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Quick Intro to the AIX Best Bits

How To


Summary

This is part two of the AIX Best Bits votes which can be found https://www.ibm.com/support/pages/node/1115547

Objective

Nigels Banner

Find the AIX Best Bits votes:  HERE

Steps

Visits (11177)

Quick Intro to the AIX Best Bits

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PowerVM - 1st place

Briefly: Enterprise-class virtualisation on the complete POWER range to run AIX, IBM i and Linux.

Includes:

  • Hardware Management Console (HMC),
  • Firmware based Power Processor Hypervisor called "pHype" &
  • Virtual I/O Server (VIOS)
  • Providing Virtual Machines (VM), virtual network & virtual storage

Benefits:

  • All you need to create & control of virtual machines including exact CPU cycles guaranteed and shared, and Memory and direct adapter I/O or virtual I/O
  • Dual VIOS provides redundant I/O paths and live VIOS updates with no loss of service.
  • With plenty of controls and options
  • High security - the hypervisor has zero reported vulnerabilities

Example use:

  • Run a virtual machine with precise control of the CPU, memory and I/O
  • And control the sharing of resources for max performance and reduced software licenses

More information:


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System Management Tool TTY - 2nd place

Briefly:

  • Terminal based menu & panels system for managing all of AIX and its subsystems

Benefits:

  • Quick, simple to understand & man-power efficient control of AIX
  • Reduce sys-admin errors
  • Command options explained as you fill in the blanks
  • Teaches the underlying command used for later shell scripting
  • Comprehensive = unique and un-match by other UNIX / Linux operating systems

Example use:

  • smitty tcpip
  • Select the interface, add IP address + hostname + gateway + DNS ? Hit Return = Job done
  • On the network in 6 seconds

More Information:


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Nigel's Performance Monitor - 3rd place

Briefly:

  • Instantly, on-screen find how AIX is running
  • Or save stats to a file for later processing or graphing

Benefits:

  • On-screen watch all the important stats: CPU, RAM, disk, network & loads more
  • Analysis the stats for graphing: Analyser, Visualiser, pGraph & nmonchart + more
  • nmon takes very few CPU cycles to get lots of data
  • By popular demand its part of AIX now

Example use:

  • nmon the c=CPU m=memory n=net d=graph t=top processes h=help for more
  • nmon -fT -s 300 -c 288 # capture every 5 minutes all-day
  • nmonchart server_datetime.nmon server_datetime.html # open with a browser

More Information:


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Live Partition Mobility (LPM) - joint 4th place

Briefly:

  • Jumping a Virtual Machine between two physical servers with no downtime

Benefits:

  • Greatly increased sys-admin flexibility
  • Load balance workloads across a 'cluster' of servers to maximum performance
  • Evacuate a Server for maintenance or upgrade
  • Use a new server on day one to maximise investment returns

Example use:

  • Move VM’s without the user/application owners permission
  • Move VM to faster servers during critical periods

More Information:


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Dynamic Logical Partition (DLPAR) - joint 4th place

Briefly:

  • Change the number and settings of CPUs, the size of memory & add or remove adapters without a shutdown

Benefits:

  • Without stopping the running AIX applications:
    • Add or reduce CPU resources: VP or Entitlement
    • Add or reduce the amount of memory
    • Add or remove virtual or physical adapters

Example use:

  • Grow the number of CPU and/or the size of the memory of an LPAR which needs drastically more performance in a peak
  • Shrink an LPAR in slack times or longer-term reduces workloads to reuse the resources for use elsewhere
  • React to changing workloads demands - on the fly

More Information:


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Network Installation Manager (NIM) - 6th place

Briefly:

  • Installing AIX over the network + updating AIX over a network

Benefits:

  • Fast and efficient installing of AIX from a single server
  • A single place to store install and update images
  • mksysb images NIM installs for rapid total OS recovery

Example use:

  • NIM define a virtual machine and image
  • Start the VM and point to NIM and it does the rest in ~10 minutes
  • Roll-out service pack updates to many AIX’s at the same time

More Information:


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Make System Backup (mksysb) - joint 7th place

Briefly:

  • Make a bootable image of the rootvg & save to a disk or on NIM

Benefits:

  • This will allow quick and complete recovery of a failed rootvg [the AIX disk(s)]
  • It can be used directly to disk or tape or used to make a CDROM
  • Also, the image can be used to network rebuild the rootvg.

