Reader Feedback: ‘FLRTing with Disaster,’ Indeed
October 7, 2014 Alex Woodie
Before you start using the new Fix Level Recommendation Tool (FLRT) from IBM, you may want to hear about the experience that this Dutch IBM i administrator had with the product.
Two weeks ago, we ran a story about the new FLRT offering from IBM. To quickly review, FLRT is a Web-based tool that provides cross-platform compatibility information and fix recommendations for a variety of IBM products. For IBM i, it recommends which PTFs to apply to your system to keep it up-to-date, with an eye toward avoiding incompatibility issues.
While the product appears simple and easy to use, it may be providing bad recommendations, according to Rudi van Helvoirt, who works for an IBM i shop in The Netherlands.
“May I ask you if you used FRLT yourself?” van Helvoirt says. “The reason why I am asking is because my experiences with FLRT are not good. We did use FLRT to update the FSP [flexible service processor] and VIOS. The link provided for VIOS did not include all the files we needed and ended up in a corrupted VIOS LPAR.”
IBM provides several tools to help users manage PTFs and updates for Power Systems servers. You would think that they would all be recommending the same thing, but that may not be the case.
According to van Helvoirt, the advice that FLRT provided for the FSP update was different than the one provided by IBM’s IBM i Support: Recommended fixes webpage. “The question is which one do you believe?” van Helvoirt says.
van Helvoirt elected not to work with IBM on the corrupted VIOS issue. “The reason for this is simple: IBM thinks, that when you report an issue, they can ask you to collect all things, do the traces and if things are not complete, you have to repeat the trace with other options,” he tells IT Jungle via email “I have a business to run and unfortunately I am not on the patrol of IBM. I could nearly create a PMR every day, but I want to use IBM software and prefer not to test it.
“IBM has changed over the years,” he continues. “In the past, documentation was excellent and software was tested thoroughly. Those days have long been gone. FLRT is an excellent tool when you read about it, if that still stands after you have really used it, I doubt it.”
What do you think? Are your experiences with FLRT similar? Let us know through our handy Web feedback form.