Long term support for SLES 11 SP4 for POWER


I am now the new product manager at SUSE for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for POWER. SLES for POWER has been extremely successful since the introduction of SAP HANA for POWER in late 21015.

Workloads like SAP HANA require a long support life for the underlying operating systems – in this case SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 Service Pack 4. General support for Service Pack 4 will end March of 2019.

To provide extended support for POWER clients running SLES 11 SP4 for their SAP HANA environments, I created my very first new offering at SUSE,  long term service pack support (LTSS) offering for SLES 11 Service Pack 4 for POWER.

See https://www.suse.com/communities/blog/long-term-support-sles-11-sp4-power/ for more details.


Posted in AIX & Power Systems Blogroll, SUSE Linux | Leave a comment

…A time to sow and a time to reap…


I will be retiring from IBM at the end of February after more than thirty years.

During my career with IBM; I have worked on a manufacturing line, been a systems administrator, done consulting work, developed software, made more presentations than I can remember and acted as an official and unofficial product manager for dozens of products. Each of these roles left an imprint on me that helped me to become who I am today.

I was able to assist with building AIX and Power Systems to the top of the UNIX market. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and meet people, many of whom are now lifelong friends. I believe that meeting with and talking to your clients is the single most important thing a product manager can do to be successful.

Working for IBM has been an incredibly enriching experience for my life and I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given. I especially wanted to say thanks to the thousands of great clients and IBMers that I have worked with over the years.

Although I am retiring from IBM, I will continue to work in the industry. You can follow my new exploits here or on Twitter at @mr_sles – yes, Mr. AIX is becoming Mr. Linux!

Thanks again and I hope to see you again.


P.S. A few memories from my career at IBM.

453   The number of paychecks I had to manually void with a rubber stamp after the printer I was using slid over one character to the left when I closed the cover. Lesson learned: Check, recheck, and check again (no pun intended)

Thierry (aka Charlie) Gillette. The same manager who hired me into my first job in information technology also hired my future wife, Susan. Lesson learned: Serendipity happens

“Welcome to your long term career goal” Manager Milt Joplin on hiring me to become a mainframe systems programmer. Lesson learned: What was once unachievable can quickly become inevitable. Dream bigger

That shouldn’t have happened” The typical response of “Bud”, a senior colleague in the Networking support team when one of his (usually unapproved) changes crashed the site network. This man, more than any other, taught me the need for strict change management. Lesson learned: Change control matters.

Levi’s Farrah Suits Having to coordinate dressing for work with a coworker, Jim Vinson, who had the exact same cheap suit. It did not help that he was two feet taller than I was so we made amusing sight when we both wore the same suit. Lesson learned: Think before you walk out the door

“It’s an interesting job” The total job description I got (and accepted) to work in the AIX Build team for Jack McGovern. It was not AIX/6000 but rather AIX 370/PS2. It was interesting, but not very successful product. Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to leap

Build Pills” What the AIX PS2 build team called a giant bottle of Aspirin. Lesson learned: A little humor can help make a bad situation bearable

Que n Brew” A small family party at a lake that evolved into a weeklong party of the entire IBM Austin Information Systems organization. Featured whole pig roasts and enormous quantities of beer. Lesson learned: Your coworkers are a lot easier to get along with if you play together

Roasted alive by the AIX project team. What happened to me when I opened 4,000 Sev 1 defects in a single night just one month before AIX V3 Gold Master. My ksh script would have opened more if /tmp hadn’t filled up. Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to take one for the team

Two. The number of people in the world that could use IBM NetView to manage SAP R/3 other than myself. Then we bought Tivoli and the number went to zero. Lesson learned: Niche knowledge can be valuable but short lived

…But Joan said you had already been a manager”. My manager Carl Jones after he offered and I accepted a job as the manager of AIX Architecture team when I told him he needed to send me to Manager School. Lesson learned: Sometimes it is best not to tell everything you know

“Who will pay me for all the money and time we wasted trying to get your #$%^& product to work?” An unhappy customer I inherited when I took a product management jobs at Tivoli. We managed to turn the product and the customer around within two years. This gentleman never stopped asking this question, but the Russian curses stopped after the product quality improved. Lesson learned: You can turn around even the most unhappy customer. Bonus lesson: If you are not cursing at me in Russian, it’s not that bad (yet)

“I have shoes older than you and IBM bought them” My remark to then peer manager, Pete Rubio, at IBM Manager School when he described his tenure with IBM. Lesson learned: Sometimes it is good to embrace your inner curmudgeon

