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
Yes, I admit it I am a "hacker" in the old sense of the word i.e. Definition 4 = A person who is good at programming quickly.See Hackers Dictionary below. I was think that there are certain books every one in the computer industry should have read before they can claim any level of computer expertise. If you have not read them don't tell any one and quickly get yourself a copy and read it quickly. Thumbnails are borrowed from Amazon - thanks guys and good to see all these important books are still available. My five top books all... [More]
Stephen Atkins (the Guru behind the nmon Analyser) has released a new version - two days ago. This includes loads of improvements and some new features. Best of all - less problems running on newer Excel releases (it works around inconsistencies with the Microsoft API). I have always said that at least 50% of the popularity of my nmon is down to the excellent Analyser graphs. Very few people regularly see the online screen view. Thanks again Steve, for all your many hours of hard work in your personal time on the behalf of the tens of... [More]
I have long thought it is rather silly that IBM Systems Director can't give you a list the licenses that you should have! It does, after all, know what machines it is controlling and the data is in the database. Perhaps, that will come in the future. What can we do in the short term? Generally, I like to do everything from the graphical user interface (GUI) . I have not got time to learn and use both GUI and CLI. The system configuration data can be extracted using the command line interface (CLI) on the Systems Director server, so I spent... [More]
This is part 2 of Systems Director licensing or at least working out what you are doing with System Director that requires a license. In part 1, we looked at listing (via the command line) the POWER machines that Systems Director was connected too. This time we what to find out the machines that Active Energy Manager (AEM) is controlling. Once you have installed AEM it is tempting to start monitoring and controlling all your Power Systems electrical use and temperatures but you should only use AEM if you have a license for AEM for each... [More]
I suddenly could not get AIX updates to work via my NIM server. The problem number DNZPAX075E just means the NIM command failed for unknown reasons. Not very helpful when you have a ISD Server, NIM Server and a Target AIX Server and the problem could be anywhere. I looked around and found a few other people were stuck on this one. So now I worked it out - with the help excellent help of systems Director support. 1) Restart the Systems Director Server and the NIM Server - just good house keeping and check you have free disk space in the... [More]
It has bee a long few weeks traveling to Dublin, Las Vegas, Slovenia, Germany and Sweden to give lots of presentations. Six Weeks and five countries and the expenses are piling up on my desk. I was presenting a core set of topics like POWER7+ announcement summary, VIOS Shared Storage Pools (SSP3), Workload Partitions (WPAR) and Versioned WPARs to run AIX 5.2 and AIX 5.3, quick introduction to PowerSC (security tools), a Techie "what you need to know about" Systems Director for AIX, and Quick Dips in to Active Memory Deduplication... [More]
At a recent POWER & AIX Workshop, I was challenged when I stated that you can download IBM Systems Director (ISD) and run it at no costs. Granted: If you want IBM Support for ISD functions then you do need to purchase the license and SWMA for every endpoint (think HMC and every core of any machine that ISD is controlling). Compared to other systems management tools (I have worked with in the past) the ISD prices are very low so its worth asking for the local currency price. I also think most people (including myself) will get stuck on... [More]
Common question: I see XX% of Used Memory but I don't know who is using it and how? A simple question but there is no simple answer as memory use if complex. nmon then hit "m" will quickly show you a few big uses of memory as below: The shared memory used by lots of applications like DB2 and Oracle - check the SEGSZ for the size. The Owner column usually tells you what it is used for like the oracle user for the SGA or db2inst1 for the DB2 buffer cache. Then it is down to the processes and this gets... [More]
Four things I think you should know before you try this: The documentation for the update can be found here: http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=hpc1vios117f5701 I updated three of my Virtual I/O Servers to 184.108.40.206 from 220.127.116.11 over the weekend. I started these late on Friday night with the "no reboot" options and they finished about the same time on Sunday afternoon i.e. 48 hours . The Release Manager downloads the update directly to the VIOS /opt/VIOS/update/VIOS and sub directory for the release name and this takes over... [More]
