PTF installation from a central system

How to perform PTF installation from a single partition across multiple systems?   Let me present a solution based on IBM i functions. This solution avoids copying iso images/image catalogs to multiple LPARS. Starting V6R1, IBM i introduce the ability to perform complete PTF installation via NFS (Network File System).

I use this capability to perform PTF installation from a single system. A system – lets call it the Server, exports these images via NFS, and other IBM i clients use the repository for the PTF installations.

This solution brings multiple benefits for a system administrator

  • save time, and storage with distributing PTF images
  • submit PTF installation across multiple systems
  • a user can have a single DB with history when/what PTF group,single PTF have been installed
  • set a monitoring if the PTF installation fails

What do you need to run it?

  • IBM i 6.1 PTF’s SI39390, SI35186, and SI35189.
  • IBM i 7.1 PTF’s SI39238
  • Additional network interface on a client system (not used by the Operating System) – LAN console connection must be configured in SST
  • HMC 7.7.2 minimum
  • more details can be find here

How does it really work?

  1. The Server is the only system which hosts all PTF images, all installations will be performed from it.
  2. The Server system acts as NFS export server. Start NFS service with following parameter *RPC, *SVR, *MNT or just start STRNFSSVR SERVER(*ALL).
  3. When an image catalog had been created, and image verification with option ‘Network file server share’ VFYIMGCLG IMGCLG(XXX) TYPE(*PTF) NFSSHR(*YES)  has completed – a Volume List file is created. Double check that a directory, and all files have authorities allowing access by remote systems
  4. Now an information what should be installed must be transfered to a remote system. It can be done in several ways (DDM, SQL)
  5. On a remote system a job which run in loop, detects that installation is about to happen. Either it will create a new *DEVD with parameter TYPE ,MODEL *RSRCNAME, LCLINTNETA  *SRVLAN an IP address pointing to the NFS Server (RMTINTNETA), and a path where an image catalog is located (NETIMGDIR) or it will update already created *DEVD by appropriate parameters.
  6. The loop job initiates the INSPTF command.
  7. The pgm monitors a result of INSPTF command, and send the result to the Server machine,and updates a DB. For instance GRPBRMS23 PTF has been successfully installed.

Here is a simplified flowchart

simple pgm flowchart
program flowchart

Helpful informations

Various methods can be used for transferring information across the systems. If a relation database directory entries  entries is used, than QDDMSERVER must be authorized for some generic user. If this generic user has the same password across all systems, its better if it has very limited authorities. However, INSPTF must happen over a profile with *SECOFR authorities. Consider switching profiles within your program for a security reason.

If all LPARS are hosted on the same physical server. The most efficient way is to use a virtual Ethernet adapter (resource type 268C). The network interface cannot be configured in the operating system (check  pic1 pic2).

If partitions are spread against different physical machines. Its recommended to use a SEA (Shared Ethernet Adapter), if possible

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