Why should you patch your operating-system?

IBM spends a lot of time and effort refining their operating-systems by fixing bugs, adding new functionality, and responding to the latest security threats.

Patches and updates can be easily downloaded free from IBM own website, and if regularly reviewed and updated, this need not be a difficult task. This not only protects you but ensures that you can take advantage of the latest functionality and enhancements.




BIOS and firmware levels not kept up to date

This is a major problem because if you fail to stay within one version of release, then you are actually violating your support agreement, and the longer you leave it, the likely that the upgrade will be disruptive. In reality IBM will not punish you but they will insist that you update to the latest version before they will support you, and this can lead to massive unplanned service interruptions.

Firmware updates fix serious bugs that can cause you system to crash, or to fail to recognise new hardware, and in some cases can also improve system performance.

There are two types of update:

  • Disruptive The whole system has to be powered down for several hours whilst a new firmware is loaded. This also carries the risk that the firmware becomes corrupt and has to be replaced by an IBM engineer.
  • Non-disruptive A minor update can be loaded onto the system from the HMC or AIX LPAR whilst the system is running, and no outage is required.

Note: A firmware upgrade will only be non-disruptive if the difference between versions is small.



Checking your BIOS and microcode levels

It is vital that you regularly visit IBM Fix Central and check for firmware updates and fixes as failing to keep them up to date can invalidate your support agreement.

Whenever you install an AIX update such as a TL or SP it may include some firmware updates and there is a danger that the firmware on your cards is newer than that in the frame, and this can cause unpredictable results.

IBM provides the invscout utility which generates XML reports that can be uploaded to the IBM, webserver which then automatically diagnoses your firmware and produces a report.

This is the IBM invscout manual page:

You can also view a summary of your microcode from the command-line as follows:
/usr/sbin/lsmcode -Ac

sys0!system:SF240_417 (t) SF240_403 (p) SF240_417 (t)

Your system has two copies of firmware in case an update fails or you want to test two versions. The version that the system boots from can be selected from the firmware.




Free IBM Tools

IBM has created several freely available tools that can help you to manage your systems:

1. Fix Level Recommendation Tool

This tool does a general health-check of the packages currently loaded on to your system and also recommends available updates and fixes:

2. System Planning Tool

This is available both online and as a Java program that can be installed on your Windows desktop. The SPT helps you to design and verify system configurations and partition layouts. It can be used to create new hardware orders, and to calculate licence and resource usage:

Remember to keep this tool updated in order that it includes the latest hardware and components.

3. AIX Linux Toolbox

Many open-source tools are available for AIX and have been compiled and placed in a single convenient location:

Note: There are several other locations where you can download ready-made RPM’s, or you can also compile them from source.

4. AIX Support Centre Tools

These are freely available tools and utilities:

5. IBM Fix Central

You should regularly visit this site to check for patches and updates for your OS, hardware, and firmware. This includes Hardware Management Consoles (HMC), and Virtual IO Servers (VIOS):




Printer problems and fault finding

If you are having problems printing to a remote device/queue start by ensuring that you can ping the device, and that all the local hosts and DNS settings are correct. if the print still fails refer to the rembak man page as there are several useful options that can help you to debug the problem:

rembak -S Server -P Queue [ -R ] [ -N  Filter] [ -L ] [ -p ] [ -q ] [-x ] [ -# JobNumber ] [ -u  UserName ] [ -X ] [ -o Option ] [ -T Timeout] [ -C] [ -D DebugOutputFile] [ File … ]




Backing-up your VIOS server

The easiest way to backup your VIOS servers is to create an NFS mount-point on another machine and then mount it. e.g.

