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A DevOps Transformation for CLM Maintenance – Part 2: Customer Perspectives

What is the advantage of adopting CLM 4.0.7 over 4.0.6? What does the new CLM maintenance approach mean to me? What are the future considerations system administrators and process owners should have and what does IBM recommend?

These are questions we’ve heard from customers since we announced CLM 4.0.7 and my first blog on the DevOps transformation for CLM maintenance. This blog will help explain why the new CLM maintenance approach is the right one for you!

Deployment – a VERY EASY adoption

Historically, customers on CLM version 4.0.6 or earlier have adopted APAR fixes in one of two ways. One way is to install a temporary test fix (also known as a hot fix), which includes the risk of overwriting previous fixes as one or more files are directly replaced in the installation directory. A second way is to install a full maintenance release known as a fixPack, which requires full migration and can be expensive.

In comparison, the new CLM iFix delivers all server-side APAR fixes in the form of a single patch file, with the following characteristics:

  • One file to patch the entire server
  • Minimal in size. For example, the server patch from 4.0.7 iFix001 is only 3MB for 35 APAR fixes!
  • Very simple adoption. Simply add one patch file to a pre-defined directory. Just follow instructions in readme.txt
  • Uninstall is as simple as install (again, follow instructions in readme.txt).
  • No modification needed to existing installation — that means, no touching any existing files
  • Cumulative … which means you only need the most current iFix at any time, as it always includes all APAR fixes available since GA.

The following images illustrate differences in the deployments between a temporary test fix, fixPack and the new iFix.

Temporary test fix – too many installation files are impacted.

Temporary Test Fix

Full maintenance release – can be expensive to deploy.

Full Maintenance Release

New iFix, starting with 4.0.7 and 5.0. One small patch file with all fixes for the entire server!

New iFix, starting with 4.0.7 and 5.0

Improved Tracking of APARs

All APARs included in the iFix can be tracked easily. You know exactly what’s running on your system. Simply refer to the readme.txt that comes with each iFix for the list of APARs, with:

  • Work item used to deliver to the iFix stream
  • URL of this work item if you need more details

Upgrade Path Clarified

No more wondering about “what is the next safe release to upgrade to?” after adopting the iFix! Each APAR fix in any iFix is guaranteed to be available in a later CLM continuous delivery release. When you upgrade to the recommended release, you will not miss the same APAR fix and cause a regression. This upgrade recommendation is also available at the very beginning of readme.txt:

Considerations and Recommendations

With all the above improvements to Rational CLM Maintenance, we hope you consider the following to take the best advantage of what Rational has to offer:

  • Upgrade to 4.0.7 to take advantage of this new iFix if you need to stay on 4.x. Version 4.0.6 does not have the new iFix approach available.
  • Adopt the latest CLM iFix available to get the best stability without picking up new functionality.
  • Plan ahead for your next CLM upgrade. Take advantage of the upgrade path recommendation from iFix. The best mod release for you may be the next one coming up!
  • Contact Rational support for the latest iFix available for your CLM version, or if you have any existing temporary test fixes on your system.
  • In general, for new functionality and maintenance, stay current with the latest mod release. CLM 4.0.7 is the latest and the recommended release if you need to stay on 4.x.

Finally, I hope you enjoyed this article, and we’d love to hear your experience as it relates to CLM maintenance.

Thank you!

Bianca Jiang
CLM Maintenance Lead, DevOps initiatives