AIXpert Blog is about the AIX operating system from IBM running on POWER based machines called Power Systems and software related to it like IBM Systems Director, PowerVM for virtualisation and PowerSC for security plus performance monitoring and nmon
On Power6 the largest machine was the Power 595 with 64 Physical CPUs (cores) across eight CPU books in the machine - each CPU book having 4 Power6 chips and so 8 CPUs (Power6 is a dual CPU chip design). However, with Power7 that has stepped up to 256 CPUs across the same eight CPU books with four chips but with 8 CPUs each so that is 32 CPUs per book. I might be stating the obvious but memory access to memory directly attached to the Power chip on which your process is running is slightly faster than memory access via a Power chip near by... [More]
I am working with a larger Power 7 customer and learning lots about life in the large and professional computer room. Oh Gosh!!! My Power Virtual Machine (Logical Partition) is totally busy. Oh Heck!!! Look at all that System time, we have a serious problem!! Or do we? Take a look at the below nmon stats and make up your own mind before scrolling down. Actually, we are in offices many miles away from most of the Power 7 computers because the machines are
split across three sites. More than twenty Power 7 Model 795's is
enough to... [More]
I often get asked: How large to make a pair of Virtual I/O Server (VIOS)? The classic consultant answer is "it depends on what you are doing with Disk & Network I/O" is not very useful to the practical guy that has to size a machine including the VIOS nor the person defining the VIOS partition to install it! Observations : The VIOS server unfairly gets a bad press but note: Physical adapters are now in the VIOS, so device driver CPU cycles (normally hidden and roughly half of the OS CPU System time) move to the VIOS - this is not... [More]
We have all probably seen or used the topas CEC on-screen view (topas -C command). This is started while logged into one AIX Virtual Server (LPAR) and shows all the other AIX or VIOS (as it is based on AIX) Virtual Servers of a single Power Server. Here is a reminder - this is on-line, on-screen and updated every 10 seconds or so: Here my Virtual Servers are called purple<something> and below the top machine summary we have a line for each Virtual Server and stats like AIX release, memory use, CPU stats (PhysB is the Physical CPU time... [More]
five years ago on January 21, 1986, IBM Austin launched a new operating system
called IBM RT Personal Computer A dvanced I nteractive e X ecutive
-- better known as AIX-- with a new system called the IBM RT
PC. The system ran on a RISC processor codenamed “ROMP” (for Research Office
Products Division MultiProcessor) and was originally marketed as an engineering
the RT was an unremarkable hardware platform it did represent the first time
that IBM really started to get serious about UNIX (AIX version 1 was... [More]
AIX or VIOS Start-up Memory Problems I have been working with a couple of customers that have a newly setup AIX Logical Partition (LPAR) that fails to start due to not having enough memory. The common factor is that the LPAR for AIX (or VIOS) includes a good number of what I call "high speed" adapters like 10 Gbps Ethernet, or 4 Gbps or 8 Gbps Fibre Channel adapters. They tend to have multiple adapters of each type for redundancy and throughput. For example, trying to start the LPAR with 1 or 2 GB of memory but it turned out they need... [More]
If you are migrating work from an older POWER5 or POWER6 machine/LPAR to POWER7 ... don't forget to check that those Java versions are compatible with POWER7 or you may hit "unexpected Java errors" The approved Java SDK on POWER7 are limited to particular versions with specific fixes . They can be found here: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/java/jdk/power7/index.html Harder to check are the Java versions which are embedded in applications. Here are two important ones for IBM software: There is a technical bulletin regarding... [More]
I am getting this question quite a lot and the answer is it depends on the model and when it was made available.
These are the minimums but higher service packs are recommended .
