AIX > Administrator > LPAR

Managing It All

AIX 6 features simplify WPAR management


As systems grow and become more complex, organizations go from individual systems to heavily consolidated sets of LPARs. LPAR and workload-partition (WPAR) management is still a time- consuming process. This issue’s theme explores options to simplify systems management and this article will examine a method to create, track, manage and monitor WPARs to take advantage of all that they offer without creating a management nightmare.

 

IBM AIX* 6 includes a new feature called Workload Partitions Manager* (WPAR Manager). WPAR Manager isn’t required to create and administer WPARs, as these can be managed using AIX line commands, but it’s recommended for complex environments with many WPARS. WPAR Manager is required for Live Application Mobility (LAM). In this article I’ll outline how the WPAR Manager for AIX systems greatly simplifies WPAR management. To start, let’s quickly review WPARs.

WPARs

The WPAR facility comes standard with AIX 6 and can run on any POWER4* processor or higher System p* server. A WPAR allows the user to have one AIX image called the global instance and a series of sub-images called WPARs. Each of these sub-images uses resources from the global instance, but will have some private file-systems, its own networking, security and administrative domains, and can be regulated using the AIX resource control functions of workload manager (WLM). There are two types of WPARs: system workload partition and application workload partition.

A system WPAR is similar to a complete AIX instance in that it has its own processes and daemons to control the system and network (cron, inetd, init, etc.). The system WPAR is shut down only when requested and functions as a full AIX environment. An application WPAR is designed specifically to run isolated application processes and the WPAR disappears when the last application process ends. More information can be found in the IBM Wiki (www.ibm.com/ developerworks/wikis/display/ WikiPtype/WPAR).

WPARs can reduce the number of AIX images running in separate LPARs taking up resources. They also allow you to group applications together under the same kernel image for consistency and simplicity. Because it’s easy to create and utilize WPARs, it becomes important to manage these resources. This is where WPAR Manager for AIX can help.

WPAR Manager Concepts

WPAR Manager facilitates WPAR administration across multiple systems. It provides a single GUI interface to create, clone, start, stop, monitor and otherwise control WPARs— vastly simplifying WPAR management. It also provides the capability to use LAM to move an application WPAR from one system to another without an outage. This can be done on demand or can be set up as policy-driven mobility, where WPARs are automatically moved based on performance policies. Using automated application mobility provides the capability to use WPAR Manager to provide global load balancing.

WPAR Manager for AIX systems is a separately priced licensed program product or is included in the AIX Enterprise Edition (EE) suite. Under the covers, WPAR Manager consists of the manager, some agents, a Web interface and server, and one of two databases: DB2* (V9.5) or Apache Derby (V2.0). WPAR Manager for AIX V1.2 supports both static and live WPAR relocation and also provides a WPAR backup and restore function. WPAR Manager includes WPAR management console, WPAR management server and a kernel extension for checkpoint and restart called the Metacluster Checkpoint and Restart (MCR). An additional component is the WPAR Manager agent, which is required to run on all the managed systems (the term used for an LPAR running WPARs being managed by WPAR Manager).

 

WPARs can reduce the number of AIX images running in separate LPARs taking up resources.

Jaqui Lynch is an independent consultant, focusing on enterprise architecture, performance and delivery on Power Systems with AIX and Linux.


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