variations in the pre-V5R3 copies of these commands. These differences may be due to command improvements that have occurred from release to release.


Alternate Ways to Print PC5250 Screens

Checking Your iSeries Batteries

iSeries Access Security Error Messages Web site, IBM

Meditations on Full System Backups

Saving System Information, i5/OS Information Center, Version 5, Release 4

Replacing the cache battery pack on the 2757, IBM System Hardware Information Center

System values that are not saved with SAVSYSINF, i5/OS Information Center, Version 5, Release 4

The i5 Battery Checking Process

What Is SMIOSTCPGT and Why Is It Eating My System?

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