Frequently Asked Questions

Index

What is AIX Health Check?
Usually, organizations monitor their computer systems automatically. So when something goes wrong, an alert will be sent out. However, it is better not to wait until something goes wrong. Wouldn't it be nice to know up front if the AIX systems are installed, configured and maintained according to best practices? And wouldn't it be nice to know what is wrong with the AIX system now, before an automatic monitor alerts about it? That's where AIX Health Check comes in. We provide AIX Health Check to scan entire systems. It's software that's run on an AIX system to scan for issues. Just like going to a doctor for a full check-up. A report of all features of the AIX system is generated, and it shows how the system is doing. If the system is properly installed, configured and maintained, an all green report with a score of 100% will be given. If for some reason, some things are off, we'll let you know in the report what is wrong, and how to fix it. And the best thing is, you can run this yourself.


When to use AIX Health Check
An AIX Health Check is beneficial in several stages of an AIX system lifecycle. Most of our customers simply run the entire health check daily, to provide them with a report of their server status. But doing an AIX Health Check is also very useful at certain important points in time:
  • Before putting a new system into production - to make sure the system was installed and configured correctly.
  • Before and after doing a change on a server - to make sure no issues exist before applying patches, and that no adverse situations were introduced as part of a change.
  • During audits - to make sure a system is compliant with company and federal regulations.
  • During yearly performance reviews - to determine if the system administrators have taken good care of the AIX servers.
  • Before or during any Bare Metal Restore or Disaster Recovery exercises - to validate that an AIX server is recovered correctly.
  • When taking over AIX systems from others or other accounts to perform an initial quality scan.
  • ... and of course:
  • As part of the daily routine to check and monitor systems, because not daily reviewing AIX systems, can have costly consequences.

What are AIX best practices?
We only employ the best of the best experts on AIX. All of our AIX experts are IBM certified, and have all gained the highest certification level possible: IBM Certified Advanced Technical Expert - Power Systems with AIX. This is an extensive certification level, which requires significant training, reading, and passing at least 5 exams. And most of all, it requires several years of on the job experience with several of our customers. We have seen it all. From minor issues to large system outages; from wrong configurations to large recovery efforts. We have built up an extensive experience on how to configure and maintain AIX servers. We have gathered all this experience in our product, the AIX Health Check.

Also, we derive our best practices from other sources:
  • SAS70 audits
    Statements on Auditing Standards No. 70, or short SAS70, is developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and widely recognized as an auditing standard. It became increasingly common to perform SAS70 audits as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act. AIX Health Check has helped many of our clients pass the SAS70 audit for their AIX systems. Every possible question an auditor might ask regarding AIX systems, has been included as a check in AIX Health Check.

    The SOX Compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002) mandates a set of processes and procedures to help ensure accurate financial disclosure, which helps prevent major corporate and accounting scandals.
  • HIPAA
    HIPAA, short for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a United States law regarding security and privacy of electronic patient information in the healthcare industry, issued in 2003. It poses requirements specifically on those companies direct or indirectly involved in handling patient data. We've implemented many of HIPAA's recommendations in AIX Health Check.
  • DISA
    The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) is a United States department of defense agency that provides guidelines for (amongst others) information technology. Many of DISA's findings have been implemented in AIX Health Check.
  • PCI DSS
    Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a security standard accepted worldwide. This compliance is to be followed by any business that processes card payments (in other words, not only by the financial services sector) to help prevent credit card fraud.
  • FFIEC
    Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) defines a set of standards for financial service sectors such as online banking.
  • IBM
    Obviously, we also follow IBM's (and other vendor) recommendations, and service and support best practices, as found on http://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/set2/sas/f/best/home.html.
  • IBM System p bulletins
    IBM's issued advisories as found on http://www14.software.ibm.com/webapp/set2/subscriptions/pqvcmjd.

