Admin Alert: Time Gobbling Tasks for a System Upgrade
February 4, 2009 Joe Hertvik
Last week, I discussed four critical things to beware of during an i5/OS system upgrade. This week, let’s look at a fifth critical item: upgrade time. I’ll examine a few necessary and optional procedures that can add extra time to your upgrade process, and I’ll explain the benefits that each procedure can bring you.
When planning your i5/OS upgrade window, be sure to take into account the following critical issues that will add extra time to your upgrade process. Some of these issues are optional and provide additional benefits as you move to a new operating systems. Other items are required duties that need to be performed to make your upgrade successful. I recommend that you review all of these items as they apply to your situation, and make sure that you perform whichever functions are necessary as you upgrade.
Prepare for Install PTFs–For many upgrades, IBM supplies a CD containing “Prepare for Install PTFs” that will prep your system to be upgraded. Installing these PTFs is easy, but it will take an additional IPL to apply them to your operating system so be sure to budget time for this before you upgrade your system. If you have some flexibility in taking your target partition down, you can save time on upgrade day by IPLing your system to apply these PTFs several days before the upgrade.
Pre-upgrade full system backup–When you upgrade your box, you are changing a number of things about your configuration that cannot easily be rolled back. I would never think about starting a system upgrade without taking a full system backup of my entire system. With a backup, if something goes wrong with the upgrade you will have a pre-upgrade version of the system for restoration, if necessary.
Post-upgrade backup–If you have the luxury of performing a second full system backup after the upgrade is finished, I encourage you to do so. Depending on how often you take down your machine, it may be a long time before you can backup the new operating system and its converted data. With a post-upgrade backup, you will be able to restore the upgraded system in the event of a catastrophic failure. If you don’t have a post-upgrade backup and disaster occurs, you would have to go back and restore the system to its prior release and then perform the upgrade again.
If time prevents you from backing up the entire system, I recommend that you at least perform a partial system backup after the upgrade. A good partial backup will consist of the following two items that you may be able to use to restore your system.
1. A system and user configuration data backup. You can perform this backup by running the Save System (SAVSYS) command. SAVSYS saves three critical sets of data to your backup media: your OS/400 licensed internal code (LIC) and i5/OS objects that are stored in the QSYS library; security data, including your user profiles and private authorities; and your system configuration objects. These are the baseline objects that you would need to restore to get your newly upgraded system running again.
2. Your IBM-supplied libraries. You can save all the IBM libraries by running the following Save Library (SAVLIB) command with the Library (LIB) parameter set to *IBM.
SAVLIB LIB(*IBM) DEV(tape_drive_name)
This will save all the IBM libraries that contain your new operating system code. Be aware, however, that there are certain IBM libraries that are not saved by this command. The following IBM-supplied libraries are not included when you run SAVLIB with the *IBM parameter.
QDOC QRCYxxxxx QTEMP QUSRRDARS QDOCxxxx QRECOVERY QUSER38 QUSRSYS QDSNX QRPLOBJ QUSRADSM QUSRVI QGPL QRPLxxxxx QUSRBRM QUSRVxRxMx QGPL38 QSPL QUSRDIRCL QMGTC QSPLxxxx QUSRDIRDB QMGTC2 QSRV QUSRIJS QMPGDATA QSRVAGT QUSRINFSKR QMQMDATA QSYS QUSRNOTES QMQMPROC QSYSxxxxx QUSROND QPFRDATA QSYS2 QUSRPOSGS QRCL QSYS2xxxxx QUSRPOSSA QRCLxxxxx QS36F QUSRPYMSVR
Even though these libraries start with a ‘Q’ (the usual specification for IBM-supplied libraries), they are not considered system libraries and will not be saved with this command. If you want to save any of these libraries after your upgrade, you’ll need to run a special backup. You may want to save the QGPL library, in particular, because many shops store user-modified versions of IBM objects in that library.
