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Configuring HACMP


A overview of the steps to build an HACMP Cluster of two or more nodes







Author: Chuck Shoecraft





HACMP is organized by three concepts:

1.      Topology, which is the cluster from a network view. Topology consists of the cluster itself, the nodes that make up the cluster and the networks that connect them. The networks are of two types, IP networks and non-IP networks. IP networks are typically multi-drop networks and use the standard TCP/IP protocols. Non-IP networks are point to point networks which use a protocol which is proprietary to HACMP. The purpose of the non-IP networks is to eliminate the TCP/IP software in a node from becoming a single point of failure.

2.      Resources, which are the things being made highly available and are normally used to provide services to the client population of systems. Some examples of resources include, the Service IP Label/Address which clients will use to access a service, File systems and the Volume Groups that contain them, Application Servers which are the mechanism HACMP uses to identify and locate the start and stop scripts which control the application.

3.      Resource Groups, which are the method of managing all the resources associated with an application, and identifying the nodes where the application can run and the rules used to identify the priority for selecting the node for a given situation.

These three concepts and the preparations necessary to support them will provide the outline for the construction of an HACMP Cluster in this paper.

Prior to configuration of the HACMP cluster there is some preparatory work required such as, installing the hardware, connecting and configuring the TCP/IP networks, and connecting the storage devices. Please refer to the paper on cluster design for details on these subjects.

This paper will address cluster configuration in four steps:

1.      Preparation and configuration of the hardware, AIX and the applications..

2.      Topology configuration.

3.      Resource definition.

4.      Resource Group configuration.

Hardware and Software Preparation


Prior to ordering hardware for an HACMP Cluster you should determined which applications are going to be made highly available, what if any relationships they have to each other, and what resource requirement each has. The hardware should then be selected which will provide the needed resources and connectivity.

Each system must be installed individually including the installation of and basic configuration of AIX. The IP network connections should be completed, as should any serial network connections you may have planned. And the connections to the shared storage media completed

You should have planned for two subnets to be used for heartbeats. Each node should have two connections to each IP network and each connection on the node should be assigned to different subnet. This will provide you with the IP addresses to set into your IP adapters at startup. Use smit tcpip Minimum Configuration & Startup menu to set the IP address, netmask and hostname for the first interface on each cluster node.. Use smit tcpip Further Configuration Network Interfaces Network Interface Selection Change / Shoew Characteristics of a Network Interface to set the IP address and netmask for the remaining interfaces. Test connectivity between the addresses in each subnet for all machines using a ping command.

Now create and /etc/hosts file on one of the systems that contains all of the IP addresses used in the cluster. An example hosts file for a 2 node cluster with 1 IP network is shown on the next page. Subnets 192.168.1 and 192.168.2 are heart beat subnets. Subnet 192.168.50 is used for persistent aliases and service addresses.

When the host file is complete transfer it to the other nodes using ftp or rcp. Test name resolution by issuing ping commands using names instead of ip addresses. Do this on each node.

If your application does not require DNS name resolution remove the resolve.conf file from each node. If the application does require DNS name resolution you will need to use one of the following methods to assure that local name resolution occurs before other methods. Either create a /etc/netsvc.conf file with the line hosts=local,bind or create the system variable NSORDER=local,bind. If multiple resolution order methods are used the NSORDER method will be the last checked and therefore the deciding method.

Install the HACMP code, from the distribution CD, on all nodes. Check the README files and other prerequisite information for system requirements. Reboot each system after installing HACMP. After HACMP 5.4 has been installed and re booted this will no longer be required.


Sample /etc/hosts file


# Hosts file used for local name resolution in a two node HACMP Cluster

# with one IP network. loopback localhost

# <Cluster Name>

# Netmask = (use a mask that will match your environment.)

# Node 1 addresses node1-if1 node1-if2 node1-per

# Node 2 addresses node2-if1 node2-if2 node2-per

# Service Labels/Addresses Application-1-service


Make the connections for the shared volume groups to all systems that will need access to them and run cfgmgr on one system. Use the lspv command to determine if the shared disks have pvids. If they do not have them to each disk with the command chdev l hdiskX a pv=es. Run cfgmgr on each of the other nodes the disks are attached to.

