Admin Alert: Planning An i 6.1 Upgrade
April 18, 2012 Joe Hertvik
As of this writing, my staff and I are preparing to upgrade the first of three System i 550 partitions from i5/OS V5R4 to i 6.1 on April 14. In an earlier article, I discussed getting started with a 6.1 upgrade. As a case study, this issue I’ll go over the planning process for actually performing the upgrade by reviewing my planning process for an actual IBM i partition.
Completing The Pre-Upgrade Tasks
At this point, we’ve completed most of the heavy lifting needed to perform the upgrade. With our Applications group, we’ve gone through and corrected all system objects so that they can be properly converted after the upgrade. We’ve performed pre-upgrade processing and loaded all the operating system CDs and group and cumulative PTFs to an image catalog so we can more quickly run the upgrade and PTF procedures. We’ve surveyed all our vendors and performed any third-party software upgrades so that they will run on i 6.1. And all relevant parties have studied the System i i5/OS Memo to Users, Version 6, Release 1 (May 2011 update).
Like everyone else, we will be following the very clear and effective 6.1 upgrade steps IBM lays out in its i5/OS and related software–Installing, upgrading, or deleting i5/OS and related software Version 6, Release 1 Redbook (SC41-5120-10).
In short, we’ve done everything I said we should do in my Getting Started With An i 6.1 Upgrade article.
So we’re ready to go. The next step is to come up with our installation plan.
And Now The Plan
Outside of using IBM’s materials, here are the additional steps we’ll be taking to install the upgrade. These steps do four things:
Step #1: Clearing the way to upgrade the system
This step includes clearing our upgrade plans with management and associated groups working on the backup. This weekend, we’re only upgrading our development partition so scheduling won’t be as difficult as it will be when we upgrade the production partition. Checklist items in this step include:
Step #2: Risk avoidance and mitigation
This step covers contingency planning in case something goes wrong. The idea is to brainstorm all the scenarios where problems can occur and diagram what we will do if any of these scenarios happen. For this upgrade, we are planning the following steps to avoid a foreseeable event from happening (risk avoidance) and to mitigate the effects of a foreseeable upgrade issue occurring (risk mitigation).
For our development partition, we have identified the following plans that can be implemented in response to our identified risks, if necessary.
Step #3: Gather necessary materials
Here, we make sure that we have all the materials we need to perform a successful upgrade. We refer to this as putting together our crash cart. Low tech in nature, the crash cart is a good study box that contains the following materials we’ll need for the upgrade.
Step #4: Scheduling before, during, and after-upgrade tasks
For the entire i 6.1 upgrade project, we created a Gantt chart to track our critical path and necessary tasks. Gantt charts are great for projects like this because you can see the necessary flow and more easily assign resources to the project.
However, we needed something simpler for the upgrade weekend. So we created the following schedule to guide us through all the upgrade tasks we’ll be performing on Saturday (all times are approximate).
To Find Out How it Went
Through the magic of publishing, I’m writing this on Thursday, April 12, and we’re scheduled to perform the upgrade on Saturday, April 14. That means I’ll be finished with the upgrade by the time you read this.
However, I’m planning on semi-live blogging the upgrade as we go along, so you’ll be able to see the results of our planning. To see how we did, go to joehertvik.com and you’ll find links to our upgrade adventure on the main page.
See you next week.
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Check out my blog at joehertvik.com, where I focus on computer administration and news (especially IBM I and soon PureSystems); vendor, marketing, and tech writing news and materials; and whatever else I come across.
Joe Hertvik is the owner of Hertvik Business Services, a service company that provides written marketing content and presentation services for the computer industry, including white papers, case studies, and other marketing material. Email Joe for a free quote for any upcoming projects. He also runs a data center for two companies outside Chicago. Joe is a contributing editor for IT Jungle and has written the Admin Alert column since 2002.