VIOS Performance Monitoring Commands

IBM i, UNIX, Linux, AIX
March 10, 2021


There’s a popular misconception in the industry that VIOS is just a slimmed down version of AIX. If you come from an AIX background, you will find the command line interface (CLI) to be much more familiar than an IBM i administrator would, for example, but the similarities stop there.

Virtual I/O Server or VIOS is different and different enough for users of IBM Power Systems to engage with IBM Business Partners and other specialized resources to access the necessary configuration skills required for the initial configuration setup. While there’s nothing wrong with this, when the business partner or specialist departs, the expertise goes too, leaving a black hole where there once was VIOS knowledge.

How Can I Monitor VIOS?

A number of command line utilities are provided to help you obtain performance-related information from your VIOS partitions, many of which have to be run from within the VIOS restricted shell:

topas Much the same as its AIX equivalent, this command provides information such as disk space usage, as well as process, memory, and network adapter utilization figures.
nmon This tool ships with the AIX operating system and provides 30+ switches for a visual, real-time view or can be used in a capture-style recording mode.
vmstat This command reports processes, paging, memory usage, I/O, and CPU activity statistics.
svmon The svmon command displays information about the current state of memory and illustrates how much available memory there is on the server.
sysstat The sysstat command provides information on the amount of time since the last system start-up, the number of users logged in, and number of processes running.
viostat This command is used for system input and output device loading and showing the time the physical disks are active in relation to their average transfer rates.
lsmap This command shows the mapping relationships between physical, logical, and virtual devices.
lsvg The lsvg command shows high-level information related to volume groups.
lslv This command displays the characteristics and status of a logical volumes.
lspv This command lists pertinent information about physical volume group volumes.
seastat The seastat command provides statistics on shared ethernet adapters (SEA) managed by the VIOS partition.

Depending on what you're looking to do with the information provided, some of these commands have the ability to provide both interactive, regularly updated, real-time statistics and verbose data collections, preferred for historical performance analysis work.

How Are My VIOS Partitions Performing?

VIOS comes with a performance adviser. Designed to be installed quickly and without fuss, and consuming negligible resources, the adviser runs and collates VIOS partition performance data, analyzing the results before finally producing an easy-to-read XML file containing an at-a-glance health check report. The report covers many elements associated with the general performance of disk adapters, shared processors, and memory. More importantly, it provides both recommendations and the risks associated with not carrying out the recommendations. These recommendations range from informative to critical, helping you to prioritize your actions accordingly.

But we know that VIOS is only one piece of a much larger monitoring story for your Power Systems servers. You need to monitor job status and performance, JDBC/ODBC/SQL performance, applications, and more. Robot Monitor software allows you to cover your critical infrastructure with confidence. If you need a deep, comprehensive view of the health of your Power server running IBM i, Robot Monitor delivers real-time performance data on over 300 IBM i and and VIOS/AIX metrics.

If you don't use IBM i (iSeries, AS/400) at your organization, our Network Server Suite software allows you to get real-time information on hardware and software errors, changes to your files, and performance metrics with the AIX Lite agent for VIOS monitoring.

Away from real-time monitoring, Performance Navigator is designed for those looking to conduct historical performance analysis and problem determination across VIOS and other operating systems running on IBM Power Systems.

Ready to start monitoring your VIOS VMs?

In addition to hundreds of IBM i metrics, Robot Monitor allows you to proactively monitor the key metrics that impact VIOS and address issues before partition performance suffers—all without being an AIX expert, asking the AIX team, or paying an AIX contractor.

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