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
Well, I'm back from a 2.5 week holiday and there is a heap of topics that have built up in that time. My email is very full of things I need to share so expect a blog per day for a while. My friend for the last couple of decades Michael Perzl in Germany has been very busy in the last month or two. Lots of people that are using AIX every day also want to make use of the popular open source packages. Some of these come as part of AIX (or on extension packs for legal reasons) like Perl, ssh and the basic IBM HTTP server (Apache) part of WAS.... [More]
I highly recommend the AIX Virtual User Group run by Joe Armstrong that roughly has a hot topic Webinar session once a month. Typically, there is 300 to 700 online to the session, many include a demo and there are Slides and Replay downloadable if you miss one or look back over the previous 70 or more sessions and want an update. On the larger hot topics there are lots of questions and answers handled during the session. Officially, it is called the USA AIX Virtual User group but they take registrations from around the world but schedule for... [More]
This week I spent 4 hours with a customer covering many advanced WPAR topics and took way a bunch of questions that I had to check the answers and ask the WPAR developers themselves to be sure I had the right answers. If the questions were not clear to my customers and I did know initially know the answers then there may be others with similar issues so I thought I would share the answers with everyone. 1) Workload Partitions - What is the road map? Well, I am not going to make announcements on a blog for sure. If you are new to WPAR, I can... [More]
Recently, I delivered a 7.5 hour Systems Director 6.3 Instructor lead demo at IBM Zurich - that gives us 25 more people ready to dive into using it. It is a very polished building and the IBM Forum is amazing and they even have IBM food :-) I had to take a second mortgage out on my house to pay for the taxi to the airport (fortunately they take a credit card) and I thought Norway was expensive until now! Anyway, when I got back to the UK, I decided to perform the Systems Director 6.3 to 6.3.1 update. You get Systems Director to update... [More]
It was my birthday on Saturday and by pure luck my Raspberry Pi was delivered the day before - what a great day "hacking" (in the old sense of the word). I have been waiting for a few months for this delivery - What a treat!! If you have not heard of this credit size computer before here is the back ground. The Problem In the UK, school information technology education has been pitifully reduced to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint. My own kids came home badly depressed as they started the classes as they knew far more than the... [More]
Systems Director 6.3.1 is available This includes a fix I needed. On a completely fresh install the Update Manager will not work with the NIM server for AIX updates due to a bug that forgets to create /export/um_lpp_source on the NIM server - oops! Fixed with: /usr/sbin/crfs -v jfs2 -g rootvg -m /export/um_lpp_source -a size=1G But make sure it mounts by default on AIX reboot. Find the What's New for 6.3.1 Install the new ISD 6.3.1 update and lots of fixes - you get Systems Director to do upgrade as normal
I have been touring cities in Europe: Birmingham for the 4 day Technical University, Manchester, central London and Dublin for the Ask the Experts 1 day event and last week Copenhagen for a POWER & AIX User group Technical Event. I have had about 250 to 300 people in my sessions and asked every time - How knows about the AIX Virtual User Group and only had about 30 people put their hands up. I am amazed how few people have found this invaluable resource. The organiser, Joe Armstrong an IBMer, set-ups up roughly monthly world wide... [More]
It has been a busy fortnight and I just realised I have micro-blogged (Twitter) comments and link but neglected this AIXpert Blog - sorry about that. Here is a summary and a lot more thoughts that Twitter allows. I actually like the discipline of the Twitter 140 characters as if forces you to get to the point!
