IBM Goes Graphical with PowerVP Performance Tool
February 4, 2014 Alex Woodie
Are you getting the most out of your Power Systems server? IBM in December rolled out a new product called Power Virtualization Performance (or PowerVP) that aims to provide a graphical view of the performance of IBM i, AIX, and Linux LPARs in a Power Systems environment. The idea is that, by showing administrators how virtualized workloads are running, they can more effectively detect bottlenecks and other barriers to achieving ultimate Power Systems productivity.
PowerVP pulls data directly from the PowerVM hypervisor, and has the capability to show users exactly which virtual workloads are using specific physical resources on an IBM Power Systems server. That is potentially a very powerful thing, because virtualized workloads can sometimes be hard to trace–particularly those running VIOS.
The information pulled by PowerVM is displayed on a real-time, continuous GUI dashboard (see Fig. A above), allowing administrators to monitor the health of their systems as they’re running. System level information is displayed and users can also drill-down into individual LPARs to see how things are running. The software also gives users the option to set up customizable thresholds to receive alerts when certain performance metrics are exceeded.
In addition to real-time data, the product also collects historical performance info for later review through a “DVR-like replay” feature. That feature will be quite handy for pinpointing problems in specific LPARs. With the capability to track individual metrics like CPU utilization, CPU mode, disk transfer rate, network utilization, and cycles per instruction (CPI), the information provided by PowerVP will help users isolate problems.
IBMer Scott Vetter apparently had the honor of announcing the new product on the Scott Vetter’s Redbooks Blog on the developerWorks website. Vetter discussed the new product on his blog on December 30. However, the PowerVP data sheet that is available from IBM’s PowerVP product page was published in September.
PowerVP can only run on machines sporting the latest Power7 and Power7+ processors. That’s because the PowerVP product uses special API calls that were introduced only in later releases of PowerVM (firmware level 7.7 or higher), according to the data sheet. Those firmware releases are only available on machines running the latest Power7 and Power7+ processors.
PowerVP is not a free product. For more information, see www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/software/performance/index.html.