Leverage the Power of AIX on Power Systems

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Experienced administrators who need a quick, basic introduction to AIX performance tuning will want this handy reference on their bookshelf.


For many years, the "i" and "p" platforms have been completely distinct, and as a result, those of us who spent most of our professional lives using the various incarnations of OS/400 may never have seen a pSeries running AIX. Given the recent merger of the iSeries and pSeries into the Power platform, that era may soon pass. It's just too darned easy to build an AIX partition and to migrate functions from i5/OS to a platform better suited for certain things, such as mail servers and Internet-based infrastructure. And of course, if you ever need to run Oracle, you'll have no choice but to use something other than i5, so why not leverage the hardware we've come to know and love?


My introduction to AIX came a few years ago in the form of a new turnkey system that used Linux for an application server and Oracle on AIX as the back-end data store. While I'm completely comfortable using Linux, the new AIX box was a bit of a jolt in spite of it being POSIX-compliant. I wish that during those early years Ken Milberg's book Driving the Power of AIX had been available. It would have saved me some significant time mapping my Linux knowledge to AIX, and I would have been able to more quickly fix the performance problem that had been dogging us. Ken's tome isn't very thick—weighing in at only 208 pages, or about a half-inch—so it's a quick read. Yet packed into those pages is a wealth of knowledge that will quickly help you get up to speed in managing your system.


The book is divided into sections covering the CPU, memory, disk, and network I/O subsystems, with a nice introduction that outlines a strategy for tuning. The intro may be a bit passé to a seasoned professional, but it does serve as a refresher.


Each section is further divided into chapters explaining the specific subsystem, the tools available for monitoring it (including the standard *nix tools and the AIX-specific tools), and the statistics of interest that can point to potential performance problems. At the end of each section is a summary of the section, a short list of tips pertaining to the topic, and a quiz (if you're so inclined to test your knowledge). I found that once I had scanned the book, the tips and summary sections were really nice to use as a quick reference guide, guaranteeing the book a place on my bookshelf for some time to come.


Is this book suitable for a complete novice? Absolutely not. Ken even says so in his introduction. To find this book useful, you should have basic operating system–agnostic knowledge of computer architecture, with an understanding of the relationships between subsystems. Ken will provide the AIX-specific details. Also, you really should know how to navigate using a command line as there is little handholding. In summary, if you're an experienced administrator looking for a quick, basic introduction to the care and feeding of AIX performance tuning, then you'll find this a worthwhile book to add to your library.