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The Value of IBM Education, the Opportunity to Interact

Rob McNelly looks ahead to this fall's IBM TechXchange event

I assume many—if not most—of you have attended an IBM educational conference at some point. I’ve traveled to many over the years. Recently I was looking at this old post from 2008, when the event was known as IBM Technical University. That was neither the first IBM conference I’d attended or written about, but even now it stands as a reasonable representation of my experiences at these events.

Sixteen years is a long time. If memory serves, I had a Blackberry phone back then. I doubt I was running 4G just yet, and obviously, my internet wasn’t nearly as fast. And yet, some of the topics and concepts that were presented at that conference remain relevant today.

IBM TechXchange 2024

This brief trip down memory lane was prompted by the recent reminder that early registration is now underway for IBM TechXchange 2024 in Las Vegas. The four-day event is set for Oct. 21–24. If your organization’s training and travel budgets allow, I encourage you to come to the conference. You can get the latest on IBM Power Systems and storage technologies, as well as learn more about hot tech topics such as AI, automation, security and cloud. Check out the conference agenda and FAQs, as well as this quick look at last year’s conference.

Early bird pricing (before May 31) is $1,279; the cost is $1,599 thereafter. This being Las Vegas, hotel options abound.

So, why do I think the conference is well worth your while? There’s the educational content, of course, including hands-on labs. IBM conferences have served as my introduction to so much critical technology over the years. Beyond that, there’s the real value that comes with the opportunity to meet and interact with colleagues and peers that you may know only virtually. For me, I can put a face to a name and spend one-on-one time with people that I do not normally see. You never know who you might run into.

If you’re not from the western United States, or if you are traveling internationally, and you have extra time and money to spend, I also recommend visiting the Hoover Dam. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even explore the Grand Canyon.

Power10 Logical Memory Block Sizes

IBM’s Pete Heyrman recently posted this primer on the benefits of larger logical memory block sizes (LMB) in Power10:

“When Power10 was introduced, a review was completed of the LMB sizes that were being used on POWER7, POWER8 and POWER9 servers. In that analysis, 97% of all servers were configured with an LMB size of 256MB. The next most popular size was 128MB. Based on this data, Power10 initially only supported LMB sizes of 128MB and 256MB. Starting with FW1050, Power10 has added support for 1024MB, 2048MB and 4096MB. The additional LMB sizes provide performance benefits for systems that host large memory partitions.”

He concludes with:

“If you use LPAR Partition Mobility (LPM), the LMB size on the source must match the LMB size on the target system. This applies to both active and inactive partition mobility.

“Since changing the LMB size requires a server reboot, you may want to perform the change as part of a future planned outage. The HMC and PowerVM will automatically adjust the number of LMBs assigned to the partitions after the size is changed. There can be minor changes in actual sizes due to rounding…

“The selection of LMB size is a trade-off between granularity and performance. If granularity isn’t a significant concern, the LMB size can be set larger and will generally yield better performance for boot and memory DLPAR.”

Check the link for details such as LMB requirements based on partition sizes, partition boot and memory dynamic LPAR (MDLPAR).

ALUA, PCM and Multi-Path Storage Configuration

This IBM Support document explains how to configure a storage array using asymmetric logical unit access (ALUA) multi-path storage devices and AIX path control modules (PCM).

Understanding of SCSI ALUA enabled devices is critical for ensuring a properly working multi-path storage configuration. The purpose of this document is to explain the extended path_status values of the lsmpio command to help system administrators understand if a storage path is either selected or non-selected. ALUA is important as it allows for storage arrays to advertise which paths are available and preferred for host I/O.

“The ‘lsmpio’ command displays information that is related to AIX MPIO storage devices. This command works only for devices that are controlled by PCMs that are enabled for lsmpio support.”

Take note—as this document does at the end—that these tasks are not typically associated with AIX administration but are generally implemented and managed by storage admins.