AIX > Administrator > Systems Management

Hardware Management Console Maintenance Basics

HMC Maintenance

You can also run lshmcfs to show all the filesystems. lshmcfs

files_start_time=12/05/2016 11:47:00,temp
files_start_time=02/07/2017 10:26:00,temp
  • 3. Backing up the HMC In the HMC GUI Select HMC Management Then Save Upgrade Data and save the data to the hard drive. When that is complete select Backup Management Console Data Check include performance data You then have several choices – you can use the USB drive if you have it and it is formatted or you can backup to a remote FTP server. Once that is complete you are now ready to do your updates.
  • 4. Verify server firmware compatibility with HMC level This is a critical step and helps ensure that you don’t upgrade to a level of the HMC that s not supported for the firmware your servers are currently running. You can find the compatibility list at here


In order to install an HMC from scratch you either need to use the recovery DVD that came with it, or you can download an ISO image from Entitled Software and burn it to a DVD. You then install the HMC using that DVD. You can also burn that image to a USB flash drive (if you ordered the 8GB one with the HMC) and use that instead. To figure out the latest level for upgrading you go to Fix Central and click on select product, Power Systems management console, Power HMC and then the version you want to upgrade to (v8.8.6.0). Then you click on continue. It will then bring you to a webpage where you can see the latest upgrades and the description files along with links to any required patches.

There are three kinds of updates for the HMC and they are handled a little differently. Two of them (updates and fixes) are handled as general updates where the HMC is updated via the GUI. You need to know if the update is an update or a fix—this is detailed in the readme or description document, and determines the location you point to in order to obtain the update.

Minor Fixes and Service Packs

When I select Update HMC on the HMC I use the FTP option, point to and login as anonymous. If this is an update I point to /software/server/hmc/updates. As an example, v8.8.6.0 sp1 (MH01656 - current version) is a service pack which means it is processed as an update. Here’s a current link to this update.

This differs from smaller groups of fixes that have different names. If it is a fix, then the directory is usually /software/server/hmc/fixes. The HMC prompts you with a list of patches with names such as MH01567.iso and you pick the correct one.

The Actual Update Process Is:
In the HMC GUI select Updates, then Update HMC Select remote server Check the ftp box and then fill in the following: anonymous login with your email as password /software/server/hmc/updates (this is for MH01656)

Click next MH01656 is the service pack we are installing and it shows as HMC_Update_V8R860_SP1.iso - check the box for this Click next
Click finish

When it says it is done click on ok Then yes to reboot

You can then go and install any additional fixes that are required. Each will require a reboot.


The other option is a more major upgrade, and typically I do these by using SSH to the HMC. For example, if I was going to upgrade to v8.8.6.0 I would open two SSH sessions to the HMC. On one I would be running the following script to monitor the upgrade:

monitor the upgrade:
while true ; do
ls -la /hmcdump
sleep 60

On the other I would be downloading the software. Prior to downloading the software you can use the web to check what files are actually there. In the case of v8.8.6.0 you would go to:

Typically you will see base.img, disk1.img, hmcnetworkfiles.sum, img2a and img3a. You can download these if you want to or you can follow the procedure below to download them directly to the HMC.

On the actual download session, you would do the following:

chhmcfs -o f -d 0

The above clears out all temp files

getupgfiles -h -u anonymous --passwd anonymous -d /software/server/hmc/network/v8860

The above downloads the actual upgrade files.

Once the software is downloaded you no longer see the files in /hmcdump, which is why the monitor script above is helpful in knowing when it has ended. Once they are downloaded you can exit the first session and then type in the following two commands to tell the HMC to perform the upgrade:

chhmc -c altdiskboot -s enable --mode upgrade
The above tells it to set up to upgrade on boot
hmcshutdown -r -t now 


It takes about 20-30 minutes to actually perform the upgrade. Once it is done you then need to install any upgrades or fixes that are also required. Each upgrade or fix will take at least 20 minutes as a reboot of the HMC is required for each. If you have redundant HMCs you should do them both the same day as problems can occur when they are out of sync. This is explained in the readme.

Post Install

Once the updates are applied you should check a few things. The first thing you should do is run another backup so you have an image to recover from

"version= Version: 8
 Release: 8.6.0
 Service Pack: 1
HMC Build level 20170302.1

As you can see the system has now been upgraded to the new service pack.


System maintenance is a time consuming but necessary process. Performing updates on your HMC is part of that process and should be done regularly. I typically do quarterly updates of my HMCs in order to ensure that I am able to move forward easily with new servers and functionality. This is not a difficult task as long as you are consistent. I highly recommend building regular backups and updates into your system maintenance plans.

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

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