AIX 7.2 and October Power software announcements

IBM announced a number of new products today as well as updates to existing products. Here is a quick summary

AIX 7.2

The big feature for AIX V7.2 allows concurrent patching of the entire AIX kernel on the fly—with no interruption to applications. Initially this capability will only be supported for Interim Fixes but it is the foundation for broader concurrent patching in the future.

Other capabilities of AIX 7.2 include:

  • Server Based Flash Caching – Transparently use flash drives to cache I/O.
  • Support for POWER7 and later processor-based systems
  • Http protocol support in NIM
  • Openssh added to base operating system installation menus
  • Dynamic System Optimizer included in AIX 7.2 base
  • repackaged into,, and
  • New LVM mirroring policy to exploit flash drives for fast reads

There is also a new Technology Level for AIX 7.1, Technology Level 4, which includes a few of the AIX 7.2 enhancements (but not concurrent patching). And in case you missed it, the support life for AIX 7.1 Technology Level 3 was extended last April to 2017.

AIX 6 was withdrawn on September 29. IBM strongly urges clients to upgrade to AIX 7.1 or AIX 7.2

Link to AIX 7.2 Announcement Letter

Link to AIX Strength to Strength flyer

AIX Enterprise Edition


AIX Enterprise Edition has been restructured to be AIX version specific. There is a new AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition and a new AIX 7.2 Enterprise Edition. Existing AIX EE clients can request a no charge upgrade to the new AIX Enterprise Edition products.

IBM announced two new release-specific AIX Enterprise Edition products to replace the previous AIX EE product that covered both AIX 6.1 and AIX 7.1. The new products are:

  • AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition version 1.1
  • AIX 7.2 Enterprise Edition version 1.1

The new structure provides additional flexibility to tailor the content for each AIX release. Existing AIX EE clients can move up to the new AIX Enterprise Edition products at no extra charge.

The content for each of these products is similar, except that the AIX 7.2 Enterprise Edition does not include Dynamic System Optimizer (DSO) because DSO is already included in the AIX 7.2 Standard Edition.

In addition to the appropriate level of AIX, the new Enterprise Editions include:

  • PowerVC
  • PowerSC Standard Edition
  • AIX Dynamic System Optimizer (for AIX 7.1 EE only)
  • Cloud Manager with OpenStack for Power
  • IBM Tivoli Monitoring V6.3
  • IBM BigFix LIfecycle

The new component, IBM BigFix Lifecycle, will include functionality for OS Patching, 3rd Party App Patching, Offline Patching, Asset Discovery, Software Distribution, and Sequenced Task Automation.

The new AIX EE products do not include the AIX Workload Partitions Manager because that product is dependent on IBM Systems Director, which has been withdrawn.

Wonder why IBM withdrew the old AIX Enterprise Edition for AIX 7.1 last week?

IBM requires that products only be withdrawn in April and September. US accounting rules require that products must become generally available in the same quarter that they are announced. With these two conflicting requirements, we end up with withdrawal announcements in September and new product announcements in October.

Why is AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition going out of support before AIX 6.1 Enterprise Edition?

The withdrawal of all AIX 6 editions including Standard, Express, and Enterprise Edition was done on September 29. The end of support for all AIX 6 editions is April, 2017.


The old AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition (product 5764-G99) was also withdrawn, but the end of support date was set to September 2016 because it was replaced by the new AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition (product 5765-CD1).

This is why the End of Support date for AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition is earlier than for AIX 6, because AIX 7.1 EE has been replaced.


Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) V2.2.4 includes a number of enhancements:

  • Virtual Network Interface Controller (vNIC) support. The VIOS will support virtual networking using Single Root I/O Virtual (SRIOV) adapters that are Live Partition Mobility capable. This allows clients to get the benefits of SRIOV, including Quality of Service and reduced VIOS CPU load while retaining the ability to migrate VMs/LPARs to other machines.
  • Support for PowerVM Novalink. PowerVM Novalink is a new technology intended to provide greatly improved scalability for managing POWER8 VMs/LPARs compared to using the Hardware Management Console (HMC). The HMC will continue to be available, but we expect that over time most clients will probably use NovaLink to manage virtualization because it works much better with OpenStack managers (including PowerVC).
  • Shared Storage Pool enhancements. Shared Storage Pools can have up to ten tiers within a storage pool for better control, the ability to increase the size of a virtual disk, and improved resiliency of the repository disk.
  • Live Partition Mobility enhancements. Mobility will have better validation of NPIV configurations, performance improvements, and target vswitch selection. You can now use mobility when using only one VIOS.

Link to PowerVM and PowerVC announcement letter.

Virtual Hardware Management Console

Virtual HMC appliance. A new offering provides the HMC software as a virtual appliance (product number 5765-HMV) that can run on a client’s existing x86 servers running VMWare or RedHat KVM virtualization. This virtual appliance will provide the same hardware, service, and virtualization management capabilities of a traditional physical HMC.

PowerVC V1.3.0

PowerVC Facebook Cover_1.3.0

The newest release of PowerVC is based on the “Liberty” release of OpenStack. New features include:


  • Dynamic Resource Optimizer (DRO), a new PowerVC component that uses policy-based control to either automatically move resources to workloads using Mobile COD or to move workloads to available resources using VM migration. DRO removes the need for manual rebalancing of workloads during periods of constrained CPU resources. The DRO facility has an advisor option that lets the administrator see what actions should be taken to balance the workload without actually taking the action.
  • Support for IBM DS8870 storage (NPIV and vSCSI attached)
  • Support for up to 26 SAN fabrics
  • Increase the size of data volumes from the PowerVC graphical user interface
  • Support for PowerVM multiple shared processor pools (aka logical pools). This support was also delivered in PowerVC 1.2.3 Fixpack 2.
  • PowerVC now has a support policy to let you know how long each PowerVC release will be supported. Starting with PowerVC 1.3.0, each release will be supported for eighteen months. This relativity short lifecycle is driven by the rapid innovation in OpenStack.


PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2

  • Automated use of Power Enterprise Pools and CoD across cluster nodes to minimize the expense of redundant resources
  • Automated support for Live Partition Mobility and AIX 7.2 Live Update within a PowerHA cluster
  • Failing Node Quarantine to prevent partitioned cluster events caused by a failing or intermittent node
  • Automatic Repository Disk replacement
  • Improved AIX and PowerHA cluster consistency verification

Link to PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 announcement letter.

As usual, see the actual announcement letters for more detail.

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Auld Lang Syne – IBM Systems Director, AIX 6 withdrawn

Turn the page - Director

IBM officially withdrew a number of products today including virtually all of the IBM Systems Director product line. This is a bittersweet end to a decades-long cross-platform management vision.

Included in the withdrawal announcement are products such as IBM Systems Director, Active Energy Manager, VMControl, Network Control, Storage Control, AIX Workload Partitions Manager, and Flex Systems Manager.

IBM Systems Director

IBM Systems Director started as a hardware management tool called Netfinity Director back in the halcyon “” days of the late 1990s. It started evolving into a more robust systems management platform as the IBM Universal Management Services in 1999, and eventually grew to be a cross IBM platform systems management platform, IBM Systems Director, in 2007.

Ultimately, the “Cloud” killed Systems Director. The concept of a proprietary, all in one, management platform delivered by a single vendor simply did not work in an environment where IT resources are spread between in-house systems of record and systems of engagement that might be hosted by different cloud providers.

OpenStack, a new management approach that leveraged a community of contributors, is much more suitable to managing cloud environments than any proprietary approach by a single vendor. The rapid success of PowerVC is in part attributable to the functionality of its OpenStack roots. OpenStack is rapidly evolving thanks to its huge open source community.

Love it or hate it, the withdrawal of IBM Systems Director marks the end of an era.

IBM will continue to support some Director products for several more years, but the end is in sight.

