Other than recovering from a disaster, few system activities are as intricate as upgrading the operating system to a new release. This chapter presents the general steps you needed to upgrade.
You may wonder why you should bother upgrading to a new release? After all, upgrading to a new release is a complicated process during which many things can go wrong. A new release has new features, but you may not need them. If the new release is classified as a new version of i5/OS, you must pay for it. It is unlikely, but the new release of the operating system might not be entirely compatible with some of your programs. In this case, those programs will stop working or will yield invalid information.
To justify the upgrade, you need to address the following concerns. Only you can be the judge of them, but evaluate them carefully:
IBM will not support an old release forever. If you don't upgrade to new releases within a reasonable amount of time after they are available, you will be on your own if you discover a bug in the operating system or one of the software products.
New releases often bring support for new printers, tape drives, disk drives, and other hardware. They also bring added functionality and features to the operating system, programming languages, and utilities. IBM rarely adds new features to old releases.
Job applicants for system operator, programmer, or administrator positions for your information systems department may be turned off when they discover that your system is lagging behind. The best applicants will want to work with a recent release of the operating system.
New software that is developed by software firms may require a fairly recent release of system software in order to work. New software might use some of the features that were added to the operating system or programming languages. If your system is still using an old release, you may not be able to install that software.