Example use:

  • makesysb -i /backup/June2nd.mksysb
  • makesysb -e -i /dev/rmt1 # backup to tape and exclude files in /etc/exclude.rootvg
  • Makesysb -Ti /mydump/backup.mksysb # use a JFS2 snapshot

More Information:


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Logical Volume Manager (LVM) - joint 7th place

Briefly:

  • Groups disks (physical volumes (PV)) into Volume Groups (VG) & then allow the creation of logical volumes (LV) of many types across the group

Benefits:

  • By grouping disks (or LUNs) LVM allows many advanced features for the virtual disks (logical volumes) like:
    • spanning multiple disks,
    • mirroring data for redundancy,
    • striping for performance,
    • migrations to/from disks,
  • export/import the whole volume group between servers
  • Also supported ad boot, jfs2log, sysdump, raw and paging logical volumes

Example use:

  • Volume groups:
    • lsvg # list the VG names
    • lsvg rootvg # list the VG specification options
    • lsvg -l rootvg # list of logical volumes
  • Logical volumes:
    • lslv hd4 # list the LV options;
    • lslv -l hd4 # shows the LV layout [hd4 is the root filesystem]
  • Physical volumes:
    • lspv # list all the physical disks;
    • lspv hdisk1 # disk details
    • lspv -l hdisk1 # list lv’s

More Information:


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PowerHA - Power High Availability 

Briefly:

  • Allows two (or more) AIX’s with shared access to disk to backup each other for quick recovery

Benefits:

  • One any failure the backup machine will bring the service/application back up
  • An automated takeover in an emergency + manual failover for maintenance
  • Monitoring for many issues all the time: network, disks, app. code, server HW, ...

Example use:

  • One to one backup across the room or campus or can be across large distances
  • Or configured in a group (like 1 backup server to 5 production servers)

More Information:


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JFS2 - Journal File System 2

Briefly:

  • Enterprise-class file system with decades of field hardening

Benefits:

  • Fast and reliable access to data and files
  • JFS2 allows the live growing and shrinking the filesystem size including the root filesystem
  • Direct I/O & Concurrent I/O for RDBMS caching their own data
  • Snapshots allow rapid returning to know point-in-time and backups
  • Log (journal) of structural changes to remove rebuilds on server failure

Example use:

  • Full file space life cycle with a quick and simple smitty or CLI interface
  • There is only one excellent filesystem on AIX and that means avoiding having to decide between many just good alternatives.

More Information:


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PowerVC - Power Virtualisation Centre

Briefly:

  • OpenStack based full Virtual Machine life-cycle management via "cool" GUI giving Enterprise Cloud for Power Systems adding top POWER features

Benefits:

  • Reduced system admin man-power for VM and application stack roll-outs
  • Repeatability and consistent AIX images
  • OpenStack but with all the POWER and AIX benefits on top LPM, Dynamic LPAR, Storage space control, Large Scale Cloud environments
  • Can include self-service by IT client groups

Example use:

  • Spin-off a new VM with AIX and database in seconds of a size that is simple to decide
  • Add extra disks or grow virtual disks in seconds

More Information:


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Power Systems Enterprise Pools

Briefly:

  • By licensing CPU cores & Memory GB’s (instead of buying physics cores & RAM), you can move the active cores across a group of Enterprise servers at will

Benefits:

  • Flexibility is where you run applications and their HA counterparts
  • Able to drain a server of application for service by moving the activations
  • Move CPU cores/memory to application temporarily needing more for peaks
  • More licenses between generations of hardware

Example use:

  • A six-pack of E880’s with a 768 CPU core pool & 24 TB of RAM? then you decide where to activate them today!