“I’m the only customer you need to worry about” Directive from an IBM Director when the lowly product team tried to stop the release of AIX PS2 due to stability issues. He was wrong. Lesson learned: The actual customer that buys and uses your product is the only “boss” that matters

“You must know everything. You can never say you will get back to them” Former Briefing Center colleague that had very unrealistic expectations about technical presenters. Lesson learned: Customers will realize that you are a human too –if you give them the chance

“I never filed that expense report for Germany,” One of my colleagues would say this every time she saw me. She had gone for a full year without filing travel reimbursements and never recovered all the expenses she paid out of pocket. Lesson learned: File travel reimbursement claims quickly

“If you only add this one feature, I can close this 20 million dollar sale” Said by just about every sales person who wanted something. In 30+ years I only had a single case where a verifiable $20M sale occurred after making the requested change. Lesson learned: Verify the actual size of the pipeline before you even consider the request.

“You don’t look very sorry” Brash coworker at Tivoli when told by the receptionist at Airbus that she could not admit him to the site without a passport. Lesson learned: Be nice to people.

“Two Hundred Eighty Eight” The number of rubber duckies I dumped into the reflecting pond at IBM Austin. Lesson learned: Sometimes you gotta say “Why the Hell not!”

Cowboy Boots” The only footwear I wore during my first ten years at IBM. Yeah. It was in a different time. Lesson learned: Comfort triumphs style

A twenty-minute tirade about the GPFS product. Client topic at my first ever “Meet the Experts” presentation in 2002 at the UNIX in Focus conference in Lu Hulpe Belgium. I know nothing about GPFS since I was there to talk about AIX but that didn’t stop this client from raging. An uber nerd with socks and sandals beat down the complainer. Lesson learned: You never know what will happen when you give a customer a microphone, be ready to redirect back to the agenda

3,938,656. Total miles I have earned on American Airlines. Lesson learned: More travel tips than you can know but “Get to the airport early” is probably the best

“We’re a drinking company with a software problem!” Unofficial Tivoli motto during the late 1990s. Lesson learned: Work and play hard. It’s more fun and more productive



Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments

A How-To Guide to Cashless Transactions for Scout Units

The United States is rapidly becoming a cashless society with less than 30% of sales transactions involving cash. Your Scout unit can leverage smartphones and free card readers to accept credit and debit card payments.

Portable Card Readers Enable Cashless Fundraising

For years, the only way to accept credit or debit card payments required a rented credit card machine with a contractual commitment and hefty transaction fees. Recently, new transaction processing services have become available that avoid the expense and commitment of commercial transaction readers by leveraging the ubiquitous smartphones that many people carry.

These new services require no setup fees or commitment and allow almost anyone to accept credit or debit cards for a nominal percentage of the transaction. These services also allow you to manage cash and check payments. All of these services provide a free card reader that plugs into the headphone jack on your smartphone and apps for IOS or Android.

Several companies provide these services:

  • Square was the first of these services. Square charges 2.75% of each transaction.
  • Paypal Here charges 2.7% of each transaction and also allows you to accept Mobile PayPal
  • Intuit GoPayment charges 2.75% per transaction but also has subscription plans that allow you to pay a monthly fee of $12.95 to get a lower rate of 1.75% per transaction. It also integrates with Intuit QuickBooks.

This is only a partial list. There are a number of other vendors jumping into this area so you might want to look around for the best deal. Payment plans and rates are subject to change, so be sure and check the vendor web site for the latest rates and plans.

Do not let the transaction percentage scare you off. Using any of these services is going to cost you a small percent of the sales, but the point of using these services is to make sales that you would otherwise lose.

For example, one of my Troop’s major fundraising events is Christmas tree sales. Traditionally we only accepted cash or checks, but started using Square on an exception basis in 2012. That first year, about one third of our sales were made using Square—sales that we might have lost if we could not accept credit cards. In 2013, about 70% of our sales were through Square and by 2014 over 90% of our sales were through Square.

How Do Cashless Transactions work?

Since my Scout Troop uses Square, my experience is with that particular service. I would expect that using one of the other providers would be similar.

  • During a transaction, the seller would plug the Square Reader into the smartphone headphone plug and start up the Square Register app.
  • You enter the transaction amount and then swipe the customer’s credit card using the reader.
  • The customer then signs the screen using their finger.
  • If the customer wants a receipt, you can have them enter their email address. In about 24 hours, the money, minus the transaction fee, is deposited to your bank account.