So long, AIX 6


IBM also formally withdrew AIX 6 from marketing effective April 2016 and from standard support effective April 2017.

I have a special relationship to AIX 6 since it was the first AIX release that I managed from concept to introduction. AIX 6 had many firsts: It was the first release to have an open beta; it included many new capabilities for security and reliability; and a new virtualization technology, Workload Partitions. Even the name the name was unique; known as ”AIX 5.4” for much of its development, I rebranded it to “AIX 6” to recognize the tremendous amount of innovation included in that release.

Although the AIX 6 product has been withdrawn, the innovations delivered in AIX 6 formed the foundation for AIX 7 and subsequent releases.

Other Power Software withdrawn

In addition to Systems Director and AIX 6, there are other older products that were withdrawn including: FastConnect V3.2, AIX Link/X25 V2.1, Performance Toolbox V3.1, CSM V1, and Parallel Environment for AIX V5.2

These products had been functionally stabilized years ago and had few active users.

Software lifecycle

It is always more fun to introduce new products than it is to withdraw old ones. The reality is that eventually you have to throw in the towel and withdraw old products so that you can redeploy the development resources to build new products.

See the official announcement letter for a complete list of the withdrawn products.

P.S. For those you concerned about AIX EE 7.1 withdrawal–understand that IBM rules require that products can only be withdrawn in September or April. Announcements typically happen in the fourth quarter (hint, hint) and second quarter.

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PowerVC V1.2.3 Fixpack 2 is here

PowerVC V1.2.3 Fixpack 2 is now available for download from Fix Central.

In addition to bug fixes, Fixpack 2 includes two enhancements:

  • Support for PowerVC Multiple Shared Processor Pools
  • Increase the size of data volumes from the PowerVC graphical user interface


Many IBM PowerVM clients use multiple (aka “logical”) processor pools to control the amount of capacity available to middleware applications to manage software license costs. This PowerVM capability allows automatic movement of processing capacity between LPARs/VMs while keeping a hard limit on the total capacity available to the application.

With PowerVC Fixpack 2, administrators can specify that a VM is deployed to a specific shared processor pool other than the PowerVM default pool (Pool 0).

Fixpack 2 also adds support for clients to increase the size of data volumes in the PowerVC graphical user interface. This capability was previously only available through PowerVC programming APIs.


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What’s new in PowerVC Standard Edition Version 1.2.3


The first PowerVC release in 2015 includes new capabilities for more sophisticated management of enterprise Power environments. It includes new features for managing groups of servers, improved automated placement of virtual machines, enhanced storage support and the capability to restart VMs that were on a failed server.

Based on the “Kilo” OpenStack release, the planned general availability for PowerVC V1.2.3 is June 12, 2015.

Enhanced storage support

The latest version PowerVC has a number of enhancements to give you more flexibility to configure and manage storage.

Multiple disk capture/deploy

You can now capture and deploy multiple volumes with PowerVC. For example, you could capture a boot disk, and then deploy the boot disk with data volumes from VM2 and VM3. You can capture boot and data volumes separately and deploy them together. Volumes do not have to reside on the same storage devices and PowerVC can discover and import multiple volumes when importing existing VMs.


Multiple disk capture and deploy

Multiple disk capture and deploy

Share storage volumes between VMs

You can configure PowerVC to share a storage volume between two virtual machines to support high availability solutions that require shared disks.

SVC Mirroring

PowerVC now supports synchronous mirroring of SAN Volume Controller (SVC) volumes. You must define two storage pools in your SVC environment prior to creation of the new volume. You can use the SVC management console to add mirrors to existing SVC volumes.

IBM SDDPCM and EMC PowerPath in VIOS

PowerVC supports the use of IBM SDDPCM and EMC PowerPath multipathing software in the PowerVM Virtual I/O Server. Each VIOS can only use a single type of multipathing software.

Description field for captured VM volumes

You can now add a description to each captured storage volume. Clients used the PowerVC Request for Enhancement tool at to request this feature.

