Over the last few months (this being written in September 2018), I have received customer emails asking if I can get them an updated access key. This was something new to me, and I had to do some research to find out what is an updated access key. Come to find out, this was something that came along with Power8, but IBM had recently reduced the key effective dates down to about 6 months. So, after going around this process a couple times, I thought it would be good to write this up so others could use it.
When it comes to the world of IBM i, it can seem like IBM has a license key for everything. There are permanent license keys for the operating system and licensed programs, which are all available via the Entitled Software Website. If you are a customer with a CBU or backup designated server, you likely have a set of 2-year temporary keys for licensed programs to mirror your production server. Some programs have license keys, while others don’t. It can get a bit frustrating for customers, so IBM added to the list – thanks IBM.
With Power8 (and later), IBM has included an “update access key” (UAK) which is checked when system firmware updates are applied to the system. System firmware updates contain a release date. When attempting to apply system firmware updates, if the release date for the firmware updates has passed the expiration date for the update access key, the updates will not be processed.
These keys are currently issued with expiration dates in 180-day (approx. 6-month) increments (yes, I think this is too short, but IBM must have their reasons). Your POWER8 (or later) server will provide several warnings in the 30 days prior to the expiration of the system’s update access key and if/when an update access key is allowed to expire. IBM states “as these updates access keys expire, they need to be replaced using either the Hardware Management Console (HMC), the Advanced Management Interface (ASMI) on the service processor, or directly using the update_flash command.”
So, what do you do if you need a new Update Access key (UAK)? I’m glad you asked.
A new update access key can be acquired by visiting the following Entitled Software website: http://www.ibm.com/servers/eserver/ess/index.wss
- You will need to know your server’s machine type, serial number, and the country of installation in order to obtain a new update access key.
- Login to the “Entitled System Support” web page using your IBM Web ID http://www.ibm.com/servers/eserver/ess/index.wss
- Navigate to the “My Entitled Hardware” section and select “View, download and request update access keys”.
- Enter your server’s machine type, serial number and country of installation. You may enter each server machine type and serial number individually, or you can upload a list of servers
- On the “Update Access Key Request Confirmation” page, you’ll see the result of your request(s). You’ll have the option of viewing your server’s new update access key directly, downloading the key via a file or sending it to your IBM Web ID via email.
- After retrieving your server’s new update access key, return to your server and enter the key on your HMC (using the “Enter CoD Code” feature) or via the ASMI (using the “CoD Activation” feature)
For additional information on Update Access Key, I recommend the following sites:
Management of POWER8 Update Access Keys:
IBM Community – Update Access Key:
If you find all of this a bit confusing or frustrating, please feel free to drop us a note or give a call. We’ll gladly help guide you through the process.
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