Day: March 29, 2022

March 2022 Newsletter

This newsletter includes:

March Madness is certainly going on here at iTech.   Let me tell you what I mean by that.

First, we have had a record number of POWER Systems and SAN Storage happen this month.  We have our team all over the US installing new Power Systems and SANs.  I can see it just looking at my team’s calendars, but also in all our project plans we do with each customer during the installation process.  Depending on the configuration, options, number of partitions, etc that checklist can be anywhere from 100 to 300 steps for an installation. Each installation has its own unique project plan.  So, it’s not just the installers, it’s the project managers and the rest of the technical team.

Lock Into the Future of Power10

Not sure if you should buy a Power 9 now or wait until the Power 10 is announced and shipping?  We’re talking Scale-Out Systems here, as the Power 10 Enterprise Systems are readily available.  Are you one of those Customers that are a bit gun shy of buying one of the first units off the assembly line?  You’re a bit nervous of making best friends with your local CE, right?

IBM has an Incentive Program, sponsored by IBM Global Financial Services, which allows you to procure a Power 9 system today, and when you are ready, you can migrate into the Power 10 technology for a similar Monthly payment, considering the same configuration between models.

IBM Power 9 Systems eligible for this program are models 924 and 922 (Note: 914 servers are not included in the offer).

The Power 9 – S924, 4U system with (2) IBM Power 9 CPUs and either 20, 22, or 24 cores enabled, supports up to 4TB Memory and yields a maximum of 370,700 CPW.  These systems are a P20 Software Tier, from a Software licensing perspective.

The Power 9 – S922, is a 2U system with (2) IBM Power 9 CPUs and either 20 or 22 cores enabled, supports up to 4TB Memory, and yields a maximum of 370,700 CPW.  These systems are a P10 Software Tier, and require VIOS for IBM I software support.  There are specific configurations of the S922 that can support OS 7.1 for those Customers that can not upgrade their environment.

In comparison to the Power 8 S824-24 Core, the P924-24Core is a whopping 169% increase in CPW.  Can we fathom to guess where IBM will take us with the upcoming Scale-out Power 10 generation?

Now is a great time to upgrade from your currently installed Power 7 and Power 8 Systems to Power 9 and lock into the future of Power 10, with the assistance of IBM Global Financing and iTech Solutions.

Contact Sales at iTech Solutions and let them help you configure your next IBM Power System Solution.

More from this month:

Perform VIOS Backups to your HMC

Keeping your HMC (Hardware Management Console) up to date is not only good for security and for squashing pesky bugs, but it is also good for getting the latest features that have been added. Starting at 9.2.950 of the HMC code, IBM added the ability to backup your VIOS (Virtual I/O Servers) to the HMC. This feature makes it incredibly easy for anyone to capture a backup of each one of their VIOS and in the process get some peace of mind.

There are two options for backing up your VIOS:

  1. Virtual I/O Server Configuration Backup
  2. Virtual I/O Server Backup.

The Virtual I/O Server Configuration Backup is the easiest, quickest one to do, and it’s all that you really need. It creates a small file that includes all of the virtual mappings for your network and storage. You can also use the HMC to restore the mappings using this file.

The other option, Virtual I/O Server Backup, does an entire backup of the VIOS and is a much larger save. Oftentimes, an HMC will either not have enough or barely have enough space to keep full backups of VIOS. I only recommend doing these full backups if you are using a Virtual HMC with a lot of storage provided to it. Whichever method you choose, make sure you perform the backups for all of your VIOS partitions.

To perform one of these backups, you need to log into your HMC and go to Console Management > Templates and OS Images > VIOS Images > Manage Virtual I/O Server Backups.

There is a tab for both different types of backups. For the Configuration Backup, you’ll click on the Backup IO Configuration button to get started.

Select the Managed System where the VIOS partition resides. Then, choose the Virtual I/O Server you want to back up. Last, specify a name for the file and click Apply.

This will kick off a background process that will run for a few seconds. Click the Refresh button after a minute and you should see the backup file, along with details of when and what, and where it was saved.

I recommend performing these backups any time you make configuration changes in VIOS and before doing VIOS updates. Having a backup handy can potentially save you a lot of grief!


More from this month:

What is a “UAK”, Why Do I Need One, and How Do I Update It?

POWER8 (and later) servers include a UAK (update access key) that is checked when system firmware updates are applied to the system. Update access keys include an expiration date. System firmware updates contain a release date. In order to install the latest firmware on your server, you must have an unexpired UAK., or be installing firmware that with a release date prior to the expiration of your UAK. Think of this as having a valid license to update your firmware.

You can check the current expiration date of your UAK by entering DSPFMWSTS on a command line.

The above display will also let you know if your firmware is managed by an HMC or by the operating system. The process to update the UAK will vary based upon this “Firmware Update Policy”.

Setting the UAK to automatically Update on an HMC managed system:

From your HMC home page, go to: Serviceability -> Service Management -> Transmit Service Information

This will present the following screen:

The example above shows that the HMC will check the UAK every 7 days at 1:35 am, and automatically update it before it expires.

On a system where the UAK is managed by the Operating System:

The DSPFMWSTS command shows that the Firmware Update Policy for this system is managed by the Operating System (*OPSYS)

Systems with *OPSYS Firmware Update Policy can update the UAK by going to Option 20 of the “Go Service” menu, as shown below:

This is a quick high-level review of the UAK update process.

For more detailed information and options around updating your UAK, please utilize the following IBM links:

More from this month: