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Intruduction to NIM. Shen Chen. Benefits of NIM. Some of the benefits of NIM are: •  Manageability - It allows central localization of software installation images, thus, making backup and administration easier.

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benefits of nim
Benefits of NIM
  • Some of the benefits of NIM are:

•  Manageability - It allows central localization of software installation images, thus, making backup and administration easier.

•  Central Administration - Administrators can install remote AIX machines without having to physically attend them.

•  Scalability - You can install more than one machine at a time, implement a group strategy of machines and resources, and choose how many machines to install at a time.

•  Usability – In lpar environment, The software installation and maintenance is no longer limited by the devices ( CD, tape ).

nim operations
NIM operations
  • Customizing (Installing) the Software

Installation of software packages and updates can be performed over the network using NIM.

  • Maintaining the Software

From the NIM master, you can deinstall software that resides on client machines. NIM also gives you the capability of committing and rejecting updates over the network.

  • Installing BOS on an Alternate Disk

NIM can be used to clone the running of rootvg (root volume group) to an alternate disk, or install a mksysb image to an alternate disk.

Configuring the Machine

NIM provides the capability of running shell scripts on client machines for configuration after software has been installed.

  • Booting Diagnostics

Hardware diagnostics can be performed on NIM clients using a diagnostic boot image from a NIM server, rather than booting from a diagnostic tape or CD-ROM.

  • Booting in Maintenance Mode

For maintenance operations, you can boot a NIM client into maintenance mode from the boot image on a NIM server instead of using a bootable tape or CD-ROM.

  • Initializing Diskless and Dataless Clients

You can manage resources for diskless and dataless clients from the NIM master.

the network boot process
The network boot process

1.  The client boots to IPL-ROM/firmware menus

2.  The client sends a bootp request to the server

3.  The server only matches it against a MAC address during broadcast installs. If it is not a broadcast install, it matches against a client IP address.

4.  The boot image contains a miniature runtime environment (kernel, file systems, libraries, and key programs) to which control is then transferred.

5.  Control is eventually passed to a boot script, rc.boot, which configures devices that will be needed for the installation. 6.  The client then retrieves the relevant /tftpboot/<clienthostname>.info file with tftp. It copies it to its /etc/niminfo. This file contains a set of environment variables that will define the BOS installation environment.

7.  Finally, the BOS installation program is invoked by the boot script to install AIX from images residing on the network.


Boot/reset machine

Bootp enabled



IPL ROM emulation


Manual interacaction required

In IPL ROM menu

Client issues a bootp request

Control transferred to minature

Runtime environment

Network,tape or

CD ?

Boot script invoked




NIM SPOT resource is mounted

BOS Iinstallation script


nim resources
NIM resources
  • boot Resource ( in /tftpboot )

The boot resource is an internally-managed NIM resource used to indicate that a boot image has been allocated to a client. The boot resource is automatically allocated to clients to support NIM operations requiring a network boot. The boot resource will be automatically deallocated when the operation completes

  • script Resource

A script resource represents a file that is a user-defined shell script. Once defined, this type of resource can be used to perform processing on a client as part of a NIM cust or bos_inst operation.

  • bosinst_data Resource

A bosinst_data resource represents a file that contains information for the BOS install program.

lpp_source Resource

An lpp_source resource represents a directory in which software installation images are stored. If the lpp_source contains the minimum set of support images required to install a machine, it is given the simages attribute and can be used for BOS installation (bos_inst) operations. If an lpp_source does not contain enough software to be an simageslpp_source, then it can only be used in NIM cust operations to install software on running machines and SPOTs

  • mksysb Resource

A mksysb resource represents a file that is a system backup image created using the mksysb command. This type of resource can be used as the source for the installation of a client. The mksysb image must reside on the hard disk of a machine in the NIM environment in order to be defined as a resource. It cannot be located on a tape or other external media.

SPOT (Shared Product Object Tree ) Resource

The SPOT is a fundamental resource in the NIM environment. It is required to install or initialize all machine configuration types. A SPOT provides a /usr file system for diskless and dataless clients, as well as the network boot support for all clients.

Everything that a machine requires in a /usr file system, such as the AIX kernel, executable commands, libraries, and applications are included in the SPOT. Machine-unique information or user data is usually stored in the other file systems. A SPOT can be located on any standalone machine within the NIM environment, including the master. The SPOT is created, controlled, and maintained from the master, even though the SPOT can be located on another system.

There are two ways to create a SPOT.

You can convert the /usr file system (/usrSPOT), or you can locate the SPOT elsewhere within the file system.

The /usrSPOT

The /usrSPOT inherits all the optional software that is already installed on the server. All the clients using the /usrSPOT have access to the optional software installed on the server. The non-/usrSPOT can be used to manage a different group of optional software than those that are installed and licensed for the server.

Creating a SPOT by converting the /usr file system has the advantage of being fast and using much less disk space. However, this method does not give you the flexibility to choose which software packages will be included in the SPOT, because all the packages and filesets installed in the /usr file system of the machine serving the SPOT will be included in the SPOT.


