AIX > Tips & Techniques > Systems Management

AIX Tools You Can Use

It’s been several years since I’ve reviewed useful tools for the AIX administrator and, during that time, there’ve been some significant improvements. Of particular interest are the loopmount command, the emgr command, HMC Scanner, FLRT Lite, Fix Central and support notifications.

loopmount to Access Media

Trying to find and/or load install media can be very frustrating, especially since the DVD drives don’t float between LPARs so most LPARs don’t have DVD readers attached access to them. Many of us have set up massive NFS exports containing all of the information but there’s a better way. For servers that have VIOS, you can use File Backed Optical (FBO). This lets you load ISO images of media into a repository on the VIOS, which can then be made available to the client LPARs on that server. However, this means duplicating the repositories on each server’s VIOS. A better option is to use the loopmount command to mount ISO images directly into filesystems on an LPAR. This involves using software to rip the DVD or CD to an ISO image. Then the .iso file can be uploaded to an NFS server and, from there, mounted to the NFS client.

On the NFS client: Assuming the DVD ripped was the AIX v7 DVD 1 of 2 and is now called aixv7-base-1of2.iso, you change into the directory it’s in and type:

Assume directory is /software
cd /software

mkdir /jaqui
loopmount –i aixv7-base-1of2.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 and process them.

Managing APARs With emgr

Sometimes an APAR is temporarily resolved with an emergency fix (efix) or interim fix (ifix). These are applied and removed using the emgr command. IBM has an excellent Technote on managing interim fixes and I highly recommend you read this. You can list all of the efixes installed using “emgr –l”. It’s recommended that you do this prior to installing maintenance. Normally, an efix is automatically removed when the PTF, Service Pack or Technology Level that corrects the issue is installed. However, it’s always wise to check as, should you decide to back these out, the efix will have been removed and you’ll need to reinstall it.

HMC Scanner

This is one of my favorite tools, especially for documentation. The HMC Scanner is a Java-based tool that connects to your HMC and documents everything that the HMC can see. It will also connect to a Flex System Manager (FSM) and document the PureFlex environment. It’s easy to install and can be run from Windows or AIX. I normally install it on an AIX system since I seem to have Java issues on Windows. Once it’s installed, change into the directory and type something similar to:

./hmcScanner.ksh  hmcname  hscroot -p abc1234 –stats

Substitute your HMC name for hmcname and the correct username and password.

The end result is a spreadsheet organized in tabs that documents the HMC, servers, LPARs, physical slots, virtual Ethernet and shared Ethernet adapters, virtual SCSI configuration and mappings, virtual fibre mappings, and LPAR and virtual processor pool configurations. The –stats flag will show up to one year of CPU (etc.) usage based on data from the lslparutil command. Although this isn’t an officially supported IBM tool, it is incredibly useful. I now request the output from this whenever I do performance studies as it gives a great breakdown of how everything is configured and interconnected.

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

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