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NIM for our AIXs

Posted on 2010-11-19
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Hi

I'm planning to install a NIM server  for our AIXs. Couple of questions:

1- What are the advantages of having a NIM server in our network?
2- Any step by step to install NIM on AIX6.1 TL6?

Thanks
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Question by:sminfo
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woolmilkporc earned 500 total points
ID: 34172333
Hi Israel,

great idea! Good job for a tedious autumn weekend!

Advantages of NIM?

The major thing in my opinion is that you're getting a network boot facility exactly designed for AIX.

You can instruct the NIM server to request mksysb backups from its clients to store these images centrally.
Given you created the required AIX installation sources (base level + TL + SP) and their corresponding SPOTs on the NIM server you can then easily recover failed machines from "bare metal" by simply booting the naked machine over the network specifying that the mksysb image be played back.

You can also install new machines over the network using the above installation sources or clone a machine using another machine's mksysb - all that unattendedly if desired and set up correctly.

You can create more sources in the NIM repositories like update packages (TL/SP) and update your clients remotely, also unattendly if desired.

Create scripts/configs like the bosinst.data, image.data, resolv.conf , firstboot files and use these for standardized installations.

In the current versions of NIM you have the additional functionality of installing VIO servers and IVM.

Note: A SPOT is basically a /usr filesystem to be used with diskless clients or for network boot to provide a similar thing to which is known as "Initial RAM Disk" under Linux.

OK, a NIM server doesn't run "out of the box". It needs a bit customizing and maintenance (keeping installation sources up to date and, most important, keeping the SPOTs in sync with them).

As for the setup: "smitty nim" has rather good menus,  there is even an "Easy NIM" ("smitty eznim").

I'm not sure if I should recommend using this "EZNIM". Although it does lots of stuff in few steps it's not really good for learning - you just can't see what's actually going on behind the stages.
I'd possibly prefer using "smitty nim_config_adv" and walk through the menus one by one - but that's your decision, EZNIM can be useful, no doubt.

There have been rather good whitepapers around, but I admit I can't find them any longer on the web.
Try it yourself, maybe you're lucky.
Believe it or not, I only have printed hardcopies of them, they seem to stem from the dinosaurs (yet still relevant, although of course not covering the more recent stuff).

This is from the AIX Infocenter: http://publib.boulder.ibm.com/infocenter/aix/v6r1/topic/com.ibm.aix.install/doc/insgdrf/nim_intro.htm

It's not really a beginner's HOWTO, but very useful nonethless.

As always: Should you encounter problems or have questions during NIM setup or operation - don't hesitate!
I've got a bit experience with NIM and still like it - although NIM doesn't always seem to like me!

Good luck and have a nice weekend (and fun with NIM)!

Cheers

wmp


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Author Closing Comment

by:sminfo
ID: 34172763
very nice wmp.. but it's weekend! :-)
I'll take a look at NIM on monday...

have a nice weekend too.

Israel.
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