In the good old days before Covid (remember them) finding out where you were with your PTF levels was a laborious task. You had to manually compare the PTF groups installed on your system with the IBM Fix Central web site and note the level of each group.
If the level on your system was less that the level on the Fix Central web site you knew the system was not up to date. But enough of the past, let’s look at how you can perform the same task today, easier, quicker and 100% accurate. With the advent of IBM i Access Client Solutions (ACS), SQL scripts and IBM i Services an easy method has been given to us by IBM.
Let me show you just how easy it really is! Open ACS, in the Database section there is an option to Run SQL scripts.
Once that is done ACS connects to the server’s database and opens up a dialog box with line number 1 so you can start to type your SQL statements into.
If at this point if you are thinking “I don’t know any SQL or I don’t know how interrogate the IBM i for the current PTF status” don’t worry, you don’t have to know. IBM have kindly given us lots of SQL examples one of which is for checking the PTF status.
All you need to do is click on the “Insert from Example” Icon as shown below.
This opens up the Examples window
In the search type “ptf” and ACS will return all the examples it has related to PTF’s
Click on PTF – Group PTF Currency then Click the Insert button.
Back on this screen you could simply click the Icon to Run All the SQL which has been inserted from the examples for you. If you do this it will work just fine but you would be running the job twice. This is because there are two different methods given in the SQL script example.
ProTip:If you were to click on the Options Tab you will see Run Statement on Double-Click. Tick this then you can simply Double-Click on which of the two options you prefer or simply to see the differences between the two. ACS will remember this setting for all RunSQL sessions in the future.
Whilst you are there, I would also check that Enable Save Results is enabled.
Double-Click anywhere in the statement you want to run. From the first example I get this
And running the second example gives this, which is more compact and designed for use on green screen.
Yes, I know this LPAR needs a cumulative and group PTF install!
ProTip: If after Double-Click you see a “Done 0 rows retrieved” message you need to install a PTF.
IBM moved the location of the PTF repository the SQL connects to and the corrective PTF points SQL to the new location. For 7.2 it’s SI72641, for 7.3 SI72639, for 7.4 SI72640. These PTFs can be installed Immediate so no IPL is required to get this working.
By Clicking on File you can save or upload these results. Running this regularly can help you determine when a PTF install is most appropriate keeping system downtime and cost to a minimum. Recording the results can become part of your ongoing system documentation.
If you click save you will see this screen
The default file type is .xlsx but you can change it to any of these.
You can also change the File name to locate and name the output to wherever you want. I would certainly be amending the Untitled name to something more relevant!
Clicking OK opens up a window asking if you would like to open the resulting file.
Clicking Yes opens up Excel
If you click Upload you will see this window asking for a destination table
Type in an existing library name and a file name. The file can be new or existing.
ProTip: Note the use of the SQL naming format which uses a “.” Instead of a “/” to separate library and file name E.G. <LibaryName>.<FileName>
After clicking OK this inquiry message appears
Click Yes and a database file will be created or updated in the library you specified.
This IBM i Service gives you an easy way to keep an eye on your PTF levels and help you to decide when an update is appropriate. In these strange times and the cost constraints they bring it may even save you some money. For instance, instead of having a regimented 3-month PTF update install schedule a more informed approach can be taken, only applying PTF’s when it appropriate to do so.
Our next User Group Meeting will be On Tuesday November 10th, either virtually or in person at the Mount Hotel Wolverhampton. For more details check out the i-ug web site at www.i-ug.co.uk
Hope to see you there.