15 November 2007
From time to time, you will need to install some database related software because you bought something new, you want to put what you already have on a new server or for some other reason. IBM usually does not send CDs or DVDs with software anymore, but instead places it on a website where you can download it called Passport Advantage (PPA). Since this is licensed software and we don’t want anyone but you to get it, there is a process to ensure that only those entitled to get your software can download it. As long as your organization keeps paying the maintenance on your software, all current versions of it on all operating systems where it runs will be on the PPA site. Just remember that just because it is on your PPA site does not mean you can install the software as much as you want. For most software you are allowed to run it on some limited number of CPU’s or have a limit on the number of users who can use it. If you are unsure of these limits, you can contact your friendly Sales Rep or IT Specialist to get the exact answer.
In this article I will summarize how to get registered on PPA to down load software and provide some of my personal insights which may be of questionable value, but which may be entertaining none the less. I’ll tell you what, the software guys are really cooking with gas these days! I say this because you can watch an instructional video on the web about down loading software at http://www-306.ibm.com/software/lotus/passportadvantage/pao_instructional_videos.html However, if you are like me and the “PC Guy” on those TV commercials you may just want to read about the process by clicking here. If you encounter any problems getting registered or just have some questions about the process please call 1-800-978-2246.
In general the registration process is:
1. Primary Contact registers with IBM
When your company purchases information management software like DB2, Informix or other products for Linux, UNIX or Windows IBM sends a package of information to your company designating the Primary Contact. The Primary Contact is the person who must authorize you to download software before you can do so. In this package of information is a temporary login for the Primary Contact to register as the as the Primary Contact and instructions on how to do so. The instructional video and documentation mentioned above also show the Primary Contact how to register.
2. Determine who your Primary Contact is
Due to the fact that little thought is usually given to the designation of the Primary Contact this person often winds up being the president of the company, an employee in the purchasing department, or someone else who you would never expect to be your Primary Contact. In any case, if you don’t know who the Primary is call your Sales Rep to get this or your IT Specialist who can ask the Sales Rep to get back to you with this information. Then talk to the Primary Contact to see if they have registered. If they have no idea what you are talking about then either get your Sales Rep to contact them to help them get registered or contact your Sales Rep to get the correct person designated as the Primary Contact and get them registered. If you don’t know who your Sales Rep is then your IT Specialist can determine his identity for you.
3. Determine your “Customer Number”
The customer will be in the package of information that I mentioned in step 1. You can also call your IT Specialist or Sales Rep to get it.
4. Nominate yourself to download software
Once you find your Primary Contact and his e-mail address, know that he is registered, and know your Customer Number you are ready to nominate yourself to download software. Click this link to get to the registration site and nominate yourself. You will be prompted for your Customer Number and Primary Contact as part of the process. If you have already registered to open ESRs then you do not need to register again. You can just sign in and find the link to nominate yourself to download software.
5. Primary Contact authorizes you to download software
Your Primary Contact will get an e-mail notifying them of your nomination. This note will contain instructions for authorizing you. In my experience it is a good idea to call them before they get the note and let them know what you are doing and that it is important that they do not just delete the e-mail.
Once your Primary Contact has given approval you can now start to download software on line. Enter this site by visiting PPA and signing on. If there are any problems in this process please call eCustomer Care at 1-800-978-2246. If they do not help you in a timely manner then call your Sales Rep or IT Specialist.
Once you sign in you will probably see a bewildering array of software entries just begging you to down load them. Take a look over them and see if you can find what you need. If you have any trouble call your IT Specialist. The reason that there are so many is that each main piece of software that you buy entitles you to several components. For example, if you purchase DB2 ESE you will see media for DB2 v8 and DB2 v9 since they are both in support. For each version you also get the DB2 Client, and a few other components. But wait! There’s more! For each component you get a download for each operating system where it runs like Linux on x86, Linux on Itanium, Linux on …, Solaris on SPARC, Solaris on Intel, and so on. So as you see each of these things just multiplies the number of possible files that you can down load, but chances are you only really need one or a very few files.
As I said, versions of software are taken off of PPA when they reach their out of service date. If you choose to continue running a version of something after it goes out of support, you should download that version before it goes out of support and put your copy of the media someplace safe. I have seen more than one customer have an old server that dies with old software it, but not have a copy of the old software to install on the replacement server. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! It is often impossible for me to get the old software and if I can find it, it will take a long time.
Here are links to DB2 and Informix out of support dates for the various versions.
Informix End of Support by Version
Versions of software such as DB2 are usually left in their General Arability (GA) maintenance level on PPA. This means that you will almost always want to download and apply the newest fix pack after installing the base build of the software to ensure you are running at a level with the “less desirable” features removed. The DB2 and Informix fix packs can be found on their respective “Favorite Links” pages on my web site at: