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
Just a quick look at the features for AIX7 - which is coming soon. Take a look at AIX7 Preview for an official statement. The two major items for me are 1) Scaling to 256 cores (or CPUs as I have called them for 25 years) Power systems always had lower CPU counts than the competition particularly in the high end machines due to the faster speed of the processor and this benefits batch (single threaded) work, software costs (lower CPU numbers) and is easier for scaling up but now a truly massive POWER7 machine is near and AIX7 is the OS to run... [More]
There is a potential problem with AIX display of local time which might occur around the transition to standard time this coming weekend. If the problem occurs, in most cases the only impact is that AIX displays local time incorrectly for a day or so around the transition to or from daylight savings time. AIX displays standard time when it should display daylight savings time or vice versa. Of course, while local time is being displayed incorrectly, if some local time is provided to an application (eg, changing the AIX system clock,... [More]
I've updated my nmon2web tool. Its a performance tracking tool for an entire AIX server farm. It can display daily or long term charts. It also aggregates the performance micropartitions residing on the same physical server. You can download it from http://www.aixtips.com/AIXtip/nmon2rrdv3.htm
I got asked these questions recently and had to go look the subject up ... again! I seem to have forgotten some of the details and then I thought I would use some new features of AIX for the second part. In the distant past there was various way to stop core files being dumped in to the current working directory of the program that failed. In AIX 5.3, AIX 6 and 7, the "chcore" command does all the hard work for us by letting us
Choose a specific directory for core files - which is best in it own filesystem so it... [More]
Fourteen new movies/Video's on System Director on YouTube I have just last week uploaded 14 new System Director movies that were previously a whole day Technical University session and I thought it a good idea to share these with every body. It comes to about 4 hours in total and it a mixture of sizes from 7 minutes to 29 minutes. The focus is on core Systems Director function rather than advanced function plug-ins. It worries me a little that we often try to talk about and sell Systems Director for the advanced stuff but you really need to get... [More]
RHEL (6.4 and 6.5) Servers show their PC heritage when you assign server style static IP addresses instead of home network DHCP controlled IP networks. [[That will generate a few comments!!]]
I find the /etc/resolv.conf file gets modified after a reboot and so DNS fails - this is a broken as designed feature. I would enjoy someone trying to defend this feature and why it does this for my benefit! [[That will generate a even more comments!!]]
I search the network and the comments are 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]
The fifth POWER Ask the Experts is a one day customer technical event in the UK which ran in Manchester and London on 15th/16th July 2013. It proved to be a very popular free event. We had well over a 100 people attend which was a mixture of customers, a few Business partners and some IBMers.
10:00 - Power Systems Update - Pat O'Rourke: Austin Briefing Centre, USA Download 22MB .pdf
11:15 - Performance Best Practices with POWER7 - Nigel Griffiths, ATS Europe ... [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]
HMC V6.1 has been re-released. This code contains the long-awaited function allowing the HMC to use a proxy server when contacting IBM Service over the Internet. Recovery media and ISO image files are again available through the HMC Corrective Service web site: https://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/set2/sas/f/hmc/home.html Important steps must be taken before and after the upgrade. Before upgrading, administrators need to determine if they have an HMC affected by an internal modem problem that would cause the HMC to hang. This problem exists on... [More]
With Systems Director and VMControl Standard Edition (this was called Image Manager), you can Capture an AIX Virtual Server to an appliance in the VMControl Repository. Then later Deploy the appliance to a new Virtual Server on a different Power machine. What this means in proper technical "AIX speak" is Systems Director can: Create a mksysb to a NIM server and also save the LPAR settings (numbers of CPU, RAM, network and disks). Later you can perform a NIM client install from the mksysb and it automatically uses the same LPAR... [More]
The recently announced 7310-CR4 rack-mounted HMC requires HMC V6R1.2 Licensed Internal Code. The reason is that this model introduces new hardware to the product line, and device support exists only in the latest HMC code release. From the abstract in the announcement letter: The IBM 7310 Model CR4 has a Dual Core Intel Xeon 5130, 4 MB Cache, 2.00 GHz, 1333 MHz front-side bus processor, 1 GB of system memory, 80 GB minimum HDD, 12.7 mm DVD-RAM for backup, DVD-RAM media: 4.7 GB single-sided DVD-RAM, type 2 media. Note that there is no IBM... [More]
A basic IT "best practice" is to do regular system backups**. The system backup should be validated by periodically storing to a test machine by someone other than the creator of the backup. I've posted a script to my website that automates system backups of AIX servers to a NIM server over the network. The script runs on the NIM server, either manually or as a cron job. The documentation is inside the script. I highly recommend using NIM (network installation manager) for the following reasons: 1)Convenience: ability to do remote... [More]
I just noticed the rPerfs (relative performance numbers) for the four new Entry Level systems (Power 710/720/730/740) and the High End Power 795 are available in the updated "Power Systems Facts and Features" document on the IBM website. My notes: The Entry Level machines are now 16 core/CPU/way (delete as you like to call them). That is a serious machine for the bottom end 2U rack server and it has all the POWER7 virtualisation features built in. These humble machines have the roughly the same performance as the mid-range previous... [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]
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.
