POWER SYSTEMS HEALTH CHECK - INTRODUCTION

Systemethix is offering a new service – a detailed Health Check of your Power Systems conducted by our IT Specialists, who between them have many years of experience in IBM Support, Implementation and Troubleshooting.  You will be provided a report setting out our recommendations with the objective of improving productivity while reducing costs and the number of outages.  Systemethix intends that this report will become an integral part of your long term planning around system maintenance, sizing and ensuring currency.  As with all of our projects, it will be built on our core values of accountability, integrity, teamwork, respect, innovation and social responsibility.

SERVICE

This Health Check will:

  • Review your Hardware and Firmware levels
    This part of the review will concentrate on known issues as well as the interoperability and supportability of your environment.  The infrastructure covered will include the Power Hardware, Management Appliances, SAN devices, attached Storage, and where relevant, the microcode levels of the individual components will be reviewed.

  • Review of System Operating System and Logs
    AIX/Linux Health Check is designed to proactively detect configuration abnormalities and other system issues.  We shall look at the current levels of the OS, Technology Levels and Service Levels. We will also review the compatibility of your OS levels with the management appliances and firmware levels.  We will check for any known exposures and the report will present our prioritised recommended changes based on the impact of the issue to your business as well as the impact of the process itself.  Any recommendation will include documentation from the relevant Vendor.  System logs will be reviewed for any issues that may be evolving over time – from hardware degradation to security and/or auditing exposures.  Our team may also provide further recommendations to help you capture the system's health history.

  • Review of the Virtualisation layer
    Similarly this part of the review will focus on supported levels, known issues and common tuning recommendations.  While this service does not include a detailed performance analysis, the Systemethix team will bring their years of system tuning experience to the review.

  • Management and Monitoring
    Systemethix will review the current management and monitoring of your environment, looking for any gaps that could leave you exposed.  Systemethix will also audit your upgrade and maintenance strategy and provide recommendations.  These recommendations will assist you to reduce your maintenance costs and keep outage windows to a minimum, while still maintaining currency.

  • Sizing
    Where the historical data is available, Systemethix will be able to provide a high-level review of growth and usage patterns.  The review will examine System, Network and Storage bandwidth as well as review utilisation patterns if possible.  If this data is not available, Systemethix can assist with setting up the necessary monitoring and data collection.

DATA COLLECTION

Systemethix appreciates your concerns around extra system activity as well as making system configuration data available to external parties.  To avoid impacting normal operations on your systems, Systemethix will use standard IBM support data collection commands to harvest data where possible.  For example, for AIX Systems we will request output from a “snap” and for Linux Systems the output from a “sosreport”.

Should further information be required, you will be provided with the commands and a detailed explanation both of what they do and any likely impact on the relevant system(s). Typically the commands we use will put a small extra load on your system so it is recommended that they should be run during a quiet period where possible (IBM advises that their data collection commands typically use less than 5% CPU).

Prior to commencing the Health Check, Systemethix will enter into a NDA and follow our strict internal process covering the confidentiality and security of Customer data – however if this is insufficient, Systemethix can provide a method to sanitise the data before sending it to us for analysis.  

The customer will be responsible for running the required data collection commands / scripts and forwarding the output to Systemethix for analysis.  This process may be repeated should we need to dig deeper.  However if you require Systemethix to collect the data on your behalf, you shall provide authorisation for access.  Data will be collected locally where Systemethix has a presence and arrangements are in place for full access to the equipment, otherwise remote access is required.
 

REPORT

 

The report will include:

  • Review of the topics discussed above,

  • Recommended changes with an indication of:

    • Difficulty of the change (for example does it require an outage);

    • Impact of the problem (how likely is the highlighted issue going to affect the system’s operation); and

    • any prerequisites or co-dependencies.

  • Potential cost.

  • Review of options to cover current growth rates for the next 2-3 years.

THE PROCESS

This is an example of a typical review for 2 Servers with 4 VIO, 10 AIX and 2 Linux LPARs:

Day

0

1

 


2-6

7

8-9

12

13

Task

Sign contracts and access organised where required

Systemethix and customer discuss project and high level overview.
Systemethix or Customer collects 4 VIO snaps, 10 AIX snaps, 2 sosreports and some HMC configuration information which is then provided to Systemethix Technical Staff.

Systemethix staff review the collected data

Further data collected to confirm analysis (if required)

Report prepared and sent to Customer

Systemethix goes through report with customer

Any followup work and closing report.

OFFERINGS

  • Basic
    The review will cover the items in the Service and Report sections above.  The following cost estimates assume that you will be collecting the system data for Systemethix to analyse.
    Cost

1 – 5 LPARs                        $2 000 each
5-20 LPARs                        $1 500 each
> 20                                    negotiable

  • Network / storage
    This offering includes a comprehensive review of your IP and Storage network devices and configuration.
    Cost

??????

  • Detailed with sizing / growth recommendations
    (Do we want to get into analysing logs for growth patterns etc – if so we will need to ensure that they can provide network, storage and system usage data for the last x years)
    Cost

To be negotiated

  • Clustering review (VMR / PowerHA / Spectrum Scale)
    When an application is critical, some form of availability or clustering is often used to improve the uptime.  However it is still vital that the environment is well set up and maintained.  Systemethix will bring our expertise in this area to review the configuration and offer suggestions to improve the availability.  These recommendations may range from simple configuration improvements to designing and assisting with the execution of a test plan.
    Cost

Per Cluster                        $1 000

  • Backup review
    In today’s climate a Business Continuity Plan or strategy is paramount. COVID19 has shown that being prepared to execute alternate ways to operate is the difference between success and failure. A foundation of this is the BCP.
    Systemethix will review your current backup strategies and generate a report that will answer questions on how ready your organization is to continue business in case of a major disruption. 
    (do we want to audit their backup design and recovery plans?)
    Cost

To be negotiated (2 days)

  • Quarterly full audit
    (We could offer a special rate for a regular health check.)

 

 

***** Do we want to look at some options more focused on cost management - for example:
Changes in IBM Licensing models (static, Elastic CoD, Consumption model/Dynamic Capacity… etc)
In times of lockdown - How about installing Ansible and automating more management as now supported on Power. 

Contact Systemethix for further details or costs