Just When Do IBM i PTFs Get Applied, Anyway?
March 28, 2012 Hey, Joe
Our management has our operators apply cumulative PTFs (CUME) with no regard to when the system will be IPLed. They load the CUME, and the system may not be IPLed until a few weeks later. The managers believe that no PTFs are applied until after the IPL. I think that some PTFs are applied immediately, while others wait for the IPL. What’s the real story on how PTFs are applied?
This is an interesting question. For most shops, PTFs aren’t usually applied until you IPL the system. But in some situations, eligible CUME PTFs can be applied immediately, depending on how your IBM i partition is configured. Here’s what I know.
CUME PTFs are installed by using option 8 (Install Temporary Fix Package) off the Program Temporary Fix menu (GO PTF). What many shops don’t realize is that there are options for setting up an option 8 install that designate whether immediate PTFs are actually applied immediately (without an IPL) or whether they are loaded and marked delayed to be applied during an IPL. While it’s not relevant to your question, these options are also used for installing PTFs through the Install Program Temporary Fix (INSPTF) command or through GO PTF, option 7 (Install a program temporary fix from a list).
This setting is called the PTF install type (PTFINSTYP) service attribute. By default, PTFINSTYP is set to mark all loaded PTFs (including immediate PTFs) to be installed during the next IPL. But your default PTFINSTYP attribute can be changed or it can be overridden during an option 7 or option 8 PTF install or inside the INSPTF command.
You can check your PTFINSTYP attribute by running the Change Service Attributes command (CHGSRVA) and pressing F4. Look at the PTF install type (PTFINSTYP) parameter. The value listed on the CHGSRVA screen will be the default PTF application value for your GO PTF, option 7 or 8 screens and for the INSPTF command. The CHGSRVA screen looks like this.
The default PTFINSTYP service attribute can be set to one of the following four values.
My guess is that your PTFINSTYP service attribute is set to mark everything for delayed application during an IPL (*DLYIPL or *DLYALL). But the CHGSRVA command can tell you what your system is actually set up for.
Also keep in mind that these settings can be overridden in an option 8 load by whoever is applying the PTFs. but I don’t believe most people will override the settings to perform the equivalent of an *IMMONLY or an *IMMDLY application.
So if your operator isn’t changing any settings other than the option to turn off the immediate IPL, your management is correct in saying that immediate PTFs are not immediately applied during an option 8 load. And if PTFINSTYP is set to *DLYIPL or *DLYALL, they’re right in saying that your PTFs won’t be applied until the next IPL.
Also, if the CHGSRVA PTFINSTYP parameter is set to *DLYALL, you will change the default setting for the Automatic IPL parameter on the GO PTF, option 8 screen from a Y (yes) to an N (No). The benefit in doing this is that you can prevent your operator from accidentally automatically IPLing your system after the PTFs are loaded (and feel more comfortable loading PTFs during the day).
The other thing you can check after the PTFs are loaded is to run GO PTF, Option 5 (Display PTF) and page through your current PTFs. Look under the IPL actions column to see if there are a large number of PTFs where the IPL Action is set to Yes. That will tell you that those PTFs are waiting to be applied.
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