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.

IBM Power Systems hardware is at the heart of enabling major business and industry transformations fueled by the explosive growth of big data and analytics. Power Systems help organizations drive faster business insights with industry leading performance, scalability and virtualization flexibility.

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.

IBM's integrated approach to developing Systems and Systems Software stacks together delivers a platform that supports next generation applications for big data and analytics and cognitive computing on an open platform for choice while providing maximum utilization, availability, and flexibility to help you deliver new advantages to your business.

IBM and IBM Business Partner solutions exploit key benefits in IBM Power Systems’ unique design combined with systems software to provide support for next generation applications for big data and analytics and cognitive computing to providing unprecedented insights into opportunities, threats and efficiencies to your organization.


Over the last five years thousands of clients have migrated to IBM Power Systems. Learn how Power Systems has helped them support next generation applications for big data and analytics and cognitive computing on an open platform for choice while improving business performance, reducing risk, and establishing a platform for growth.

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