AIX > Tips & Techniques > Systems Management

AIX Tools You Can Use


FLRT LITE

The Fix Level Recommendation Tool (FLRT) has been around for a while now and the latest iteration is FLRT Lite. This single page has links to all the things that you may want to look at quickly. When you go to the website for FLRT Lite, you’ll find a list of products and then, to the right, a suggestion survey link, FLRT resources and other resources. If you click on one of the product links, it provides a list of versions for that product along with information on recommended updates and upgrades, the release date, and the end-of-service date. This is very useful for planning. Right now, it covers firmware for Power Systems, PureFlex and Power blades, the HMC, AIX, PowerVM VIOS, PowerHA, Cluster Systems Management (CSM), GPFS (general parallel filesystem), LoadLeveler and some of the parallel environments.

Under FLRT resources, you’ll find information on what’s new in FLRT, how to use it, how to determine your fix levels and a help file for scripting. Scripting lets you run a script on an LPAR and query the online FLRT data to determine recommended updates for that LPAR.

Under other resources are links to systems software maps, VIOS to NIM master mapping, AIX/VIOS security tables, AIX HIPER tables and VIOS service life information. The system software maps let you select your server and click through to find out supported, recommended and latest levels of AIX, IBM i or PowerVM VIOS for that server. There’s also a link to the supported combinations for HMC and server firmware (called the POWER code matrix). That matrix also shows the release data and end-of-service date for firmware. This is incredibly useful when planning upgrades. The VIOS to NIM master mapping provides minimum NIM master levels for each VIOS level, thus ensuring you can use NIM to install and recover your VIOSs. The AIX/VIOS security tables and the AIX HIPER tables provide a list of known security or critical issues along with links on how to fix them with a direct link to the actual fix. These are all things I’ve had to spend considerable time trying to find and now they’re all linked to from the FLRT Lite pages.

At the very top is a link to a survey to improve FLRT. Please send suggestions in via this link. I’ve met with the e-tools team, and they read these and are very willing to make changes to improve the product.

Finally, there’s the original FLRT that lets you provide information about your setup and have it reviewed with recommendations for updates being made based on your system. It also lets you save your configuration so you can upload it again in the future. The full version of FLRT does provide some support for certain IBM storage and additional support is available at the System Storage Interoperation Center (SSIC).

The FLRT team has been very active in social media. You can search on “fix level recommendation tool” on YouTube and you can follow them on Twitter (http://twitter.com/IBM_FLRT).

Fix Central

Fix Central is the location we all use to search for and download fixes and updates for our system’s software, hardware and operating system. I normally click on the “Select product” tab, then select the operating system. However, it was never easy to find APARs. I just discovered there’s an easy way to search for APARs. For example:

  1. Click on Select Product>AIX>v7.1.
  2. Select fix search and hit continue.
  3. On the next page, check only the APARs box and then enter your search term.
  4. Fix Central also has a YouTube channel—search “fix central ibm” to find them. Fix Central is also piloting a new inventory upload facility that lets you scan your system and upload the results to produce a customized list of fixes and updates. You can allow IBM to save it for you or you can do a one-time-use upload.

    My Notifications

    My Notifications lets you sign up to receive customized notifications of support information. Multiple options are available including publications, hints and tips, product flashes, downloads and drivers. These are also linked to from the Electronic Support website.

    Proactive Support

    IBM has become much more proactive in the area of support. From FLRT Lite to HMC Scanner and My Notifications, it has become much simpler to figure out recommended updates and to download and install them. Remember you do need to have a software maintenance agreement (SWMA) for the server to download fixes and a hardware maintenance agreement (HWMA) for the server to download and install firmware. You can check the status of your SWMA at the entitled software website listed in the following references. The key on that site is to look to the right and change Power (IBM i) to Power (AIX) if you’re looking for AIX entitlements. You can then view SWMA status for your servers. And lastly don’t forget the IBM Techdocs and Redbooks websites—they provide information on a significant number of topics and tools.

    Many thanks to Susan Caunt and her e-tools team for providing the tools and information to support this article.

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



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