iCan Blog Archive

Do you have an IBM POWER7 or POWER8 server with virtualized workloads? If so, you probably have a need to monitor and manage the performance of these virtual workloads. IBM provides many performance tools at the operating system level that do a great job monitoring LPAR performance, but in order to see what is happening on the system level and how each partition is working in relation to the other partitions, you had to put together a jigsaw puzzle of information gathered from each partition. What is missing is a single view and collection of performance information at the system level. PowerVP fills this gap by providing a systemwide view of all of the LPARs on your POWER system with utilization information for the partitions. It also provides utilization information for the physical hardware that can be used to help you understand and manage the partitions and workloads on your system.

The PowerVP GUI illustrates Power Systems hardware topology in conjunction with resource utilization metrics and LPAR physical placement data to help you better understand the system. These resources include nodes, processor modules, chips, cores, Power bus links, memory controller links and GX I/O links. These resource utilizations are portrayed using a colorized heat technique. These colors and thresholds can be customized to suit a specific client’s performance requirements in a meaningful way. The PowerVP GUI provides a real-time view of your system’s performance at it is occurring, sampling performance information as frequently as every second.

Product Features

The PowerVP GUI is your window to your POWER7/8 system performance.

Here is an example screen of the PowerVP GUI showing the partition CPU utilization on the top of the panel and showing the core utilization and Power bus utilization in the lower section. The mapping of physical cores to LPARs is represented using different colors (i.e., the purple partition has five dedicated cores outlined with purple in the lower part of the screen):


On the right side of the window, you will see your system information, including a histogram graph of the CPU utilization of the whole system. The “Playback” section gives you DVD type capabilities to record the PowerVP performance that can then be “replayed” later using the PowerVP GUI.

The PowerVP GUI also can be used to illustrate resource utilization and application efficiency at the partition level. The partition “drill down” panel provides resource utilization of the disk and Ethernet along with some CPI (cycles per instruction) analysis that can be used to gauge application efficiency and give you a picture of the memory affinity of your applications.

Here is an example of a partition drill down:


Analyzing memory affinity is a more advanced technical topic, which would lead you to other resources, including this P7 Virtualization paper and Numa on Power7.

If you click on the Disk Transfer Rate column or the Total Ethernet column, the lower half of the screen will show these metrics broken down for each individual disk or Ethernet adaptor on your system. The Detailed view: LSU CPI shown above is displayed by default and also when you click on the LSU CPI column in the upper half.

There is also a view with PowerVP that shows each partitions contribution to the total CPU utilization of your system. Here is an example of it:


PowerVP Use Cases

The potential use cases for PowerVP include but are not limited to the following examples:You can take a benchmark snapshot of your system so that when you make changes, for example, using Dynamic Platform Optimizer or DPO, you can use PowerVP to compare these changes to your previous benchmark, providing you with the ability to confirm your changes (either a positive or negative or no impact).You can use PowerVP when you add additional workloads, to see the impact a new workload is making to your existing workloads.PowerVP can be used as a simple health check of your POWER system giving you a quick view of the current state of your system.PowerVP can be used as a monitor and customized to show particular colors to alert operators to potential problem situations.PowerVP can be used as your starting point for diagnosing performance problems on your system. You can view the current resource utilizations for all partitions to determine which partitions may be causing you problems so that you know where to look further.

A New View

PowerVP was created to compliment the current suite of performance tools in your toolbox. PowerVP focuses on new views that typically are not available with the OS-based performance tools. PowerVP provides you with a real time systemwide view of your systems performance. For more information on PowerVP, see the PowerVP Data Sheet, the Redbook PowerVP Introduction and Technical Overview, or PowerVP in the Knowledge Center.

This week’s blog was written by Kent Bruinsma. Kent is part of the IBM i development team with extensive experience in TCP/IP and SNA communications support. Kent is now part of the IBM i performance tools team and worked on the PowerVP product development, including the support to enable it on IBM i.

This blog post was edited on March 31, 2020 to fix broken links.

This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.