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We have developed a tool that can compare the PTF Group levels installed on a system and those available from IBM. When we see a difference between the group levels we use SNDPTFORD to order the PTF's directly to an Image Catalog ready for installation. The problem is there is no comparison between the level we have installed and the level we need to download in terms of the fixes that are required to go from the installed level to the available level.
In the past we have used Fix Central to order fixes based on the installed fixes and the available fixes (The system was queried as part of the ordering process to identify the PTFs that were missing to get to the latest level). This was a good option but required you to sign onto Fix Central and manually set everything up for the download. I am not sure if that option would work with PTF Groups but I would think it should?
I would like to suggest a parameter is available on the SNDPTFORD command that would allow the current PTF Group level to be sent to IBM, IBM could then review the PTF's required to get for that level to the latest available level. The other option would be to add something to the SNDPTFORD process that could automatically pick up the current install level and send it as part of the normal processing.
I think this would be a big benefit, first of all the current process will always download the entire PTF group for the latest level, as these are cumulative in nature each time more data is required to be downloaded it will be growing is size. This is a waste of communications resource both for IBM and the customers. It will also reduce the effort and resources required to keep the IBM i systems at the latest fix level, we hear of far too many customers who are running downlevel systems and never upgrade because of the effort required to carry out the updates. I have no numbers to back up thought, but maybe the number of support calls made to IBM could be reduced by removing those calls that are fixed already but the customers are not at the level to have the fix?
We are seeing a lot of exposures to the IBM i security as can seen by the number of CVE's that are being released, I think anything we can do to make the PTF update process easier would be a benefit to the entire community and IBM.
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