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Maintenance Strategy for WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Message Broker and IBM Integration Bus

Technote (troubleshooting)


Problem(Abstract)

This is the maintenance strategy for WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Message Broker and IBM Integration Bus products.

Resolving the problem




Maintenance Strategy Overview:
The following document outlines the maintenance strategy for the WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Message Broker and IBM Integration Bus products.
The document highlights the different types of maintenance delivery which will be used to deliver either preventative or corrective maintenance to customers, how you can find out the planned delivery schedule for maintenance, where you can download maintenance and how you can subscribe to My Notifications to receive important maintenance information. This strategy is followed on all products listed and all supported platforms, but excludes the WebSphere MQ z/OS products, since these products ships all fixes as individual PTFs.

The purpose of the delivery changes documented is to provide a consistent maintenance approach which you can follow as you manage your products, clearly identifying when new features or behavioural changes have been released. Installing preventative maintenance as soon as it becomes available will save you time. As long as you test appropriately, actively applying preventative maintenance can avoid problems that could result in a service call.

Note: the term maintenance delivery is used as a generic phrase for any kind of formal product maintenance released by IBM.




Delivering Updates:
The products documented will use a "<version> .<release> .<modification> .<Fix Pack>" naming convention, (for example 6.0.1.1). The characteristics of each type of maintenance delivery are documented in the table below:


Solutions

Characteristics of Each Solution

Release

  • A new product that includes major new function, such as V6.0.
  • Full testing of all applications with the new release is recommended.
  • Requires migration to upgrade.

Refresh pack

  • A package that includes minor new features and fixes, such as V6.0.1. It has been regression tested.
  • Refresh packs are cumulative, so V6.0.2 includes features and fixes contained in V6.0.1, V6.0.1.1 and so on.
  • Refresh packs uninstall all Fix Packs and interim fixes previously applied to the release. Therefore, it is necessary to check the list of delivered fixes to determine if an interim fix needs to be reinstalled, though some fixes may need to be rebuilt by the IBM Service team first.
  • Regression testing of critical functions with a new Refresh Pack is strongly recommended.

Fix Pack

  • This is the standard delivery for updates - it has been regression tested.
  • A Fix Pack is a cumulative package of only fixes, such as V6.0.1.3.
  • Fix Packs install on top of a specific Refresh Pack or release, such as applying V6.0.0.1 to V6.0 or applying V6.0.1.3 to V6.0.1.
  • Fix Packs also install on top of a previous Fix Pack, such as applying V6.0.1.3 to V6.0.1.2.
  • Fix Packs are cumulative, so V6.0.1.3 includes all fixes in V6.0.1.2 and V6.0.1.1.
  • Fix Packs uninstall all interim fixes applied to the release since the last Refresh Pack or Fix Pack was installed. Therefore, it is necessary to check the list of delivered fixes to determine if an interim fix needs to be reinstalled, though some fixes may need to be rebuilt by the IBM Service team first.
  • Brief testing of critical functions with the new Fix Pack is recommended.

Fix

  • A single published emergency fix, such as SA79582.
  • A fix is an interim fix or test fix that resolves one or more product defects.
  • A fix can be applied to a release, Refresh Pack or Fix Pack where applicable.
  • Interim fixes are created when a stand-alone fix is required between Fix Packs.
  • It is recommended that you test functions impacted by the component fixed.
  • When urgent, the fix will also be flashed on the Support page. You can also find out about these fixes by subscribing to My Notifications.

Note: The version numbers (6.0.1, 6.0.2, 6.0.2.3 and so on) used throughout this document are to illustrate a typical maintenance path. It does not reflect actual or intended deliverables.




Maintenance Planning:
You should be aware of the future maintenance release plans for the product which you are using and use this information to help plan the application of preventative maintenance. Subscribing to My Notifications will ensure that you are informed when new maintenance is released by IBM.

Once maintenance has been released, you should review the list of APARs which have been included within the Fix Pack or Refresh Pack, to verify which fixes have been delivered. In order to ensure the quality of maintenance, individual fixes that become available late in the development cycle may NOT be included in a Refresh Pack or Fix Pack. If you need to find out which Fix Pack or Refresh Pack an APAR (fix) is targeted for you should contact your IBM Service representative. For WebSphere MQ you can also find out this information on the web, see APAR information.

Updating to the latest Refresh Pack or Fix Pack will provide you with cumulative fixes in order to proactively avoid problems already resolved. Prior to installing any maintenance in production, appropriate testing should be carried out on a test system. You should only update to the latest Refresh or Fix Pack when there is time in the development schedule for a full regression test of your application.

The table below identified the standard maintenance options available for the products documented.





Recommended Update Path:
The following is an Update scenario, using hypothetical Fix Packs, Refresh Packs and Releases, where Refresh Packs and Fix Packs are installed as soon as they are available.






Downloading Maintenance:
All new WebSphere MQ Fix Packs or Refresh Packs can be downloaded at the WebSphere MQ Recommended Updates page.

The WebSphere Message Broker and IBM Integration Bus maintenance is located on the WebSphere Message Broker Recommended Updates page.




Planned Maintenance Release Dates:
The Refresh Pack or Fix Pack planned release dates for WebSphere MQ can be found on the WebSphere MQ Planned Maintenance Release Dates page.

The Message Broker Planned Maintenance Release Dates page contains the planned dates for all WebSphere Message Broker and IBM Integration Bus products.




My Notifications:
Each time either a Fix Pack or Refresh Pack is released, this information is sent in the My Notifications email. To receive the weekly email, you must register with My Notifications and have requested to receive the weekly email. The My Notifications email also allows you to receive the latest technotes, release notes, education and general product information. Information regarding any High Impact or Pervasive (HIPER) APARs is also released on My Notifications, enabling you to take appropriate action.

Details about how to subscribed to My Notifications can be found on the following Web page.




Obtaining Detailed APAR Information:

Use the IBM Support Portal to search for information about a specific closed APAR. You can simply enter the APAR number in the search field find the APAR information (Error Description, Problem Summary & Problem Conclusion)

Refer to the Related Information section below to find the applicable Support page.



Related Information:


Cross reference information
Segment Product Component Platform Version Edition
Business Integration WebSphere Message Broker Maintenance AIX, HP-UX, Linux, OS/390, OS/400, Solaris, Windows, z/OS 6.0

Product Alias/Synonym

WMQ MQ WMB MB RFE IIB

Document information

More support for: WebSphere MQ
APAR / Maintenance

Software version: 6.0, 7.0, 7.1, 7.5

Operating system(s): AIX, HP-UX, IBM i, Linux, Solaris, Windows

Reference #: 1223595

Modified date: 07 December 2005


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