Hello all! My name is Jason Olson and I am one of the newest members of the CM First team. I’m happy to be with this fine group, and Mark Schroeder has asked if I would pen a series of articles on IBM i administration and system maintenance. I thought a good place to start would be IBM i PTFs, and in this article we will cover what a PTF is and how you can keep your system up to date.
Most environments that I have worked in understand at the basic level what an IBM i PTF is. The term PTF stands for Program Temporary Fix, and can be viewed the same way a fixes are handled in Windows. A collection of PTFs installed at the same time could be viewed in the same light as installing a Windows Service Pack.
In the IBM i environment PTFs can be installed as permanent, or they can be (and normally are) temporarily. This allows you to test your fixes and if a bad fix is found they can be removed pretty easily.
A lot of customers are aware of the CUM PTF package which is a large collection of PTFs that customers would install on a various timetable. However, not only are there CUM PTFs, but in this article I want to explain PTF groups and why you should also be getting PTF groups as well as CUMs.
As a general rule of thumb I recommend that you keep your IBM i PTFs up to date at least once a quarter.
The simple and easy way to see what level of PTFs you are on on your system is to use the WRKPTFGRP command. Attached below is a sample of what the output of that command produces.