Description field

Description field

New managed clients supported (PowerVM)

PowerVC now supports new, little endian distributions of Linux under PowerVM on POWER8 processor-based systems. Please see the PowerVM announcement for additional requirements such as firmware level and patches.

  • RHEL 7.1 (LE)
  • SLES 12 (LE)
  • Ubuntu V15.04 (LE)

RHEL 7.1 for PowerVC management server

The PowerVC 1.2.3 management server now requires Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 7.1. The move from RHEL 6 was required due to the Red Hat lifecycle. The PowerVC management server can run on X86 based systems or on big endian or little endian editions of RHEL 7.1 on Power Systems.

Host groups

Collections of physical hosts can be grouped together to focus management operations such as deployment on a subset of the hosts managed by PowerVC. Each group can have a unique placement policy like packing or striping.

PowerVC Host Groups

Host Groups

Advanced placement policies

The scheduler component of PowerVC now supports more sophisticated automated placement of VMs during initial placement and during relocation in addition to the “Packing” and “Striping” previously available. The PowerVC scheduler now considers the different amount of processing and memory capacity provided by different models of Power Systems servers.

CPU Balance placement

Using the CPU Balance option places VMs on the physical host with the largest amount of free CPU capacity.

Memory Balance placement

Using the Memory Balance option places VMs on the host with largest amount of free memory capacity.

CPU Usage placement

Using the CPU Usage option places VMs on the host with the lowest historical CPU usage. The usage is the average CPU usage measured every minute over the last 15 minutes.

PowerVC Advanced Placement Policies

Advanced Placement Policies

Virtual machine affinity and anti-affinity

Sometimes you must consider the relationship between virtual machines when deploying or relocating VMs.


VMs with Affinity are deployed to the same physical host. For example, an application server VM and a web front end VM are placed on the same host to minimize communications latency.


VMs with Anti-affinity are deployed to different physical hosts. This eliminates the physical host as a single point of failure for the application.

Virtual Machine Affinity and Anti-affinity

Virtual Machine Affinity and Anti-affinity

Redundant HMC support

PowerVC now supports redundant Power Hardware Management Consoles (HMC) to avoid a single point of failure when managing PowerVM environments. The PowerVC administrator must initiate the switchover between the redundant HMCs.

Cloud-init support for AIX 6 & AIX 7 clients

PowerVC worked with the AIX engineering team to deliver cloud-init image activation for AIX VMs. Image activation is the process that automatically runs when a new VM image is deployed to customize the VM instance. For example, you can use it to set the hostname, networking configuration, and SSH keys.

Cloud-init has become the de facto standard for activation in OpenStack. It offers more capability than the VSAE activation engine that previously was the only choice for AIX activation. The AIX team will deliver the cloud-init open source software via the AIX Toolbox for Linux Applications web page at

Administrator Initiated Remote VM Restart (POWER8 only)

PowerVC V1.2.3 supports the simplified remote restart of VMs on POWER8 processor-based systems. Remote VM Restart allows VMs running on a host which unexpectedly fails to restart on hosts within the host group. The PowerVC administrator must initiate restart of VMs on a failed host.

Remote Restart

Remote Restart

PowerVC Express Edition withdrawn

PowerVC Express Edition and PowerVC Base Edition were withdrawn from marketing in April 2015.

These two editions were primarily stepping-stones to PowerVC Standard Edition. PowerVC Express Edition only worked with Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM) managed systems. PowerVC Base Edition was an early edition of PowerVC that was only available in China.

While both of these editions were important to the evolution of PowerVC Standard Edition, they are not relevant to our core enterprise customers, who use the Hardware Management Console (HMC) or PowerKVM to manage virtualized Power servers.

IBM plans to continue offering and enhancing PowerVC Standard Edition.

Scaling to 30 servers and 3000 VMs

PowerVC continues to improve the number of hosts and number of virtual machines it can manage.

