Prague Technical University Thoughts
nagger 100000MRSJ Comment (1) Visits (6758)
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 arch
Systems Director for AIX/POWER Users - a 75 minute Demonstration
This is a scary session as it is 100% a demo and things can go wrong as I demonstrate on machines in IBM Bedfont Lakes in London, UK so the network has to be good. I have only had one disaster - in a previous conference the conference guys forgot to have a network cable in the room and the WiFi was running at just 0.5 Mb/s!! This time all went well. I have done this demonstration, may be, 10 times now (I started when 6.2 came out in May 2010 and the user interface was much faster). We touch briefly on the user interface, Discovery, Access, Inventory, Run Now or Scheduled for later or repeatedly, Task Activities, Navigator and searching, Update Manager for AIX, firmware, HMC, VIOS and now AIX adapters, Remote controll via AIX pConsole (graphical smitty), direct Virtual Server (LPAR) to HMC tasks like dynamic LPAR operations, telnet, distributed shell to multiple AIX machines, VNC for X Windows graphics. Active Energy Manager and VMControl capture and deploy but not enough time to show Automation plans - takes a few panels to start monitoring, set thresholds, setup a script and join them all with an Action Plan.
WPAR Update and Versioned WPARs
Here I covered the ever expanding lists of options and particularly new ways of connecting disks and filesystems. I also point out that apart from WPARs save man-power (less AIX images to manage) they are slightly faster in running applications in a group of LPARs (AIX process switches are faster than a Hypervisor LPAR switches and shared WPAR memory means less memory and less memory cache misses). Then I go on to the AIX 5.2 running in a (versioned) WPAR - see other AIXpert blog entries for more details. I also demonstrated the Versioned WPARs on my London machines. It is very easy to use and manage and I have a few customer trying this right now. The next release may allow AIX 5.3 in a WPAR and it will run faster than it does natively.
Shared Storage Pools Phase 1
This is the new in December 2010 VIOS function and generated a lot of interest. Here we get large SAN LUN disks online in the VIOS and it carves out 64MB blocks to back up vSCSI disks for the virtual servers (LPARs). It uses Thin Provisioning, so blocks are only allocated when the client LPAR writes to that part of the disk. As an example, I create a vSVSI disk of 16 GB, install AIX and it claims to be using 5 GB out of the 16GB but the shared pool commands tell me that its only used 3 GB (the difference is unwritten paging space blocks and empty parts in filesystems). I have a tiny starter pack of just 40 GB of LUNs but allocated 96GB to a half dozen LPARs. I ran a short demo of the VIOS cluster and disk allocation but its so simple to use that there is not much to show! As this means zero changes to client LPAR vSCSI interfaces all the regular OS's are supported without changes. This allows VIOS administrators to manage the SAN disk space.
Shared Storage Pools Phase 2 - internal IBM and BP only
Can't tell you much about this as its not announced yet but there are an amazing list of new features in this next release. This makes managing and sharing SAN disks very simple, efficient and controlled at the VIOS level rather than lower level disk sub-system and SAN switches. This gives the VIOS (and/or AIX admin guys) access to advanced features - think: multiple VIOS cluster, block sharing and flexibility plus safe and simple Live partition Mobility (LPM).
Influencing customers with Social Media - internal IBM and BP only
Nothing secret here but encouraging IBMers and BPers to engage more in all the social media like Wiki's, Forum's, Blogs (of course) and the newer media like Twitter, Slideshare and LinkedIn. Facebook is OK for a page based on a product but a little to informal. IBMers tend to be shy of these tools as many years ago is was banned but we now have professional guidelines to allow personal comments. There are many reasons to encourage this:
Meet the Expert - answering questions
This is a fun session where speakers are on a platform and answers question from the audience of attenders of the conference. This was under non-disclosure so IBM can share future product plans and details. This gives people the opportunity to ask questions or give us feedback about the good and bad features of current products. There was feedback on GPFS, Shared Storage Pools, NPIV numbers and use of port limitations, lots of questions on general security and the next security certification plus future AIX features.
SDMC demo for Pat O'Rourke's session
My colleague, Gareth Coates, had to return home early due to illness, so I have the pleasure running his demo of the Systems Director Management Console with pat giving the lecture. This new replacement HMC was announced today (see other blog). First, thing to note is "don't panic" ... it is being phased in over many years. Expect more comments on this AIXpert blog. Pat is the "walk of water" expert world wide IBM presenter on POWER processors and servers and works in the USA Executive Briefing Centre. It was an honour for me to be involved in his session. As I have been using Systems Director for 3 years now it was fairly simple to work the Director user interface and "look and feel" to find the most used HMC functions. The second thing to note is that it is not a HMC plug-in for a regular Systems Director server. SDMC is very much a replacement for a HMC. It will, typically, be controlled by a higher level Systems Director server just like it does now with a HMC.
I am thinking of putting my slides up on the Slideshare website - anybody got a comment on if that would be useful or not?
I don't think that site will allow me to shared my jokes!
Comments welcome, Nigel Griffiths - also find me on Twitter: mr_nmon