IBM PowerHA SystemMirror updates to Standard Edition V7

IBM United States Software Announcement 211-487
October 12, 2011

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PowerHA® SystemMirror Standard Edition V7.1.1 is the next Technology Level of PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1. The innovations for data center high availability (HA) clustering continue with features that include:

  • Federated Security for single-point-of-control, cluster-wide security management.
  • SAP LiveCache Hot Standby for fast failover with IBM® DS8000® and SAN Volume Controller (SVC).
  • Addition of MQSeries® Smart Assist to the Smart Assist portfolio for out-of-the-box middleware high availability management. Some of the Smart Assists also have been qualified for later versions of middleware products.
  • Support for Mirror pools in Cluster Single Point of Control (C-SPOC).
  • Disk renaming across the cluster.
  • The ability to use EMC Powerpath and Hitachi HDLM multi-pathing based disks as repository disks.
  • A revamped PowerHA release strategy that aligns more closely with the AIX® release strategy. PowerHA update is a Technology Level update to the major release PowerHA V7.1. This new release strategy enables a five-year support life cycle for the major release.

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror Standard Edition V7.1

PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX V7.1.1 is the next generation of clustering solutions for high availability. Based on Cluster Aware AIX, the PowerHA SystemMirror Standard Edition offering represents a major shift in the architectural notions of building and managing clusters for high availability. Cluster Aware AIX shifts key aspects of clustering technology into the AIX kernel, enabling simpler, more robust cluster formation and management. Featuring inter-node messaging and synchronization, cluster-wide health management, and multichannel redundancy for communications, PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 makes data center operations for high availability simpler and more robust.

In addition to integration with Cluster Aware AIX, PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 Standard Edition features include:

  • Centralized cluster repository for cluster-wide name space management and inter-node synchronization.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror kernel-based low-latency event communication.
  • Smart Assist technology, enabling out-of-the-box high availability support for popular applications, and a new intuitive user interface. The Smart Assist HA agents enable easy deployment and management for SAP, Enterprise Content Manager, Oracle, DB2®, WebSphere®, Tivoli® Storage Manager (TSM), and FileNet® software.
  • Simplified PowerHA SystemMirror SMIT menus for cluster configuration and administration.
  • The IBM Systems Director based PowerHA SystemMirror management interface, which provides for an easy-to-use graphical interface to deploy and manage the PowerHA SystemMirror clusters. A set of wizards guides you through creation of cluster and resource groups. A sophisticated management interface allows you to manage various clusters in your environment. Using this interface, administrators can generate reports, examine topology, and be notified of status changes to resources and clusters.

    PowerHA SystemMirror Standard Edition V7.1 includes this IBM Systems Director plug-in at no charge. You can install it and use it to deploy and manage PowerHA SystemMirror clusters. The plug-in consists of the IBM Systems Director server component and also the agent that gets deployed on individual nodes in the PowerHA SystemMirror clusters.

PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX V7.1 highlights include:

  • PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX Standard Edition is the Power Systems™ data center solution that helps protect critical business applications from outages, planned or unplanned.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror is designed to provide high availability of data through mirroring.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror clusters up to 16 nodes and provides for a rich set of resource group formations and policies to manage the resource groups across the cluster.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror provides for centralized administration of the cluster with key management capabilities in storage, network, and security areas. The IBM Systems Director based graphical interface provides for a sophisticated dashboard for managing all the clusters in the enterprise environment from a single interface.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror provides for a cluster-wide data synchronization capability through the File collections facility.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror provides for daily verification of the operating environment between the active and standby nodes to ensure proper failovers. The verification framework allows for customization.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror deployed in DLPAR environments enables managed utilization of resources on a secondary node in the PowerHA SystemMirror cluster for POWER5 and later processors.

A PowerHA SystemMirror V6.1 Enterprise Edition update (Service Pack 7) enables the following features:

  • High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HA/DR) with XIV® Storage System based replication: PowerHA SystemMirror exploits the replication capabilities of XIV storage subsystems to provide for a two-site HA/DR solution. Both synchronous and asynchronous mirroring capabilities of XIV storage subsystem replication are exploited.

With this support, PowerHA SystemMirror V6.1 Enterprise Edition supports short-distance (synchronous mirroring) and long-distance (asynchronous mirroring) HA/DR with the following storage subsystems:

  • IBM System Storage® Storwize® V7000
  • IBM DS80000 series of storage subsystems
  • IBM SAN Volume Controller
  • IBM XIV storage subsystem
  • EMC storage subsystems
  • Hitachi storage subsystems
  • HP storage subsystems

PowerHA SystemMirror also supports its own mirroring capabilities (host based mirroring) through the GLVM synchronous and asynchronous mirroring capabilities. Note that these capabilities are included in the PowerHA SystemMirror Enterprise Edition V6.