What happens with the report generated by AIX Health Check?
We don't transmit any information of AIX systems. Our software is built to run standalone on AIX servers. You decide what to do with the information produced by an AIX Health Check. All of our software is written in scripting language. It can be reviewed up front, to make absolutely sure that no system information is transmitted outside your company. We don't access client system(s), and we don't get access to system information.

All of our employees adhere to our strict Security and Privacy policies, and on our Website Terms and Conditions of Use we explain how our website operates. We understand that AIX systems are critical to the businesses they operate in (that's the whole point of having an AIX Health Check), so, in case we receive information about client AIX systems, we'll make sure to protect the information that is sent to us. We also don't retain any customer information without prior approval from the customer.


We just have one issue on one system. Can AIX Health Check assist with that?
Our AIX Health Check pin-points most issues on AIX systems, and provides a solution on how to solve it as well. But first, check out our blog. It contains a wealth of AIX information, readily available, with loads of hints and tips on best practices for AIX. You can search in the upper right corner of this website in our blog.


How much for an AIX Health Check?
AIX Health Check can be licensed for 4,950 USD for a year. It doesn't matter how much AIX servers it is run on. There's just one price. No hassle: No complex licensing terms; no need to figure out how many CPUs or systems it is running on; no need to run additional licensing deamons or entering codes. We like to keep things simple. After the first year, the license renewal fee is 3,750 USD per year. This will allow for continued updates and technical support.
Just think about how much can be saved by avoiding system outages, or not having to pay for any experts to come on-site to do trouble-shooting or doing an extensive manual health check. And the system administrators can now put their time to better use. AIX Health Check will save them lots of time checking things manually on AIX servers, so they can focus on more important tasks.


How does it work?
After licensing, download our software from our website or we'll send it to you. It can be installed on AIX system(s) in whatever location you prefer. No additional software is required. Then simply run the checkall program that will check various items on the AIX system. If it finds any items that need to be corrected, the AIX Health Check will report on this. It does not change anything on the AIX server; it does not send out any information; it only reports. Information is included in the report on how to correct any issues discovered.
How long does it take to run AIX Health Check?
Performance is a big issue with us here at AIX Health Check. We've taken every possible opportunity to make sure AIX Health Check runs smoothly and quickly, and without consuming too many resources. But it depends on the system you're running AIX Health Check on. Obviously, an older system takes more time to run AIX Health Check, if you compare it with a new powerful POWER8 system. It also depends on the number of users and the number of devices that are configured.

On average, an AIX system takes a couple of minutes to run AIX Health Check. Some of the latest and greatest POWER8 systems can get close to running it within 90 seconds. Large enterprise systems, with thousands of users and thousands of devices, may take up to 30 minutes to run a full AIX Health Check.


How do I order AIX Health Check?
We're an online company in an on-line world. We don't ship any documentation, CD-ROMs, USB thumb-drives or anything else to our customers. Everything is available online. Order our software online, and get started today!




How soon after ordering AIX Health Check do I receive login credentials?
We strive to provide you a login and password to our website as soon as possible, after you've ordered AIX Health Check by providing us a purchase order, or by buying AIX Health Check online. Usually we'll send you the login and password within the hour. In case you do not receive a login and password after 1 hour, or in case you have an urgent need to start using AIX Health Check right away, please give us a call.
I'd rather test the software first, before buying it
Unfortunately, we do not hand out full evaluation versions of our software, but we do provide a demonstration version of AIX Health Check.

If you'd like to try out the demonstration version of AIX Health Check, please look at the AIX Health Check demonstration version page.

We also offer a full 100% money-back guarantee with our product. The AIX Health Check is completely coded in scripting language, so you will have the ability to verify our code, and to confirm that it safe to run on AIX systems.

We always recommend running our product on a test server first, before running it on any production systems. We believe our software is the best out there, it's robust, and thus we provide a 100% money back guarantee.


