IBM AIX Management using Console

IBM AIX Logical Partition Management

AIX is an operating system that runs on IBM Power System, The Power System gets divided into two IBM PowerVM servers and multiple AIX Logical Partitions. AIX logical partitions are virtualized smaller units running in the Power System. AIX Logical Partition or Any computer requires four resources i.e, Memory, Processor (CPU), Storage (Disk) and Network.  Power System Hypervisor (PHYP) is used to virtualize CPU and Memory.

PowerVM is used for virtualized storage and the network. AIX Logical Partition is highly available and gets the storage and network from two PowerVM Servers known as Virtual IO Servers (VIOS). There can be AIX Logical Partition without virtualization; we call it a standalone Logical Partition(LPAR). Below is the explanation of managing the AIX LPAR by creating, modifying, and deleting the AIX LPAR.

Creating the AIX Logical Partition

During creation of AIX Logical Partition, we need to provide the name of LPAR, resource consumption like Processor and Memory. Processor and Memory should be provided in the range as LPAR enables the user to increase the Processor / Memory units when there is a high load requirement. In the range we describe Minimum allocated and Maximum processor and memory.


create ibm aix logical partition


In the below snapshot I have created the AIX partition named partition01 with an allocated processor as 8 CPU and allocated memory as 18GB. During the creation of the logical partition, basic partition config enables the user to provide a name, the count of the minimum virtual adapter counts that logical partition is enabled to have during the operating state. These virtual adapters are used to configure virtual storage and virtual network adapters to AIX LPAR.

Once the partition is created processor and memory is allocated if there is not enough processor and memory the logical partition creation fails and we will need to re look at our config and change. Once the Logical partition gets created, we need to assign storage and network.

Management Console Options to Manage Logical Partition

Management console provides a set of operations that can be performed to your normal computer, in addition to that you will have virtualized operations as well. The set of operations that management console provides are power off and power on, install aix operating system, migrate logical partition, delete logical partition, open logical partition console / terminal. Manage partition settings like cpu memory, network and storage (profiles).


ibm aix operation

The other operations that management console supports are changing the name of the logical partition, capturing the logical partition template; this option shall capture the cpu, memory and lpar name and store it as template. This lpar template can be used for deploying onto a power system to create other logical partitions.

Attaching Direct Storage and Network adapter

You can connect the network and storage adapters directly to the LPAR. We also call this LPAR as a standalone Logical Partition where the storage and network are not virtualized / shared. The Logical Partition has storage adapters and network adapters directly connected to it. In order to connect click the logical partition Physical Adapter option and connect Fiber Channel or Ethernet adapter.


ibm aix physical adapter details



Shared / Virtualized LPAR Storage and Network

We need to understand Power System two storage protocols before allocating the disks, first is SCSI and other is NPIV. These storage protocols are used to assign the disk to your AIX Logical Partition. Assigning direct disk (Physical Volume – PV), Assigning SSP / Shared storage pool disk (Cluster) and Assigning Logical Volume uses SCSI Protocols.

Storage: Add PV

Add SCSI disk select appropriate option to add Physical volume or Add SSP disk or add Logical Volume, Select the disk add its name, select the size if needed (can be done when allocating SSP) and click allocate. During addition to the vSCSI disk the AIX Logical partition will have two Virtual SCSI Client adapters assigned and mapped to two vios. Make sure your vios is running and has RMC active during allocation.


ibm aix add pv


Storage: Add NPIV disk

NPIV stands for N Port ID Virtualization where you assign the storage disk to a unique WWPN (Worldwide Port Name) virtual storage adapter. To add adapters to lpar click Add Fiber channel page and select add virtual fiber channel device and add then select the both PowerVM vios and click ok.


ibm aix npiv


You shall see the two virtual fiber client adapter devices getting added having unique WWPN(Worldwide Port Name) numbers as highlighted in Blue. These WWPN(Worldwide Port Name) numbers should be provided in the Storage Area Network during disk allocation to the AIX logical partition. Upon disk allocation to these WWPN you shall be able to see the disks into your AIX Logical Partition.


There are four methods that I know AIX logical partition can get the network adapter 1) Connecting Network Adapter Directly (already explained above) 2) Shared Ethernet Adapter 3) vNIC adapter 4) SR IOV Network Adapter. The first method is simple; the last three methods are virtualizing the network adapter and sharing its bandwidth across multiple adapters.

Network: Shared Ethernet Adapter

Shared Ethernet Adapter or SEA is the method of connecting the physical network adapter to PowerVM VIOS and then virtualizing the network adapter by bridging it to IBM Power system Internal Network. Internal Network refers to the virtual network adapters that are connected between the PowerVM VIOS and Logical Partition.


ibm aix add virual network


After we bridge the network to external, the Logical partition will get the network. To add a network adapter just go to the virtual network adapter section of Logical Partition and then click add the network by selecting a vlan. You can add any number of network adapters and start using them if you have the Shared Ethernet adapter created on your PowerVM VIOS.

Network: VNIC

VNIC stands for virtual network interface card; it enables your AIX logical partition to connect to the network. Virtual NIC Concept is something similar to Virtual SCSI where you connect the storage to VIOS and then get the storage from the VIOS using Virtual SCSI adapter. Similarly the SRIOV Network Adapter Port is connected to VIOS and then there is a VNIC adapter to the Logical Partition that enables the network.

ibm aix add vnic adapter

Adding a vNIC adapter to the Logical partition using the management console you should select the vnic option in the logical partition page and then add port. In the add port you should select the adapter, vios and the capacity. By default the capacity / the bandwidth is 2 percent you can increase it to your lpar requirement. You can also add a failover vnic adapter as there are two Virtual I/O Servers if the vios goes down the vnic shall failover to another vnic adapter that is connected via backup adapter.

Network: SR IOV

SRIOV Network Adapter is the type of adapter that multiplexes/ de multiplexes the network traffic. SRIOV will enable you to virtualize the network adapter and provide multiple logical sr iov ports out of one single port. Logical Ports are limited to SR IOV adapter types; some offer 4 to 32 logical ports per physical port.

ibm aix logical partition sr iov network

You should enable sharing mode to configure Logical SR IOV network ports at the system page under hardware virtualized network. On the logical partition page select add hardware virtualized port and then select the sr iov adapter and click ok. If you require it to have a migratable sr iov virtual function then click the advanced option, click either vnic / Ethernet option as a backing device. Make sure you know the vnic / ethernet option vlan should be the same as that of your sr iov logical port.

Other Logical Partition Options

There are other two logical partition options that can be seen on the management console; they are network topology and task logs. Network topology diagram will display the graphical representation of the logical partition network. Task logs will display the tasks / operations that admin has performed on to the current logical partition.

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