More Information:


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Live Kernel Update (LKU)

Briefly:

  • Updating the AIX kernel without stopping the kernel

Benefits:

  • No longer requires an AIX reboot to activate a new kernel-level when you upgrade AIX via TL or service packs
  • No application outage
  • Under the covers, it uses WPAR technology to achieve it

Example use:

  • Get authenticated to the HMC: hmcauth -u hscroot -a hmc_name
  • Use the underlying command for AIX updates : geninstall -k -d /tmp efix.150813.epkg.Z
  • It should take about 20 minutes.

More Information:


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Scalability - extremely large VMs

Briefly:

  • AIX has been developed for large size LPARs for decades

Benefits:

  • AIX runs happily on the largest Power Systems servers available
  • Up to 192 CPU Cores
  • With SMT=8 that is 1536 CPU Core Threads
  • Also worked on the 256 CPU core POWER7 Servers in the past

Example use:

  • Large RDBMS there are examples of 192 CPU core LPARs running Oracle RDBMS
  • Other extreme workloads get this large to avoid cluster overheads

More Information:


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System Administrator Stable Command Line Interface

Briefly:

  • Many decades without significant command-line syntax changes
  • Unlike Linux based operating systems

Benefits:

  • No man-power lost to relearning different commands
  • No command changes between AIX versions on an upgrade
  • Additions features are handled mainly by options

Example use:

  • smitty
  • the basics like ksh, vi, awk, sed, grep, sort
  • All the admin commands for LVM, JFS2, PowerVM, AME, NIM, mksysb features

More Information:

  • This feature is due to an AIX development policy of no System Admin surprises as you upgrade (don't change the defaults), constraint in not randomly changing features and thus annoying users, and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"
  • This is only possible if you get commands properly designed from the start.
  • So no further references.


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Active Memory Expansion (AME)

Briefly:

  • Make memory seem larger than it really is by compressing memory

Benefits:

  • Improves the performance of the workload by storing many compressed memory pages in a cached area and then paging from there on demand
  • Either reduce the size of the LPAR = freeing up RAM for use elsewhere
  • Or make the LPAR seem like it has lots more memory

Example use:

  • amepat command predicts the effect of various RAM sizes being traded for CPU time compressing/decompressing
  • Switch on and set AMD Expansion target on the HMC
  • Monitor using topas or nmon or lparstat -c 1

More Information


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Shared Storage Pools (SSP)

Briefly:

  • Simple to use VIOS distributed filesystem on top of LUNs

Benefits:

  • Sub-second allocate and assign virtual disks to VM’s = reduced sys-admin time
  • Spreads I/O across LUNs = fast I/O even for single disk VM
  • Automatic mirror & re-silver and tiers offer different disk type grouping
  • LPM ready by default and simple data migration between disk vendors
  • AIX now supported 64 KB page expansion.

Example use:

  • Cluster 12 dual VIOS servers for fast I/O, less admin time and Live Partition Mobility (LPM)
  • Disk space managed by Server/VIOS admin
  • Supports PowerVC regardless of underlying disk vendor

More Information


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Binary Compatibility

Briefly:

  • Today's applications will 100% run on next years AIX
  • With a 30-year history of innovation, AIX continues to deliver on its robust roadmap with every release. The long-standing AIX focus on binary compatibility allows applications to run unchanged and without recompilation on the newest releases - guaranteed.
  • The Hexadecimal in the badge spells "AIX 3.0 to AIX 7.2" but you knew that right!

Benefits:

  • Applications from AIX 3.0 (~20 years ago) run happily on AIX 7.2 today
  • Reduced needs to upgrade applications to move to newer AIX versions
  • Hardware independence allows migration to new faster/less expensive HW and reduces software license

Example use:

  • No risk AIX upgrades for high performance, high-security OS
  • Stability of your code stack

More Information


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Advanced 'O' Tuning Commands

Briefly:

  • A consistent set of commands to tune AIX in many areas

Benefits:

  1. asoo for tuning Active System Optimiser
  2. ioo for tuning I/O
  3. lvmo for tuning LVM options
  4. nfs for tuning Network Filesystem
  5. no for network optimisation
  6. raso for tuning RAS features
  7. schedo for tuning the CPU Scheduler
  8. vmo for adjusting the virtual machines area.