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Planned availability date
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December 16, 2011

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PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1: Next-generation high availability

PowerHA SystemMirror has provided High Availability and Disaster Recovery solutions to clients for nearly two decades. PowerHA SystemMirror can support up to 32 AIX nodes in a cluster and optimally manage the resources and resource groups in the cluster. PowerHA SystemMirror provides integrated and extensive support for various AIX features including storage management across the cluster.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 provides the next generation HA solution. It builds a solution integrated with the robust Cluster Aware AIX (CAA) operating system capabilities. Very high levels of integration between the solution and the operating system allow for a simplified and reliable product.

Internal architecture of the product has been revamped to simplify the product. Many of the clustering primitives have been embedded into the AIX kernel to make the solution more robust. Design focus for PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 has been around the following areas:

  • Simplification
    • Simplification of topology management and cutting down support for obsolete technologies.
    • Out-of-the-box HA agents (Smart Assists) for common middleware products.
  • Usability
    • Full-fledged, easy-to-use graphical management interface.
    • Simplified SMIT interfaces for easier navigation and management of the PowerHA SystemMirror product.
  • Enhanced HA management
    • Reliable health management via kernel embedded topology management.
    • Advanced event management framework, fine granular event generation and consumption for better HA decision making.

Using the above themes as the basis, various layers of the HA stack have been updated to provide for an even more reliable and user-friendly product. The following sections describe the highlights of the various enhancements in PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1.

Some of the components in the PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 HA solution are highlighted below.

Federated Security

PowerHA SystemMirror provides Federated Security enabling centralized cluster-wide User Management, Role Based Access Control (RBAC), and Encrypted File System using LDAP as a centralized information base. The Federated Security capability enables you to configure and manage an IBM or non-IBM centralized LDAP (Microsoft™ Windows™ Active Directory) information base, peer-to-peer IBM LDAP server, LDAP client for all nodes in the cluster and LDAP users and groups. There are RBAC roles: operations, administrator, viewer, and monitor.

  • The AIX operating system must be at the one of the following technology levels.
    • AIX Version 6.1 with the 6100-07 Technology Level, or later
    • AIX Version 7.1, with the 7100-01 Technology Level or later
  • PowerHA SystemMirror Version 7.1.1, or later
    • IBM LDAP 6.2, or later
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 or 2008 Active Directory with or without R2
    • Services for UNIX™ (SFU) 3.5, or later or Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications (SUA)

SAP LiveCache Hot Standby Solution

PowerHA SystemMirror provides a rich set of support options for managing SAP HA environments including Smart Assists to help clients discover and define the SAP deployment and high availability policies as well as to perform health monitoring.

With PowerHA SystemMirror 7.1.1 includes support for SAP LiveCache Hot Standby solution. LiveCache Hot Standby as defined by SAP involves maintaining a standby instance of SAP environment for LiveCache. In the event of a failure, LiveCache Hot Standby enables the standby node to take over the SAP servicing immediately.

The PowerHA SAP LiveCache Hot Standby solution includes:

  • PowerHA SystemMirror SAP LiveCache Hot Standby Setup Wizard provides SMIT and Director GUI based wizards for you to do the initial configuration of the solution.
  • PowerHA supplies a series of Smart Assists deployed in the SAP environment including Smart Assists for SAP Netweaver, DB2, Oracle and MaxDB. These Smart Assists combine to monitor the health of the environment on various nodes and provide coordination during a failure event. These Smart Assists are managed using either SMIT or Director Management interfaces.
  • LiveCache Hot Standby Solution is supported by PowerHA for DS8000 and SVC storage subsystems.

Software requirements

Your environment must have the following software running to successfully implement SAP LiveCache Hot Standby configuration.

  • SAP MaxDB 7.7.06, or later
  • PowerHA SystemMirror Version 7.1.1, or later
  • RSCT
  • SAP SCM 7.0 EHP1 (LiveCache version and DB2 version)
  • Library (libHSS)
  • SSH configuration for SVC storage

Topology management

Topology management in PowerHA SystemMirror V7 has been revamped to provide for a simpler as well as a more reliable foundation for the cluster formation and HA management. Note that topology management being referred to here provides for the very foundation of the cluster: heartbeat and reliable messaging related cluster communication infrastructure. Additionally topology management aids in event generation and cluster-wide configuration management.

Some of the subcomponents of the topology management layer are listed below.

