Maintaining Systems to Minimize Unscheduled Outages
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"Ensuring all IBM pSeries systems in customer locations are up to date on Firmware loads is essential to achieving the highest level of customer satisfaction possible. Firmware updates provide increased hardware reliability to customerseServer p5 systems. But we can't get the word out to all our customers without the assistance of our valued Business Partners.
"IBM is in the process of contacting alerting customers who have an eServer p5 Model 510, 520, 550, 570, 575, 590 or 595 the following information. Please help us by providing this note to your services team and out to your customers. This information can help customers in the following ways:
Help customers to begin, or continue, an ongoing plan for regular software and LIC maintenance
Point out several fixes which are available specifically to improve hardware reliability
Lead to increased customer satisfaction through proactive steps to avoid downtime
Demonstrate the benefits of the ongoing Partner/Customer relationships
"Thank you for your ongoing support of pSeries."
(End of Business Partner letter)
Another note sent to IBM reps reiterates the same point:
"Please encourage your clients to schedule service time to apply GA5 level of the firmware on their p5 systems as some key functional enhancements (such as concurrent firmware loads) and fixes have been included in this code level. For the high-end systems, 9119 (p590 & 595), customers can schedule an SSR/CE to apply ECA604 to install this code in their environment. For all other pSeries machines, firmware is a customer responsibility."
It's important that you set the right level of expectation for Concurrent Firmware Maintenance. We are NOT saying that all firmware updates going forward will be non-disruptive. We are saying that SOME updates will be concurrent (and therefore non-disruptive) within a particular release. We are also saying that SOME of those updates WILL require a reboot after they have been applied. And finally, we are saying that ALL new releases of firmware WILL be disruptive, even though we're going to make it possible to space those out over a longer period of time. But customers should plan on having a disruptive update once or twice a year, depending on whether they go to a new firmware "stream", and depending on any fixes that may be classified as "deferred," which means a reboot is required after they are applied. IBM is working very hard to minimize outages while at the same time introducing new function in an appropirate way and an appropriate timeline.