1. Create a new directory/mount-point:  # mkdir /backups # chmod 0777 /backups

2. Create a public-share in “/etc/exports”. (Note this is a quick and dirty method without security) # cat > /etc/exports /fixes -public,sec=sys:krb5p:krb5i:krb5:dh,rw

3. Export the filesystem  # exportfs -a # lsnfsexp /fixes -public,sec=sys:krb5p:krb5i:krb5:dh,rw

4. Login to your VIOS server as “padmin” and switch to root (You have to do that as “root” because “padmin” uses a restricted shell).  $ oem_setup_env # mount server:/backups /mnt # ^d

5. Start the backup. This example does not backup the media-library for quickness, and to save space, however there are many options available: backupios -file {Directory} [-nosvg][-nomedialib]        backupios -file {Filename} [-mksysb][-nopak][-nosvg][-nomedialib]        backupios -tape Device [-blocks Number] [-nopak] [-verify] [-nosvg][-nomedialib]        backupios -cd Device {-udf | -cdformat} [-accept] [-nosvg][-nomedialib]  $ backupios -file /mnt/backupios.mksysb -mksysb -nomedialib  Creating /mnt/backupios.mksysb Backup in progress.  This command can take a considerable amount of time to complete, please be patient…  Creating information file (/ for rootvg. Creating list of files to back up.  Backing up 107493 files…………………  107493 of 107493 files (100%) 0512-038 savevg: Backup Completed Successfully.

6. Once the backup has completed switch back to root and un-mount “/mnt” $ oem_setup_env # umount /mnt

7. Login to the backup server host and check the backup file as follows:  # lsmksysb -sf ./backupios.mksysb | head New volume on ./imx02.backupios: Cluster size is 51200 bytes (100 blocks). The volume number is 1. The backup date is: Tue Nov 26 08:46:01 CET 2013 Files are backed up by name. The user is root.         5576 ./           11 ./tmp/vgdata/rootvg/        12736 ./       316958 ./tmp/vgdata/rootvg/            0 ./usr            0 ./usr/X11R6           19 ./usr/X11R6/lib            8 ./usr/adm            0 ./usr/aix            0 ./usr/aix/bin …


Making Notes from Book

Optional logging

AIX has some optional logging that can prove invaluable when debugging a problem.

1. A good example of this is SNMP. You can verify operation either locally or remotely as follows:

# snmpinfo -m get sysdescr.0 = “IBM PowerPC CHRP Computer
Machine Type: 0x0800004c Processor id: 00C9B8FA4C00
Base Operating System Runtime AIX version: 06.01.0008.0000
TCP/IP Client Support version: 06.01.0008.0001”

If this command fails, or gives unexpected results, you can configure logging by editing the “/etc/snmpd.conf” as follows and then restarting the deamon:

logging         file=/usr/tmp/snmpd.log         enabled
logging         size=100000                     level=4

The default logging level is “0” which means no logging. The log is circular and restricted to the maximum size in bytes.

Once you restart the snmpd daemon you should start to see all kinds of useful messages.

2. The inetd super daemon can produce all kinds of debugging information. Simply restart the daemon with “-d” option. Messages are logged by syslog.

3. AIX 6.1 can now manage the logs produced by the cron daemon. This is controlled by the “/etc/cronlog.conf” file. You must restart cron in order for the changes to take effect.



Undeleting files

Have you ever accidentally deleted a file and wished you had a “Recycle Bin” like in Windows? Well now you can!

j2restore is an IBM DeveloperWorks project that offers a possibility to un-delete files:


wget –no-check-certificate

The only two small catches are that you have to register the tool and purchase a licence, and the filesystem has to be un-mounted during the recovery.


unzip ./  Archive: ./  inflating: j2restorelist53  inflating: j2restorelist61  inflating: j2restoredemo53  inflating: j2restoredemo61

chmod 0750 j*

Running the tool:

./j2restorelist61  j2restorelist v1.51, Author: Wu Jian Jun <>  Usage: j2restorelist [–fast | -f] [–partial | -p : no|yes|all] <file system>

To get full functional j2restore, pls send following machine ID to <>:  ODAwMDBFRUE4NjYwMDAwMTAwQzlCOEZBNEMwMDAwMDAwMDAwNGU4ZGY0ODA$ IBM,02659B……

umount /test

./j2restoredemo61 -r /test  output file: /var/j2restore/report.log  report only flag: on (just report, no restore action)  fast flag: off (block scan)  partial flag: no (only scan complete file)  Scaning directories…  100% finished  Scaning inodes…  85.71% finished