  • Cluster communication: Communication between the nodes in the cluster in regard to cluster formation, continuous health monitoring, as well as the inter-node messaging and synchronization.
  • Clustering infrastructure support: Tools and aids needed to help form and manage the cluster.

Cluster communication

Nodes in a cluster keep track of the health of each other by sending and receiving heartbeats regularly. Additionally they need to communicate with each other one to one or one to many for many important tasks such as during cluster formation, changes to cluster configuration, and collective decision making. These forms of communication need to be highly reliable and are the core foundation to any HA solution. The reliability of these communication mechanisms is directly related to solving issues in regard to cluster partitioning and false failure detections.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7 provides for an advanced method of communication between the nodes that is designed to provide protection against cluster partitioning. For most data center environments, PowerHA SystemMirror V7 will implement multiple communication paths between the hosts in the cluster.

Multi-channel communication between hosts

PowerHA SystemMirror V7, apart from exploiting the traditional network links for communication, uniquely exploits the Storage Area Network (SAN) links for communication purposes. Using the SAN links in the data center allows for an alternative high-speed physical channel for communication apart from the network links deployed in the environment. For example if the systems have two network adapters each for redundancy purposes and a host bus adapter (HBA) each for the SAN interconnects to disks, the resulting communication possibilities are:

  • Communication through network interfaces on network adapter 1
  • Communication through network interfaces on network adapter 2
  • Communication through SAN fabric of HBA 1

Additionally as part of the topology management, heartbeat management has been re-architected to make it simpler to configure and a robust framework for health management. Also the communication management now is from the AIX kernel as compared to the user space. PowerHA SystemMirror V7 and Cluster Aware AIX heartbeating and messaging now are based on multicast packets. A single packet transmitted by a node is received by the other nodes participating in the cluster to know that node A is healthy. Most of the cluster communication is done in the AIX kernel.

This has many advantages:

  • Communication is more reliable because unlike user-space-based monitoring it is not prone to OS scheduling issues.
  • Communication done at kernel level also allows for sending out the messages from a node experiencing extreme duress.
  • Setup of the communication links is done using the discovered adapters, thus reducing the burden on the end user in regard to deployment.

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AIX cluster awareness
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Configuration and device management components of AIX are aware of the clustering and shared disks and provide for ways to manage them better. Disks are uniquely identified by the Cluster Aware AIX using Universally Unique ID (UUID) concepts. This allows for better disk identification across the cluster.

Storage framework: Fencing

A storage framework is embedded in the operating system to aid in storage device management. As part of the framework, fencing of disks or disk groups is supported. Fencing shuts off write access to the shared disks from any entity on the node (irrespective of the privileges associated with the entity trying to access the disk). Fencing is exploited by PowerHA SystemMirror to implement strict controls in regard to shared disks and their access solely from one of the nodes sharing the disk. Fencing ensures that when the workload moves to another node for continuing operations, access to the disks on the departing node is completely turned off for write operations.

Central configuration

Cluster Aware AIX uses a centralized disk for managing the cluster-related configuration. This disk, called a cluster repository, is used for cluster-wide name space management as well as for managing the cluster configuration. The disk is also used to manage inter-node synchronization. Managing the configuration centrally allows for a better method of implementing cluster-related changes and helps in synchronization across the cluster.

Advanced event management

The AIX operating system has been updated to generate fine granular events in relation to storage and networks. These events are being generated in the kernel and handed over to PowerHA SystemMirror through programmatic interfaces in real time. This framework also extends and exchanges events across the various nodes in the cluster at kernel level. These kernel-level event exchanges allow for handling very dire conditions on any node. For example loss of operating-system-related critical storage will be detected and action taken as needed.

CLMGR: Single command for PowerHA SystemMirror management

A command-line user interface for PowerHA SystemMirror V7 has been introduced. Command "clmgr" allows an administrator to use a uniform interface to deploy as well as do the day-to-day cluster management. This utility provides SystemMirror with a supported, highly usable, easily scriptable textual interface for the first time.

Resource management enhancements

PowerHA SystemMirror manages high availability of the stack through resource group definitions, in which the various dependencies are captured. PowerHA SystemMirror has supported many resource-group-related policy options. The PowerHA SystemMirror V7 release has new policy choices that provide flexibility in administering the resource groups across the various nodes in the cluster.

Resource group relationship enhancements

PowerHA SystemMirror supports several resource-group dependencies including location dependencies. Using these capabilities, users can define policies for their resource groups such that the sequence of the software entities in the stack is controlled appropriately and high availability of the application stack is assured. For example an application-server-related resource group needs to be started after its related database resource group is started and accordingly brought down first before the database can be shut down.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7 includes the following enhancements:

  • Start After dependency: A resource group can be started after its dependent resource group has been started.
  • Stop After dependency: A resource group is stopped after the resource group that is dependent on it is stopped.

