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IBM patches a nasty bug in its VIOS, now needs a reboot

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January 17, 2017

On January 14, IBM leaked some news of a nasty bug in its VIOS, its Virtual I/O Server that offers virtualization services on Power Systems under the AIX operating system.

Issue IV-91339 strikes when moving virtual machines and means “there is a very small timing window where the VIOS may report to the client LPAR that some I/Os have completed before they actually do,” Big Blue has asserted.

The IT giant advises that “this could cause some enterprise applications running on the client (logical partition) LPAR to read the wrong data from the virtual device. It's also possible that data written by the client LPAR to the virtual device may be written incorrectly.”

Hence the issue's title: “Possible data corruption after LPM failure.” Of course, data corruption is precisely what Power Systems and AIX are supposed *not* to do. The platforms are promoted as exceptionally stable and resilient, just the ticket for mission critical applications that can't afford many maintenance windows, never mind unplanned ones.

So IBM's guidance that “Installation of the fix requires a reboot” will not go down well with some users that downtime isn't an option.

But there's some upside in the fact that the issue only affects VIOS 2.2.3.x through 2.2.5.x, and even then, that has a couple of other caveats, nevertheless.

But the bottom line is that Power and VIOS users have an interesting resilience vs. convenience choice to make in the coming weeks.

Source: IBM Corp.

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