When you place a support call with IBM, you're usually likely to be asked to run the snap command. If there was a core dump, you may also be asked to run the snapcore command. We're going to look at them both now.snap to it
The snap command, according to the snap command documentation
, "gathers system configuration information and compresses the information into a pax file.
I have heard that it originated with an IBMer who got fed up with asking 20 questions every time a support call came across the desk. When you run snap, you save some poor soul from asking you:
- What version of AIX are you running?
- What hardware is it running on?
- Were there any error messages?
- What was running when the system crashed?
- Did you know your firmware is down level?
- Do you have sugar in your coffee?
All very important questions as part of the friendly service, but (let's face it), they're not going to make the most popular questions of all time, even at a geek trivia night.
So you may be asked to run snap with some of its flags. I'm often asked to run a snap -gc. The -g gathers general system information, as well as some stuff which will reproduce the operating system environment. The -c compresses the output of the snap command into a file called snap.pax.Z
which by default goes to a directory called /tmp/ibmsupt
(This directory structure gets created if it doesn't exist).
You could try
to send that snap.pax.Z
file via email, but mail administrators being the sort of people they are, it will probably bounce. So you may find yourself renaming the file to PMR number (that's the number you were given when you placed the service request), followed by identifiers for your branch office, country and so on:
|ccc||IBM Country Code||724|
|yyy.yyy||A short description for the file type||zip or tar|
And if you ever wondered what your IBM country code is, you can find it here:http://www-05.ibm.com/de/support/ecurep/country.html
Just for curiosity, Australia's country code is 616.
Anonymous ftp with -A
These days you don't have to use ftp or email, but if you do want to use anonymous ftp, your ftp client may support anonymous login using the -A switch. That way you don't have to enter "anonymous" and some dummy password such as your email address:
Alright. The TV version of this is:
and send your /tmp/ibmsupt/snap.pax.Z
to IBM with the right naming convention.
More details are available from http://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/exchangeinfo.html#ecurepOnto snapcore
Last week AIX turned 25 years old. I, like AIX, have been around a little while. (I'm older than I look). And in all of those years I have never
been asked to run the snapcore command. Until this week. The snapcore command, so its documentation
gathers the core file, program, and libraries used by the program and compresses the information into a pax file.
The information gathered with the snapcore command is required to identify and resolve a problem with the application.
So IBM support asked for a snap.pax.Z, which I gathered using snap -gc. After they looked at it, they asked me to run not snap, but snapcore with two arguments: the core file (full path) and the program which they identified as the problem child, which in this case was the slp_svrreg command
. Once again, you have to specify the full path to the offending command or program, unless it happens to be in the $PATH.
I'm not sure why the slp_svrreg command should have caused an OS crash, but that's why we have a support contract with IBM who can find out and make some recommendations.Floods and support calls
Incidentally, I like to shock the call centre operator when placing a call by saying it's non-urgent. I like to work under the hope (or delusion) that other customers with non-urgent problems do the same, so that when I (or they) have a genuine production system down problem, it might get treated with some attention. In fact, the "non-urgent" calls usually get dealt with very promptly anyway.
Well, as you know, we've had serious flooding in parts of Australia since Boxing Day, so I was pleased that IBM had taken account of this by asking me up front "are you in a flood-affected area?" I was also pleased that the answer was no.