Example use:

  • List the options, min, max, default & current values: vmo -L
  • Change current & reboot setting: schedo -p -o vpm_throughput_mode=2

More Information


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Simplified Remote Restart (SRR)

Briefly:

  • If you shut-down a Server or it halts due to a problem then the LPARs (VMs) will be automatically and in priority order be restarted on other servers in the group, if controlled by PowerVC.
  • Otherwise, you can run an HMC command to restart the LPARs and select a target server.

Benefits:

  • Simple to set-up
  • Allows problem recovery with no user interaction and auto return to service
  • Always ready to catch a whole server fault
  • This requires PowerVC to be controlling the Server & LPAR plus the LPAR has no physical adapters/resources (like when LPM ready)

Example use:

  • Use the HMC Enhanced+ GUI to set the SSR flag & check the state of SRR

More Information


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AIX Toolbox for Open Source & Linux Applications

Briefly:

  • IBM makes these popular apps and tools available for AIX users

Benefits:

  • Trusted source of the binaries
  • One place to look for this type of tools

Example use:

  • bash, curt, gcc, git, gimp, gzip,
  • httpd (apache), MySQL,
  • perl, php, python, ruby,
  • samba, squid, sudo,
  • VNC, im, wget, yum
  • and 100’s more

More Information


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PowerSC - Power Security & Compliance

Briefly:

  • A toolset of many security features & 1 for added performance

Benefits:

  • This product comes with six separate features:
  1. Trusted Boot - Be sure that boot media
  2. Trusted Network Connect - on AIX startup & ensure a minimum AIX level
  3. Trusted Firewall - Pass packets between LPARs with no external firewall
  4. Trusted Logging - Secure audit files away and safe from malicious modification
  5. Real-time alerts - Immediate action - no more periodic script running/polling
  6. Trusted Surveyor - Checks all LPARs on a VLAN + reports changes

Example use:

  • Too many to cover here - see videos below.

More Information:


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AIX Workload Partitions (WPAR)

Briefly:

  • Separates processes and all connected features into a defined group, can be managed as a "mini" AIX with separate resources
  • This is "Linux Containers" years before they were thought up and with rigorous security.

Benefits:

  • On large AIX Virtual Machines, you can monitor the CPU, RAM and I/O at app level
  • Understand the resources used by different apps and control them
  • A WPAR can be moved between AIX images
  • Start and stop application separately

Example use:

  • Separate the RDBMS, Web server and backup for CPU monitoring & limiting
  • Separate WPARs or join them on one AIX at will

More Information


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AIX Flash Cache or VIOS Flash Cache

Briefly:

  • Cache disk block I/O for faster disk access to a Flash or SSD device
  • Yields very high I/O performance and reduced SAN traffic

Benefits:

  • Cache SAN-based disk I/O to local AIX or virtual VIOS solid-state disks
  • Massive improvements to high disk I/O workloads
  • Can be instantly switched off to provide Mobility to target with/without Flash cache

Example use:

  • RDBMS performance increased
  • Any other workloads with regular read activity will benefit too.

More Information


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aixpert operating system Security Hardening

Briefly:

  • Apply up to 470 rules to raise AIX security

Benefits:

  • Rules maintained by IBM, you can add your own or comment some out
  • Save your current rule set as a master & apply it to 100’s of AIX’s
  • Run reports to ensure the rules not altered or determine if your have been hacked

Example use:

  • Change the root password then: aixpert -l high (lowercase L)
  • Check the current settings: aixpert -c
  • Capture the current settings: aixpert -l high -n -o /tmp/setting.xml

More Information


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Role Based Access Control Security (RBAC)

Briefly:

  • Assign AIX users only the admin roles & system resource they need for their job

Benefits:

  • Fine control of specific actions on specific resource for particular users/groups
  • Avoids using the root user and so removes the risks in systems administration

Example use:
Check the AIX manual pages for:

  • mkrole, lsrole, chrole, rmrole
  • mkauth, lsauth, chauth, rmauth
  • setsecattr, lssecattr, chsecattr, secattr

More Information


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AIX Active System Optimiser (ASO)

Briefly:

  • AIX Active Systems Optimiser constantly monitors & optimises AIX for better performance
  • ASO includes the Dynamic Systems Optimiser (DSO)

Benefits:

  • Completely automatic once started
  • Optimise CPU cache and memory for affinity
  • Optimise memory size pages for efficiency
  • Optimise memory pre-fetch

Example use:

  • startsrc -s aso
  • asoo -op aso_active=1
  • tail -f /var/log/aso/aso_process.log

More Information


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First Failure Data Capture (FFDC)

Briefly:

  • On a system failure, this features captures complete system state & errors

Benefits:

  • State is used to de-configure on start-up actual components that failed based on complete information rather than guesswork
  • Avoids repeated restarts with fault components online
  • RAS is increased with less downtime and correct component replaces by CE

Example use:

  • Hopefully, you never see this!
  • If you have a failure the restart will have the removed the correct components, first time and CE replaces components just the once.

More Information


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Field Hardening

Briefly:

  • With many millions, AIX’s running every day for 30+ years all that experience is used to make AIX tough to stop

Benefits:

  • Every AIX & HW generation is built on previous experience and features added to reduce outage and increase Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS)
  • You get the results on millions of uptime years and AIX coded to withstand many real-life problems in computer rooms around the world

Example use:

  • AIX handles all sorts of environmental issues - Clock down, use alternative paths
  • AIX will work around failed computer parts - RAS built-in
  • AIX will capture failure details to allow fast rebooting and resolving - FFDC

More Information

  • This is on a specific function but based on years of experience. IBM analyses all problems on all servers at clients site and determines how the number of problems can be reduced by add features to 1) stop the problem happening, 2) How to provide faster diagnostic, 3) how to isolate or work around the problem live and then 4) how to more simply recover form the problem.
  • This reduces the problems the following year.
  • It is a long term commitment to improved Reliability, Availability and Serviceability (RAS) every year.


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Encrypted JFS2

Briefly:

  • Actually a feature of JFS2 so its available at any time

Benefits:

  • Encrypt at multiple levels: whole filesystem, directory or a single file level
  • Can allow the root user to backup without the data being "in the clear"
  • Simple to operate and transparent to applications (if they have the keys)

Example use:

  • Make the entire database encrypted
  • Or just have a special directory area for your secret files
  • Fulfill your regulation security requirements with built-in functions

More Information:

More Information


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Memory Protection Keys

Briefly:

  • Programming service to catch rogue pointer use and a larger source of bugs

Benefits:

  • Limits a program's access to certain memory regions
  • Used internally by the AIX Kernel to catch badly written device drivers
  • Used by RDBMS user-written functions within the RDBMS server

Example use:

  • Read the AIX manual pages about:
    • ukeyset_t C data structure
    • ukeyset_init() and ukeyset_activate() functions

More Information


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ProbeVue debugger

Briefly:

  • Dynamic trace sessions of user code without modification

Benefits:

  • Dynamically add user-specified probes in code & attach actions to print data
  • Allows understanding of code, data & error conditions
  • Typically, function or syscall entry/exit or regular intervals
  • Used via a probevue script in "C" like syntax allowing others to reuse them
  • Very little effect on performance

Example use:

  • probevue myscript.e

More Information


Additional Information


If you find errors or have question, email me: 

  • Subject: AIX Best Bits
  • E-mail: n a g @ u k . i b m . c o m  

Also find me on

  • Twitter @mr_nmon
  • LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/nigelargriffiths
  • YouTube https://www.youtube.com/nigelargriffiths
     

Document Location

Worldwide

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Document Information

Modified date:
26 November 2019

UID

ibm11115577