Adaptive RG decision framework

PowerHA SystemMirror supports different policies which include startup policies, failover policies, and failback policies. These policies will decide the behavior of a resource group during starting, failover, and fallback situations.

Startup policies

  • Online on First Available Node
  • Online on Home Node
  • Online on All Available Nodes

Dynamic node priority failover policies

Previously, PowerHA SystemMirror has supported many policies in regard to failovers from one node to another.

  • Failover to Next Highest Priority Node
  • Failover Using Distribution Policy
  • Bring Offline

To this set, new dynamic decision making was added in PowerHA SystemMirror V7. It is called "Failover Using Dynamic Node Priority." In the Dynamic Node Priority policy, there are few predefined criteria (free memory, CPU idle time, and disk busy) based on which the failover node will be decided.

The DNP feature is enhanced in PowerHA SystemMirror V7 to support user-defined criteria wherein the criteria can be supplied by the user (user-specified method can return the value of the node during failover) and based on the values the failover node will be chosen dynamically.

Failback policies

  • Failback to High Priority Node
  • Never Fall Back

Support for custom resources

PowerHA SystemMirror V7 introduced a powerful framework for users to plug into the HA decision making process of PowerHA SystemMirror. You can check the health of a custom resource and send the information to PowerHA to control the decision making in relation to RG movements. A custom resource can be plugged into the RG so its processing order can be controlled.

The framework captures the details of the resource by adding a custom resource type to the PowerHA SystemMirror configuration. As part of the configuration you would also specify the order of processing in the resource group. The custom resource is treated very similar to the standard resource management.

Middleware and application HA management

PowerHA SystemMirror V7 provides extensive support to the administrator to deploy and manage their application and middleware products from an HA perspective. Out-of-the-box, ready-to-use HA agents allow for configuring the HA policy and come with robust middleware health monitoring methods. They also provide for starting and stopping the various middleware entities in the application stack. PowerHA SystemMirror V7 will support HA agents for the most common middleware products, including SAP, Enterprise Content Manager, Oracle, DB2, WebSphere, and TSM.

PowerHA SystemMirror supports an HA agent framework called Smart Assist framework. This framework provides for capabilities to develop an HA agent that can integrate with the PowerHA SystemMirror product and can perform the following key functions:

  • Discovery: Aids in discovering the deployment of the concerned middleware across the nodes in the cluster and helps in configuring the HA policy for the middleware entities deployed across the cluster. Discovery covers end-to-end resource dependencies (for example, middleware might depend on a set of volume groups, which are discovered and included in the resource group definitions).
  • HA management: Smart Assist includes scripts to start, stop, and monitor the middleware entities. These methods are refined to adapt to the middleware characteristics to provide robust health monitoring capabilities.
  • Environment verification: As part of the daily active-standby node checks, additional checks are done for the middleware concerned.

Two of the key middleware stacks supported by PowerHA SystemMirror V7 are described in some detail in the following sections.

Smart Assist for SAP

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 delivers a Smart Assist for High Availability management of some SAP software. This module discovers the SAP deployment in the cluster and helps you define high availability policies for this stack. The Smart Assist agent contains discovery modules and start, stop, and monitor methods in relation to various subsystems in the stack (shared file systems, databases, application servers, and so on). Clients can use the Smart Assist for SAP through the PowerHA SystemMirror management interfaces to define the resource groups for configuring and managing high availability of the SAP deployment in the PowerHA cluster.

PowerHA SystemMirror HA management support for SAP includes the following:

  • Support for ABAP and J2EE environment
  • Support with DB2, Oracle, or MAXDB databases
  • Support for LiveCache (MAXDB) based fast failover

For additional information on the SAP software supported, refer to the PowerHA SystemMirror product documentation.

Smart Assist for Enterprise Content Management - FileNet environment

The FileNet product from IBM provides content management capabilities. Some of the features of the FileNet product are listed below:

  • Discovers content from different sources (mail, documents)
  • Organizes unstructured data
  • Facilitates regulatory compliance
  • Provides automated business process management
  • Supports content life-cycle management

A typical FileNet deployment consists of various engines being deployed on multiple nodes separate from the database. The deployments include shared disks and related resources. This setup is typically deployed in a cluster and inter-relationships between the entities must be managed. PowerHA SystemMirror helps achieve that goal. With the FileNet environment deployed in the PowerHA cluster, you will be able to use the PowerHA included FileNet Smart Assist module. An administrator will be able to use the PowerHA user interfaces to discover the FileNet deployment in the cluster, and review the Smart Assist discovered dependencies and relationship, customize if necessary, and then deploy the HA policy for the environment. This results in the PowerHA SystemMirror supplied health monitors being deployed for the various FileNet components and dependencies. Additionally PowerHA SystemMirror verifies the active and standby environments to ensure that the failover environment is in sync with the primary environment. Smart Assist based user interfaces are available through SMIT as well as the IBM Systems Director.

