Friday, December 18, 2015

Read Everything!

Some two decades ago, I didn't read the cover letter for a HIPER PTF, so I was unaware of its special instructions, and almost a year after it was applied, my negligence caused a catastrophic failure in one system. Those unread directives compelled the reader to rebuild the storage directories, but since that wasn't done, an upgrade of the operating system caused every DASD page to be marked as free, and over a period of several hours, the AS/400 slowly ate its storage, one page at a time, damaging many objects before we were able to wrest control and recover.

Image of the hung GUI that I uploaded with the PMR.
Besides the refrain to backup, backup backup, the second most important task in computers is to read everything before-hand. This week I neglected to peruse the read-me page for the HMC PTF MH01560, mostly because, frankly, there is nothing more boring than an HMC read-me document. In all the years I've been installing them, there has never once been anything in their texts that would have caused me to deviate from the normal installation steps. However, in this read-me's "Installation" section there was one tiny sentence that read "This fix must be installed using the HMC updhmc command; not the GUI." It doesn't relate why one must do that, just commandment to not.

Though this bit of negligence was not as bad as my catastrophic faux-pas of the 90s, when the GUI got hung, I opened a PMR and was politely informed by the support tech that, ahem, right here, sir, it say do not use the GUI. I have since closed the PMR and asked them to please burn it, such was the level of my embarrassment. If there's one positive to this experience, it turns out the CLI application is very fast and easy to use, and I'll probably use it over the GUI in the future.

This article was supposed to be a heads up to those upgrading to v8r8.4.0 and applying required PTF MH01560 with the updhmc command, but it devolved into a confession of inadvertently providing support techs with material to laugh about during their coffee breaks. In any case, I hope you'll all have a safe holiday season, and maybe someday I'll write about the two PMRs I opened a year apart for the same issue that were both PBKC. Though both times, thankfully, it was someone else's KC.

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