Have an AIX problem? Teamwork can solve it
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Author: Kathy Nichols, Web Content Architect, eClient Support:
Electronic Tools Team, Austin, Texas. Long-time technical writer and
support content specialist, Kathy was on the original AIX Support Tools
Team (1994-1996) and on the expanded POWER Tools Team from 2002 to the
present. Charter member of the FLRT team. A movie of her life would be
called “Knit. Write. Cook”. Twitter: @kakinikole, Facebook: http
Electronic Tools and Support Center teams give AIX users tools they can use
In 1992, IBM formed the AIX Support Tools Team to help AIX Support Centers and their customers resolve AIX problems as quickly as possible. The expanded Power eSupport Tools Team in Austin still teams up with AIX Support (the ZTRANS team) downstairs. They help us improve our applications and support content because they know AIX users and their problems. The ZTRANS team has helped us with such online applications as FLRT and Fix Central.
Returning the favor
Recently, we teamed up with a group from ZTRANS to create download page online for the zsnap utility. Built by ZTRANS around the AIX snap command, zsnap gathers information and organizes it based on the problem area, such NFS (Network File System) or NIM (Network Install Manager). The ZTRANS team wanted AIX users to install zsnap so that they could gather specific data and send a test case before calling the Support Center or opening a problem report (PMR) online. That way, an analyst can start diagnosing an issue right away instead of first telling the AIX user what data to collect.
We knew we could do more, so we soon created the AIX Support Center Tools site. These pages in the IBM Deep Blue database contain information and downloads for a set of utilities that help AIX users gather information on the issue at hand before contacting AIX Support.
Tools you can use
Currently, the pages support these tools and utilities:
This utility, built around the standard AIX snap command, not only includes all the traditional snap flags, but also captures much additional debugging data in an easily understood format. The utility includes both SMIT menus and a command line interface. The zsnap flags, such as --NIM, --SAN and –FS, simplify both the command line syntax and the specific data gathering task. In addition, includes:
The zsnap command line interface is easy to use, but if you prefer SMIT, you can use that, too. Here's a screen shot of a typical zsnap command in SMIT:
The devscan utility rapidly gathers a great deal of information about the Storage Area Network (SAN), and then displays it in an easy to understand format. You can run devscan from any AIX host, including VIO clients, or from a VIOS.
The information devscan displays is gathered from the SAN itself or the device driver, not from ODM, with exceptions described in the man page. The data is therefore guaranteed to be current and correct.
In the default case, devscan is unable to change any state on the SAN or on the host, making it safe to run even in production environments.
Devscan can report a list of all available target devices and LUNs
The snap command also:
What's on the horizon?
The team is researching and writing these documents and hopes to have them on the site in the near future. After the first set is completed, we'll look at what we want to add next.
Explore and experiment
In the meantime, you can visit the current site: http
You can download and install one or all three of the tools (snap is part of the AIX operating system already) and check them out. With these utilities installed on your IBM Power System, you can be prepared to gather the appropriate data for issues that come up and get a test case to IBM Support so that they can help you fix your problem fast.
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