Some thoughts about IBM´s Workload Partition.

I´ve ranted yesterday about the marketing habits of IBM. But kudos to IBM, they have excellent documentation, they even document the weaknesses of their technologies. So you find very intersting documents about their technology. Not that they hadn´t widthdrawn redbooks in the past like the one that documented the overhead of mpars, but mostly it´s a good source of realistic information. And thanks to the RedBooks it´s easy to clear some of fuss around some IBM technologies. And so, you find some interesting facts for example in the Redbook. And in this article i want to talk about WPARS. Many people think, that this is a cheap rip off of Solaris Zones. But many of them think, that the Live WPARS mobility is a cool feature, too. But when you really read public documentation much of the fuss appears a little bit overblown. Let´s have a look in the Redbook 247431: Introduction to Workload Partition Management in IBM AIX”:

Okay, perhaps you can live with all this stuff, but still believe this, then you should read the manual for the Workload Partition Manager. The parts about Migration compatibility beginning arround page 27 is especially interesting: There are compatibility modes like “inbound/outbound compatile”. An example:

Outbound Compatible
Compatibility testing shows that a WPAR can be relocated from the departure system to the arrival system, but it cannot be relocated back from the arrival system to the departure system.

The first time i´ve heard of it, i thought this is a joke, but it´s documented in IBM´s own documentation. It´s perfectly possible, that you can migrate a system to another system, but not back. When i understand it correctly, all systems have to patched to exactly the same level. When the patchlevel is lower on the arrival machine than on the departure machine, you can´t migrate to the system. When the patchlevel ist higher on the arrival machine than one the depature system, you can´t migrate back to your old system. And the libc has to be same on both systems in any case. Whoa .. what a bullshit … When i look at the WPARS solution, it looks like a really bad kludge. It´s good for the bullet point list wars.I´m sure that IBM sales reps will run around with WPARS and tell “Sun cannot do that” and maybe some customers who doesn´t like Sun, will use it as an argument to their management, to explain why they didn´t bought Sun. But honestly, I don´t think, that you really can use it for anything practical. PS: I´m not an AIX expert. When i´ve got something wrong, please correct me!