I am currently updating my AIX systems and AIX 7 TL2 with its first service pack is now available for download from ESS or IBM Entitlem Software Support to spell it out in full (http://www.ibm.com/servers/eserver/ess) for install media and FixCentral for updates (http://www-933.ibm.com/support/fixcentral/). While downloading the install media files I noticed there is a new Firefox for AIX available Firefox V3.6.25. This is a jump up from the previous one and I have had (in the past) a few annoying problems with Firefox on AIX Some weird issue... [More]
A large UK customer is running a series of tests on AIX and POWER7 machines and wanted to display the results on a webserver using rrdtool and needed help getting a working example running. So I stepped up to the challenge one night rather than it becoming a search for rrdtool skills inside IBM - when I could sort something out in a few hours. No one in IBM would claim to be a rrdtool expert until they knew the details of what was required. Many people know it well enough to get what they want done but would not put rrdtool guru on their CV. ... [More]
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]
Time to correct a few assumptions and statements that I made a while back. Previously I said the POWER Hypervisor decides where to put a Virtual Machine (VM/LPAR) based on the Virtual Processor number (spreading factor). Well, apart from it nearly being right ... I was actually wrong! I got talking to one of these very impressive Hypervisor developers in Germany and he put me right. In most of my larger machines, I do what I think is fairly normal for creating an VM - like working with a CPU core to RAM ratio that my customers use, like 1... [More]
The new VIOS Shared Storage Pools 3 (SSP3) arrived a month ago and I have all my VIOS updated now to VIOS 18.104.22.168 plus fixes. This brings with it the regular VIOS improvements but also new features for SSP3 including: Better pool use stats for example see the below lssp command and the Used percentage and Unused(mb) columns and the over view output too has new data $ lssp -clustername stars -sp atlantic -bd Lu Name Size(mb) ProvisionType %Used Unused(mb) Lu Udid orange7a 32768 THIN 9% 29615 7d58538152 …... [More]
Hi, Rob McNelly, the esteemed POWER7 Champion, sent me a really good questions and I thought would make a good blog as I get asked this about once a month. I have cut down the questions a but but it is a two parts: His customer is thinking about putting Systems Director on to their NIM server. Rob remembered me commenting on this but wants the details. They are planning to give it 1 dedicated Power7 core and 12G memory. What do I think about that? Answer 1: 2 years ago this combination (NIM & ISD) was not allowed ( I think it was just not... [More]
Another good questions from a customer and my answer was simple: The PowerVM internal network on POWER machines operates just like a physical network. If two LPAR are on the same internal network and the root user puts the virtual adapter in to promiscuous mode then it can see all packets. Just like a physical network. If the two LPARs are on different internal networks then they can never see the other LPARs packets. Just like two physical networks. If two LPAR are on the same internal network but on different VLANs then they can never see... [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]
Our Advanced Technology Support, Europe team have had a few months secretly testing the Power 750/760 internally to IBM as part of the normal Early Ship Program which lets a few machine out of the development labs to be tested by others to gain feedback on the product, documentation, features and usability. I thought others would like to see a few pictures of the team and the equipment involved. Please note: This is an Early Ship Machine, so there are a few details like stickers and handle colours that may differ slightly from the final product... [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]
Just completed the move of the POWER and AIX Hands-on Movies to YouTube videos - after pruning we have 97 of them. This means you can watch them on your mobile Smartphone and Tablets in addition to your workstation/personal computer. You can find them all here:
YouTube look for my "Nigel Griffiths" Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/nigelargriffiths This should mean they are simpler to find, search for and view. During the transfer I pruned out a few of the older ones particular Systems 6.2 as we now have a set of Systems... [More]
