[BALU] Opinions re aix 5.3 vs linux on IBM System P5

swelling swelling at gmail.com
Fri Jun 8 19:49:07 CDT 2007

Glad to see another System p user on the list.  For a little
background on us, about two years ago we were primarily a Solaris
shop, but we also had RHEL, RHL, HP-UX, and FreeBSD.  Then we got our
first 4-way POWER5+ 570 to start our Solaris migration.  We got to
play with the box for months before putting it into production, so I
quickly installed RHEL4 on an LPAR after seeing how different AIX was.
 But I quickly found out that there isn't a lot of proprietary
software compiled for Linux on POWER.  But all the typical free and
open source software worked fine on it.

During my first six months using AIX, I was pretty much lost since
none of the commands are the same as on other Unix flavors.  But it
has really grown on me during the past 2 years.  And since IBM
provides a lot of free and open source software RPMs for AIX
it helps a lot. And with SMIT, it is easy to find the proper AIX
command for almost any task.

Now we have two 8-way POWER5+ 570 servers and one two-way 520 server.
On the 570s we use APV (Advanced POWER Virtualization), including dual
AIX-based VIO (Virtual I/O) servers on each 570. Since you can
allocate CPU cycles in tenths of a CPU and set the priority of unused
processing capacity per LPAR, we have been able to consolidate 18 Sun
servers with 42 processors and 2 Windows servers to these two 570s
running AIX in 17 LPARs, and their CPUs are still less than 25%
utilized most of the time, and jobs have gone from taking hours to
minutes to run.  And we don't even bother with PLM (Partition Load
Manager).  The 520 (with a locally-attached DS4200 SATA array) is a
NetBackup master and NIM server.  Migrating NetBackup from Solaris was
a breeze, and it screams while backing up all our Windows and Unix
servers to its disk cache using its four aggregated 1Gb NICs and then
duplicating it to a TS3310 LTO3 tape library.

We are continuing to move more Sun servers to these 570s, and we will
probably bring in two POWER6 570s some time next year.  With POWER6,
you are supposed to soon be able to move LPARs live from one system to
another, just like VMware's Vmotion, if you have all your storage on a
SAN (we currently use local boot drives, but we will run everything
from SAN when we start implementing POWER6).  And with the new
features of AIX 6.1, I don't see us abandoning AIX for RHEL any time
soon for large systems running proprietary software. But we will
probably run a few RHEL5 LPARs for systems that use only open source
software.  And we will continue to run RHEL on x86 servers.

So by the end of next year we will probably be an only AIX and RHEL
shop.  No Solaris, RHL, HP-UX, or FreeBSD.

I also have a lot of AIX and System p links on my home page at

Karl Allen Swelling

On 6/8/07, pat griffin <patgriffin at msn.com> wrote:
> Here's a bit of history.  We have used aix since 1986 or so and linux for
> the last few years.  We have two new IBM System p5 boxes with aix 5.3 and
> RAID 5. They are configured with all our code; but, are not on line.  My
> plan was to bring them on line this month to replace our 4-year old IBM aix
> boxes.  However, the IBM guys claim that we can run Linux with no downside.
> Now, we have no real problem with aix.  But, we have a few good-size Dells
> running various versions of Linux.  If, in fact, we can run it on the P5
> machines with no compromises, why not?  So, as you might guess, my questions
> is, do any of you have experience with Linux (RH Enterprise 5) on IBM P5?  I
> plan to hold off on putting the machines on line and install linux and do
> some testing.  So if any of you can point out some stuff to look for, it
> would be a big help.
>  Many thanks,
>  Pat
> patgriffin at msn.com
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