bityard Blog

// HMC Update to

Today i did an update of our two IBM HMC appliances from v7.7.4.0 SP2 to v7.7.5.0 (MH01311 and MH01312). Like in other cases with HMC, AIX, TSM, SVC, storage and Power systems microcode over the last year or so, IBM failed to impress with the product they released. I guess this is what happens when as a vendor you start skipping quality control altogether and start doing your beta testing in the field.

First off was the update process, which was a huge pain in the rear. Who in this day and age dreams up an update process that is only described as purley media based? I guess i didn't read the system requirement that states, you have to be located geographically near your HMC equipment. After digging around for a while, i found the nice TechDoc 635220142 over at the i5 folks, which in detail describes how to do a network based update. The question remains why this really nice description didn't make it into the release notes?

Next up was the backup of the managed system profile and HMC upgrade data, which could only be saved locally or on a removeable media (DVD or USB). Again, network (NFS, SCP, FTP, etc.) anyone?

The update itself went fine, except for the usual error output on the KVM console which make you wonder if anyone is ever going to fix the messages that have been popping up there for ages. Apparently it is a considerable challenge to check for the existence of a symlink before trying to create one!

The first things i noticed after the update were that now the “OS Version” column actually displays the ioslevel instead of the oslevel for VIOS partitions (nice!), and that our Nagios monitoring wasn't working anymore for the HMC CPU check (WTF?). Manually checking on the HMC CLI showed this:

hscroot@hmc:~> monhmc -n 0 -r proc
/opt/hsc/bin/MONHmc: line 80: awk: command not found

That's a nice one, isn't it? Could probably be easily fixed like this:

diff -u MONHmc.orig MONHmc 
--- /opt/hsc/bin/MONHmc.orig 2012-06-19 19:34:15.000000000 +0200
+++ /opt/hsc/bin/MONHmc      2012-06-19 19:13:41.000000000 +0200
@@ -77,7 +77,7 @@
    if [ ! -f ${HOME}/.toprc ];then
       /bin/cp /opt/hsc/data/toprc ${HOME}/.toprc
-   /usr/bin/top -b -n 2 -p $PPID | awk '/^top/{i++}i==2' | /usr/bin/grep -i cpu[0-9,\(s]
+   /usr/bin/top -b -n 2 -p $PPID | /usr/bin/awk '/^top/{i++}i==2' | /usr/bin/grep -i cpu[0-9,\(s]

if one only had unrestricted access to the Linux system running within the appliance.

I'm pretty sure those were only the first roadblocks to be hit, stay tuned …

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