On 12/5/2013 10:08 AM, Paul Nelson wrote:
This is a question I got from a client yesterday. I seem to recall somebody
posting a link here some years ago to justify staying reasonably current.

He wants more than just the standard arguments about IBM insisting that one
be at a certain level, et cetera, et cetera. It went right over his head
when I asked him if he changes the oil in his car on a regular basis. He
lives in the city and doesn't own a car.

Please chime in.

<quote>
Fixes provide changes to your software, Licensed Internal Code, or
machine code that fix known problems, add new function, and keep your
server or Hardware Management Console operating efficiently. Keeping
your server current with the latest fixes helps ensure your server
performance is at its best and helps to minimize potential problems.

IBM recommends that all servers be kept on a supported release and
current with latest available fix packages, such as the following.

Cumulative PTF Package
HIPER Group PTFs
Database Group PTFs
Other Group PTFs as related to your environment
HMC and server firmware fixes

The most important scenario to avoid is remaining on a release so long
that all subsequent releases that support a single-step upgrade are
withdrawn from marketing. Without a single-step upgrade available, there
are no supported ways for you to upgrade your server.

In most cases, you would then need to hire custom services to perform a
potentially labor-intensive upgrade from the back-level release to a
current one, which could be very costly.

</quote>
http://www-947.ibm.com/systems/support/i/fixes/guide/servercurrent.html

<quote>
IBM recommends the following as a basic fix maintenance strategy for all
Power systems.

Apply the Cumulative PTF package quarterly.
Apply HIPER, DB2 Group, and server firmware fixes monthly.
Sign up for My notifications and begin receiving automatic
notification whenever new or updated fixes become available.
For preventive maintenance monitor the following.
Review HIPER and server firmware fixes weekly.
Review LPs, Recommended fixes, and other Group fixes weekly.
...

Problems occur semi-annually or less often

Recommended maintenance schedule

The environment in this scenario is rarely changed and experiences
problems very infrequently, therefore requiring less maintenance
overall. Consider the following as a base fix maintenance strategy for
this type of environment.

Apply the Cumulative PTF package, HIPER, DB2 Group and Server
Firmware fixes semi-annually.
Sign up for My notifications and begin receiving automatic
notification whenever new or updated fixes become available.
For preventive maintenance monitor the following fixes.
Review HIPER fixes monthly.
Review LPs, Recommended fixes, and other Group fixes monthly.
Review server firmware fixes monthly.

IBM recommends that you monitor the following fixes as a preventive step
between your normal maintenance activities.

Cumulative PTFs
PTF Groups
HIPERs
Individual PTFs
Service packs
Firmware fixes

Certain types of fix updates may be important for you to download and
apply to your server, even if it is outside your routine maintenance
schedule. For example, if you receive a notification from System i
Subscription Service that a PTF has been marked defective or has been
superseded, the PTF may be currently installed on your server.

Taking action sooner than later will help prevent potential problems
with your daily server operations.
</quote>
http://www-947.ibm.com/systems/support/i/fixes/guide/maintstrat.html

My own personal opinion: It doesn't cost me anything to stay current
except an IPL - and I do that weekly anyway (this policy is under
review). By having 'Load PTFs' on my calendar, I'm reminded to keep all
sort of software current; not just IBM i. I load HIPERS every other
Tuesday - I'm in the support portal often. I'm highly unlikely to
accidentally forget to load 8.1 when it comes out because I'll see it in
the support portal.

The financial penalty for running past the end of support can be ugly.

Completely ignoring new functionality that's delivered via PTFs,
completely forgetting about security holes closed by PTFs, completely
disregarding IBM's stated best practices, the cost/benefit analysis
comes out in favour of keeping current and against letting it slide. I
would think a businessman would be able to grok this.

--buck

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