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Digging into Last Week's IBM Announcements

October 18, 2016

Last week IBM announced new hardware models, along with new features and functionality within AIX and IBM i. I believe IBM is once again showing a strong commitment to the Power brand, and, by providing the capability to update your operating system on the fly, giving customers another reason to choose Power Systems.

Here's the announcement summary. Some highlights include AIX 7.2 enhancements, including the capability to perform live updates. Before we could use AIX Live Update for interim fixes, but now we can perform live updates of the AIX operating system:
  • Introduced in AIX 7.2, AIX Live Update is extended in Technology Level 1 to support any future update without a reboot, with either the geninstall command or NIM.
  • The genld command is enhanced to list processes that have an old version of a library loaded so that processes can be restarted when needed in order to load the updated libraries.

For more about this new feature, read this from IBM developerWorks, and watch this. Before you make that jump to some other operating system, Live Update might give you pause. What other operating system lets you update it while it's running?

There's also the capability to use large pages with Active Memory Expansion (AME). According to previously referenced AIX 7.2 announcement letter, "the 64k pages can be configured/compressed in an LPAR, and the amepat command is enabled for 64k page modeling."

There's an enhancement to the AIX Toolbox for Linux. IBM will commit to maintaining it with current levels, along with enhancements to yum and updating the USB device library. Again, this is from the AIX 7.2 announcement letter:

To facilitate the installation of supplementary open source software packages for AIX, IBM introduces the yum package management tool for AIX. Along with yum, there is a mandatory update of the RPM Package Manager to version 4.9.1.3. In this update, new function enables yum to perform automatic open source software dependence discovery and update maintenance for RPM-based open source software installed on your system.

A new policy maintains and addresses open source security vulnerabilities in selected key open source software packages. IBM expands its commitment to keep the key open source packages updated to reasonably current levels....

The cloud-init utility and all of its dependencies are now available on the AIX Toolbox for Linux Applications website. With yum, you can easily install cloud-init, and licensed AIX users receive support.

The libusb development library for USB device access is added to the AIX Toolbox for Linux Applications.

There's a new E850C server to go along with the E870C and the E880C:

The Power E850C server (8408-44E) is the latest enhancement to the Power System portfolio. It offers an improved 4-socket 4U system that delivers faster POWER8 processors up to 4.22 GHz, with up to 4TB of DDR4 memory, built-in IBM PowerVM virtualization, and Capacity on Demand. It integrates cloud management to help clients deploy scalable, mission-critical business applications in virtualized, private cloud infrastructures.

Like its predecessor Power E850 server, which was launched in 2015, the new Power E850C server utilizes 8-core, 10-core, or 12-core POWER8 processor modules. But the E850C processors are 13% - 20% faster and deliver a system with up to 32 cores at 4.22 GHz, up to 40 cores at 3.95 GHz, or up to 48 cores at 3.65 GHz and utilize DDR4 memory. A minimum of two processor modules must be installed in each system, with a minimum quantity of one processor module's cores activate.

There are new and improved HA, DR, and backup/recovery solutions, including a new PowerHA interface and dashboard. This link cites Live Partition Mobility resiliency improvements and simplified remote restart enhancements that provide for automated policy-based VM remote restart and VM remote restart when the system is powered off. It also mentions the HMC:

HMC V8.8.6 has been enhanced to include support for the following:
  • Ability to export performance and capacity data collected by the HMC to a CSV formatted flat file for use by other analysis tools
  • Reporting on energy consumption, which can be used either by the REST APIs or by the new export facility
  • Dynamic setting of the Simplified Remote Restart VM property, which enables this property to be turned on or off dynamically.

The PowerHA System Mirror 7.2.1 announcement letter specifically covers the new GUI "that enables at-a-glance health monitoring for a PowerHA on AIX cluster or group of clusters, easy to digest view of PowerHA cluster environment, immediate notification of health status, click-on event status, and intelligent filtering of relevant event logs."

We're not done yet. Enhanced I/O and server options include:

DDR4 CDIMM memory options provide energy savings and DDR4 configuration options:
Smaller-capacity CDIMMs join the existing large-capacity CDIMM for IBM Power® E880, E880C, E870, and E870C servers.

For IBM Power S812L, S814, S822, S822L, S824, and S824L servers, a full set of DDR4 DIMMs is announced that match existing DDR3 capacities.

Capacity Backup for Power Enterprise Systems is new simplified and cost-effective HA/DR offering that replaces the existing Capacity Backup for PowerHA offering. It is now available for the IBM Power E870, E880, E870C, and E880C servers.

PowerSC 1.1.5 will feature a new interface:

A new compliance user interface where users can manage compliance profiles across their environment, create custom profiles, and groups of endpoints.

Compliance automation profile updates to Payment Card Industry (PCI) version 3.1 and North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) version 5.

Trusted Network Connect now supports patch management of critical security fixes for open source packages on AIX® base for packages that have been downloaded from the AIX toolbox or other web download sites for AIX Open Source Packages.

If you manage SANs, you should know about the IBM Network Advisor V14. A key enhancement is an "at-a-glance summary of all discovered b-type devices, including inventory and event summary information used to identify problem areas and help prevent network downtime.

And for those of you who also manage IBM i, 7.2 TR5 has also been announced, along with 7.3 TR1.

Believe it or not, there's more I haven't covered, so dig into the links.

Posted October 18, 2016 | Permalink

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