The “label” Attribute for FC Adapters

As of AIX 7.2 TL4 and VIOS there is a new attribute “label” for physical FC adapters. The administrator can set this attribute to any character string (maximum 255 characters). Even if the attribute is only informative, it can be extremely useful in PowerVM virtualization environments. If you have a large number of managed systems, it is not always clear to which FC fabric a certain FC port is connected. This can of course be looked up in the documentation of your systems, but it does involve a certain amount of effort. It is easier if you link this information directly with the FC adapters, which is exactly what the new “label” attribute allows in a simple way. On AIX:

# chdev -l fcs0 -U -a label="Fabric_1"
fcs0 changed
# lsattr -El fcs0 -a label -F value

On virtual I/O servers, the attribute can also be set using the padmin account:

/home/padmin> chdev -dev fcs1 -attr label="Fabric_2" -perm
fcs1 changed
/home/padmin> lsdev -dev fcs1 -attr label                


The attribute is also defined for older FC adapters.

If the “label” attribute is consistently used, it is always possible to determine online for each FC adapter to which fabric the adapter is connected to. This information only needs to be stored once for each FC adapter.

(Note: The “label” attribute is not implemented for AIX 7.1, at least not until 7.1 TL5 SP6.)

LPAR-Tool is available now

Version of our LPAR tool is now available in our download area!

New features are:

  • Online monitoring of SEA client statistics (vios help seastat)
  • Online monitoring of virtual FC client adapters (vios help fcstat)
  • Display of historical processor and memory data (lpar help lsmem, lpar help lsproc)

In the article Monitoring SEA Traffic the possibilities of calling up SEA client statistics are shown.

WWPN of FC ports in Open Firmware

The following article deals with WWPN of FC ports in Open Firmware.

Port and node WWNs of FC ports can be found very easily in the Open Firmware, even when the ioinfo command is no longer available, as is the case with new POWER9 firmware. The hardware structure of a POWER system is available in the Open Firmware in the form of a device tree. Hardware components such as PCI bridges, processors and PCI cards are represented as device nodes in this tree.

With the command “dev /” you can access the device nodes, starting with the root node (“/” or slash):

0 > dev /  ok
0 >

In the device tree you can navigate with the commands dev, ls and pwd similar to the Unix file system. An ls on the root node shows all available device nodes (as well as some “package nodes” which are not discussed here).

The hierarchy is visualized in the device tree by indenting the device nodes:

0 > ls 
0000020939c0: /ibm,serial
000002094ae8: /chosen
000002094d60: /packages
000002094e58:   /disassembler
...0000020af578: /cpus
0000020b5200:   /PowerPC,POWER7@0
0000020ba640: /memory@0
00000226cad0: /pci@800000020000120
00000229d750:   /pci@0
0000022a0018:     /pci@2
0000022a28e0:       /ethernet@0
0000022b4a28:       /ethernet@0,1
0000022c6b70:     /pci@4
0000022c9438:       /ethernet@0
0000022db580:       /ethernet@0,1
000002277fd8: /pci@800000020000121
0000022ed7d0:   /fibre-channel@0
0000023026e0:     /fp
000002303240:     /disk
000002304de0:     /tape
000002306270:   /fibre-channel@0,1
00000231b180:     /fp
00000231bce0:     /disk
00000231d880:     /tape
0 >

The example output shows 2 FC ports. Both FC ports are children of the device node pci@800000020000121, which can be found directly under the root node /.

With the command “dev / pci@800000020000121” we first navigate to this node and then display the child or child nodes using “ls“:

0 > dev /pci@800000020000121  ok
0 > ls
0000022ed7d0: /fibre-channel@0
0000023026e0:   /fp
000002303240:   /disk
000002304de0:   /tape
000002306270: /fibre-channel@0,1
00000231b180:   /fp
00000231bce0:   /disk
00000231d880:   /tape
0 >

We next move into the device node of the first FC port fiber-channel@0.

With the command “pwd” we check briefly the position in the device tree and then use “ls” to look at the available subnodes:

0 > dev fibre-channel@0  ok
0 > pwd /pci@800000020000121/fibre-channel@0 ok
0 > ls
0000023026e0: /fp
000002303240: /disk
000002304de0: /tape
0 >

Each device node has a number of properties, which depend on the type of the underlying hardware component.

The properties of a device node can be displayed with the command “.properties” (the command name begins with a “.“):

0 > .properties
ibm,loc-code            U5802.001.008C110-P1-C2-T1
vendor-id               000010df
device-id               0000f100
name                    fibre-channel
manufacturer            456d756c 657800
copyright               436f7079 72696768 74202863 29203230 30302d32 30313220 456d756c 657800
device_type             fcp
model                   10N9824
port-wwn                10000000 c9b12345
node-wwn                20000000 c9b12345
0 >

In addition to the location code, the port WWN (port-wwn) and the node WWN (node-wwn) are displayed.

