Before you start the release upgrade, you need to prepare yourself, your users, and the system for this event. This section contains a basic outline of the steps you should take to prepare for the upgrade.
The first step is to order the new release of the operating system. When a new release comes out, you should receive a form you can complete and return to place your order. If you have not received it, call your IBM representative or your system provider.
The time it takes for the CD-ROM or tapes to arrive depends on the amount of orders IBM receives. Always place your order at least one month before you plan to install the new release. A month gives you enough time to plan the upgrade carefully and also gives IBM time to fill your order.
In the past, it was a good policy to never upgrade to a new release immediately after it had been announced. Since the new releases had bugs that required fixes (PTFs), it was always better to let someone else find the bugs. These days, IBM has a very extensive Beta program that seems to do a pretty good job of eliminating the bugs prior to general announcement.
Among the materials IBM sends with your new release will be complete instructions about how to install it. Be sure to read these instructions from beginning to end. Save these instructions even after the release upgrade is complete, in case you need to refer to them again.
IBM's documentation always has the last word about a proce-dure. If you do not understand something in the documentation, call IBM and ask for clarification.
Your new release order also should include a packing list that shows what CD-ROMs or tapes you should have received. Always check this packing list against the items you received to verify that your order is complete. Sometimes the shipment is not complete, and IBM sends you the backlogged CD-ROMs or tapes at a later date.
Do not perform the upgrade until you have received all the upgrade media. If you do not receive the missing items (if any) after a reasonable period of time, call IBM and demand them.
Check that the upgrade media are in good condition. Sometimes the media is faulty, and there is nothing worse than discovering it in the middle of the upgrade. Although there is no 100 percent sure-fire method to check that the media will be usable, you can at least check that they are readable.
To check if a tape is readable, run the Display Tape (DSPTAP) command and direct the output to *PRINT. You can run the command in batch for better efficiency, as follows:
SBMJOB CMD(DSPTAP DEV(SYSTAP01) DATA(*LABELS) + OUTPUT(*PRINT)) JOB(DSPTAP)
If the tape is unreadable, the job aborts with an error message sent to QSYSOPR. If you find unreadable tapes, get new ones from IBM immediately.
New releases are usually shipped with a CD-ROM or tape that contains the cumulative PTFs (or "Program Temporary Fix"). This media contains fixes for the bugs that users have already discovered in the new release.
Even if you receive the PTF media, make sure that no more recent cumulative PTFs are available. You may have to send an order for a newer cumulative PTF package or for new HIPER PTFs that may have been issued. Hopefully, there won't be any.
The upgrade process can take a considerable amount of time. Sometimes IBM will indicate how long it should take, which is an approximation only. Never plan on finishing in less than six hours.
Depending on how much you have to back up (which depends on how large your system is, the speed of your backup media, and other system resources as well) and how many problems you encounter, the upgrade may take between four and 40 hours.
Because the upgrade can take such a long time, you must select a good time to carry it out. For most installations, weekends are the logical choice. Even if something goes seriously awry, you usually can assure your users that the system will be operational by Monday morning.
Select a weekend that is convenient for your users, your IBM support contact, and you. Then announce the upgrade to your users so they know well in advance that the system will not be available for use. Then stick to your schedule.
In case you need to be rescued sometime during the upgrade process, obtain the home phone number or pager number for your IBM support contact. If you can't get those numbers, obtain the home phone number of a fellow professional who has done an upgrade before.
One of the steps you will have to take before the release upgrade is backing up the system. Make doubly sure you have enough initialized tapes for this backup. Now is a good time to initialize a few dozen.