Admin Alert: Six Things Power i Administrators Need to Know
February 17, 2010 Joe Hertvik
To become an effective i/OS system administrator, you need to access a lot of information. This week, I’ll look at some of the more valuable pieces of information I frequently use to service my Power i systems and how I retrieve and maintain that information. Perhaps you can use this list as a starting point for collating your own critical i/OS knowledge base.
Serial Number, Processor Group, and Machine Type
It seems like outside vendors always ask for the serial number of the machine I’m working on. The system Processor Group (otherwise known as P Group, which is used for maintenance contracts and third-party software) and machine type are also often needed, so it’s helpful to know where to find them.
To retrieve a system’s serial number and P group from the green screen, type in the Work with License Information (WRKLICINF) command. You can also find the serial number by running the following Display System Value (DSPSYSVAL) command to read the contents of the System serial number system value (QSRLNBR).
To retrieve the serial number in iSeries Navigator (OpsNav), open the Configuration and Service→System Values node and select the System and User Defaults option that appears in the right-hand pane. This screen displays the serial number, model number, and processor feature code of your machine.
The machine type is necessary when calling for IBM service. You can find this information off the Service Registration Information screen. To reach this screen, open the Electronic Service Agent menu by typing in this Go to Menu (GO) command.
Select option 6, Display Service Registration Information, off the Service menu and the serial number and the machine type will appear on this screen. To find the serial number-machine type combination inside OpsNav, right-click on the node representing your system in OpsNav and select Properties off the pop-up menu that appears. This will show you the System Properties screen for that partition. Click on the General tab on this screen and OpsNav will display the machine type, model, serial number, and i/OS version of your operating system software.
For more information on retrieving these and other common i/OS system values that vendors frequently ask for, see my article on retrieving system control information.
Operating System Level
To retrieve your OS level, do the following:
1. Run the Display Software Resources (DSPSFWRSC) command from a green-screen command line.
2. Press the F11=Display libraries/releases key. The screen will show you the release level for every piece of licensed software registered on your machine. Look at the very top entry (for i/OS V5R4Mx, it’s the 5722999 entry) and that displays the partition’s release level.
For i/OS V5R4Mx, you can also get the OS level by running the following Display PTF (DSPPTF) command.
The information will be displayed at the top of the screen.
You can find this information in OpsNav by looking at the System Properties screen for your partition as I described in the “Serial Number, Processor Group, and Machine Type” section.
Phone Numbers to Program Into Your Cell Phone
As an administrator, it’s handy to have the following numbers programmed into your cell phone, because system problems don’t always occur while you’re in the shop.
Critical Documents To Keep Off-Site
You may also want to consider keeping copies of your critical documents off-site, where they can be recovered during an emergency. By doing this, if the computer room or offices are unavailable during a flood, earthquake, natural disaster, explosion, etc., you’ll still be able to access the documents and procedures that will help you restore the system.
For example, we keep a copy of the Capacity BackUp (CBU) system run book (used for activating the CBU) at the remote site where the CBU resides. Some of our i/OS administrators also keep a copy of the run book in their cars. You will also want to keep copies of the disaster recovery plan in an off-site location.
Keypad Sequences for Getting IBM Technical Support
Once you call IBM support, there are two different sequences for calling either IBM hardware or software technical support.
For hardware service calls, press the following telephone keys in sequence.
Press 2: Other business products and solutions
Press 1: Hardware
The automated system will ask you for your four-digit machine type.
Press 1: For new service request
For software service calls, press the following keys.
Press 2: Other business products and solutions
Press 2: Assistance with software
Press 1: Software support for operating systems
Depending on your service contract, you may be able to call IBM technical support for more than emergency service calls. There have been times that I’ve called IBM when I’m trying to figure out how to make some tricky technical configurations on the system. If you have a service contract, IBM tech support can sometimes point you in the right direction when you need configuration or programming help.
Printing a Rack Configuration
When adding new hardware to your system, you will frequently have to produce a rack configuration (rack config). A rack config is a physical listing of all hardware components that comprise your iSeries, System i, or Power i. It’s basically a roadmap of your entire system. Hardware vendors use the rack config to determine which components can be added to your systems and identify which components will need to be removed, rearranged, or used to support the new components.
Follow these steps to print a rack config on a partitioned system.
This sequence will print out a partition rack configuration to your default output queue, where you can either print or email it to your hardware provider. If you have multiple partitions on your machine, don’t forget to print out rack configs for each partition, so the vendor can have a complete view of your system. For more information on rack configurations, see my article on printing and emailing a rack config.