If you would like to know more about the structure of WWNs, please refer to the article:  Numbers: FC World Wide Names (WWNs)

Of course, you can also find out the MAC address of an ethernet port in the same way. With “dev ..” you can move up one level in the device tree, just like in a Unix file system. But you can also abbreviate and go straight to the top, which we do here in the following. Then we display all available device nodes again:

0 > dev /  ok
0 > ls 
00000226cad0: /pci@800000020000120
00000229d750:   /pci@0
0000022a0018:     /pci@2
0000022a28e0:       /ethernet@0
0000022b4a28:       /ethernet@0,1
0000022c6b70:     /pci@4
0000022c9438:       /ethernet@0
0000022db580:       /ethernet@0,1
0 >

As an example, we select the device node /pci@800000020000120/pci@0/pci@2/ethernet@0.1 and again let us display the properties:

0 > dev /pci@800000020000124/pci@0/pci@2/ethernet@0,1  ok
0 > pwd /pci@800000020000124/pci@0/pci@2/ethernet@0,1 ok
0 > .properties
ibm,loc-code            U5802.001.008C110-P1-C4-T2
vendor-id               00008086
device-id               000010bc
name                    ethernet
device_type             network
max-frame-size          00000800
address-bits            00000030
local-mac-address       00145eea 1234
mac-address             00145eea 1234
0 >

The MAC address is available here by the property mac-address.

If you want to leave the device tree, you can do this with the command “device-end“:

0 > device-end  ok
0 >

We hope this article about WWPN of FC ports in Open Firmware was both helpful and informative.

LPAR tool available (including a valid test license)!

In our download area, version of our LPAR tool, including a valid test license (valid until 31th october 2019) is available for download. The license is contained directly in the binaries, so no license key must be entered. The included trial license allows use of the LPAR tool for up to 10 HMCs, 100 managed systems and 1000 LPARs.

LPAR console using Virtual I/O Server

Typically, a console for an LPAR is launched via an HMC, via GUI or CLI (vtmenu or mkvterm). A console depends on the availability of an HMC. During an HMC update or problems with the HMC, you may not be able to connect to an LPAR console.

Relatively unknown is the ability to configure a console to an LPAR via a virtual I/O server. If the HMC is not available, then a console can be started via the virtual I/O server. No configuration is required on the client LPAR! By default, each client LPAR has 2 virtual serial server adapters (slots 0 and 1). If you configure an associated client adapter on a virtual I/O server, you can use it for a console connection.

On the virtual I/O server one needs only an unused virtual slot (here slot 45). The client LPAR has the LPAR ID 39. The virtual serial client adapter can be created with the following command:

hmc01 $ chhwres -m ms02 -r virtualio --rsubtype serial -o a -p ms02-vio1 -s 45 -a adapter_type=client,remote_lpar_name=aix02,remote_slot_num=0,supports_hmc=0
hmc01 $

Now you can always start a console for the LPAR via the virtual I/O server:

ms02-vio1 :/home/padmin> mkvt -id 39
AIX Version 7
Copyright IBM Corporation, 1982, 2018.
Console login: root
root's Password: XXXXXX

aix02  AIX 7.2         powerpc

Last unsuccessful login: Mon Mar 18 23:14:26 2019 on ssh from N.N.N.N
Last login: Wed Mar 27 20:19:22 2019 on /dev/pts/0 from M.M.M.M
aix02:/root> hostname

The command mkvt on the virtual I/O server corresponds to the command mkvterm on the HMC. Here the desired partition must be specified by the LPAR-ID. Terminating the console works as usual with “~.“, Or if you are logged in via SSH on the virtual I/O server with “~~.“.

Alternatively, you can also end a console session with the command rmvt:

ms02-vio1:/home/padmin> rmvt -id 39

The following message appears in the console and the console is closed:

Virtual terminal has been disconnected.


With the LPAR tool, the console can of course be set up even easier. The virtual serial adapter on the virtual I/O server can be created with the command “lpar addserial“, a manual login to the HMC is not necessary for this to work:

$ lpar addserial -c ms02-vio1 45 aix02 0

The “-c” option means “create client adapter”. The command also creates the adapter in the profile. The success of the action can be checked by “lpar vslots“, showing all virtual adapters of an LPAR:

$ lpar vslots ms02-vio1
SLOT  REQ  TYPE           DATA
0     1    serial/server  remote: -(any)/any status=unavailable hmc=1
1     1    serial/server  remote: -(any)/any status=unavailable hmc=1
2     0    eth            PVID=1 VLANS=- XXXXXXXXXXXX ETHERNET0
3     1    eth            TRUNK(1) IEEE PVID=1 VLANS=201 XXXXXXXXXXXXX ETHERNET0
45     0   serial/client  remote: aix02(39)/0 status=unavailable hmc=0

Starting the console then proceeds as usual by logging in as padmin on the virtual I/O server and the command mkvt.

Caution: The console session through the virtual I/O server should always be terminated when it is no longer needed. You can not terminate it from the HMC! Here is the attempt to start a console using the HMC, while the console is already active using the virtual I/O server:

$ lpar console aix02

Open in progress 

A terminal session is already open for this partition. 
Only one open session is allowed for a partition. 
Attempts to open the session failed. Please close the terminal and retry the open at a later time. 
If the problem persists, Please contact IBM support. 
Received end of file, Exiting.
Connection to X.X.X.X closed.

Even rmvterm does not help:

$ lpar rmvterm aix02
/bin/stty: standard input: Inappropriate ioctl for device

Conversely, no console can be started using the virtual I/O server if a console is active using the HMC:

ms02-vio1:/home/padmin> mkvt -id 39
Virtual terminal is already connected.


So always make sure that the console is terminated.