I've been thinking more about a cringe-worthy item: Preventive Service Planning (PSP) buckets. This "resource" has never been a particularly easy to use, and yet has been important. If you go back far enough, folks might have been using PSP buckets quite regularly. Time has moved on and easier communication ways have come about. Yet, PSP buckets still remain. Let's look at what they are, especially for those that are newer to z/OS.
What are PSP buckets?
A long time ago, when update cycles for documentation were very long or immediate information needed to be released to users, a Preventive Service Planning "bucket" was used. This was a location for viewing information that we could deliver from IBM Development to the field very quickly. Buckets (and I never loved that term) were separated into different sections so you could maneuver around easily, especially pre-mouse days on a green screen.
Historic basic points, with my impressions
- Each IBM product likely has a PSP bucket.
- Each PSP bucket is composed of an Upgrade and Subset. Upgrade you could think of as the high level product. Subsets would then be the pieces of that product. For instance, for z/OS V2.5, the Upgrade is ZOSV2R5, and there are many Subsets. Two are BCP and DFSMS.
- We do have Hardware and Software PSP buckets, and they could generally be viewed as having similar sections.
- PSP bucket sections are typically:
- INSTALLATION INFORMATION - generally, where last minute information from the Program Directory would be put. Entries here were manually added by IBM.
- DOCUMENTATION CHANGES - generally, where important book updates would go. Especially when there were only hardcopy books and there was no online book location to get fast important changes. Entries here were manually added by IBM.
- GENERAL INFORMATION - If it didn't fit into another section, it likely went here. Entries here were manually added by IBM.
- SERVICE RECOMMENDATIONS - An automated section! This is where APARs would be listed when IBM Service deemed they needed customers to install the fixes. IBM could get APARs into this section automatically by using certain keywords on the APAR, and then it would magically appear here. As you can guess, for several products this accumulated list would be very long.
- CROSS PRODUCT DEPENDENCIES - If there was a consideration that another product had on the PSP bucket product, it went here. Entries here were manually added by IBM.
- We did take the PSP buckets to the internet eventually. They can be found here: https://esupport.ibm.com/customercare/psearch/search?domain=psp I'll be brutally honest; the web flavor of the PSP buckets seems to have some periodic glitches, so I do know we had tweaks to the process to get them to appear correctly on the web. Also, do note, when a PSP bucket entry is made by IBM, it isn't immediately reflected on the web. There are regular refreshes, but it is not within the same minute or hour typically - there is a slight lag, which I know we have with web page refreshes too.
- PSP buckets are still here, although, hopefully much smaller than before.
- Still, they should be used as a source for finding last minute, important updates. Although, I'm going to reckon that an internet search probably finds that last minute important information just as well.
- Leverage SMP/E FIXCATs to ignore the SERVICE RECOMMENDATION section.