AIXpert Blog is about the AIX operating system from IBM running on POWER based machines called Power Systems and software related to it like PowerVM for virtualisation, PowerVC for Deploying VM's and PowerSC for security plus performance monitoring and nmon
I was with a large UK based insurance company last week. They, and their facilities management team, run many very large machines like POWER6 595 and POWER7 Power 770/780. Most machines are 64 core and 2 TB of memory and running 160+ virtual machines (LPARs) on each. These are large, complex and well run machines - all of the AIX images and VIOS are pretty well up to date with current or N -1 releases. A very pleasant surprise and impressed. They told me that even with 2 TB of memory they tend to run out of memory before CPU cycles . Each... [More]
IBM is enhancing the AIX release and service strategy
effective February 15, 2011.
The key changes are: Three years of new fix support for
each AIX Technology Level update (starting with AIX TL 6) One Technology Level update per AIX
version per year (planned for the second half of the year) Service Packs for Technology
Levels will be released about four times per year These changes reflect client requests for IBM to provide new
fix support for individual Technology Level updates for a longer period. The
intent is to reduce 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
This is an odd blog - it is about the withdrawal of POWER6 - which was announced in stealth mode! It has come as a shock to some customers. Given POWER7 comes with vast improvements in price performance you might say: Who cares and who would be buying POWER6 anyway? Well some customers with long term roll-out plans, need consistent equipment for reduced complexity and reduced testing and so still want POWER6 and could get caught out. So if you care, here is my list of withdrawal dates after which you can't buy new machines (nor POWER5 to... [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 OEMed... [More]
In case, you missed it : AIX became 25 years old, today . AIX is IBM's name for their UNIX, it stands for Advanced Interactive eXecutive and based on AT&T's UNIX System 5.2 and 5.3. I was not at the launch of the IBM RT (the computer on which it ran) but I know people that were apparently there was a lot of dry ice on the stage. Nor was I with IBM at the time but working for a small software developer company. I do remember, having a loan RT from IBM for porting our software and was impressed with the rugged machine. We weren't given... [More]
Finally, I found the time to try this new exciting feature and it was really simple to create and operate. I captured movie footage of my first attempt and it all worked (once I removed my spelling mistakes in commands). It only took two commands. So the technology has advanced concepts but it really easy to use, COOL! Some of the commands come with long option names like "-custername". A quick misquote from Star-Trek, never goes wrong: "It is UNIX Jim, but not as we know it!" One command to create my cluster,... [More]
You may have seen comments or even presentations with a few slides on VIOS Next Generation or VIOS NextGen in the past year. I did at the Power Technical Universities and was very interested. Well, the first phase has been release but you may well have missed it as it appears as VIOS 220.127.116.11 FixPack 24 Service Pack 01 - not a catchy title and it slipped out below my radar! It is a regular service pack for the current VIOS and include some other features and fixes too. The first thing you have to note is that only a few features are available... [More]
If you are running Systems Director and upgrading to the new version ... WATCH OUT !! Make sure you have 1 GB free space in /var Make sure you have 2 GB free space in /tmp I did not, this upgrade script does not check for free space and it crashed during the Systems Director updating itself (/tmp 100% full) and it never came back. I ended up with a corrupt Systems Director. The smart guys would (before the upgrade) also stopped Systems Director (smstop) and saved the database (smsave) before attempting the upgrade - so the older version... [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]
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 18.104.22.168 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.
I've just told me this is now available from http://www.ibm.com/systems/support/tools/systemplanningtool/ Update to Version 4.10.323.0 (once you have 4.09.323 installed) OK, we have waited long enough so "hurray" its here at last. My colleague in Norway is going to use this to install a very large Power 795 in Norway next week. He is so happy because its going to save him hours and hours in setup time and will get it right first time.