The second method, creating a non-/usrSPOT, uses a lot more disk space, but it is more flexible. Initially, only the minimum set of software packages required to support NIM clients is installed in the SPOT, but additional packages and filesets can be installed. Also, it is possible to have multiple SPOTs, all with different additional packages and filesets installed, serving different clients

tmp Resource
  • dump Resource
  • exclude_files Resource
  • fix_bundle Resource
  • home Resource
  • image_data Resource
  • installp_bundle Resource
  • nim_script Resource
  • paging Resource
  • resolv_conf Resource
  • root Resource
  • shared_home Resource
setup nim environment
Setup NIM environment
  • Three  easy  NIM  steps  for beginners:

1.  Setup a NIM master.

2.  Define NIM clients.

3.  Install clients using the smitty nim_bosinst fastpath on the master machine.

setup nim environment1
Setup NIM environment
  • Setup NIM master
  • Install the bos.sysmgt.nim fileset, enter the smit install_latest fast path.
  • Accept the default values for all other fields on this screen. After successful completion of this installation, exit SMIT.
  • configure the NIM master, enter the smit nim_config_env.
  • Using the LIST option, select the Primary Network Interface for the NIM Master.
  • Using the LIST option, select /dev/cd0 or /dev/rmt0 for the Input device for installation \ images field.
  • Select yes at the Remove all newly added NIM definitions and file systems if any part of this operation fails? field.
  • Accept the default values for all other fields on this screen.

This procedure does the following:

Configure the NIM master

Create NIM master resource

Create the lpp_source and SPOT resources.

Create Network for the pri network interface type

( tok, ent, atm, …)

Create boot and nim_script resource

set up standalone client
Set up standalone client

Method A: If the client is not running

  • To add a standalone client to the NIM environment, enter the smit nim_mkmac fast path.
  • Specify the host name of the client.
  • Select type of network.( ent, tok, fddi, generic, or atm )
  • Select machine type.( standalone, diskless, or dataless )
  • Select hardware platform type. ( chrp, rspc, rs6k )
  • Select Kernel type to use. ( up, mp )
  • Select cable type. ( tp, bnc, or dix )
  • Select NIM network. ( If NIM does not exist, it will be created )
  • Select ethernet type. ( standard, or IEEE 802.3 )
  • Enter default gateway used by machine.
  • Enter default gateway used by master.
  • Enter Subnetmask.

Note: If the network that client resides already exists, it pick up the right NIM network and 10 to 12 are not required fields

Method B: If the client is running
  • Install the bos.sysmgt.nim.client fileset on the running machine.
  • Enter the smit niminit fast path. ( client needed to be defined on master first )
  • Add master to /.rhosts if the push installation is desired
define a resource
Define a resource
  • To define resource

Enter smit nim_mkres fastpath

  • Define mksysb resource
  • Enter the smit nim_mkres fast path.
  • Select mksysb from the list of resource types
  • In the displayed dialogs, supply the values for the required fields. Use the help information and the LIST option to help you specify the correct values for defining your mksysb resource.

Note: Any machine in the NIM environment can be a resource server

bos installation source
BOS installation source
  • The Base Operating System can be installed from images that hold the BOS run time files. These images are used to populate the client’s /usr file system. This image can come from three different resources: rte, SPOT, or mksysb.


•  Run Time Environment (rte) BOS install is the runtime image part of lpp_source resource that has been allocated to the client.

•  Only the base files are loaded. It is similar to installing from CD.

•  It is a slower means of install because device support tailored to each machine must be installed.

•  The result is a system that is smaller in terms of required space.


•  The BOS run time image results in a client whose /usr file system has all the files that exist in the SPOT.

•  Since it is not tailored to individual systems, it is quicker, but the resulting system is larger.

•  It supports the overwrite and preservation forms of installation.

  • mksysb

•  Provides a backup image of an existing machine that can be used as a recovery measure or else to clone one machine onto another. Not only is the BOS installed, but any optional software, paging space information, and other file systems hanging off rootvg are installed; however, an mksysb install only supports the overwrite installation method.Details about this topic

nim environment in relops
NIM environment in RelOps
  • NIM master:


NIM directory:


Network covered so far

nim scripts
NIM scripts
  • Tl-ibm01:/export/admin

To define a standalone client: nim_client



2.Platform type ( run bootinfo –p on client )

rspc, rs6k or chrp

To start a client Bos installation: nimjs


1.Define the client as a NIM client first.

2.What BOS installation type ( rtr, spot or mksysb )

3.Push or poll installation

start poll installation for client
Start poll installation for client
  • From SMS Main Menu

7. Select Boot Options

2. Select Boot Devices

1. Select 1st Boot Device

6. Network

Select the network interface

about nimjs
  • What does nimjs script do

1.Things listed in the build check list

2.Additional filesets for fiber card,xvfb, and java

3.Enable no prompts installation.

4.Assume hdisk0 for rootvg.

5.Create /products with 2G space.

6.Increase the default number of logins to 50

7.Set the ulimit values.

8. Install 64-bit kernel if it’s possible


NIM A to Z