Firefox First, I have upgraded to Firefox 10 Enterprise from 3.6 - I was having multiple problems with the older release that had previously seemed to be the only safe one for using both HMC and IBM Systems Director. In particular,... [More]
I may have written about these in previous blogs but these have been updated and added too them. They are in my regular Systems Director presentation but I thought they should be shared to a wider audience - no sense is sitting on good information. These are very much my thoughts and opinions for POWER and mostly AIX systems. These are not official IBM statements. 1) Quick Introduction . If you want a 12 minute look at how Systems Director can benefit Power and AIX system administrators in eight ways then watch my 12 minute movie. After... [More]
Many countries switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST) next weekend March 25th - unfortunately you may need to apply a fix to AIX 6 and AIX 7 before the change or programs can get inconsistent time from various time function and systems calls. This could have a major impact on many tools, for example, make, logs and databases ... well just about anything that uses a time value. There was an earlier temporary fix available but now there is a fully details final fix. Please got to the bellow website for all the details :... [More]
As part of my moving computer room project, I had to change the IP address of my Systems Director server. I recall a long time ago there were issues in this area for (I think) ISD 6.1, so I was not looking forward to this change. Just for a change, I thought I would check the documentation first :-) Once I found the 6.3 part of the documentation there was a whole page on how to do this IP address change. It turns out to be very simple on ISD 6.3. Stop Systems Director with: smstop Change the IP address and DNS server, of course, to match.... [More]
We have all heard the old story of a computer company that was so successful that is had to move to smaller premises! The point being that they upgraded the computers to much smaller but more powerful ones and did not need the floor space. Well, it is happening to me! My Advanced Technical Support group are moving from IBM Bedfont Lakes (near Heathrow), UK from building 2 to building 3. That might not sound like much and it is only a stones throw away but we are going from 10 racks down to 3 racks. The old POWER5 machines that were not... [More]
Hi, I just release a fifth hands-on movie this month and on this interesting topic. You can find the movie here: Shared Storage Pools 2 - Thin provisioning, monitoring free space + Alerts Shared Storage Pool Thin provisioning is pretty cool and saves a lot of disk space . Effectively the 100's of GBs of unused disks space in 100's of Virtual Machines (LPARs) are bought together in one place in the Shared Storage Pool and then can be used for real. All this without the use of clever disk subsystems. The risk is that you use all the disk... [More]
In case you missed the announcements, I have released four new movies this week: Shared Storage Pools phase 2 - Getting Started - movie 101 Active Memory Deduplication Theory - movie 102 Active System Optimizer - movie 103 System Director 6.3 First Use - movie 104 Catch them all at the home of POWER6, POWER7, PowerVM, Systems Director and AIX Movies - or save this link for 21 hours of intensive techie learning - http://tinyurl.com/AIXmovies ps: The previous movie last month about installing Systems Director 6.3 on AIX is a good movie... [More]
At last I have got round to rebuilding my Shared Storage Pool cluster of machines. We have the four VIOS limit. So I was thinking: For machines with Dual Virtual I/O Servers - the options are limited so I would pair up machines for mutual Live Partition Mobility. For machines with single VIOSs - I would create a cluster of four machines for some extra flexibility and LPM across any of the machines. The "cluster -create" command to make the first node of the cluster too about 3 minutes and the "cluster -addnode" command... [More]
As we all know, the advanced PowerVM virtualisation functions of POWER7 based machines are implemented in the hardware (the POWER7 processor itself and the System Firmware, which includes PowerVM Hypervisor) for increased security, high performance and reliability. After more than a year of POWER7 field experience and fixes to increase RAS, further development of still more virtualisation functions and improved algorithms for higher performance - it is very important for all of us to install the newer levels of System firmware to avoid already... [More]
I have been running the nmon ( n igel's mon itor) for AIX project for 15 years now but I am still learning. I initially wrote it to help me run AIX 3.2 then AIX 4 benchmarks on RS/6000 machines as running the older "down the screen" and "line by line" tools like vmstat and iostat was driving me mad (literally making my eye hurt) and so using screen curses enabled the number to stop moving on the screen. nmon's second most important feature was to make graphing the results simpler as a graph includes the time dimension, it... [More]
Seasonal Greeting. My family decided to give me a Kindle e-book - Wow! So after the usual experiments with reading a book, playing with the web browser via WiFi, I then thought; Could this help me at work too! So reading up I noted it fully supports PDF format files and the IBM Redbooks come in PDF. So a quick download over USB cable and I can read them easily enough in landscape mode. As part of Advanced Technical Support, I am expected to "know everything" and over the past 10 years I have read all the POWER4, 5, 6, 7 machine... [More]
The below URL takes you to the top of the Systems Director 6.3 online documentation http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/director/pubs/topic/com.ibm.director.main.helps.doc/fqm0_main.html As a rule I use Firefox 3.6.24 all the time for my browsing as it works well for Systems Director and Hardware Management Console (HMC). Later Firefox versions have "variable" results which re frustrating and that just slow me down. The Firefox developer when mad and got to version 8 suddenly over what appeared to be a few weeks but have realised... [More]
So a long download of about 7 hours for the 1.9 GB but a reasonably quick install. Fresh AIX 6.1 TL6 and service pack 6 installed. See my Update below for a problem with this AIX level. Prepared a /database filesystem for the DB2 database. The Pre-Install Utility told me to fix some file system sizes, more paging space and ulimit - good stuff. The Installer worked fine. The CIM Server install seems to take for ages at the start! It then refreshes the Common Agent, installed the default "managed" DB2 database invisibly behind the... [More]
IBM Systems Director 6.3 Arrives Early Yes, you read that right - it arrived earlier than the date in the IBM Announcement - a free to use unexpected Xmas present from IBM. I have never heard of an early delivery before - perhaps I am getting to old and cynical :-) The Base Server download for AIX is a larger 1.9 GB file (was 1.3 GB for 6.2) but that includes includes AEM,VMControl (and Service and support manager but we probably don't need that as we have the function in Power Systems via the HMC). They all get installed in one go but you... [More]
At the Miami and Copenhagen Power Systems Technical Universities, I covered what we knew about the next release of Systems Director (6.3) planned for 16th December 2011. One of the hot topics was High Availability using disk replication for the embedded DB2 database for active:passive fail-over. It turns out this feature is not included with Systems Director 6.3 release - sorry about that. The good news, at least, is that this feature is in development and working for the next release of SDMC, which is based on Systems Director 6.3... [More]
Below is from your Power Systems, Advanced Technical Support team in Europe (EMEA) with lots of input from many people.