Database File Header Conversion–After upgrading the system, you may temporarily notice that the machine is suffering from slow database access. On i5/OS V5R3-to-V5R4 upgrades, the operating system will convert and rebuild all existing files’ database file header information the first time each file is accessed. The operating system does this to eliminate performance degradation that could be introduced when the files start running under the Enhanced Hardware Storage Protection support that was introduced in V5R4. The problem is that if you have a large number of database files, the database header rebuilds can cause your user applications to run slowly until all the rebuild activity is finished.
To minimize any system delays that can occur while i5/OS rebuilds the database headers, you can front-load the rebuilds and have the system convert a large number of your user files before the users ever touch the system. To front-load the rebuilds, run any of these three i5/OS functions before the users get on the system.
1. Run a Display Object Description (DSPOBJD) command over a single file or over a group of files. DSPOBJD opens each object’s file headers to display user file information. To run DSPOBJD over all the user-supplied files on your system, use the following Submit Job (SBMJOB) command to rebuild the headers in the batch QSYSWRK subsystem.
SBMJOB CMD(DSPOBJD OBJ(*ALLUSR/*ALL) OBJTYPE(*FILE) OUTPUT(*PRINT)) JOB(DSPOBJD) JOBQ(QSYS/QSYSNOMAX)
This command may take a while to run but by the time it finishes, all the database file headers will be converted to their new format.
2. Run the Display Library (DSPLIB) command over all your user libraries. Like DSPOBJD, DSPLIB also kicks off the database file header conversion process for any file in its target libraries. To submit DSPLIB to start the conversion on all your user libraries, run the following SBMJOB command:
SBMJOB CMD(DSPLIB LIB(*ALLUSR) OUTPUT(*PRINT)) JOB(DSPLIB)JOBQ(QSYS/QSYSNOMAX)
When this command finishes running, all your database file headers will be converted.
3. Perform a backup on your user libraries. If you add a user library backup to your post-upgrade backups, the operating system will convert each file’s header before that file is saved to media. To only save your user libraries, run the following Save Library (SAVLIB) command:
SAVLIB LIB(*ALLUSR) DEV(tape_device_name)
All three commands will convert your database file headers. It’s just a matter of which command you feel most comfortable with running. In terms of timing, you should budget extra time for these commands to complete after your upgrade (at least one to two hours, depending on which command you are running and the number and size of your user files).
PTF Application–Don’t forget to apply the latest cumulative and group PTFs after the system upgrade is finished. PTF application will bring your system up to its most current level. It will also apply fixes for common problems that IBM has issued since the operating system was originally released.
To find the most recent PTF IDs, descriptions, workgroup levels, and the date each PTF group was released for all active i5/OS operating system, go to IT Jungle’s System i PTF Guide. Maintained by DLB Associates, this PTF guide is updated weekly and contains the latest information on all IBM PTFs that are now available.
When you order PTFs, you should first order the latest cumulative PTF package for the new release, which is always shipped with the most recent High Impact/Pervasive (HIPERs) PTF group, as well as the latest Database PTF group. In addition to these PTFs, you also need to order and apply the latest updates for any other PTF groups that are installed on your system. To get the current list of PTF groups, run the Work with Program Temporary Fix Groups (WRKPTFGRP) command. WRKPTFGRP will give you a list of all the current PTF groups on your systems, their PTF IDs, and the current software level of each PTF group. Once you know which PTF groups are installed on your system, you can compare this information against the PTF listings at IT Jungle’s System i PTF Guide to determine which group PTFs you need to order.
Enter IBM license keys–Whenever you upgrade your operating system, IBM requires that you enter new license keys for all its licensed products. If you fail to enter the keys, the products will only work for a specified grace period. You may receive the new license keys with your hardware order. If not, be sure to contact IBM or a business partner to retrieve the keys before you perform your upgrade.
IBM license key application is not difficult and it doesn’t take too long. Once you have your keys, you can usually enter all the licenses in 15 minutes to a half-hour.
Time Wasted? Not At All!
Although these tasks will take extra time when you upgrade an i5/OS system, they are not a waste of time. Rather, they are important items that need to be done for a successful system upgrade. When performing your upgrade, be sure to factor in additional time to complete each of these important steps.
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