I HAVE UPDATED THIS BLOG WITH BETTER, UP TO DATE AND CORRECTED INFORMATION FROM THE DEVELOPERS Read the comments for lots of useful information - Thanks Guys for the corrections WARNING: Advance Technology Support (ATS) Europe is getting reports today from users and IBMers that the POWER7 firmware 770 level as a pre-req check missing! could be much better . This results in the HMC agreeing to upgrade your POWER7 or POWER7+ machine to firmware level 770, when it is not supported and does not work. This causes very bad problems: On smaller... [More]
Shared Storage Pools - just got even more interesting ! SSP Clusters with disks pools and super fast disk allocation VIOS Shared Storage Pools (phase 3) allows 16 VIOS on different machines to operate as a VIOS cluster with a set of SAN LUNs in the pool - think in terms of a number of TBs of disk space in the pool. The VIOS systems administrator can then allocate disk space to a new or existing Virtual Machine (LPAR) in around a second which can be thin or thick provisioning regardless of the underlying disks. This drastically reduces the... [More]
Questions I have a number of customers asking me these types question:
Are there are good practices on how to size disks for the storage pools. If I want a 5 TB pool, how many disks which size, does it matter ? Also are there any document limits regarding, pool disk, LUN and so on. Answers Not sure about best practice but there is common sense - will that do? Restrictions are included with the VIOS announcement "Read Me" notes, which you can find here for the current VIOS 22.214.171.124... [More]
POWER Relative Performance (rPerf) is often used as a way to approximate the expected difference in performance between two Power Systems servers. Although rPerf is a useful tool, it is important to understand the limitations of using rPerf to provide an estimate the performance of your specific workloads in your particular environment with a new server, First, rPerf numbers, like any published benchmark, represent the best case result when the application, configuration and system resources are all optimized -- factors that are likely not... [More]
Installing Open Source on AIX systems can be a little .... um .... frustrating and I have just been round that loop with installing Ganglia the excellent Performance Monitoring tool to demonstrate it and actually use it too on my own servers. The hard bit is that for every Open Source program, that you want to install, there is 10 to 20 prerequisite packages that you need to install first and you go round this the loop four times as the prerequisites have prerequisites .... This has got known as the "RPM dependencies form... [More]
Recently I was running the "lsmap -l" command and it output error messages that were less then useless at the end of the output: Command did not complete.
"Determine if backing device is a PV or LV or optical." was last subcommand run.
Command did not complete.
Determining device type failed. Command did not complete.
"Determine if backing device is a PV or LV or optical." was last subcommand run.
Command did not complete.
Determining device type failed. Command did not complete.
"Determine if backing... [More]
If you read this blog regularly then you will know I am a fan of the VIOS Shared Storage Pool technology . It is a major peice of the "Making PowerVM and VIOS - easier to live with and reduce the man-power" story and it is hard to believe that we started withPOWER4 virtualisation in 2000 and VIOS in 2005. This does mean that the tools we use (HMC and VIOS padmin) need a bit of an update and I know these are in plans for the future. Even now we can start using SSP to save lots of system admin time and be more flexibly and... [More]
Having just done this and getting questions on it from customers, I thought I should share a few notes: 1) The process is nicely documented and you need to follow the instructions. I recommend using the Release Notes as a check list as missing out a stop causes the next bit for complain or fail. Fortunately, the recovery is just doing the bit I missed. 2) Read the Release notes - even better print them out and cross them off as you go: http://www.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=hpc1vios117f5701 - upgrade to 126.96.36.199... [More]
Your first reaction might be "Why would you do that, Nigel?" and "Isn't this a AIX blog: Why are we talking about Linux?" Well AIX is great and all that but when it comes to Open Source it is not Linux. Like it or not most Open Source stuff is developed on Linux and there are readily available binary compiled for Linux and 100's of Open Source packages actually come with the the distribution on their DVD media and arch repositories on the Internet for rapid and straight forward install and updates. This is an area... [More]
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 entire computer room... [More]