Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Checking for Firmware updates

check for firmware updates

You might want to share this post with the System Admin of the IBM i you use, as this will probably more of more interest to him or her than to a developer type of person.

Wikipedia defines firmware as:

Firmware is a specific class of computer software that provides the low-level control for the device's specific hardware.

Wikipedia: Firmware

Despite the term "Firmware Currency" being widely used by many different hardware platforms I have been unable to find a definition. From what I can ascertain "firmware currency" appears to be the equivalent of firmware release.

With the latest Technology Refresh for IBM i, TR6, a new view has been added to allow us to compared the firmware fix level installed on the IBM i partition to the recommended fix level from the remote Fix Level Recommendation Tool, FLRT. To be able to use this view the IBM i partition being used must be able to access the internet and be able to reach the FLRT website:
https://www14.software.ibm.com/support/customercare/flrt/liteTable?prodKey=fw&format=json

If the FLRT site is blocked by a firewall or your IBM i does not have access to the internet you will not be able to use this view.

I am going to show the SQL Select statement and the results before I explain what the results mean.

The SQL statement is so simple:

SELECT * FROM SYSTOOLS.FIRMWARE_CURRENCY

Notice that the view is in the library SYSTOOLS.

I can only show the results I received for the IBM i partition I am using, you will probably get different results depending upon how up to date your firmware is.

FW_CURRENCY        FW_CURRENTFIXPACK   FW_RELEASE_DATE
UPDATE AVAILABLE   SV860_165            2018-05-22


FW_MACHINE_TYPE_MODEL   FW_RECOMMENDED_UPDATE
8286-41A                SV860_180


FW_RECOMMENDED_UPGRADE
-

As the FW_CURRENCY column contains "UPDATE AVAILABLE" there is an available update. If "INSTALLED LEVEL IS CURRENT" had been returned then I would know that there everything is up to date. There are other possible values, if you click on the link to the IBM documentation at the bottom of this post you can learn what they mean.

FW_CURRENTFIXPACK is the partition's current fix level.

FW_RELEASE_DATE is the date the currently installed fix pack was made available by IBM.

FW_MACHINE_TYPE_MODEL is the model numbers of the PowerSystems server this IBM i partition is upon.

FW_RECOMMENDED_UPDATE if there is an update this is the level of the fix. If the column is null then there is no update available.

FW_RECOMMENDED_UPGRADE if there is an upgrade available then the fix pack will be given here. If the column is null there is no upgrade available.

The results show that there is a recommended update for this server.

 

You can learn more about the SQL FIRMWARE_CURRENCY view from the IBM website here.

 

This article was written for IBM i 7.4 and 7.3 TR6.

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