Power 750, 755 (Jan)
Power 770,780 (March)
Blade 700, 701,702 (June)
Power 710, 720, 730, 740, 795 (Sept)
AIX 5.3 TL9
SP7 SP7 - -
AIX 5.3 TL10
SP4 SP4 SP5 SP5
AIX 5.3 TL11
SP2 SP2 SP5 SP5
AIX 5.3 TL12
* * * SP1
Power 750, 755 (Jan)
Power 770,780 (March)
IBM is very keen for every one to be up to date with AIX versions to avoid already fixed bugs, increase performance and security and to save you time with new features. Here is a reminder of what we all should be running: AIX 5.3 with the latest service packs TL09 service pack 7 TL10 service pack 4 TL11 service pack 4 TL12 service pack 1 - Note: this is the last ever TL for AIX 5.3 AIX 6 TL02 service pack 7 TL03 service pack 4 TL04
service pack 4 TL05 service pack 1
If you are running older AIX versions you don't have regular support or... [More]
If you are looking for an update on AIX on the IBM BladeCenter blades or looking for the details of the latest POWER7 based blades, there is only one place you need to remember. I am adding this to this blog because I couldn't find it and you might have the same problem :-) Its here - Power Blades Wiki Look in the Presentation list for the latest POWER7 blades PS700, PS701 and PS702 and AIX levels its supports presentation. This is by the world wide "top gun" of Power Blades Trina Bunting. Lots on informative pictures, the extra card... [More]
Here is a recovery procedure for replacing a failed client disk on a Virtual IO server. It assumes the client partitions have mirrored (virtual) disks. The recovery involves both the VIO server and its client partitions. However, it is non disruptive for the client partitions (no downtime), and may be non disruptive on the VIO server (depending on disk configuration). This procedure does not apply to Raid5 or SAN disk failures. The test system had two VIO servers and an AIX client. The AIX client had two virtual disks (one disk from each... [More]
I want to remind you of the value of pSeries Subscription Services. Recently, those of us subscribed to receive 'Critical Fixes' got a note pointing to this URL: http://techsupport.services.ibm.com/server/criticalfixes3/critfixes/5300-02.html This listed 36 Critical Fixes of which two were Critical Security Fixes: IY68463 AIX 5.3 SECURITY: Local root exploits in perl 5.8.x IY70026 AIX 5.3 Attacks against TCP via ICMP Other critical security fixes recently announced through subscription service IY68825 AIX 5.3 Remote... [More]
Yes, it does happen. When you want to use all the main unit (CEC) adapters slots for high speed adapters like Fibre Channel and the ROCE network and want to avoid adding the extra POWER8 I/O Drawers for just 1 or 2 adapters - but did not realises the ROCE adapters can't do a NIM install.
I think it is actually due to the basic boot code "PROM" not having the "smarts" to run the advanced adapters in a basic limp along mode to run the network for the bootp and tftpboot download before you... [More]
I was recently sent pictures and got questions about the handle colours on the Power System E870 / E880 CEC and System Control Unit.
On my early ship beta test machine, the adapter carriers have terracotta (red-ish) handles and on GA customer shipped machine blue .
Terracotta handles means customer hot-plug capable - but don't just grab and yank. You must to go through the HMC maintenance procedure at the very least for the adapter slot to be powered off to make it safe to be removed.
Blue handles means... [More]
I had this combination recently and it drove me nuts.
Plug the Fibre Channel cable from the Storwize V7000 in to the Brocade FC Switch (IBM 2498-B40 = Brocade 5100) and the ports would not go green but flash orange on and off and end up in Port Status=Disabled and Healthy=Faulty on the switch and the V7000 in waiting for a cable state. Both the the V7000 and FC Switch are the latest firmware.
I assumed faulty GBIC at one or other end and/or a faulty FC cables at first but after trying many combinations and my two new... [More]
This Blog is brought to you by Clive Benjamin (Principal Engineer) who worked out how to do it.
If your HMC has a quality high resolution local screen or KVM screen then the Restricted Shell terminal window font size is far too small to read and the font used very narrow lines - in our humble opinion . This blog shows you how to fix this and "no", the obvious window Font Size option does not work.
1) Below: On the HMC start the Restricted Shell window
2) Below: With the cursor on the terminal window used... [More]
This is a story board about the mystical POWER8 Lift Tool and decommissioning our Power Systems Enterprise E870. The EMEA Advanced Technology Support machine was a temporary loan from the Power Development team in the USA as part of the Early Ship Program for beta testing, skills development, usability testing and feedback plus social media like the YouTube videos, Tweets and this blog. We have certain enjoyed learning about and using the machine although I must say it was hard work to use up all the 4 TB's of memory!!
IBM Systems Director and PowerVC make use of a private API to use Shared Storage Pool (SSP) clones of LU (like a LUN allocated from the pool). But there is no command to let you do that. LU Clones are quick and good for duplicating a master copy for small virtual machines to boot the same OS level and it means greatly reduced disk use as blocks are shared until written too.
As there is not VIOS command to clone there is no command to let you see what is cloned and what is not.
I tripped over this when trying to clean up my SSP... [More]
If you go looking then you can find IBM websites covering AIX that tell you about AIX 7 Express Edition being limited to LPARs (virtual machines) with a maximum of 4 CPUs and a maximum 32 GB or memory. The idea being a reduces price for small machines hosting small virtual machines.
You can also find the Announcement of the removal of these two restrictions for certain POWER7 models like Power 710, 720 and 730.