I was asked at the Technical University: How can we tell (in a script) if we are running in a WPAR or a regular AIX? We also called it the Global AIX, if its running WPARs. It took me a good few minutes to find out how to do it and thought I would shared it to save you time: Use: uname -W It returns 0 for the Global AIX and a regular AIX or if it is in a WPAR it returns the WPAR Number (i.e. non-zero) Below we show how to use this in a script. wparno=`uname -W` if (( $wparno == "0" )) then echo Global AIX else echo... [More]
Here are the results from 40 techinical IBMers, 300 people at the Las Vegas Technical University (mostly customers, some business partners and a few IBMers) and 90 more from the same event in Lyon, France. Remember this contains no announcements, the technology is available now and the choice of technology is entirely my own. Voters were allowed to vote for 4 out of the 10 and the results are percentages. All technologies got votes, so there is no failures here, even the lowest scoring one had ~47 votes. My comments: Clearly, Solid State... [More]
I ran this session at the Las Vegas Technical University last week twice. I spend 5 minutes on each of the ten covering the basic concept and the "pro's and con's" then get the audience to vote on their top four. The smaller room took 105 people and the second time in a larger room to 187. It was a BIG conference with 1500+ people attending - its good and encouraging to see so many people interested in Power Systems. The results are fascinating a few top technologies are clear favourites but then the IBMer and customer views are... [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)
Blade 700,... [More]
Its just not fair that the week I am on holiday so much brilliant software is coming out AIX 6.1 TL06 AIX 7.1 first release Workload Partition Manager for Versioned WPARs (meaning running AIX 5.2) - a Systems Director Plug-in Virtual I/O Server 2.2 Don't forget that for AIX you should also install the first service pack that comes out at the same time. This sweeps up all the fixes between the Gold DVD cut and the actual availability date. The smart guys will be downloading the AIX and VIOS DVDs from ESS (see earlier AIXblog) to get it quickly.... [More]
OK, this is "blowing my own trumpet" a little but I just finished a 12 minute movie on the best bits of Systems Director. Best in the sense that they "save me a lot of time" and you might like to take a look to see if they can help you too. As I run lots of POWER based machines and lots of copies of AIX, this is why it is very relevant to this AIXpert Blog. The 8 areas are: One Hour Install, Update Manager - HMC, Firmware & AIX in four mouse clicks, Whole
Machine Performance View, LPAR direct to HMC, Active Energy... [More]
In case, you did not notice (as its the silly summer season) AIX 7 is shipping in 19 days time. See the official AIX 7 Announcement Letter for all the details This is a whole 2 months early - well done guys.
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]
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]
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.
Just came across this good AIX wiki article about monitoring the POWER7 CPU/core frequency changing on the fly and the new lparstat command options ( -Ew). This allows you to see what is happening with your GHz (like pmcycles -M but collected regularly). This article is written by a guru in the AIX Performance Tools developers group. It explains how the utilisation numbers are adjusted to allow for GHz using the PURR and SPURR hardware counters built in the processor to get accurate CPU stats. Check it out here - CPU Frequency Monitoring using... [More]
I was just asked this question by customer and it got me thinking, Items I would include: WPAR takes seconds to create and LPARs minutes LPARs need setting VIOS LV or LUNs but WPARs add simpler NFS mount points, or can just use Global AIX diskspace options LPAR needs 512 to 1GB to boot AIX and a WPAR takes just ~60 MB (yes sixty megabytes) You can share application code say 1 GB in each and every LPAR (40 LPAR = 40 GB) or just one shared read-only copy for all WPARs 40 WPAR = 1 GB).This saves man-power in maintenance, disk space AND memory (if... [More]
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]
The official rPerf rating (relative performance rating of Power based machines) are available in the pSeries, System p and now Power Systems "Facts and Features" documents that are on the IBM website. It is best to use Google for them (searching for "pseries Facts and Features" works for me). You may want to know the rPerf rating for your LPAR and an LPAR that is not one of the officially rated numbers of CPUs/Cores. There may be ratings for 8 and 16 CPUs but your LPAR has 13 CPUs! Well, you can run the rperf script on... [More]
Late last week Systems Director 6.2 was released - a few days early too! This is the free to download and use IBM platform management software from IBM. For us AIX guys that means Power Systems Hardware, HMC, IVM, VIOS and AIX - and Linux on POWER too This new release is was focused mainly performance, simpler install (or migration from 6.1) and rolling in many fixes that could not be addresses with service packs. There are also some new features like dual VIOS SAN support for VMControl virtual application deployment. AIX is obviously the... [More]
AIX Workload Partitions (WPAR) are now certified by Oracle for Oracle 10gr2 Oracle announces Oracle 10gR2 support for Workload Partitions IBM TechDocs Flash: AIX WPAR (Workload Partition) available for Oracle Database
PowerHA recently announced support for the following: PowerHA announces support for DS3400 PowerHA announces support SAS Adapters PowerHA announces support 5735 PCI-e Dual Fibre Adapter Click on the above linked text for full support details.
HACMP recently announced support for the following: PowerHA announces support for JS23/JS43 PowerHA announces support JS12 PowerHA announces support for Async GLVM PowerHA/XD Announces Support for SVC 4.3.1 Click on the above linked text for full support details.