Command to create an Image Catalog.
You'll want to create a folder in your IFS, such as /ptf. If you run the following command with a CRTDIR(*yes) for the first time, then it will create that directory for you. You'll then have to move your BIN or ISO images into the IFS directory either dropping them in via iSeries Navigator or FTP'ing them over to the system. You can call the image catalog anything you want, I used PTF for the example image catalog name here. If that folder already exists and you've already uploaded your BIN files to it then make sure you do not recreate the directory and instead use a CRTDIR(*NO).
CRTIMGCLG IMGCLG(PTF) DIR('/ptf') CRTDIR(*NO)
Adding the individual ptf volumes into the image catalog is very easy. Use the following command, specifying TOFILE(*FROMFILE) will not recreate the BIN image in that same location and it will load within seconds. If you leave it to the default of *GEN, then it will recreate the file, and double the amount of storage consumed by your image catalog. *GEN can be used if you're using optical media, from a DVD drive, to populate your image catalog on local DASD. The name below will be the name of the file that is saved to the '/ptf' directory. Hint: Hit F9 and just rename the number sequence.
ADDIMGCLGE IMGCLG(PTF) FROMFILE('/ptf/FirstVolume01.bin') TOFILE(*FROMFILE)
Once you're through with adding your ptf volumes to the image catalog, then you'll want to load it against a virtual optical device. See other directions on creating a virtual optical device. I'm using optvrt01 as the example here.
LODIMGCLG IMGCLG(PTF) DEV(OPTVRT01) OPTION(*LOAD)
Once that image catalog is loaded against the device, then you'll want to access the image catalog and verify that it is operational. While on that screen, you'll take an F7 function to verify that it's operational.
You can then run your ptf installation against this optical image catalog. You can use an image catalog to run OS upgrades, patches, or just installing a single package. Just make sure that the virtual optical device is set to be varied on at system startup, if you're going to use it for an OS upgrade, otherwise your upgrade will fail to start at IPL. You can use multiple image catalogs at the same time. One such image catalog could be for an upgraded OS, plus the upraded PTF volume set for that next release, and additional software packages required for that next release. This will reduce the amount of time involved with swapping physical media.
Once you're through with the image catalog, and it's time to dispose of it, then you'll need to unload it.
LODIMGCLG IMGCLG(PTF) DEV(OPTVRT01) OPTION(*UNLOAD)
Then you'll need to delete the image catalog:
DLTIMGCLG IMGCLG(PTF) KEEP(*NO)