Link to the official announcement letter


The PowerVC engineering team has delivered a lot of new functionality in this release of PowerVC. Many of these features are the result of feedback and formal requests from clients like you. The PowerVC team welcomes your feedback and participation on our LinkedIn group, on our Facebook page and on DeveloperWorks

Look for new articles on PowerVC 1.2.3 features in these groups and on our YouTube channel in the coming weeks.


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Summary of PowerVC Standard Edition security fixes published March 12, 2015

A number of security exposure and corresponding fixes were published March 12, 2015 for PowerVC Standard Edition.

For your convenience, here is a list of the issues and links to related information.

    • IBM PowerVC Could Allow a Local Attacker to Read a Valid Access Token (CVE-2015-0136)IBM PowerVC could allow a local attacker to read a valid access token. The powervc-iso-import command internally calls another command to which it passes a valid access token as a command line argument. This token may be seen in the process table. Only PowerVC Express installations managing IVM and PowerVC Standard installations managing PowerKVM are affected.

The best way to stay informed of important PowerVC fixes is to subscribe via IBM My Notifications

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What’s ahead for PowerVC in 2015


As we move into 2015, we are once again planning on two major releases of PowerVC. This will allow us to quickly respond to new customer requirements and take advantage of the capabilities in the OpenStack releases “Kilo” and “M”.

Some of the enhancements we are considering for PowerVC in 2015 include:

  • Additional storage device support (dependent on community contributions by storage vendors)
  • Multi-disk image capture and deploy
  • Enhanced storage management such as resizing volumes, volume sharing and mirroring
  • Increasing management scalability
  • Improved scheduling including VM affinity/anti-affinity, CPU and memory capacity consideration
  • Networking enhancements
  • Support for multiple shared processor pools
  • Physical host groups to allow segregation of workloads to specific servers
  • Redundent HMC support
  • Dynamic resource rebalancing
  • Exploitation of Power Systems Capacity on Demand
  • Remote restart of Virtual Machines
  • Security and logging enhancements
  • Additional client OS support
  • Customer requested features
  • Exploitation of new PowerVM, PowerKVM and Power Systems hardware capabilities

As always, these plans reflect goals and intentions and are subject to change, but think that you can see that we have a lot of good stuff coming in PowerVC in 2015.

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PowerVC Standard Edition Version 1.2.2


PowerVC Standard Edition Version 1.2.2 is a significant update that significantly expands the storage support including Cisco SAN, IBM XIV and EMC storage devices. Based on the Juno release of OpenStack, PowerVC 1.2.2 planned general availability is December 12, 2014.

New storage support for PowerVM based systems

  • Cisco SAN fabric
  • IBM XIV storage devices
  • EMC VMAX storage devices
  • EMC VNX storage devices
  • EMC PowerPath client support
  • Classic vSCSI (SAN volume backed only, no local disks)

Limited support for storage devices and SAN fabrics has been one of the most significant issues blocking widespread adoption of PowerVC. The PowerVC engineering team worked with IBM storage teams to deliver new support for XIV storage and classic (Non-Shared Storage Pools) VSCSI devices The PowerVC team worked with the OpenStack community to integrate block storage Cinder drivers for Cisco SAN fabric and two classes of EMC storage devices.

The PowerVC engineering team intends to continue working with the community to integrate support for additional storage devices over time but we believe that the new storage devices supported in this release will address many of our client’s storage requirements.

Restrictions and Considerations for new storage support

As in all discussions of resource support, there are conditions and restrictions that you should be aware of for the new storage devices supported. PowerVC relies on the storage vendor provided OpenStack Cinder drivers. The vendor controls the overall requirements and restrictions for the drivers they contribute to OpenStack.

Cisco SAN fabric

We tested with Cisco NX-OS 6.2

IBM XIV storage devices

Only XIV Gen3 devices are supported

vSCSI Classic

Already noted above, PowerVC only supports SAN backed disks (no local disks or LVM backed vSCSI devices. For vSCSI, the client must do the SAN zoning manually. PowerVC will allocate and manage the SAN LUNs automatically.


