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Transform Your LPM Experience with Automation Tool

Bob Foster


Q: How do I get more out of LPM?

Live Partition Mobility (LPM) is an important feature of the IBM Power Systems* server product line. As far back as 2004, I can remember POWER5 clients discussing server maintenance procedures, the logistics of having many different lines of business (i.e., end users) running their LPARs (workload) on that system and finding a scheduled maintenance window that everyone could agree on. The end users didn’t want their workloads shut down for maintenance and each line of business had different high-priority time frames.

In 2008, IBM made LPM part of its product line so that the end users’ workloads could be moved to another server without an outage. Once the maintenance is complete, the workloads are moved back to the servers.

Clients have adopted LPM to help with their scheduled maintenance, but it’s also a huge part of a client’s migration process when moving from POWER7* to POWER8* servers and now to POWER9* servers. Conservatively speaking, more than 800 clients worldwide have performed more than 150,000 LPMs in the last year.

The PowerVM* LPM and Simplified Remote Restart (SRR) Automation Tool (ibm.biz/lpm_srr_tool) has been around for four years, transforming clients’ LPM experience from being time-consuming and complicated to being “awesome.” That’s a pretty strong word but many of the 400 clients who’ve used the tool have similar ways of describing their satisfaction.

Created From Client Feedback

How can a tool be awesome? That’s a great question and as the tool lead, let me try to explain how we got here. I wrote the original LPM specification back in 2005 as the HMC lead and worked on the first client implementation of LPM in a large enterprise environment in early 2008. Over the years, I’ve been asked for enhancements to LPM, how to do a particular function, how to reconfigure the LPAR after LPM, etc.

I took my eight years of experience and developed a tool that I hope addresses many of those requests and issues. And with each new release of the PowerVM stack (HMC, VIOS, hypervisor), we add new features to the tool to take advantage of the improvements.

Simplifying Scheduled Maintenance

Most clients have to move all of the workloads off the Power Systems server to do maintenance—whether it’s firmware updates, VIOS updates or hardware repairs.

This tool allows clients to use LPM to spread all of the workloads across many servers. The tool ca build a placement plan based on the workload’s LAN and storage needs. With just a few clicks, this plan is done. The client can:

  1. Change the plan
  2. Save the plan to a spreadsheet and edit it
  3. Schedule the LPM for a later time
  4. Perform LPM at that time

The part that clients love most, however, (and doesn’t exist in any other IBM product) is the tool’s ability to move back all of the partitions from all of the different servers they were spread among. With only four clicks, the PowerVM LPM and SRR automation tool will return all of the partitions and restore all of the original settings of the configuration, LPAR ID, vios mappings, fcs mappings, vnic mappings, etc.

Making Migrations Easier

The tool has been used by many clients for migrations from an older platform to a new platform (e.g., migrating from POWER8 to POWER9). I’ve found that many clients are redesigning their base infrastructure when bringing in the new platform. As a part of the migration, clients may want to add Vswitchs, increase or reduce the number of VIO servers, remap FCS ports for NPIV, change Shared Processor Pools, etc.

The LPM tool allows for this re-architecting and implements it when the tool does the migration.

Some of the above can be done via the HMC GUI, but many of those functions cannot be done. Case in point: A client without the tool would use the HMC to move the partitions. Then they would have to shut down the partitions and use the HMC GUI to reconfigure the LPARs to this new infrastructure and restart the partitions.

Additional Features

In addition to the aforementioned features, the tool handles all of your mobile capacity on demand changes needed for the LPM. Power Enterprise Pools clients like this a lot.

The tool allows clients to run custom scripts during LPM operations. Some clients use this to re-enable Ganglia after a move, reset licensing to the new frame serial number, or increase or decrease CPU or memory entitlement when moving from different server architectures.

The PowerVM team has made many improvements to LPM and SRR in the last four years. I’ve created a document on developerWorks (ibm.co/2Hom9XP ) that describes all these enhancements.

 


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