Skip to main content

If You’re Not Using Inventory Scout, You’re Missing Out

Rob McNelly with the latest on invscout, along with tips, resources and an opportunity to give feedback to IBM

I’ve mentioned Inventory Scout (invscout) quite a bit over the years. That includes producing this video tutorial and citing this script.

So why am I bringing it up yet again? It’s to let you know that IBM has once again changed the location where you can download the catalog.mic file. Because IBM no longer uses FTP, I had to run this command to download the file:
wget –no-check-certificate

Here’s how to upload invscout microcode survey (mup) files.

Survey files from Inventory Scout may be concatenated together and uploaded in one HTTP POST operation. Extra blank lines between survey files are ignored, however if a newline character is missing from the end of one of the survey files, the resulting concatenation may be unparsable. So it is a good idea to insert an extra blank line between files. The name of the upload file must either be mdsData, or end with .mup .

The prepared upload file may be sent to the MDS upload server by invoking a utility that performs a standard HTTP POST operation. A number of utilities are available on the internet that can perform the POST operation. For instance the following cURL command (available in the AIX Toolbox) will upload a file called “local.mup” to MDS for analysis:
curl -F “mdsData=@local.mup;type=multipart/form

If the POST goes correctly, the resulting output stream will contain an HTML document containing an analysis of the uploaded microcode survey file.

That may seem like a bother, but invscout is a very quick and effective way to determine if your server and I/O firmware are up to date. If I use my script and give it a list of hosts to check, I can get a consolidated report that provides tons of information: hostname, IP address, server model, serial number, and installed microcode levels (along with the latest available levels). Rest assured, invscout is worth the effort.

Network Adapter Issue Explained

IBM’s Darshan Patel recently posted this explanation of a PCIe3 connection issue.

Question: Why does the link of ent4 and ent7 in following setup take a long time to come up or not come up at all?

Discussion with Cisco revealed that the port connected to the Mellanox adapter needs special tuning. Mellanox adapters and switch use a low frequency communication method for auto-negotiation during the link up process. Some switches have compatibility issues and do not support the low frequency communication in their hardware. In order to overcome the switch port speed getting locked to the negotiation signal, Cisco Nexus 9000 switches have a dfe-tuning-delay command that enables them to start locking to the signal only after a predefined delay time to avoid trying to lock on the low frequency signal. There are signal paths placed on the switch PCB that connect switch port to the chip inside the switch. Not all the paths are the same length. Depending upon the signal path, only certain ports on the switch require this tuning.

Be sure to read the whole thing. And thanks to IBM’s Chris Gibson for bringing this to my attention.

Power Systems Prereqs

IBM has a web page called Power Systems Prerequisites.

By selecting your machine type, feature codes, and operating system, you can receive some valuable information. For example, I entered 9009-22G, Feature Code 5729, and ALL operating systems, and got back 18 prerequisites. Here are a few other returns I got, all with 5729 as the feature code:

AIX Version 7.1 with the 7100-05 Technology Level and Service Pack 7100-05-06-2028
(#0000) For any I/O configurations

AIX Version 7.2 with the 7200-03 Technology Level and Service Pack 7200-03-06-2038
(#0000) For any I/O configurations planned availability February 19, 2021

AIX Version 7.2 with the 7200-04 Technology Level and Service Pack 7200-04-02-2028
(#0000) For any I/O configurations

AIX Version 7.2 with the 7200-05 Technology Level
(#0000) For any I/O configurations

AIX Version 7.3 with the 7300-00 Technology Level
(#0000) For any I/O configurations

IBM i 7.1: RS710-10 OS & TR PTF Group (SF99707 Level 11)

Fix Level: C7192710 + HIPER PTF Group (#0000) Requires latest PTFs and HW feature EB3U
IBM i 7.1 Activation for S922

Power10 Systems Redbooks and More

These publications have been out awhile, but if you haven’t had an opportunity to get up to speed on Power10 systems, here are some places to start:

* IBM Power E1050: Technical Overview and Introduction
* IBM Power S1014, S1022s, S1022, and S1024: Technical Overview and Introduction
* IBM Power E1080: Technical Overview and Introduction

While I’m at it, here’s an introduction to 7063-CR2 HMC configuration from IBM Support.

Power Research Program Seeking Feedback

IBM has some surveys they would like you to fill out: one for the Power Research Program, one for Power Server Energy Modes, and one regarding OS subscriptions.

Teaching the Next Generation

If you’re not familiar with the IBM Power Skills Academy (previously known as the IBM Academic Initiative), read about the ongoing efforts to provide education and training on Power Systems, AIX and IBM i at colleges and universities worldwide.

The IBM Power Skills Academy (PSA) has equipped educators at eligible colleges and universities throughout the world with the materials, technology and resources they need to teach their students IBM Power skills.

These resources include free access to IBM Power courses and our Power Academic Cloud.

PSA enables colleges and universities to enhance their computer science, information systems, engineering and business programs, resulting in students who can compete in the job market of any industry. All PSA materials and resources are available to student and instructor members at no charge!

The Power Academic Cloud provides remote access to Power systems running AIX, IBM i and/or Linux, for teaching and non-commercial research activities. Based on your unique requirements, the PSA team will build an environment on which you can teach the latest Power technology and business application strategies. The Power Academic Cloud is available, for no charge, to faculty and IT staff who are registered members of PSA.