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Migrate to POWER9 With the Help of Lab Services

POWER9 Migration
Illustration by Andy Baker/Getty

The IBM POWER9* processor-based systems are out, all shiny and new. While much anticipated, the launch means that migration is on the horizon for many clients. Thankfully, that process can be accomplished in several ways. As IBM Systems Lab Services experts explain here, the move should be relatively painless. To learn more about the S914, S922, S924, L922, H922 and H924, see “A Look Closer."

Using Save and Restore on IBM i

One way people can migrate is by applying—in the case of IBM i—the most current technology refreshes (TRs) onto existing systems running 7.2 or 7.3. Bringing everything up to date with the most recent PTFs, including TR4 for 7.3 and TR8 for 7.2, seems like a no-brainer, but many people don’t install them for whatever reason.

However, Eric Barsness, IBM i performance team lead and executive consultant for Lab Services, extols the benefits of PTFs. As he explains, “You’re required to apply the latest TRs, so now’s the time to get current on your cumulative, HIPER and group PTFs. Staying current on PTFs offers many benefits. Besides the obvious benefit of avoiding known functional problems, many PTFs have performance benefits. Over time, those improvements can add up to a noticeable gain in performance.”

After the TRs and PTFs have been updated, the remaining steps are pretty straightforward. These involve little more than conducting a full-system save, restoring to the target POWER9 server and entering new license codes—even with AIX*.

Using Live Partition Mobility

IBM Live Partition Mobility (LPM) can also be used for migration. A component of the IBM PowerVM* Enterprise Edition virtualization hardware feature, LPM allows users to move AIX*, IBM i and Linux* LPARs between systems. It also transfers the system environment that includes the processor state, memory, attached virtual devices and connected users.

Active partition mobility allows users to move running AIX, IBM i and Linux, including OSes and applications, from one system to another. Inactive partition mobility allows the same powered-off LPARs to be migrated from one system to another.

IBM PowerVM Enterprise is baked into every POWER9 server, giving users the ability to effectively use LPM. Learn more about this feature in “The Cloud Your Way." As a bonus, they can also get a free 60-days license for PowerVM Enterprise Edition for existing POWER7* or POWER8* systems with the purchase of a new POWER9 server.

Alan Wilcox, consulting IT specialist, IBM Systems Lab Services POWER* Delivery Practice, recalls a client that had 12 systems and six pairs of migration, meaning they were moving two POWER7 systems to two POWER8 systems at a time. “That wasn’t a full-time job for us, but we would come in to assist whenever a migration was approaching. We used LPM in that case, which meant they experienced no downtime during the migration process,” Wilcox says.

Expert Assistance

Even Randy Greenberg, delivery manager, IBM Systems Lab Services Power Systems Delivery Practice, admits some “migrations can be challenging,” even with save-and-restore and LPM migration methods. This may be particularly true for larger organizations with many internally hosted servers, OSes, applications and partitions. Depending on the size of their IT departments, they may be better served enlisting the assistance of Lab Services.

For instance, the migration consultants in the IBM Systems Lab Services Migration Factory help clients design, build and deliver successful migrations to IBM platforms. The group also offers migration workshops and helps reduce migration costs and risks by using proven processes, specialized tools and years of migration experience. By using enterprise-scale provisioning and live-migration automation tools, they can significantly hasten the migration process.

“We run assessments throughout the migration timeline, including health checks and making sure the systems are built per IBM recommendations and are enterprise resilient. We can also do the same a few months after a migration, when systems are operating under heavy production loads just to make sure everything is operating as it should,” Greenberg says. “It’s amazing the type of efficiencies we can bring to a client’s migration challenge.”

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at



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Migrate to POWER9 With the Help of Lab Services

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