Q: What is a ServerPac?
A ServerPac is a product upgrade or system replacement package where IBM performs the SMP/E install (RECEIVE, APPLY, ACCEPT) of the products and installs service in your order. The latest Recommended Service Upgrade (RSU) level and all HIPER and PRP service available approximately one day before your order is built will be installed for the products included in your order. The resulting target libraries, distribution libraries, and the SMP/E environment are delivered in the order package. During the ServerPac installation, you configure your installation to map to your environment, such as data set naming, data set placement, catalog specification, etc. The Shopz ordering checklist for ServerPac is refreshed monthly to add/withdraw product support; therefore products are typically supported within a month of their General Availability (GA).
Additionally, ServerPacs can be delivered in Portable Software Instance (PSWI) format that are deployed using z/OSMF Software Management and workflows.
Q: I see that z/OS V2.5 will be installable as a z/OSMF ServerPac (also know as a portable software instance). Can I order z/OS V2.4 as a z/OSMF ServerPac?
No. z/OS V2.5 will be available as a z/OSMF ServerPac, but z/OS V2.4 will not be a z/OSMF ServerPac. In fact, no Z038 SREL product is available as a z/OSMF ServerPac, until the general availability of z/OS V2.5 (planned for September 2021).
For example, before z/OS V2.5 is generally available, MQ is not available a z/OSMF ServerPac.
Q: Must I get z/OS V2.5 as a z/OSMF ServerPac?
If you order z/OS V2.5 (or CICS, Db2, or IMS) after January 2022 as a ServerPac, then yes, you can only receive a z/OSMF ServerPac. However, let's look specifically at all the IBM products available as a ServerPac on Shopz:
Before January 2022, CICS, DB2, and IMS are available as a ServerPac which can install either as a CustomPac ISPF dialog or z/OSMF, your choice. If you want to install any of these ServerPacs before January 2022, you have a choice. IBM would encourage you to select z/OSMF as that will be how ServerPac will only be available after January 2022, but also because it will be a very good way to learn how to install a z/OSMF portable software instance if you have not done that already.
For z/OS V2.5 (and the rest of the Z038 SREL, like MQ): Between z/OS V2.5 GA of September 2021 and January 2022, you will have the same choice as you see for CICS, Db2, and IMS today: CustomPac ISPF dialog or z/OSMF ServerPac. This means you have to take into consideration your ordering choices when you choose to order z/OS V2.5. This might make you order z/OS V2.5 sooner than you might have wanted to - or not. But do take these dates into consideration.
Q: What will happen to the Shopz ServerPac CustomPac Installation Dialog method, after January 2022?
z/OS V2.4 will go End-of-Marketing. But even bigger than that, the CustomPac Installation Dialog method for ServerPac will be removed across the Shopz ServerPac catalog, leaving only the z/OSMF ServerPac as the sole ServerPac choice. CBPDO is not being removed. Remember, though, CBPDO might be harder to install for a product as large as z/OS V2.5. If you've always preferred doing a CBPDO for CICS, IMS, or DB2, then this ServerPac ordering choice removal really will have no affect for you.
Q: What is the high level flow of installing a z/OSMF ServerPac?
1) Open z/OSMF Software Management
2) Go to Portable Software Instance --> Add
3) Go to Deployment and complete the Deployment Steps, including Perform Workflows for the first 2 workflows
4) Once complete, IPL your target system
5) Go back to the Deployment Checklist to the Perform Workflows step and do the third workflow
Q: What are the driving system requirements for z/OS V2.5, as a z/OSMF ServerPac?
The requirements are provided in the z/OS V2.5 Planning for Installation book, but you can also find the list on this website z/OSMF ServerPac Overview found above.
Q: What if I can't get z/OSMF active on my driving system before I have to install z/OS V2.5?
If you can't get z/OSMF active on your driving system, then you can get a Customized Offerings Driver (COD). Remember, z/OSMF automatically starts when IPLing z/OS V2.3, and the z/OSMF quick start instructions help to get just the minimum driving system activated. At z/OS V2.5 GA, the COD will have z/OSMF active and will be able to install a z/OS V2.5 z/OSMF ServerPac.
Q: If I install z/OS as a z/OSMF ServerPac, what will the resulting system look like? Can I still use my local deployment tools on it?
It will look exactly like what you had when you installed z/OS as a ServerPac for CustomPac Dialog. You will have SMP/E CSIs, you will have target libraries, you will have DLIBs, you will have sample libraries. You will have run batch jobs (from a workflow) which did configuration of the products you ordered. You will have full access to do SMP/E maintenance on the resulting system. Just as a ServerPac fits into your existing enterprise's environment, this z/OS portable software instance will also fit into your environment. Your existing deployment tooling should be able to be used, as is. IBM recommends that you consider using the deployment function in z/OSMF Software Management for subsequent deployments into your enterprise.
