What Is Live Partition Mobility for IBM i?

Live partition mobility

Demands for system uptime have consistently risen over the years, and while technology features such as high availability have largely minimized unplanned downtime, servers still have to come down for routine maintenance to keep operations running smoothly. This is one of the key benefits of live partition mobility (LPM) for IBM i, which allows IT to migrate a partition from one physical machine to another.

Requirements for Live Partition Mobility

Live partition mobility is available on PowerVM Enterprise Edition hardware. The live (active) partition mobility functionality enables users to transfer AIX, IBM i, and Linux logical partitions between systems, while inactive partition mobility enables the migration of partitions that are powered down.

LPM does have several requirements, including that the system runs IBM i 7.2 or later, and the source and destination must both leverage external storage. In addition, both environments must utilize virtualization configured with VIOS (virtual I/O server), which is an AIX micro-partition hosted on the Power server providing the virtualization to storage and network resources.

Benefits of Live Partition Mobility

As IBM notes in its live partition mobility redbook, the feature allows businesses to eliminate outages caused by hardware maintenance. Prior to running such tasks on a server, users can move critical data and software to another machine. Other potential advantages include:

  • Minimized downtime for hardware upgrades
  • No downtime if the system predicts an upcoming hardware failure
  • Ability to move workloads between servers to optimize performance

These features allow IT staff to keep key systems running as they conduct their typical maintenance tasks, and it is not too difficult to utilize live partition mobility as long as the environment meets the requirements. While advantageous, it is important not to confuse LPM with high availability technology—LPM is not designed to mitigate unplanned downtime.

What to Check before Using LPM

The first thing to do before leveraging partition mobility is to ensure that both systems are configured appropriately. This can be done through the hardware management console (HMC). In addition, it is important to evaluate the resources available on the target server to ensure there is enough storage space, memory, and processing power to handle the partition. If the partition that will be migrated utilizes shared memory, the memory pool will need to be created on the target machine. Finally, IBM recommends ensuring that both servers can communicate with each other so that the migration process is not interrupted.

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