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A Cautionary Tale - What Can Happen When non-Netezza Specialists Attempt an OS Upgrade

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When taking on new Netezza end-of-life customers, their systems will often need quite a lot of remedial care to bring them back to peak performance. This may be because they are running old versions of the software and are consequently not benefiting from enhancements or bug-fixes, or they have failed hardware components that are not being detected because the FDT (Firmware Diagnostics and Tools) software is out of date. We wrote about this in our recent blog "Why it's crucial to keep your Netezza software up to date".

Occasionally we will be approached by a potential client whose system is not working at all and they are unable to get help from IBM because their Netezza appliance has reached end of support by IBM.

One such case was a customer who recently had tried to perform a full operating system upgrade but failed. Naturally, when their system was put under support our first task was to get the system back on-line. We discovered that instead of using Netezza RedHat Linux OS upgrade disks, which would have been delivered by host management or PDA OS Security, they had instead installed Oracle Linux.

Alarmed Linux Penguin

Another customer lost their system when they attempted to upgrade the OS with RedHat ISO images downloaded directly from the RedHat site.

In both examples, the customer had segregated the responsibility for supporting their Netezza system. One team was responsible for handling the database, another the operating system and yet another for handling hardware replacements. Unfortunately segregating the support between non-Netezza specialists is a recipe for disaster. In our blog "How to Optimally Resource your Netezza Team" we explain how important it is for Netezza expertise to be available across the whole system, to avoid this type of scenario occurring.

In both the cases described above, recovering the system took several days as both hosts needed to be restored back to their original libraries which is quite fiddly because when downgrading versions of Linux, several RPM (RedHat Package Manager) dependencies must be resolved before you can downgrade to the next previous version.

All the while that your Netezza system is being restored, your business is without a working database, which shouldn't happen as IBM’s Netezza Performance Server systems are incredibly fault tolerant and are known to require far less effort to administer than a traditional RDBMS.

If you find yourself in this situation, don't despair. If you sign up to our Netezza end-of-life support service, we can get you back up and running. We have the expertise on-hand to keep your system running at peak performance whilst you decide what to do with your Netezza system - upgrade to NPS for Cloud Pak for Data, or to migrate to Yellowbrick or another platform.

For more information, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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