IBM PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2.1 enables simpler migration support

IBM United States Software Announcement 216-399
October 11, 2016

Table of contents
OverviewOverviewProgram numberProgram number
Key prerequisitesKey prerequisitesTechnical informationTechnical information
Planned availability datePlanned availability dateOrdering informationOrdering information

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At a glance
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IBM® PowerHA® SystemMirror® V7.2.1 for AIX® updates the version 7 family of products. Version 7.2.1 uses the same clustering foundation as PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1, which enables simpler migration support from PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1.

New in this release:

  • A new GUI that enables at-a-glance health monitoring for a PowerHA on AIX cluster or group of clusters, easy to digest view of PowerHA cluster environment, immediate notification of health status, click-on event status, and intelligent filtering of relevant event logs.
  • Universal split/merge policy, which provides a single set of uniform split merge policy options for all PowerHA topologies, including stretch and linked clusters. Previously, some of these policies were available only for linked clusters.

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PowerHA SystemMirror is the IBM Power Systems™ strategic solution for high availability and disaster recovery. Cluster Aware AIX was introduced with version 7.1, making PowerHA an integrated extension of AIX.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 features significant capabilities that enhance economic value, providing greater automation and higher levels of resilience. PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 makes the solution less expensive to acquire and to own by integrating IBM Power® Enterprise Pools and elastic capacity on demand (CoD) as a natural extension of failover operations. Greater degrees of automation are designed to minimize dependence on IT operational procedures with advanced capabilities such as nondisruptive upgrades.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 for AIX offers the following features and benefits:

  • Saves you time and money by integrating Power Enterprise Pools and elastic CoD as part of a PowerHA failover operation.
  • Enables automation that eliminates the need for an operator to conduct manual steps to perform a Live Partition Mobility move or AIX Live Update.
  • Automatically replaces failed repository disk.
  • Includes nondisruptive upgrade of the PowerHA SystemMirror release.
  • Performs automatic verification checks for IBM AIX and PowerHA across all the nodes in the cluster, thereby eliminating operator effort and error.
  • Includes quarantine policies for handling cluster splits, eliminating the potential for data corruption. Disk fencing and HMC-based active node shoot-downs isolate the sick nodes.
  • Enables tie breaker to be set up using an NFS server.
  • Includes a wizard to configure Geographical Logical Volume Mirror (GLVM) in a PowerHA cluster.
  • Enables manual control for mirror resync operations in EMC SRDF deployments.

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Key prerequisites
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PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2.1 supports:

  • IBM POWER6®, and higher, technology-based servers
  • AIX 7.1 TL03, AIX 7.1 TL04, AIX 7.2, and AIX 7.2 TL01 operating systems

    The PowerHA 7.2.1 features that are supported vary by AIX release. Refer to the release notes of PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 and V7.2 TL01 for more details.

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Planned availability date
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December 16, 2016

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PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2.1 for AIX enables simpler migration support from PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1, including support for nondisruptive migration.

With the upgrade from PowerHA SystemMirror V6 to PowerHA SystemMirror V7, RSCT Topology Services Cluster layer was replaced with Cluster Aware AIX. In the update from PowerHA SystemMirror V7.1 to V7.2, the cluster layer remains the same, enabling nondisruptive migration.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 for AIX can help organizations save money, automate operations, and enable higher levels of resiliency. And now with version 7.2.1, managing your PowerHA cluster got even easier with the new UI/dashboard that enables you to check on the health of your cluster or clusters in a single view. In addition, this release enables a tool for easy update of HA software on one node or the entire cluster. The update tool can install updates (Service Packs, and Technology Levels of PowerHA) from the local file system, NFS server, or a NIM server.

A high-availability cluster requires redundant environments that can take over the production workload in the event of an outage, whether planned or unplanned. This can mean at least two times the processor activations, software licenses, and memory. PowerHA V7.2 integrates the function of the Power Enterprise Pools and Elastic CoD function into the PowerHA failover operations to save money on redundant resources. The PowerHA communicates with the HMC to acquire the necessary resources. During the failover operation, PowerHA removes the resources from the primary system. It also removes the necessity of performing the Power Enterprise Pools operations manually.

