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The Subtle but Significant Differences Posed by Power10 Hardware and the New HMC

In March, Jaqui Lynch wrote about connecting HMCs to Power10 servers.

If you’re in the process of moving to Power10/updating your HMCs, this is a must-read. If you’d like me to summarize it, I can do so in a pithy phrase: The only constant is change.

The modern HMC has different connectivity methods compared to the original versions that us old dogs relied upon for all of these years. If it’s been some time since you’ve refreshed your Power or HMC hardware, you need to understand the changes that have been implemented. The Power-based HMC running V10 has yet another new interface, and there are new ways to connect the HMC to the network. While most of us have moved from the classic HMC interface to the enhanced version over the past few years (unless you stayed on old, unsupported hardware and code levels, which creates its own set of problems), this latest change is something we must all deal with eventually as we refresh our environments. If your current hardware is, actually, relatively current, that may be a bit down the road yet. Still, it never hurts to think about it in advance.

Jaqui’s article includes a number of useful supporting links. One is an IBM-produced set of videos on installing Power10 servers and connecting them to the HMC. Give them a watch. These short videos are packed with important information.

Similar to the HMC’s transformation, Power10 is a slightly different animal compared to POWER8/9. To provide some idea of the content, here’s a list of individual video titles:

  • “A look at the top three issues (HMC Access ID, VMI, and ACFs) seen on POWER10 eBMC systems”
  • “SSH with eBMC”
  • “eBMC Basic User Functions”
  • “Firmware update via eBMC ASMI menu”
  • “Configuring a new eBMC POWER10 system without an HMC”
  • “Lost Admin Password Recovery”
  • “Configuring a new POWER10 eBMC system with a DHCP address provided by the HMC”

Once you’re up and running in your new environment, you’ll find that many of the tasks that you’ve grown accustomed to remain the same. The major changes are mostly confined to the process of setting up your system for the first time. In addition, you’ll find some differences in patching and connecting to the BMC.

Speaking of the HMC

This is an oldie but a goody. You have a server that’s been assigned an IP address from the HMC. How do you determine what that address is? Function 30 is what you need:

“The default TCP/IP addresses for POWER server FSP ethernet ports HMC1 and HMC2 differ depending on the platform and server firmware level. The following table documents the default IP addresses of both ports for both single and redundant FSPs (if installed).

“Note: IBM POWER8, POWER7, and POWER6 servers with firmware Ex340 or later implement zero configuration (zeroconf) networking for the FSP. The default settings remain the same however it implements zero configuration networking to prevent duplicate IP addresses, should multiple servers be plugged into the same network with no DHCP server available. When the FSP is plugged into a network with no active DHCP server, it will locate a unique IP address in the 169.254 range.

“To determine the current IP address of the FSP, use control panel function 30. For further information see IBM support document N1015416 Panel Function 30.”

One other HMC-related item: The next session of the Power Systems Virtual User Group is devoted to HMC and VIOS, with Jaqui Lynch handling the presentation:

“VIO servers are the most critical part of your system setup. If they are not happy, then no client LPAR will be happy. This session provides tips on setting up and maintaining VIO servers including upgrades and patching. Backup and recovery will also be covered. The HMC is a critical component of your environment and has become far more complicated. Time permitting, we will cover the differences between the old Intel HMC and the new POWER 7063 HMCs. We will also cover maintenance for the HMC and BMC and some of the new techniques and options made available with version 10. Tools such as FLRT, FLRTVC, and the HMCScanner will also be discussed.”

While the live event has already taken place, a replay will be uploaded in the near future.

Still At It

Not surprisingly, Nigel is still on social media, extolling the capabilities of IBM Power Systems/AIX.

I refer to him as Nigel, because the first name alone is sufficient. Of course, I mean Nigel Griffiths, who retired from IBM in July. I mentioned it in passing in my previous column, but I planned on saying a bit more once I had time to gather my thoughts.

Nigel will always be a unique presence in our world. Seriously, who else is there in the Power/AIX space who’s instantly recognized on a first-name basis? It sure isn’t Rob.

When I think of Nigel, I always come back to the sheer volume of work he’s produced over the years. His YouTube page features 200+ videos, some going back more than a decade. This is to say nothing of his countless in-person presentations at conferences, or the webinars and lectures he presented, the first looks at hardware, the infographics, the simple to understand demos of new technologies and enhancements.

Then there’s the NMON and NJMON performance monitoring tools. It is a sign of confidence in your skills when you name your application Nigel’s Monitor. It’s a sign of your talent and ingenuity when the AIX world adopts it, and IBM itself recognizes its value and adds it to AIX:

The original nmon version was for the IBM AIX operating system (Release 4.3 and above) and was a freely downloadable binary format only tool from the IBM AIX wiki. Later a version was written for the Linux operating system running on IA-32, x86, x86_64, IBM RS/6000 and POWER processors, mainframe and ARM (including Raspberry Pi). nmon for Linux was released by IBM as open source in July 2009. The code is available from the Sourceforge open-source repository.

“The nmon for AIX code was later bundled in as part of the AIX operating systems. From AIX 5.3 TL09 and AIX 6.1 TL02 onward it was included in the default installation of AIX and fully supported by IBM. The nmon command and the topas command are the same binary but behave differently depending on the command name used.”

Honestly, it’s hard to think of anything I’ve learned over the years that didn’t somehow involve Nigel, either as a presenter or as a technical expert answering questions in the background.

Voids occur when people move on, so I’m very happy to see that Nigel has merely stepped back, rather than walk away completely. Hopefully we’ll continue to hear more, wherever his future adventures take him.