Oh no! and just when everything was running so well. There’s a problem with the system and you have logged a Problem Management Report (PMR) with IBM. You get a response from IBM asking you to manually collect all kinds of disparate information from areas of the system you might never have delved into before.
It can be quite daunting and demoralising to realise that having jumped through the hoops to raise the PMR you now have a long list of requests from IBM to gather information together using commands you quite likely haven’t used before.
Well, some very nice person at IBM must have recognised this as a real problem for anyone below the level of an Advanced Systems Engineer with less than 20 years experience and written a tool which takes much of the pain away – and you get hours of your working day back.
The Must Gather Data Collector Tool was created by IBM Support to assist with the process of automatically collecting the many pieces of debug data that is critical to fixing complex problems more quickly. The series of tools has been growing as each of the IBM teams get in on the act and have their requirements added to the menus. Some of the teams adding to the tools capabilities include HTTP Server for i, Web Query, Security, High Availability, DB2 for i and I’m sure there are others. This makes the collecting and transmitting of relevant information much easier.
How Do You Obtain The Tool?
The Must Gather tool installs on your server in a library called QMGTOOLS and can be obtained via PTF order or manual download from the IBM FTP web site.
Interesting to note this document states that there are three suggested methods to get the QMGTOOLS library but then there are only two methods described! If anyone knows what the third method is, I would be pleased to learn what it is.
Method one is to install QMGTOOLS via PTF order.
The current QMGTOOLS build
provided by the PTFs is from 2019. Internet connectivity is required to update
the utility by using GO MG Option 13 after the QMGTOOLS utility is restored
from the PTF save file.
When PTF is applied, if library QMGTOOLS is on the system, a check for the build date is performed. If the build date is less than the build date of the one that is included in the PTF, library QMGTOOLS is cleared and an attempt is made to restore that library from the PTF.
Method 2 is to download the
relevant save file from
Click on the file that matches your Operating System level and allow the file to download to your PC to your preferred download directory. In my example I use the Windows desktop.
ProTip: If you are working remotely on a Client’s System see if you can use one of their servers to download the save file to. This will save time when running the FTP later.
Create a save file on the target system to receive the FTP’d save file.
ProTip: Ensure you have created the save file on the IBM i before you run the FTP, (in the example above CRTSAVF SavfLib/Qmgtool730) this will ensure your save file is usable. If you do not do this, IBM i will often create a physical file when running the FTP instead of a save file.
Then FTP the save file to the IBM i.
ProTip: For the ftp to run successfully you may need to temporarily turn off your firewall. If you do remember to turn it back on again!
Then restore the QMGTOOLS library. In this example RSTLIB QMGTOOLS *SAVF SAVF(SAVFLIB/QMGTOOL730)
How Do You Run The Tool?
To access the menu type GO QMGTOOLS/MG
There is a little online help from Option 26, but worst case is to simply take the options from the menu or run the commands that the IBM support team ask you to run. When run, the tool will automatically gather key information such as log files, configuration files, and system data then send/upload the resulting IFS save file(s) to the IBM Enhanced Customer Data Repository (ECuREP) FTP site and automatically associate the file with your open PMR.
Then, hopefully you will get a fix back from IBM, more quickly, thanks to the Must Gather tool. It has an FTP process built into it to send IFS and/or *SAVF files which is much easier than downloading to your PC or having to FTP from the IBM i. The upload is direct so you don’t ned to do anything and there is a prompt for the PMR number so the files get associated with the correct problem. Automatic e-mail feedback lets you know what you sent has been received and then, when it’s been processed by IBM you receive another notification that the data is good.
The tool collects nearly everything required to help fix your problem but there are times when you still have to press some keys yourself. The tool is still evolving and new functions and features get added from time to time. In my experience the IBM Support team provide very good instructions when you are asked to collect information not covered by the tool.
How Do You Keep The Tool Up To Date?
There is an option on the MG menu (option 13) to update the tool and that’s easy and quick. It is important to keep QMGTOOLS up to date because more tools and amendments occur on a regular basis. IBM Support may well check with you that you are running the latest version so you might as well have it up to date before running any of the tools.
ProTip: Schedule an update of the tool on a regular basis. Having an up-to-date toolset means one less step in any troubleshooting process.
Want To Know More?
You can check out the website below to find the Must Gather User Guide.
With the Must Gather tool IBM is helping us to help them by making support tasks easier to manage as well as ensuring IBM Support gets the information it needs to be able to resolve your problem as quickly as possible.
In short, the Must Gather tool is your best friend in times of trouble.