PowerHA SystemMirror provides easy upgrades, automated Live Partition Mobility support, and verification checks

  • PowerHA V7.2 monitors and adapts to Live Partition Mobility operations in the environment. The administrator does not need to perform manual operations on the cluster during Live Partition Mobility.
  • AIX Live Update enables you to perform updates on a surrogate partition while continuing to run on the production partition, both on the same computer. When the updates are completed, the surrogate partition becomes the production partition and the production partition is removed. PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 recognizes the AIX Live Update process and adapts to the same. PowerHA resumes the cluster with the newly updated partition in the cluster.
  • PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 enables nondisruptive cluster upgrades. If you are at 2013 AIX releases, you can upgrade from PowerHA V7.1.3 to V7.2 or V7.2.1 without having to roll over the workload from one node to another as part of the migration.
  • In AIX 7.1 TL04, and later releases, Cluster Aware AIX enables support for automatic repository replacement by using predefined backup repository disks. If the repository disk fails, PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 and Cluster Aware AIX locate a predefined alternate disk and restore the repository information to that disk. You can predefine up to six backup disks for a cluster. This assures continuity in regards to configuration change management and also continuous health checks through the repository disk.
  • Verification checking is a framework to check environmental conditions across the nodes in the cluster to ensure proper operations and failovers when they occur. PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 adds these AIX-specific checks:
    • The reserve policy value should not be single path.
    • Check for consistency of /etc/filesystem: Do mount points exist and so on?
    • LVM PVID checks across LVM and ODM on various nodes.
    • Exploit AIX Runtime Expert checks for LVM and NFS.
    • Check for network errors. If they cross a threshold (5% of packet count receive and transmit), warn the administrator about the network issue.
    • GLVM buffer size checks.
    • Security configuration (password rules).
    • Kernel parameters: tunables related to AIX network, VMM, and security.

Split brain handling

Cluster split brains can cause serious problems in a cluster. PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 adds more support to handle cluster split scenarios called quarantine policies.

PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2 provides a couple of quarantine policies. Quarantine capability helps isolate previously active cluster members before the workload is brought up on the destination node. This capability provides robust protection against cluster split brain events. Two flexible types of policies are supported: HMC-based active node shoot-down and disk fencing. Administrators can choose to deploy one or both of these methods based on their environmental needs.

  • Disk fencing prevents a previously active node that is considered to be either sick or dead from accessing the storage. This enables the destination node to safely start the production workload.
  • HMC active node shoot-down ensures that the previously active sick or dead node is killed for good before the workload is started on the destination node.

Split/merge policies

Prior to PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2.0, some of the split/merge policy options, such as manual failover, were available only to linked cluster configuration. Split/merge policies in essence are about managing a two-site linked cluster configuration that experiences a split. When an event occurs such as a communication failure between the two locations, each location might assume ownership of production; this is a split. This is similar to a stretch cluster split brain or partitioned cluster event. In the case of the linked cluster, IBM introduced new capabilities in version 7 that recognized a split condition and provided various options as to which site should become the production site and subsequently which site will be the site from which the secondary site synchronizes. The most popular approach is that the IT operations personnel makes that decision.

In version 7.2, IBM introduced quarantine policies to guarantee that the node that is ostensibly failing is in fact locked down so that the secondary node can safely resume operations. An alternative to this automated processing is that the PowerHA cluster administrator is notified that a partitioned cluster has occurred and then leave the decision regarding subsequent action to the operator. PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2.1 combined with the AIX 7.2.1 release from 2016 provides for uniform split/merge policies for standard, stretched, and linked clusters.

Special notices about PowerHA SystemMirror V7.2.1: Migration support

Note that just as before, PowerHA V7.2.1 supports different types of migrations (rolling, snapshot, and so on). However, only migration from the following PowerHA releases is supported:

  • PowerHA V7.1.3 to V7.2.1
  • PowerHA V7.2 to V7.2.1

For other PowerHA releases or technology levels, the required migration path is to upgrade to PowerHA V7.1.3 or V7.2 before upgrading to PowerHA V7.2.1.

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Program number
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Program number VRM Program name
5765-H37 V7.2.1 PowerHA SystemMirror Enterprise Edition
5765-H39 V7.2.1 PowerHA SystemMirror Standard Edition

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Business Partner information
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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 IBMid).

BP Attachment for Announcement Letter 216-399

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Technical information
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For technical information, refer to Software Announcement 215-389, dated October 5, 2015.

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Ordering information
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For ordering information, refer to Software Announcement 215-389, dated October 5, 2015.

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For additional information and current prices, contact your local IBM representative.

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