Getting Started with Square

I originally used Square because they were the only one available, but I will say that I have been very satisfied with the service with Square. I rewrote the section on adding additional people to the Square account in December 2015 due to changes at Square.

The support I received from Square via a phone call was excellent. The Support person, Kemeta, actively helped me to achieve my objective (allow additional Troop members to make sales) at no additional charge. Thanks!

There are only a few setup steps needed to accept payments via Square but it does take a few business days to get everything done. Do not wait until the last minute!

What you will need:

  1. An email address (for Square transactions and notices).
    • I used an account with automatic forwarding so that all Square emails are sent to me and to our unit finance chair. By default, Square will send an email for each transaction.
  2. A check for the Scout unit checking account for bank routing and account number information
    • I strongly recommend that you do not use your personal checking account
  3. A smartphone (iPhone, Android or iPad) with a data plan
    • See Square’s web site for supported devices
  4. Time to receive the Square reader in the mail and to validate the bank account
    • It took about four business days for the bank account to get validated and for deposits to start showing up
    • Square says that it should take about 7-10 days to receive the free Square reader from them. You can also purchase a Square reader from Target and other stores for $10 if you cannot wait.

 Setting Up Your Square Account

  1. Got to https://squareup.com/ and click on “Get Started” Square_get_started
  2. Enter the email information and choose a non-trivial password
  3. Press “Create Account” square_create_account
  4. Enter the address where you want your free Square Card Reader to ship to. Click “Continue”
  5. Select your business type from the drop-down list. Enter your business and personal information. I choose the name “BSA Troop 413 Austin” because that is what will show up on the receipt. I also uploaded a logo with the Troop information on it. Click “Continue.”
  6. You will answer a few questions to verify your identity. When completed, click “Finish.”
  7. Now you will link your bank account to your Square account.  Click “Add Account”



Square will make a series of small deposits and matched withdrawals to validate that the new account is valid. This may take several business days.

  1. Confirm your mailing address to ensure your Square card reader arrives at the correct location. Click “Send my Reader.”
  2. After you have completed the basic registration, You can add a list of items to make it easy to perform the transactions. Click on “Items” at the top of the Square profile to add common transaction items.

For example, I set up a number of “Christmas Tree” items at several common price points.


Now you want to give members of your unit the ability to make sales. This used to be done with “Employees” but now you should use “Guest Register” instead. “Employees” is now a charged feature in Square but “Guest Register” is still free and meets the requirements for a Scout unit.

  1. Click on the “Employee” link in the left navigation and then click on the “Permission Groups” button on the right.
  2. We are doing this to limit the capabilities of the Guest Register users.


  1. Edit the “Guest Register Access” and select the capabilties you want your sellers to have. Then click “Save Settings”

Now we will create Device Codes for individuals that are going to be using Square for sales

  1. Go back to the “Employee” menu and select the Owner account. On the right side push the “Assign New Passcode” button.
    You will receive a four digit Passcode. Write down this number. You will need it later when a new person/device signs in

Now let’s create some device codes that will be used by the members of your until to login to Square Register app and start processing transactions.

  1. Go back to the Square Dashboard and select “Accounts & Settings” then “Devices”


  1. Enter the Device Name. I use the name of the person that owns the device.
  2. Then select the location from the pull down (you should only have one location. Press “Save New Device

You will receive a popup with the Device name and 12 alphameric digit device code.

Copy and paste this device code into an email mail of the person that will be using the device.
Now let’s get the new device active.
Have the person start up the Square Register app (they should have previously installed the app)

  1. Launch the “Register” app and click “Sign In”
  2. Click on the “Use a Device Code” in the upper right hand

  4. Now enter the 12 digit alphameric code you created for the device and click “Sign In with Device Code”

  5. Finally, you will need to enter the four digit Passcode created earlier in Step 12.

Using the Device Code function to register several people to a single Square account has several benefits:

  • It allows each Scout/Scouter to sign into Square with their own device
  • All funds go directly to the same account

I usually order several Square readers over the year so that we have several on hand for our big sales. Since almost everyone now has a smartphone that can run the Square application, it is easy for each person to individually collect each sale.

Square provides the capability to process refunds. As an extra security measure, I set up the account to require a PIN to process refunds.

  1. Click on “Employees” to set the PIN and select which tasks require a PIN.


A special note about tax reporting.

