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
I have been using Shared Storage Pools phase 2 (SSP2) on the beta test a lot recently and it works well - I am very impressed. One key side effect of SSP2 is that it really makes Live Partition Mobility (LPM) very simple and safe. But then I hit a problem that stumped me - nothing to do with the SSP2 technology - it was just that I in the Advanced Technical Support group have got rusty in setting up and using LPM. The first problem that most people hit is that the source and target Power machines must have the same LMB size - the what??... [More]
We all tend to concentrate on the CPU first and the memory second. CPUs, as the "brains" of the machine, does get a high focus and have a lot of extreme technology within it but the RAM is the "guts" of the machine to "feed" the CPU with nutrient data. OK, let us stop the analogy there :-) Along with reducing the number of CPUs via a lower virtual processor count, we also need to have the CPUs matching the memory - so AIX has a fighting change to localise a running process to its home SRAD and thus have it's data... [More]
The title should read "Local, Near & Far ..." - I will not correct it or links might fail. In this entry we carry on from part 5 but we are going to look at setting the virtual processor number for the virtual machine . There is a side effect that is not obvious and after 6 years of using them, it never occurred to me so perhaps it is news to others too. The problem of virtual processors is that they are ephemeral - i.e. they don't actually exist and costs nothing. So I find most systems administrators feel they can be generous... [More]
This is a follow on from yesterdays blog due to Chris Gibson highlighting a question/concern from one of his customers in Australia.They were comparing Power6 and Power7 and the utilisation numbers from the SMT Logical Processors and the graphs look different. I looked at some nmon data (what else!) and yes they are looking different and then I ran a simple generated workload test and duplicated the graphs. Below I then explain them - once again these are my personal observations rather than an official AIX developers insider statement. I... [More]
I am using the VIOS Shared Storage Pools more these days and it reduces my system admin time and I really like the Thin Provisioning feature as I have limited SAN disks. Any way, I dusted off an machine that I did my initial investigation on and decided to rebuilt the cluster (of one VIOS) now that I know what I am doing :-) The command : cluster -create -clustername galaxy -repopvs hdisk2 -spname atlantic -sppvs hdisk3 hdisk4 hdisk5 -hostname diamondvios1 fails with "PV IS IN USE hdisk4". PV meaning Physical Volume. Yes,... [More]
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]
I was told that Fedora's latest build for the Power ppc64 processor would support SMT=8 , if you "err ... um" have machine with a processor that support that SMT=8 !!! This is not an announcement.
So I gave it ago - here is my report:
And I can't help thinking PowerVC would remove all this work, once the new version arrives that support my ... umm err! new machine!!
1) Downloaded the DVD of 4.3 GB from the regular Fedora 20 download sites
- look... [More]
With Power Systems there are many ways to run your Operating System(s) and each has advantages and each has a different install process.
1 Native Headless Whole Machine Mode
Number of operating systems = 1
Operating Systems: AIX, IBM i, Linux
Console = RS232 Dumb terminal
Virtual Machines = none
Machine types = Blades, Power Systems or PowerLinux (only runs Linux, of course)
Can't make use of the Power hardware based virtualisation advantage.
This blog also applies to Power Servers running Linux on Power native on the machine.
While you can perform a text based Linux install on the dumb console terminal emulator (see previous AIXpert Blog about the serial cable that you need and the software) as a challenge to survive the Tab navigation, space selection, sometimes the cursor works and occasional Function Key show stopper (SUSE SLES 11) - I would recommend a VNC install.
First, you can get back to your desk to run VNC viewer client to complete the install and not... [More]
Normally I recommended to go virtual:
I would recommend anyone trying a Power System or PowerLinux system to run it with a Hardware Management Console (HMC) -now called a Power Management Console - or using Integrated Virtualisation Manager (IVM = like HMC and VIOS combination as the first LPAR / VM).
This way you are using the full power of the Power based machines to run LPARs / Virtual Machines and push higher utilisation and extra flexibility.
But if you must go commando!
But some what to ignore... [More]
If you have:
High-end Power 770, Power780 or Power 795 machines
With Capacity Upgrade on Demand (CUoD)
More than 4 CPU cores and 32 GB RAM which are not Activated (dark)
... then you are ready for Power Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) - which is a offers a package of 4 cores and 32 GB of memory at a special low price (given the resources, you can order more than one IFL)
includes the PowerVM license and PowerVM SWMA for the newly activated CPU cores
excludes a Linux license... [More]
I have been installing beta copies of PowerVC, the new IBM product which is available tomorrow 6th Dec 2013. It is quick to install and allows rapid rolling out of new virtual machines to a group of physical Power machines from your list of pre-packaged software images in just a few seconds of your time and roughly 2 to 3 minutes elapse time till you can login and use it. PowerVC is based on OpenStack which has lots of modules to install and configure. It is installed on Red Hat Enterprise Linux RHEL 6.4 on Power or x86 - So it is a... [More]
*** STOP PRESS *** - See the update in red at the bottom.
I was asked this lots of times at the recent POWER Technical Universities in Orlando and Athens.
Compared to a low numbers of local disks
The LUNs on a SAN disk subsystem with caching are very fast - even a simple test like AIX install times have halved. In addition, you don't have to fiddle about with stripping AIX Logical Volumes across disks or retro fit this to rootvg Volume Group filesystems after the install.
Compared to a... [More]
I regularly get asked to run a demonstration for IBM Systems Director but that is a time consuming business for both me and the audience. Especially, when you can find out every thing that I know from the comfort of you own office or even home office plus Stop, Replay and Pause via YouTube videos. So here is a reminder and hopefully a page I can point to when I next gets asked.
ISD63 Workshop 1 Techie Intro... [More]
The latest Versioned Workload Partition (VWPAR) Version 1.1.2 is available but largely secret!
With this update I get on my AIX 7 virtual machine, in which I have installed both AIX5.2 and AIX 5.3 support:
# lslpp -L | grep -i vwpar
vwpar.52.rte 18.104.22.168 C F AIX 5.2 Versioned WPAR Runtime
vwpar.images.52 22.214.171.124 C F Versioned WPAR 5.2 Support
vwpar.images.53 126.96.36.199 C F Versioned WPAR 5.3 Support
vwpar.images.base 188.8.131.52 C F ... [More]
Most AIX system administrators use: smitty tcpip to add a hostname, IP address, network mask, gateway and DNS server setting to get the virtual machines (LPAR) and AIX on a network. And as a side benefit so we don't need to use the ghastly VTERM console any more as ssh or the dreaded unsecure telnet (just don't do it) can now be used - as the root user:
# smitty tcpip
Minimum Configuration & Startup
Use DHCP for TCPIP Configuration & Startup
When I log on to my home machine being AIX,of course, and type hostname I get:
nag@blue:/home/nag$ hostname -s
I get this because when I set the hostname in smitty it looks like this:
* HOSTNAME [ blue.aixncc.uk.ibm.com ]
* Internet ADDRESS (dotted decimal) [184.108.40.206]
Network MASK (dotted decimal) ... [More]
I had better point out that any performance tool of AXI command in a POWER Virtual Machine (LPAR) can only see its use of the Physical CPU, the size of its own CPU pool and (if Monitoring is switched on at the HMC), it has a number of the CPU use by "Other LPARs" use of its own CPU Pool. nmon gets these numbers by default and the nmon analyser graphs this data in the LPAR tab - this assumes its a Shared CPU LPAR. If it is a dedicated CPU LPAR then it can't get any of this Pool data and there is no LPAR tab in the nmon... [More]