By Alexander Frank, IBM Germany
Over the past several weeks I worked together with a team of subject matter experts on updating the Features on Demand paper from IBM Redbooks. I want to tell you about some of the changes we made and a few new topics out of the paper which you might find helpful.
For a quick start, what is IBM Features on Demand?
Consider this: You bought a nice two-seater convertible for the summer, but all the sudden you are faced with a situation where you wished you would have gone for that minivan instead? See, the problem with that is you cannot just simply push a button and make another row of seats pop up. So more or less you will have to go back, sell off the car and buy something bigger.
Well, good news if you are faced with this situation in your IT environment, because Features on Demand (FoD) is a method to unlock hardware capabilities that already exist in your equipment, through software licensing. This means that without even having to physically touch the server, adapter or I/O module, you can upgrade it.
An example would be the IBM Flex System Fabric EN4093R 10Gb Scalable Switch. As a base, the switch is enabled for 240 Gb of Ethernet bandwidth. By applying the Upgrade 1 FoD license, you can enable an additional 220 Gb of bandwidth to use, a total of 460 Gb. With such an upgrade, you simply apply the license, restart the switch, and voilà, the additional internal and/or external ports are enabled.
So what’s new in the IBM Redpaper we wrote?
The paper has an improved structure. Starting with an introductory chapter, followed by how to acquire FoD activation keys we now have 2 separate chapters on installing server FoD keys and installing I/O module FoD keys. Included in each chapter for each method of installation is how to back up your keys. At the end you can find a chapter talking about servicing your hardware when FoD keys are installed, plus an appendix that lists all available FoD options and what components they are supported on.
Sections of the paper have been updated to show up to date screen captures and instructions describing the tools available to apply FoD license keys. For example, the Preboot Dynamic System Analysis (Preboot DSA), accessible via the F2 key during initial server boot, has a new user interface. See the following figure.
Preboot DSA v9.60 has new UI panels for Activation Key Management
for enhanced user friendliness. (Click image for full-size)
New and fast ways of finding information needed for acquiring FoD keys, for example using the F1 Setup menu to find Unique Identifiers, have been included. Helpful tips and hints can be found all over the paper, talking about some of the things we encountered while working with the software and hardware hands on.
The paper now also covers an important new enhancement to our FoD support in our Flex System I/O Modules, flexible port mapping. We describe the implications of using FPM (available with IBM Networking OS 7.8 or later) with Features on Demand. This combination of FoD and FPM are a cost-effective tool in your IT environment when it comes to network switches.
And that’s not all of it… Take a look for yourself and let me know what you think! Check out the IBM Redpaper we wrote, Using IBM Features on Demand.
Alexander Frank is a German corporate student, attending the IBM university program in Berlin, Germany. He has been with IBM Germany since 2012 and currently works as an intern for IBM in the United States at the IBM ITSO Center in Raleigh. He is a co-author of the 2nd edition of the IBM Redbooks publication “Using IBM Features on Demand”.