AIX > Tips & Techniques > Systems Management

Tools You Can Use: Planning and Memory

Media Management

One of the most frustrating things is trying to find or load install media. Many LPARs don’t have attached DVD readers or do not have access to them. For servers that had VIO servers I started using file backed optical (FBO) some time ago. This allowed me to load iso images of media into a repository on my VIO server, which then could be made available to the client LPARs on that server. However, this meant duplicating the repositories on each server’s VIO server. There’s now the capability to use the loopmount command to mount iso images directly into filesystems on an LPAR. As an example:

After using software to rip the AIX 7 base dvd to a .iso file, it was uploaded to an network file system (NFS) server. On the NFS client:

loopmount –i aixv7-base.iso  -m /jaqui –o “-V cdrfs –o ro”

This mounts the AIX 7 base iso as a filesystem called /jaqui. You can now create an lpp_source or spot from the iso, or you can simply read the files.


Three tools were added to the NIM repertoire—nimadm, nim_alt_clone and multibos. Taking advantage of these can make life easier for administrators who need to perform upgrades, especially because they significantly reduce the time needed to back out an upgrade.

The NIM alternate disk migration or nimadm command is a utility that allows the system administrator to create a copy of rootvg to a free disk and to simultaneously migrate it to a new version or release level of AIX. This is far less risky than taking a backup, booting from the DVD and doing an in-place migration. It’s a simple reset of the bootlist and a reboot to fall back to the old system, as all of the changes are made to the copy on the additional disk.

Similarly, nim_alt_clone is used to clone rootvg and then perform an update. The primary difference from nimadm is it’s typically used to update the system within the same version and release, i.e. upgrading to new technology levels and service packs.

Finally, we have multibos, which allows the root administrator to create multiple instances of AIX on the same disk. So on a single disk, the administrator could create update, and manage multiple versions of the OS on a rootvg. This is done by setting up an alternate OS that boots from a separate boot logical volume (BLV).

These three tools greatly supplement the NIM toolkit, making system updates easier and safer.

Make Life Easier

These are just a few of the tools that should be in an administrator’s toolbox to make life easier. Becoming familiar with these will assist in ensuring you get the maximum out of your servers with minimal risk.

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

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