Square automatically file a IRS form 1099-K for all businesses that have more than $20,000 in gross sales and more than 200 transactions in a calendar year. Non-profit organizations are included. If you anticipate anticipate total sales of this level, you should insure that your Square account includes your Employer Identification Number (EIN).

      1. To enter your Tax EIN and other related info, go to https://squareup.com/taxupdate


  1. Download the “Square Register” App for your phone.

Now all you have to do is wait for your free Square reader to arrive in the mail.

Using Square

      1. Plug the Square Reader into your headphone jack on your smartphone and start the “Register” app.
      2. Log into the app using the email address and password you used for your Square account in Step 2 above.
      3. You can now enter an amount for the transaction and a note.

If you set up Items in Step 9 above, you can press the center icon on the screen to bring up the Item list (right, below). If you have multiple price points for an item a secondary list will be shown (left)


      1. Click on an item to select it (or just enter the amount if you are not using pre-built Items)

In this example, I clicked on the “$100 Christmas Tree” item.

Note that the number of items is “1” and that the total is “$100”. The list of items stays up so you could add more items.


      1. Click on the “Charge $100” on the screen.
      2. The Register app will now give a choice of how to pay. Click on the Credit Card icon


      1. You should now be able to swipe credit or debit cards using the Square Reader.

Some people have more luck laying the phone flat when they swipe the card.

      1. Then the client signs with their finger.


      1. If the customer wants a receipt to be mailed or texted to them, you can do that next.

If not, you are done!

More than Just For Popcorn and Christmas Trees

These transaction-processing services have obvious uses during fundraising activities, but the fact that you can take payment from a credit card can also help parents pay for expensive items like Summer Camp or High Adventure trips. Instead of parents making multiple payments to the unit for these trips, the unit could swipe their credit card for the total amount; simplifying unit bookkeeping.

You could also considering using these services as a way to collect for Friends of Scouting by collecting contributions during the FOS presentation and later cutting a check for the total amount to the Council.

Square also provides reports on your sales that can help you target particular times or days where you expect the best sales.


Square and similar services allow Scout units to take advantage of the consumer trend away from cash payments. Not only is it more convenient for customers, but it also shows that Scouts are able to leverage the most recent technology.

Jay Kruemcke kruemcke@gmail.com
BSA Troop 413 / Armadillo District / Capitol Area Council
April 2014

Posted in Scouting | Leave a comment

AIX 7.2 and October Power software announcements

CORRECTED Jan 5, 2016 

Clients that purchased the previous AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition 5765-G99 that have maintained SWMA do not have to upgrade to the new AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition 5765-CD1. The entitlement to the new product is done automatically. See below for more information.

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
  • bos.net.tcp.client repackaged into bos.net.tcp.client.core, bos.net.ftp, and bos.net.snmp
  • 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 5765-CD1
  • AIX 7.2 Enterprise Edition version 1.1 5765-CD3

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 at the end of September 2015?

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. Link to AIX 6, Director and AIX EE withdrawal announcement letter

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 5765-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.

What you need to do if you have AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition

CORRECTED Jan 5, 2016 If you purchased the old AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition under the product id (PID) 5765-G99 and you maintained SWMA, you  do not need to upgrade to the new AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition PID 5765-CD1.

The old product and the new product share the same underlying SWMA, so any existing client will automatically be entitled to the new product. I did not understand the structure sufficiently, so I passed on bad information that an upgrade was needed. That was incorrect.

If you obtain media electronically via Electronic Software Subscription (ESS), then you will be able to download the new features such as Bigfix.

If you want obtain physical media, an MES Media upgrade would be required to obtain the new physical media.


Please note that AIX 7.1 Standard Edition PID 5765-G99 was not withdrawn and is not affected by the changes to AIX 7.1 Enterprise Edition.


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.

Posted in AIX & Power Systems Blogroll, Cloud | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

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 “dot.com” 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.

Posted in AIX & Power Systems Blogroll, Cloud, Information Technology | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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.


Posted in AIX & Power Systems Blogroll, Cloud | Tagged | 1 Comment

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 https://ibm.biz/PowerVCRFE 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 https://ibm.biz/aixtoolboxc

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 https://ibm.biz/powervclink, on our Facebook page https://ibm.biz/powervcface and on DeveloperWorks https://ibm.biz/smcpowervc

Look for new articles on PowerVC 1.2.3 features in these groups and on our YouTube channel http://ibm.biz/powervcyoutube in the coming weeks.


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