What are the requirements for AIX Health Check?
The following levels of AIX are supported:
  • AIX 5.2
  • AIX 5.3
  • AIX 6.1
  • AIX 7.1
  • AIX 7.2
Any POWER4 through POWER8 hardware available from IBM is supported.

AIX Health Check is also capable of running several checks for PowerHA/HACMP clusters. The following versions of PowerHA/HACMP are supported:
  • HACMP 5.4.1
  • PowerHA 5.5
  • PowerHA 6.1
  • PowerHA 7.1
Note 1: To make sure that all PowerHA/HACMP checks can be run properly, the SSH keys for user root are required to be set up between the cluster nodes, so that commands can be run as user root on remote nodes.

Note 2: Up to two nodes in an PowerHA/HACMP cluster are supported.

AIX Health Check needs to be run as user root, not by any other account. This is due to the fact that several root-level access commands are run by AIX Health Check. Of course, AIX Health Check does not change anything on the AIX server; it only reports.

To view the HTML reports that AIX Health Check produces, one of the following browsers is required:
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 or higher
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Outlook 2003/2010 or Windows Live Mail (to receive HTML-style reports)
AIX Health Check is also supported on Virtual I/O Servers (VIOS). A Virtual I/O Server however, should be treated as a black box system as much as possible, similar to an HMC (Hardware Management Console). Making any changes to a VIOS on the operating system itself is not recommended, except when directed by IBM.
What items are checked by AIX Health Check?
Listing all items checked by AIX Health Check would simply be too much. AIX Health Check currently consists of 1,357 checks. Some examples of items that are checked by AIX Health Check are:
  • Are the paging spaces set up correctly with the correct sizes?
  • Are any unnecessary daemons properly disabled?
  • Are the correct levels of openSSH and openSSL installed?
  • Is the 64 bit kernel running on a 64-bit capable system?
  • Are there valid disks in the bootlist?
  • Are the firmware levels up to date?
  • Are the network options set the same on all HACMP cluster nodes?
  • Are mksysb backups created?
  • Does each drawer of your system have at least 2 power supplies for redundancy?
  • Is rootvg properly mirrored?
  • Are the settings correct for user accounts and passwords?
  • Are the retention settings correct for TSM backups in dsm.sys?
We could go on and on. But you can also take a look at a full HTML sample report. This will give you a good idea of the items that are checked by AIX Health Check.

Please keep in mind that not every item of an AIX system can be checked by AIX Health Check automatically. For example, items that can only be checked manually are:
  • For HACMP nodes, are they located in separate locations?
  • Are the dual power supplies of a drawer connected to separate PDUs?
  • Are proper change procedures in place within your organization?
  • Is the root password known only to experienced system administrators?

Can you show me some example reports?
Here are examples of reports created by AIX Health Check:
What is included in the AIX Health Check offering?
The AIX Health Check includes:
  • 1,357 AIX operating system configuration, performance, PowerHA/HACMP and security checks. *
  • Reports generated in text, HTML, CSV or XML output. Reports can be sent out to one or more email addresses.
  • Online documentation for AIX Health Check.
  • One year support from our technical experts.
  • One year software updates.
  • A fixed price, to plan IT budgets more easily.
  • Absolutely no hassle: It's easy to use!
* Note: the number of checks included in AIX Health Check may change. We're continuously developing AIX Health Check and including more checks over time.


How do I install and run AIX Health Check?
Please have a look at our online documentation. It describes the full installation and how to run AIX Health Check on your AIX systems.


Do I need a license key to run AIX Health Check?
AIX Health Check does not use any license keys, is not keyed, and is not bound to any host IDs, and you can run it on as many systems as you like.


How long can I use AIX Health Check?
After you've acquired a license for AIX Health Check, you're entitled to one full year of support for AIX Health Check. Along with that, you'll have the opportunity to download updates. Once your first year has expired, AIX Health Check does not stop working, and you can continue to use it if you like. However, if you do not renew your license for AIX Health Check, you will no longer be eligible for support and downloadable updates.