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Configuring Your Machine Before it Arrives? Now That's a Good Plan

February 04, 2008

I hope you're keeping current with the latest version of the IBM System Planning Tool (SPT). From IBM:
"The SPT is a browser-based application that helps you design system configurations; it is particularly useful for designing logically partitioned systems. The SPT is integrated with the IBM Systems Workload Estimator (WLE), which enables you to plan a system based on existing performance data or based on new workloads. System plans generated by the SPT can be deployed on the system by the Hardware Management Console (HMC) and Integrated Virtualization Manager. The SPT is available to assist the user in system planning, design, validation and to provide a system validation report that reflects the user's system requirements while not exceeding system recommendations."
The latest version (as of this writing) is dated Jan. 29 and offers the following improvements. (Again, the list is from IBM.)

  • Added support to convert an HMC or Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM) system plan to an SPT system plan.
  • Added support to allow comments and order status on expansion units.
  • Added the ability to change order status on multiple items at once.
  • Added support to record the alternate restart device for i5/OS.
  • Added support for partition profile names.
  • Added support to allow utilization of unused dedicated processors.
  • Added capability to copy systems between system plan files. Choose the "Add..." option from the Work with Planned Systems panel and select "Import from another system plan."
  • Added support for creating Virtual Ethernet Adapters in Linux, AIX and VIOS partitions which communicate on multiple VLANs.

A final thing from IBM:

"SPT 2.0 will be the last release that will support .lvt and .xml files. Users should load their old .lvt and .xml plans and save them as .sysplan files. It is recommended that you take action prior to March 31, 2008."
When you fire it up, you see this message:
"The SPT helps you plan the configuration of a partitioned system. You can place your hardware order based on this system plan. You can also use this system plan to automate the creation of logical partitions on the system."
I had a plan that I generated from my HMC, and the first thing I saw was:
"System plans generated by the IVM or HMC must be converted into a format that is compatible with the SPT. This wizard steps you through the process of converting a system plan to the correct format. When you finish the wizard, the changes you make are applied and the plan is saved with a new name. You can view the original system plan as you go through the wizard."
So I clicked on the Convert button and was then able to go in and edit the file that came from my HMC.

As the tool evolves and improves, I keep hearing more positive things. Being able to configure your machine before it arrives is a great idea. When you import your system plan to the HMC, you avoid configuring each partition by hand. You can get straight to loading the OS when the hardware arrives on your raised floor instead of spending time configuring the partitions. When you plan on having multiple VIO servers and multiple LPARs, this tool makes things go much more smoothly. It will warn you when you make mistakes or when your partitions aren't set up properly.
Be sure to look at the system plan view from the HMC--it will show you a complete description of how your machine has been set up, along with a graphical view of the actual hardware, the slot numbers that have been assigned to each partition, etc. Download the code and start using it, and keep watching IBM's Web site for updates and patches.

Posted February 04, 2008 | Permalink

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