Q: If I install z/OS V2.5 with a z/OSMF ServerPac, must I use z/OSMF Software Update to install PTFs on it?
No. You can use the SMP/E batch JCL jobs you've always used for z/OS. Of course, IBM recommends that you try to use z/OSMF Software Update, though, to see if that simplified method of service installation is beneficial to you (see z/OSMF Software Update). We do welcome feedback and we have several customer requirements which we know we need to do for z/OSMF Software Update, so keep an eye out for future new function in z/OSMF Software Update.
Q: I am looking to make my z/OSMF portable software instance install simpler. Am I able to save a previous configuration and merge it forward?
Yes! If you have a software instance that is similar to the portable software instance you are installing, then you can model after it during deployment. This will bring forward to your new software instance configuration information you had specified previously. This will save you a lot of time, as your prior customization information, such as data set names and volume placement will be re-used. Of course, any changes you'd like make to that configuration are still able to be done.
Let's look at a specific example. If you are installing a z/OS V2.5 z/OSMF portable software instance, and you wanted to model it after your existing z/OS V2.4, you would define your existing z/OS V2.4 system as a z/OSMF software instance (Software Instance -> Actions -> Add). Then, when installing your z/OS V2.5 z/OSMF portable software instance, you would use the Model function (Deploy -> Configure -> Model -> An existing software instance).
Q: What configuration and verification assistance is provided when deploying a z/OS portable software instance
Just as with a CustomPac ServerPac installation, configuration and verification assistance is provided. For the CustomPac ServerPac installation, that assistance was provided in JCL jobs that you submit. For a z/OSMF ServerPac (which is a portable software instance) those configuration and verification steps have been included in two z/OSMF workflows for you: POSTDEPLOY and VERIFY. There is another workflow (YOURORDER) which contains useful information on your specific order, but does not contain configuration or verification steps.
Q: Where will the steps in the ServerPac-supplied POSTDEPLOY and VERIFY Workflows run?
During the Perform Workflows step of the z/OS portable software instance deployment, the POSTDEPLOY Workflow will perform any configuration tasks you will need for the products in your portable software instance. This workflow will be run from your driving system prior to the first IPL of z/OS.
The VERIFY Workflow will perform the verification steps to ensure that your products were installed and configured correctly. The VERIFY Workflow should be run after your z/OS system is IPLed, on the target system.
Q: During the Perform Workflows step of the z/OS portable software instance deployment, in the POSTDEPLOY Workflow, the first step is called 'Collect Configuration Options'. What does the 'Installation Type' mean, and which option should I select?
The 'Installation Type' identifies which operational data sets you will use for z/OS. Operational data sets must be provided for a first successful IPL of z/OS, and include parmlib, page, spool, and other system control files. You have a choice of creating new operational data sets or using your existing operational data sets.
'Create new operational data sets for an IPLable standalone system'
When you allow IBM to create a set of operational data sets for you, you are assured of having a successful first IPL. When you select this option, new operational data sets will be created for you. The steps to do this are provided in this workflow and are marked with a state of Ready, and the step title begins with “(Optional)”. By performing each of these steps, you will be provided with a complete set of operational data sets for the first IPL of z/OS. If you choose not to run a particular step identified as “Optional”, that operational data set will not be provided for your first IPL os z/OS.
'Use existing operational data sets. You must update them prior to IPLing the new system'
Use this option when you wish to provide your own operational data sets for the first IPL of z/OS. You will be responsible for ensuring that these operational data sets are adequate for the z/OS system you IPL. When selecting this option, the steps that provide new operational data sets are marked with a state of Skipped, and the step title begins with '(Optional)'. You may still decide to run a Skipped step if you desire to create that specific operational data set from the workflow.
Q: Does this mean that the IPL'd z/OS target system should have z/OSMF active, or be part of a sysplex that has z/OSMF active?
Either. From the Perform Workflows step of the z/OS portable software instance deployment, when you create the VERIFY Workflow instance, you will be prompted to provide the “System (where the workflow steps will be performed)”. Here, the active target system should be specified - ensuring that system has z/OSMF up and running or is within a sysplex that has z/OSMF active, so the verification steps in the workflow can be run. Note that the target system needs to be known from the driving system's z/OSMF Systems definition for the VERIFY Workflow instance to be created. For information on how this is done, consult the z/OSMF Configuration Guide. Also, note that as of z/OS V2.3, z/OSMF automatically starts at IPL time.