This support requires the use of an SMI-S provider which currently is only available on X86 platforms (See EMC web for full details). The PowerVC management server must have network connectivity to the server running the EMC SMI-S Solution Enabler server.


This support requires that the EMC Navisphere CLI be installed on the PowerVC management server. Since the Navisphere CLI is only available on X86 platform systems, the PowerVC management server must be installed on an X86 system.

EMC PowerPath

The initial release of PowerVC Standard Edition V1.2.2 will support the use of EMC PowerPath in the managed client VM/LPARs. PowerVC V1.2.2 does not currently support the use of PowerPath in the VIOS.

Enhanced storage support for PowerVM based systems

  • Export/Import virtual machine images between storage devices
  • Multiple I/O Group support for SAN Volume Controller (SVC)

PowerVC 1.2.2 also eliminates two previous storage limitations. Frist, you can now move captured VM images between storage devices (import/export). For example, you could capture a VM image on a V7000 and import it into a XIV storage device. Second, clients now can use multiple I/O groups when using SVC or V7000 storage.

New managed clients (PowerVM)

  • IBM i (Requires IBM i 7.1 TR7 or 7.2)
  • RHEL 7 (Included in PowerVC 1.2.1 Fixpack 2)

PowerVC can manage IBM i clients on PowerVM based systems. Support for RHEL 7 as a “manage to” client was previously added in Fixpack 2 in August 2014. One additional clarification for AIX managed client support: PowerVC supports all levels of AIX 6 and AIX 7 regardless of the AIX Technology Level.

New managed clients (PowerKVM)

  • SLES 12 (little endian)
  • Ubuntu V14 (little endian)

PowerVC supports management of new, little endian Linux distributions. This support is only available on Linux only, POWER8 processor based systems that use the PowerKVM hypervisor

While the new storage and clients support are the most interesting features of PowerVC V1.2.2 for many clients, there are also some interesting functional enhancements.

Functional enhancements

  • One-Click System Evacuation (aka Maintenance Mode)
  • Add/Remove Virtual network interface (VNIC) after the initial VM deployment
  • IP address pools
  • Expanded auditing
  • Third party supported OpenStack Drivers (Included in PowerVC 1.2.1 Fixpack 2)

The One-Click System Evacuation feature (also known as maintenance mode), allows an administrator to prepare for a planned outage by automatically relocating all virtual machines off of a physical server using a user specified placement policy. Alternatively, the administrator can put the physical server into maintenance mode to prevent the creation of new VMs on that physical server. This video demonstrates the One-Click System Evacuation capability:,

The add/remove VNIC capability allows administrator to add or remove network connections after deploying a virtual machine. Administrators sometimes must change the network configuration for virtual machines after they were deployed and this capability keeps PowerVC “in sync” with those changes.

The IP Pools feature allows the administrator to have PowerVC automatically assign the IP address for a new VM from a pool of eligible IP addresses as an alternative to specifying an individual IP address or relying on DHCP. This capability also allows administrators to reserve IP addresses within the pool to prevent PowerVC from using reserved addresses.

Auditing is now available for almost every PowerVC service including compute, network, storage, image, verification, and metering. (Keystone, the OpenStack identity service, does not yet support auditing). You can use auditing to identify which administrator took a particular action. See the powervc-audit command for more information.

Finally, as of PowerVC 1.2.1 Fixpack 2, administrators can register and use third-party supported OpenStack drivers for block storage that have not yet been tested or integrated by the PowerVC engineering team. Block storage support in OpenStack (aka Cinder) has been rapidly evolving; this capability makes it easier for clients who may wish to test new Cinder drivers. When using this capability, the OpenStack community provides all support for the drivers, not IBM.

As you can see, PowerVC Version 1.2.2 will address many clients’ requirement for additional storage support, especially for Cisco SAN fabrics. We expect this release of PowerVC allow many clients to start building Power Systems based clouds.

Full details in announcement letter at


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