PowerHA SystemMirror management interface in IBM Systems Director

Integration with IBM Systems Director provides PowerHA SystemMirror with a world-class graphical and textual user interface. This new interface provides a single, centralized point of management for all SystemMirror clusters within your business. IBM Systems Director is highly accessible and easy to use, and is a common, unified interface for many IBM server offerings.

These combined characteristics result in reduced training costs and simplified cluster administration. The IBM Systems Director plug-in for PowerHA SystemMirror provides smart assistance in setting up new clusters and application management via wizards, which offer a step-by-step guided approach to accomplishing these tasks. The SystemMirror Director interface also provides live status updates, which graphically display the status of resource groups, nodes, and clusters. A page is provided that summarizes status so that you can see the health of your entire enterprise in a single glance. A management interface is also provided for day-to-day management operations. This interface helps reduce user mistakes by providing a logical layout, smart options, and error detection, which help prevent problems from occurring. A command-line interface is also provided as part of the Director plug-in for PowerHA SystemMirror which for the first time provides a single, centralized point of scripting control over multiple clusters.

To take advantage of the new SystemMirror user interface, an IBM Systems Director V6.2 server is required. Refer to the IBM Systems Director documentation for information about its hardware and software requirements. An IBM Systems Director V6.2 agent is also required on each node. This agent is provided automatically with AIX V6.1 TL06 and AIX V7.1, and only needs to be installed as part of the base AIX installation, and activated.

The "clmgr" command-line unification utility is included as part of the base SystemMirror product, for all editions. The only requirement it imposes is that in order to achieve full functionality, the SystemMirror C-SPOC fileset must be installed.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 does not provide IPv6 support.

SMIT interface simplification

The PowerHA SystemMirror SMIT menus have been restructured to simplify configuration and administration by grouping menus by function. For example, all cluster configuration and management operations related to the cluster topology, nodes, networks, and network interfaces are found under the "Cluster Nodes and Networks" menu. All configuration and management operations concerning applications and resource groups can be found under the "Cluster Applications and Resources" menu. Custom cluster configuration options which are not typically required or used by most users, but which provide extended flexibility in configuration and management options, are found under the "Custom Cluster Configuration" menu. The PowerHA SystemMirror SMIT menus can be reached with the new SMIT fastpath "smit sysmirror", or with the existing fast path "smit hacmp".

Business Partner information

If you are a Direct Reseller - System Reseller acquiring products from IBM, you may link directly to Business Partner information for this announcement. A PartnerWorld ID and password are required (use IBM ID).

Accessibility by people with disabilities

A US Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) containing details on accessibility compliance can be requested at

Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act

IBM PowerHA SystemMirror Standard and Enterprise Editions, when used in accordance with IBM's associated documentation, satisfy the applicable requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, provided that any assistive technology used with the product properly interoperates with it. A US Section 508 Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) can be requested on the following website

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Technical information
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PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX Standard Edition is the IBM Power Systems data center solution that helps protect critical business applications from outages, planned or unplanned.

PowerHA SystemMirror for AIX Enterprise Edition V6.1 includes the Standard Edition V6.1 plus advanced capabilities such as failover to backup resources at remote locations. Enterprise Edition:

  • Supports Metro Mirror / Global Mirror in a DS8700 configuration
  • Supports Global Mirror/Metro in an SVC configuration
  • Supports Metro Mirror / Global Mirror in a Storwize V7000 configuration
  • Supports Metro Mirror / Global Mirror in an XIV configuration
  • Supports Hitachi Truecopy
  • Supports High Availability and Disaster Recovery with EMC SRDF (Symmetrix Remote Data Facility) deployments
  • Supports GLVM sync and async mode

Either edition, when deployed in dynamic logical partitioning (DLPAR) environments, enables managed utilization of resources on a secondary node in the PowerHA SystemMirror cluster for IBM POWER5 and later processors.

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For Passport Advantage information and charges, contact your IBM representative, authorized IBM Business Partner, or authorized IBM Business Partner for Software ValueNet®, if applicable. Additional information is also available at

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