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AIX OS patching

Posted on 2013-01-28
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I'm familiar with solaris OS patching and now I need to do on AIX. What is the procedure to do AIX Os parching on 5.3 and 6.1
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Question by:mokkan
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by:woolmilkporc
ID: 38830150
Hi,

there is a whole Whitepaper from IBM on that topic:
https://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/set2/sas/f/best/aix_service_strategy_v3.pdf

There is also a paper on IBM's release strategy:
http://www.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?infotype=SA&subtype=WH&appname=STGE_PO_PO_USEN&htmlfid=POW03060USEN&attachment=POW03060USEN.PDF

AIX updates basically consist of TL ("Technology Level") bundles, released 1-2 times in a year and SP ("Service Pack") bundles, released between TLs 3-4 times in a year.

The above documents have detailed info on service lifecycles, naming conventions for update bundles, the relation between updates and support for new hardware, and much more.

You'll get the fix bundles from IBM "Fix Central":
http://www-933.ibm.com/support/fixcentral/

An IBM ID is required. This ID is basically available for just everyone, but please note that you can only get updates, not base level file sets if you have an ID but not a support contract.

Once you downloaded a bundle to your machine you'll use "smitty update_all" or "/usr/sbin/install_all_updates" to apply them.

IBM don't ship individual fixes anymore, the recommendation is applying an SP bundle as a whole. Applying a TL as a whole is even mandatory, because the "prerequisites" structure cannot be guaranteed to be consistent.

There is an IBM feature "SUMA" ("Service Updata Management Assistant"), shipped with the base OS.
It is designed to automate the task of downloading patches from Fix Central. Based on a time schedule SUMA will search for new bundles and download them automatically.
Since SUMA is aware of what's installed on your machine(s) it will only download those fixes matching your installed OS base.

A Whitepaper on SUMA is here:
http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/resources/systems_p_os_aix_whitepapers_suma.pdf

Please try to get familiar with the AIX service methodology by reading the above material. Should you have any questions please let me know. I'll stay tuned.

wmp
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Author Comment

by:mokkan
ID: 38830514
Thank you.  Can we have local repository? And then can we pull the service pack from there?
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Expert Comment

by:woolmilkporc
ID: 38830531
Yes,

that's the NIM ("Network Installation Management") server.

NIM is part of the base OS shipment, but setting it up is a task quite on its own.

Here is the (very elaborate) Redbook:
http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/redbooks/pdfs/sg247296.pdf

NIM is not only a software repository/deployment server but also a network boot/install server for e.g. cloning and bare metal recovery of AIX machines (and a bit more ...).

If you're looking for a simple solution - how about setting up a (or using an available) NFS server? Applying update packages residing on an NFS share is no problem.
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Author Comment

by:mokkan
ID: 38830539
Thank you very much.  Basically from NIM server, we download the service pack from IBM and store it in one of the NFS or local disk, and then from the clients you just to use SUMA to apply patches right?
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Author Comment

by:mokkan
ID: 38830548
Also, I can download it to /tmp directory apply as well right? Or is it suppose to be in NIM server?
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Expert Comment

by:woolmilkporc
ID: 38830554
Nope.

You can use SUMA to automatically download patches from IBM, to your NIM server or your NFS server or to the target machine itself, whatever.

The you use the appropriate functionality to apply the patches - NIM client functions or standard AIX tools (installp).
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woolmilkporc earned 500 total points
ID: 38830556
You can of course use /tmp to store packages, yet there is a standard location on every AIX machine for this : /usr/sys/inst.images
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Author Comment

by:mokkan
ID: 38830700
one more question. If I install a service pack or single pack patch?  If there is any problem, Can I revert it back?
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Expert Comment

by:woolmilkporc
ID: 38830723
Generally, you can't rollback a TL upgrade. That's why you should have a recent backup at hand.

An SP upgrade or a single patch can be rolled back.

Under smitty set "COMMIT software updates?" to "no" and "SAVE replaced files?" to "yes".    

On the command line use the installp flags "-a" and "-t".
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