The db2support Problem with Db2 11.1, Fix Pack 3 (LUW)

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IBM released fix pack 3, mod pack 3 for Db2 11.1 earlier this year, and there was a high-severity problem in the initial version of that fix pack. IBM fixed the problem and re-released the fix pack within about a day, but the bug was reported far and wide, while I’m not sure the resolution of the bug was, so I thought I’d cover it quickly.

When IBM released fixpack 3 for 11.1 back on April 10, there were quickly reports of a very serious data corruption problem caused by db2support. This is most shocking because with Db2, we do not see a lot of data corruption – I have seen it fewer than 5 times in a 17-year career, and almost all are associated with major storage subsystem issues. The other reason this is shocking is because db2support is a utility we use to generate the output to share with IBM in the case of major system issues. It is not a command we consider risky or likely to cause a problem. It is not generally something we hesitate to run on a production system.

IBM says that a very small number of people actually downloaded the fix pack before the issue was discovered and fixed, and the fix pack re-issued, and IBM individually contacted each and every client who downloaded it to let them know of the issues.

The situation is a bit strange, because usually with an issue like this, we see a replacement fixpack with a slightly different name for issues similiar to this. Usually we would expect to see Fixpack 3a, and then have the original fix pack be unavailable. In this case, IBM re-issued the fix pack, but they did not rename it in any way. If you downloaded fix pack 3 prior to April 10, you may have ththe earlier version with this issue. If you want to check an existing installation, you can do the following to verify it is OK:

  • Go to ~/sqllib/bin and run:
    strings -a db2support_internal | grep "Apr 10"
  • If this yields a line with:
    Apr 10 2018 

    Then you have the updated and OK version.

IBM published a tech note with all the details of the issues here. This issue only impacts Linux and UNIX environments.

Lead Db2 Database Engineer and Service Delivery Manager , XTIVIA
Ember is always curious and thrives on change. Working in IT provides a lot of that change, but after 17 years developing a top-level expertise on Db2 for mid-range servers and more than 7 years blogging about it, Ember is hungry for new challenges and looks to expand her skill set to the Data Engineering role for Data Science. With in-depth SQL and RDBMS knowledge, Ember shares both posts about her core skill set and her journey into Data Science. Ember lives in Denver and work from home for XTIVIA, leading a team of Db2 DBAs.

3 comments

  1. Thanks for the info blog !
    Small correction:
    Db2 Version 11.1 Mod 3 Fix Pack 3 was initially released on 14th March 2018
    It apparently was corrected on April 16 (not on April 10)
    (I downloaded it on 22 March ; so that has the bug. BTW: I did NOT get notified at all by IBM , but spotted the issue on social media …. )

    Strange and Confusing is :
    The download page ( http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg27007053),
    on 22 march displayed this as:
    “Mod 3 Fix Pack 3” Db2 Version 11.1 Mod 3 Fix Pack 3
    Signature: 11.1.3.3 Build level: s1803021700 Release Date: 14.Mar.2018

    If you NOW ( 7th June 2018) look on the download site, it STILL displays that Build and Release Date …
    Would indeed be nice if IBM at least update this information: it should at least mention April 16, 2018 (and most likelt also another build level) ….

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