We find many people are over optimistic and making assumptions - which can catch them out - we learnt the hard way too.
Don't Assume 1 - The same boost as last time
It may be that you migrated from 2Mit to 10Mbit and saw approximately a 5 fold increase in performance.
Similarly when you went from 10Mbit to 100Mbit, and from 100Mbit to 1Gbit; you saw... [More]
Active Memory Deduplication was announcement on 12th October and available on 14th October but there has been a little confusion on: what you need, how you install it and run it and how it works? This blog will attempt to demystify this interesting new Power Systems feature. This is one of many features to reduce the memory foot print and so reduce costs for POWER and AIX logical partitions. So far we have: Workload Partitions - reduce the memory used by many copies of AIX to just one Global copy and applications installed at the Global... [More]
The officials words I was sent: Starting on November 13, 2011, each IBM client accessing Fix Central (whether through their employees or other authorized representatives) will require an individual IBM ID to download fixes for a limited number of additional product areas (including AIX and VIOS). This requirement will be expanded to additional products in the future.This requirement will be expanded to additional products in the future. The registration process will be quick and simple and will provide users with a customized experience to... [More]
Finally, I have the types of memory by POWER7 model double checked. I refreshed the table in part 1 but thought I should make sure every one sees the final version so I have not mislead people. Only the Power 770/780 and Power 797 have Near memory. All the smaller machine operate a Local memory meaning on the same same POWER7 chip and Far memory for any access to another POWER7 chip's memory.
The Hypervisor makes the virtual machine (LPAR) placement decisions and changes during DLPAR. The Hypervisor is part of the Power Systems Firmware. The POWER7 machines first arrived in the early months of 2010. Since then we have had a lot of field experience with the larger machines with large configurations with large applications and tens of thousands of processes running and in particularly the machines with all three layers of memory - which are the Power 770, Power 780 and Power 795. From this experience, the POWER developers have... [More]
After you have started and used your virtual machine (VM) for a while, you may decide to change its size using a Dynamic LPAR (DLPAR) change from the HMC (or SDMC or IVM, of course). This has virtual machine placement implications. When shrinking your VM, the hypervisor will decide which CPU or memory (LBM) to release and it might not select what you think is the obvious choice. When enlarging your VM, we might thing there is an obvious way to grow in a balanced way but we can't see: 1) where physically our virtual machine is placed in the... [More]
This is a follow on to a previous blog on " PowerVM Virtual Ethernet Speed is often confused with VIOS, SEA IVE/HEA speed "- here is a Direct Link I regularly get asked : "I have just heard about this [PowerVM virtual switch | vSwitch | Hypervisor Ethernet Switch] is available but I can't find out any information at all, help!" They are wanting to run two (or more) virtual switches within the one Power machine to completely separate the network packets of groups of virtual machines (LPARs) so they know for sure there can... [More]
I need you to help me settle an argument or rather lack of information. I am getting conflicting messages about whether these smaller Power7 machines use Local and Near or Local and Far memory. I documented what I thought was correct in the Part 1 of this series of blog's. Actually, there is not much difference as these machines have two tiers of memory like "on the chip" or "some where else" so the names are hardly vital but I would like my facts straight. Unfortunately, I don't have examples of these machines with more... [More]