I have indirectly been getting copies of this 4 page, .PDF, once a quarter, Power Systems Newsletter written by Richard Milton (an IBMer in the USA) and every time found a few "Wow! That's Cool!" items in it. I just checked with Richard and he says anyone is free to sign up to the email list and you will get it emailed to you once a quarter. I have signed up. Needless to say, it is for Techies and not marketing fluff but has a couple of one page quick details of particular products and experience and comments on them. Then there... [More]
Hot news this morning is IBM announcing the updating of the Lower End Power 710/730 and Power 720/740 models to include Power7+ processor with 2.5 larger L3 cache, Active Memory Expansion accelerator, and GHz boost Double the memory size This gives a large performance boost and drastically higher "bangs per buck" as the Americans say or "Value for money" as we Brits say. Almost everything else is the same so if you know the older models it is easy to understand Announcement letters for the new Power7+ models: Power 710 ,... [More]
The new November Update is available from the download site from the regular website: http://www.ibm.com/systems/software/director/downloads/index.html When you have 6.2 or 220.127.116.11 installed get Systems Director to update itself - then update the plug-ins via the download site. There is lots of new features and quality improvements too. I will summarise these in a different blog entry. One quick note: if you are doing a fresh install - install DB2 as the database.
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]
We needed to install AIX 5.2 in order to create a mksysb for AIX 7 Versioned WPAR testing - this allows you to run AIX 5.2 in a WPAR. First we had endless problems locating media but our Computer Room Manager Mike turned up trumps in the end - he keeps everything and regularly saves the day. So we loaded all 7 CDROMs on to our VIOS to add them to the virtual Optical Library. Second, we booted from the CDROM only to with an immediate halt with a warning the AIX 5.2 can't run in a Shared CPU LPAR - doh! we should have realised that one. It was a... [More]
I need to make it clear that these pictures are from an Early Ship Program machine which might vary a little from the final Generally Available (GA) models in November 2014. For example, missing labels or stickers plus colours of handles and parts etc. The engineering will be much the same.
Please see my 8 minute video of the machine on YouTube here:
POWER8 Enterprise - Power E870 First Look http://youtu.be/jOzPTopt7HE
These pictures were take by Gareth Coates and the... [More]
That was a shock - right out of the blue, we are told HACMP (OK we should call it PowerHA SystemMirror but life is too short) now supports Versioned WPARs - I had customer questions on this earlier in the week but no idea it was about to be announced. We were recommending using HACMP at the AIX 7 level and treating the WAR as a very well controlled and isolated bunch of processes, file systems etc. as a single resource. But now its much simpler. Want to know more: Techdoc
I am getting asked more about security these days than in the previous decade - perhaps there is renewed focus on this area as we hear about hacker groups taking what they want from organisations and companies in the News every day. Below is an answer I gave to a recent email question on what AIX offers on the security side, spotting vital files being changed and what parts of PowerSC to use for quick wins.
For AIX security the three big hitters for "out of the box" AIX hardening are:
Ditch telnet/ftp in the... [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]
The AIX 7 Open Beta is available now - this gives you access to the version to be released later this year. Find the summary in a earlier AIXpert blog and then the details at the new AIX7 Open Beta website. I have downloaded the image at just 2.4 GB (watch out for your 1GB default ulimit) for the entire AIX OS and have it running fine. I installed via my VIOS based virtual optical drive. Also included are access to new compilers versions, the AIX7 documentation and support via a Forum.
Hi, I am just back from the Prague Technical University last week. Everything worked well at the conference at the Hilton and the sessions were excellent - even the ones that I ran :-) but I keep making one mistake ... I volunteer to give an extra session or two. I ran the following sessions: Systems Director Lecture for AIX/POWER Users This covers the basics for a techie that needs to get it running including the architecture/components, pre-requisites, Advanced plug-in selection, The Systems Director Editions for reduced cost, compared... [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]