Since the initial release of the IBM PowerVP product in November of 2013, there was a second release in June of 2014(V1R1M2) which included mainly support for POWER8 processors, language translation, and partition affinity information. Now, a year later, the V1R1M3 release of PowerVP is generally available as of June 26, 2015. I will describe 4 significant enhancements in this article.
This release contained 4 significant enhancements to PowerVP.
- The Graphical User Interface (GUI) for PowerVP is now rendered in your web browser. This allows you to install the PowerVP application in a central location and make it available via the web to the people that need access to it.
- The PowerVP agent can now be configured to log the PowerVP performance statistics to a file on the agent partition, allowing you to view and analyze the PowerVP performance statistics historically.
- The PowerVP agent can now be configured to monitor the CPU utilization and Power Bus utilization and generate messages when a configured threshold is reached, allowing you to address the situation as it occurs or to add monitoring with existing infrastructure monitors to provide alerts
- The PowerVP VIOS agent has added integration with the VIOS Performance Advisor, allowing you to schedule the VIOS Performance Advisor to run on a configured daily schedule. The PowerVP GUI can also run the VIOS Performance Advisor on demand. You can also display any of the reports generated by the VIOS Performance Advisor using the PowerVP GUI.
GUI as a Web Application
The Graphical User Interface has been moved from a standalone Java application to a web application that is deployed to a web application server. You now use your browser to view the PowerVP GUI.
PowerVP bundles the IBM Liberty Application server within the PowerVP product, allowing you to install Liberty on your client so you can run the GUI much like you did in the previous versions, except that you use your browser to access the GUI. To use PowerVP in this manner, you simply need to check the checkbox at install indicating you want to “Install Liberty for PowerVP”. The PowerVP installer will automatically install Liberty and deploy the PowerVP application for you.
Since the GUI is a deployable web application, packaged in a WAR file, you can also choose to deploy the WAR file to your own existing application server. In this case, don’t check the “Install Liberty for PowerVP” checkbox and the installer will simply copy the WAR file and example XML file to your client. Using these 2 files, you can deploy the PowerVP GUI application to your own application server. This gives you the freedom to install the GUI in one place and access the application using your browser without having to install any software on the end users workstations. In this case, the PowerVP installer will simply copy the powerVPWeb.war file and an example server.xml file to the PowerVP_GUI_Installation folder at install time. These are the two files you will need to deploy the PowerVP GUI to your application server.
This version of the PowerVP GUI does require Java version 1.7 on the application server to perform the animations.
PowerVP Agent Data Store
The previous versions of PowerVP allowed you to record the PowerVP performance statistics in a file on the client where you were running the GUI. While this was very useful, it required you to have the GUI running in order to record the information so it would be available at a later time to investigate problems. You can now configure the PowerVP agents to “record” the performance statistics to a file on the agent partition. This allows you to have the PowerVP information recorded 24x7 and you only need to use the GUI to view the information when you are investigating a problem.
This function is not enabled by default. When sampling every second for 24 hours, the size of these files can get very large, for example, on a Power 8 system with 24 cores, the file size for 24 hours was 455,626,157 bytes. For this reason, you need to make some decisions on how long you want to retain this information. You can use the PowerVP configuration file to configure file roll-over, when the current file is closed and a new file is opened. You can configure the file roll-over based on file size or based on time. PowerVP will always roll-over the file at midnight and the default roll-over is every 24 hours. You can also configure PowerVP to automatically archive files based on how many days the file has existed. This will delete files older than a specified number of days, thus decreasing the disk footprint for the data store files. Additionally, you may want to consider changing the sample interval from every second to a larger value which will also help control the size of the data store file.
The data store file is a standard comma separated values (CSV) format allowing you to import the data into spreadsheet applications for further manipulation. The first part of every file contains information entries that describe what is contained in the following data entries.
PowerVP Utilization Alerting
The PowerVP agent can now be configured to monitor the CPU utilization of the frame and/or partitions, and Power Bus utilization and alert you with a message when the configured threshold has been reached. You can then use your existing tools to “watch” for this message and notify the appropriate people of the situation. The alert message will be a message to the QSYSOPR message queue on IBM i and a message to syslog on AIX/VIOS and Linux.
This monitoring needs to be done in the system level agent. We recommend that you monitor your system for a few days to analyze what is normal for your environment before you start generating notifications from the messages. This allows you to determine what is normal for your environment. For example, you may have a partition configured as shared with a partial core (.5). The application that runs on this partition only runs a couple times a day and when it does, the partition uses a full core while running, and the utilization percentage will be 200%. Otherwise, it runs at about 5% utilization. If you configure the partition CPU utilization for 95%, you would generate a message every time the application runs. The same applies to the other utilization thresholds, but more so to the partition CPU utilization which can exceed 100% based on your configuration and not be a problem on uncapped partitions.
PowerVP VIOS Integration
The VIOS Performance Advisor is a tool that many of the Power customers use to analyze their VIOS. The VIOS Performance Advisor runs for a specified amount of time, analyzes the data and generates a report that may contain recommendations for changes that will help improve the performance of the virtualized environment managed by the VIOS. The VIOS Performance Advisor tool is part of the VIOS server and you can run it any time. It will generate a .tar file which contains the report which you would display using your browser.
PowerVP has added some integration of the VIOS Performance Advisor in release 1.1.3. You can configure the PowerVP VIOS agent to run the VIOS Performance Advisor on a set schedule automatically. PowerVP will store the report file on the VIOS. You can then use the PowerVP GUI to display the VIOS Performance Advisor reports. You can use the PowerVP GUI to also run the VIOS Performance Advisor on demand or to display the “latest” report or a report from a specified date and time.
19 December 2019