System Level Testing Evolution and Resulting Test Methodology Used to Verify CHARM Functionality on POWER Systems

Enterprise computing environments require constant availability. Time lost to unavailable compute resources can cost financial institutions millions of dollars1,2. Lost time can come from unscheduled outages. Such outages originate from influences outside the datacenter and from failing hardware components or software problems within the datacenter. Scheduled outages represent the larger contributor to enterprise system unavailability and lost time. Routine maintenance for system upgrades, code updates, or repairs are the biggest contributor to scheduled outages3,4. Generally when an unscheduled outage occurs with a computer system there will need to be one or more scheduled outages to repair the system. Further, upgrading system hardware capacity can require scheduled outages as well. Systems such as the IBM Power systems5 family of servers have robust availability features. These features are designed to address both unplanned and planned outages within customer’s enterprise computing environments. One of the key maintenance related feature sets of IBM Power systems servers is known as CEC Hot Add Repair and Maintenance (CHARM)6.

Given that enterprise servers rarely experience significant lulls in their utilization, adding more capacity to those systems while they are running is very valuable to the customer. However, adding more physical processor, memory or IO hardware while the machine is running, presents a challenge. IBM’s POWER enterprise class servers meet this challenge with CHARM. Additional nodes of compute resources can be added to the machine and those resources dynamically configured for use. Thus, hot node add, hot memory upgrade, and hot IO drawer add enable power systems to avoid scheduled outages for capacity upgrades. The next area of server unavailability addressed by CHARM relates to repairing hardware in the rare instance of a hardware failure. When hardware in an enterprise computer system experiences a failure, the system automatically restarts with the failing components logically isolated from the rest of the system. This allows customers to continue operations and defer the maintenance until a more convenient time. Using the capabilities of Hot Repair, IBM service personnel can replace the failing hardware while the server is running. The repaired hardware can then be dynamically returned to use by the customer applications. Hot repair allows for the repair of critical components within the power systems server in a manner most considerate of customer compute availability.

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Next generation applications for big data and analytics and cognitive computing are providing unprecedented insights into opportunities, threats and efficiencies. IBM Power Systems is at the forefront of delivering solutions to gain faster insights from analyzing both structured information and unstructured big data. With the secure, flexible and open platform of IBM Power Systems plus solutions and software, organizations can outpace their competitors by delivering faster services, providing differentiated offerings and turning operational cost into investment opportunity.

To draw insights and make better decisions, businesses rely on the secure, flexible and open platform of IBM Power Systems. Built with the first processor designed for big data workloads, the design of Power Systems combines the computing power, memory bandwidth and I/O in ways that are easier to consume and manage, building on strong resiliency, availability and security.

IBM Power Systems deliver flexibility and choice of operating systems to enable your business to support the next generation applications for big data and analytics and cognitive computing that are transforming how organizations work today. Whether running 1, 2, or all 3 - coupled with PowerVM, they maximize the benefit of Power Systems in your business.

Transform your business with Systems Software that enables virtualization, high availability, flexibility, security and compliance on Power Systems™. IBM’s integrated approach to developing Systems and Systems Software together delivers optimized results with Power Systems.

As an open innovation platform, Power Systems is optimized for big data and analytics performance and to deliver scale-out economics and security for the cloud. IBM and IBM Business Partner solutions exploit key capabilities in IBM Power Systems.

Over the last five years thousands of clients have migrated to IBM Power Systems for choice and flexibility. Learn how Power Systems has helped them revolutionise the way IT is developed and delivered, optimise for big data and analytics, and support private, public and hybrid offerings for scale-out or scale-up implementations all while improving business performance, reducing risk, and establishing a platform for growth.

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