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 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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Following on from my previous AIXpert blog on 1st July 2013 - "Core files filling important filesystems? Want email alerts about each core dump?" it was pointed out to me by AIX guru Mathew Accapadi that we can for many years use the ODM and AIX error reporting framework to send emails on the generation of core files. See the previous blog on how to force the core files to a particular directory - and not allow them to fill up important system directories. On the alternative reporting method see below: Check out the... [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]
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]
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]
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 can't... [More]
In Advanced Technology Support (ATS), we like to think we know what we are doing. Then something catches us out and we think that we had better let every other Power Systems administrators know about this or there are going to be many horrified users out there and many complaints. Note this problem hit our combination of HMC, VIOS and machines - you might get lucky but don't risk it! Gareth Coates (my ATS partner) volunteered to perform the regular 6 month update of our systems but hit a BIG problem. He writes: This... [More]
If while installing SUSE SLES 11.3 on your POWER8 machine from the regular DVD media, you get this on the console after 5 seconds after booting: Welcome to SuSE Linux Enterprise 11! Type "install" to start the YaST installer on this CD/DVD Type "slp" to start the YaST install via network Type "rescue" to start the rescue system on this CD/DVD Welcome to yaboot version r22.8-r1190.SuSE booted from... [More]
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]
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]
If you follow this blog you will already be aware that we (Gareth Coates, Clive Benjamin, Mike Pearson, Jyoti Dodhia, Rachel Meager and the guys from Lab Servers that are running Oracle, WAS etc performance tests to hammer the machine) have had a Power Systems Enterprise E870 since early September 2014 as part of the Early Ship Program. This program gives access to new machines before they are releases and their matching software for testing, learning and skills development and feedback. It has been very interesting and we have shared what we... [More]
Performance concerns on the Hardware Management Console sometimes point to a misconfiguration of the network adapters. In most cases, configuring eth0 and eth1 as either private or open networks using auto negotiation results in no problems whatsoever. But on occasion, the ability of the Ethernet card to correctly negotiate full duplex with a particular switch or router appears to fail and the adapter comes up in half duplex mode. If the switch really is configured for full duplex, the switch may be reporting a problem (or it may go unnoticed)... [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]
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]
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]
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]
Odd. I thought I have put this on this blog before but I can find it now so just in case ... here it is or here it is again. The SSP4 can have mirrored failure group FC disks to handle adapter, FC cable, FC switch, entire FC disk sub-system, site or VIOS failure. But there is still a single SSP Repository disk. Isn't this a single point of failure? The answer is " No because you can quickly rebuild the contents of the Repository Disk after it has failed ." You are not meant to know this as it is internal to the VIOS... [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
Inspired by this TED Talks Video on Leadership TED Talk by Simon Sinek Topic: How Great Leaders Inspire Action 18 minutes long http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html It tells us to start with Why? To win hearts and minds. And not explain What? or How? until the Why? is very clear. I thought I would make an attempt: Why POWER8? We believe server sprawl means a future in which we drown in small computers taking 80% of the worlds electricity to run their idle loops 80% of the time. We believe we have got... [More]
I am just using this blog as somewhere to store my reminders and notes for this major PowerVC release . Editions PowerVC now has two Editions: PowerVC Standard for PowerKVM PowerVC Standard for PowerVM Cloud PowerVC Manager for PowerVM You can upgrade from PowerVC Standard Edition for PowerVM to Cloud PowerVC Manager for PowerVM. There is already a PowerVC 22.214.171.124 update - recommended. Also you need HMC 850 and VIOS 126.96.36.199 - recommended. Database As you upgrade to 1.3.1 the underlying database will be changed from DB2 to MariaDB which is Open... [More]
I have been wondering why the lower end POWER7 machines have local and far memory and not local and near. Perhaps you wondered too! Well at the Miami Power Technical University, I got to talk to Dr Joel Tendler (IBMer) and a POWER7 processor guru and put the question to him. He covered this sort of architectural topic in his presentation at the event and I learnt a lot in this area by listening to the "master". Below is some background and the explanation too. The POWER7 chips has two memory controllers for maximum performance but... [More]
ITM means IBM Tivoli Monitoring and is part of the Tivoli software suite for cross platform Systems Management performance monitoring. I has been around a long time and is a very feature rich product. In this blog was don't want to list some of its 100's of features but it is fully Power Systems Aware and captures all the advanced stats from new features of POWER6 and POWER7. Here we just want to point out that it can capture all the information you want and display is any way you want from its database of stats that it collects from its... [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]
Warning: If you get the nslim or dd commands wrong then you will destroy your LU virtual disks & virtual machine content. Please tell me, if you do - I enjoy a good laugh :-) Please, test the commands & your understanding on a test SSP! Shared Storage Pool four Ksh script commands and a program that I hope you will find useful: ncluster - status of all VIOS nlu - improved lu replacement npool - storage pool use nmap - finds if a lu is online (mapped) on any VIOS nslim - copy... [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]