Thursday, November 27, 2008

Visualizing Iozone data with Gnuplot

I've been using iozone for a few years now to measure disk I/O performance. My version was getting old, so I downloaded a more recent version and I noticed that it comes with a nifty perl script named that ties it with Gnuplot to produce very interesting graphs. It's quite useful when you want to compare multiple systems,or different tunables and you no longer need to use Excel. Yes boys and girls, the best things in life are free.

Monday, November 24, 2008

With AVIO, swapper's the one doing all the job

If swapper has a high usage on a VM Host, that doesn't mean that your system is "swapping". In fact, I just discovered that AVIO I/O is handled by the swapper!

I'm benchmarking with iozone one of my VMs and noticed that on the HPVM 4.0 host, swapper usage was high. This is not normal, old school attendance thaught me that swapper should never be doing this, as when it is, your system is deactivating processes and you're deep trouble. Yet the VM Host is humming along, with plenty of memory left.

Since the I/O rate of the disk presented to my benchmark VM roughly matches the I/O rate of the swapper, I can only conclude that the AVIO engineers hacked the swapper so that it's now the sole responsible of doing I/O on behalf of the guests. I'm no kernel developper so the implementation details are beyond me. But it does makes sense in a way: since swapper is real-time priority process, it's sure that I/O handled by swapper will go out the door faster than if it's coming from hpvmapp.

Your VM Host should technically never start deactivating processes anyway, unless of your all the WBEM providers go haywire. Oups, I bashed the WBEM providers once again, sorry about that.
As all this I/O was labeled under the memory_management application in Glance, I modified my /var/opt/perf/parm file to add an application type for AVIO. Remove swapper from memory_management, and add a new type named "avio" which includes the swapper.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Seeing agile devices under HP-UX

What if you could see all your HP-UX 11iv3 agile devices under an even better agile view like this:

Yeah, I thought you'd be interested. You can download my script by clicking here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Why we chose HP-UX for our Mission Critical Application

The company I work for trusts HP-UX on Integrity as the platform to run a mission critical service. Last monday, I presented at CCE 2008 "Why we chose HP-UX for our Mission Critical Application". It's an updated version of what I presented at HPTF, and probably my last version.

I've just uploaded a copy of the slides which are available on this link. Connect's website should also have the conference proceedings available soon.

HP-UX 25th anniversary beer mugs

At CCE2008, a German BCS manager took it upon himself to organize a small celebration to underline the 25th anniversary of this operating system. Thanks Juërgen! It was well-attended, which is a good thing.

Not long after, promotional beer mugs full of Bitburger were given out to all attendees at the conference reception. As a die hard HP-UX fan I couldn't resist on taking a picture of one of these beer mugs besides my computer, doing actual productive work (of course).

That picture is proof that there are some german blondes who can actually take interest in my day-to-day work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My thoughts on CCE 2008

I've just finished attending CCE 2008 which was Connect's first european event. I'll put it quickly: it didn't work. That's not because the organizers, the sponsors and HP didn't try. My hat goes up to them, they did the best they could. The conference itself was OK, without all the extravaganza of HPTF and that's fine since being a tie-less techie, I'm always there for the technical agenda.

But the economic downturn, combined with a lack of "community spirit" from my HP-UX and VMS counterparts basically made this a low attendance NonStop event. The sessions that were not NonStop-related got few attendees from the first day, to the dismay of HP executives. And that's really a shame because there were some excellent sessions and labs.

Someone asked at the QA panel what Connect thought of this. Nina Buik was frank: many delegates cancelled due to travelling budgets being restrained, so attendance figures got lower than expected. One thing's for sure, there won't be a CCE 2009, Connect will concentrate more on local events the next time. And I'm not making anything up, this comes from Buik herself.

That's assuming, of course that Connect's finances can recover. The event attracted around 500-550 people, they were expecting 800, so they're 35% under their initial hopes. Then I've heard about the number of actual customers who attended the event, which I won't disclose here, but I can say that it was far from stellar.

It's too bad to see an event with so much potential having been met with coldness by HP customers (except the NonStop guys, of course). But times got hard quickly in 2008 and Connect was hit by this uncontrollable circumstance.


Friday, November 7, 2008

One liner: poor man's esxtop for HPVM

while true; do
hpvmsar -s 1 -n 1 -a >/tmp/$$
clear; cat /tmp/$$

I have to redirect the output to a file, else the slow response time of hpvmsar makes the output flicker.