Open source cloud automation for IBM AIX

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Gone are the days when open source software was used only by start-up companies and small corporations. The outlook towards open source has changed. Today, many big corporations are not only using and promoting open source software, but are also contributing to it.

The objective of this article is to provide an overview of the investment IBM® is making in open source for IBM AIX® to help our clients simplify systems installation, management and to keep key packages up-to-date.

IBM Power Systems™ is constantly enhancing the open source ecosystem for AIX, with a strong focus on the community trend around configuration, management, and automation. Using cloud automation tools such as Chef can provide the following benefits:

  • Accelerate your cloud deployments using Chef recipes.
  • Reuse existing skills to automate data center tasks such as patch management, post-installation management, and configuration management.
  • Your infrastructure becomes versionable, testable, and repeatable.

Chef is a powerful automation platform that transforms complex infrastructure into code (providing a level of abstraction). It automates how applications are configured, deployed, and managed across the network. It is built around the following simple concepts that serve as building blocks:

Chef is available for free (without premium features) on hosted servers and support is available by Chef/Opscode (https://www.chef.io/chef/).

IBM is currently working on establishing a leadership presence within the open Chef community and has planned a bunch of recipe contributions for the rest of the year, focusing on systems management and AIX and Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) management. In addition, IBM is contributing to the community with AIX cookbooks. The cookbooks contain useful resources for using Chef with AIX systems including content from IBM and IBM clients, and provide the following capabilities:

  • Systems management
  • Installation management
  • Network management
  • Performance tuning
  • Security

IBM PowerVC and Chef automation as an example

By integrating IBM PowerVC and Chef, we can accomplish one-step virtual machine (VM) provisioning and Chef configuration. When we provision a Chef-enabled image with PowerVC, it provisions the VM, storage, and network. Afterwards, it uses cloud-init scripts at deploy time to add the new VM to the Chef server and run the correct recipes on the VM.

To get started, you need an image that has the Chef client installed and the correct cloud-init configuration. So, as an example, the Chef client on the VM can automatically run the recipes defined in a role called 'aix71'. Afterwards, it can be observed that the recipe has been run on the new VM as shown in the following figure.

Figure 1. IBM PowerVC Cloud Manager
Illustration showing that IBM PowerVC Cloud Manager has                     automatically run a Chef recipe.
Illustration showing that IBM PowerVC Cloud Manager has automatically run a Chef recipe.

Modernizing AIX tooling with open source

Our team is proactively working with AIX administrators to identify and prioritize Chef content and continue to strengthen the open source ecosystem for AIX. We are committed to keeping key packages updated and providing timely security fixes that enable clients to use open source skills.

Refer to the following figure to identify the key areas where IBM is contributing to open source in context of AIX.

Figure 2. Open source cloud automation and configuration tooling for AIX
Illustration showing open source cloud automation tools for AIX
Illustration showing open source cloud automation tools for AIX

Learn more about IBM repository and package management, including AIX Toolbox and Cloud Automation for AIX using Chef at: https://www.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?htmlfid=POP03924USEN&

We are currently working on getting our new AIX open source website up and running which will be out there soon! So… stay tuned!


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