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AIX > Administrator > Systems Management

How to Live Update Your AIX System Without Rebooting the Server

AIX 7.2

A little over a year ago, I wrote about the new AIX Live Update feature, available with the AIX 7.2. I discussed how to use this new feature to install an interim fix (ifix) on a running AIX system without a reboot.

On October 11th, 2016, IBM announced the next exciting step in AIX Live Updates.

Introducing IBM AIX 7.2.1 Live Update

This is a significant enhancement, as it will allow AIX administrators to install TLs and SPs (and ifixes) without restarting their AIX systems.

From the announcement:

"AIX Live Update for Technology Levels, Service Packs, and Interim Fixes

  • Introduced in AIX 7.2, AIX Live Update is extended in Technology Level 1 to support any future update without a reboot, with either the geninstall command or NIM.
  • The genld command is enhanced to list processes that have an old version of a library loaded so that processes can be restarted when needed in order to load the updated libraries."

In this article I'll show you how to install updates without rebooting your AIX server. I recommend you first review my original article on Live Updates (from Oct 2015) in order to better understand the Live Update process, how it works and the requirements. Please note that the command output, shown below, has been shortened for easier reading.

TL and SP Live Update support is delivered in AIX 7.2 TL1 (available November 11th 2016).

One of the biggest differences between the Live Update process for TL/SPs versus ifixes, is that you must backup your system prior to the update. This will be used in case you need to back out your system. The easiest way to do this is, is to create an alternate rootvg (alt disk clone).

On my system, I first applied TL1 for AIX 7.2 and verified the correct level was installed.

root@AIXmig / # oslevel -s

oot@AIXmig / # cat /proc/version
Oct 10 2016
@(#) _kdb_buildinfo unix_64 Oct 10 2016 11:53:17 1640C_72D

I had several "free" disks that I could use for the Live Update process. I'd need at least 3 disks, one for my alternate rootvg (back out), one for the mirror disk and one for the new rootvg. In this case I used hdisk6 (alt rootvg), hdisk2 (mdisk) and hdisk3 (ndisk). This was specified in the configuration file. All three disks were large enough to hold a complete copy of my existing rootvg.

root@AIXmig / # lspv
hdisk0          00f94f58cecabed6                    rootvg          active
hdisk1          00f94f58697b768f                    datavg          active
hdisk2          00f94f58697b7655                    None
hdisk3          00f94f58ce74a739                    None
hdisk4          00f94f58a3b2f963                    None
hdisk5          00f94f58a3b2f9d4                    None
hdisk6          00f94f58def77f2c                    None

root@AIXmig / # cat /var/adm/ras/liveupdate/
        nhdisk  = hdisk2
        mhdisk  = hdisk3

I cloned my rootvg to a spare disk (hdisk6) first. I specified the -B flag to ensure the boot list was not changed.

root@AIXmig / # alt_disk_copy -Bd hdisk6

The updates I needed to install were located in the /tmp directory.

root@AIXmig /tmp/cg/lku_ptfs # ls -ltr
total 50328
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       454656 Oct 20 00:49 bos.liveupdate.rte.
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system     41306112 Oct 20 00:50 bos.mp64.
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       253952 Oct 20 00:50
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       369664 Oct 20 00:50 bos.rte.install.
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       183296 Oct 20 00:50 bos.rte.libcfg.
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system      1713152 Oct 20 00:50 bos.sysmgt.hmc.
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system       155648 Oct 20 00:50 devices.vdevice.IBM.vfc-client.rte.
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system         2264 Oct 20 10:31 .toc

Chris Gibson is an AIX and PowerVM specialist located in Melbourne, Australia. He is an IBM Champion for Power Systems, IBM CATE (Power Systems and AIX), and a co-author of several IBM Redbooks publications.

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