It is desirable to install and test the applications to be made highly available prior to configuring the HACMP Cluster. Install the applications on the nodes that will be primary to them, create and populate the Volume Groups and file systems required for the applications using the shared disks and test the running of the application. Determine what is required to start and stop the applications and write scripts for each operation that will completely start or stop the application from a single command (script call). The start and stop scripts should be in directories on local disks. Once tested copy the scripts to the same exact location on each node where the application will run.

If the application was installed on a local volume group install it on the other node(s) in the same location. Import the shared volume group(s) and test the application on the other node(s).


Topology Configuration


Select a node for your cluster console. Use this node for all cluster configuration actions.

Starting with smitty hacmp select the Initilization and Standard Configuration menu.

Select Add Nodes to a cluster and enter the cluster name in the data block, move the cursor down and use F4 to select an interface to each node you want to configure.. Press enter and wait for the OK prompt.

If you are configuring more than two nodes you may find it easier to stat with a two node cluster and add additional nodes after you have a running two node c.uster.

Using the F3 key move to the main HACMP menu, then selsct Extended Configuration.

Next select Extended Topology Configuration Configure HACMP Communications Interfaces/Devices Add Communications Interfaces/Devices

At this point you have to choose between interfaces and devices. Devices means non-IP networks Select devices and then select pairs of interfaces to create your non-IP networks. You must do this one network at a time.


If your /etc/hosts file has interfaces identified that are not included in your cluster design you may have IP networks that you did not want to appear in your cluster configuration. You can delete these networks using the Extended Configuration Extended Topology Configuration Remove a Network from the HACMP Cluster selection.

Synchronize the cluster using smitty hacmp Extended Configuration Extended Verification and Synchronization and select interactive at the correct errors found in verification line. Synchronize the cluster.

Run the cltopinfo command to display the topology of the cluster you have just created.




Next you will identify all of the resources you want HACMP to make highly available. For now you will just attach a label to each resource so that HACMP will be able to use it later in a Resource Group. There are three primary resources that most resource groups have; an application server, a service label/address, and a volume group and file systems. Take the Extended Resources Configuration path.

smitty hacmp Extended Configuration Extended Resource Configuration HACMP Extended Resources Configuration continue with 1 & 2 below.

1.      Application Server - Select Configure HACMP Applications Configure HACMP Application Servers Add an Application Server

a.       Enter a name for the application server.

b.      Enter the full path name of the start script for the application

c.       Enter the full path name of the stop script for the application

d.      Press the enter key

e.       Press F3 three times

2.      Service Label/Address - Select Configure HACMP Service IP Labels/Addresses Add a Service IP Label/Address

a.       Select Configure on Multiple Nodes press enter

b.      Select the network where the Service Address will be active press enter

c.       Press F4

d.      Select the Service Label for the application - press enter - press enter

e.       Press F3 three times.


Resource Groups


The next step is to create the Resource Group(s). This will include identifying the nodes the individual resource group can become active on and the runtime polices that the resource group will follow. If a resource group is going to be highly available it must have at least two nodes identified. The sequence, from left to right, in the input area for the nodes will identify their order of priority.

Run time policies must be chosen in three areas; Startup, Fallover, and Fall Back.

There are four start up policies to choose from:

1.      Online On Home Node Only

2.      Online On First Available Node

3.      Online Using Distribution Policy

4.      Online On All available Nodes

There are three fallover policies to choose from

1.      Fallover To Next Priority Node In The List

2.      Fallover Using Dynamic Node Priority

3.      Bring Offline (On Error Node Only)

There are two fallback policies to choose from

1.      Fallback To Higher Priority Node In The List

2.      Never Fallback



The default policies are:

        Online On Home Node Only

        Fallover To Next Priority Node In The List

        Fallback To Higher Priority Node In The List

Select HACMP Extended Resource Group Configuration Add a Resource Group

Enter the Resource Group Name Move the cursor to the Participating Nodes line and press F4. If you want to use the default runtime policies press enter. Otherwise select any policy you want to change, press F4 and select the policy you want to use.. When all policies have been chosen, press enter. After the OK prompt press
F3 twice, and select Change/Show Resources and Attributes for a Resource Group

Select the Resource Group you are going to add resources to.

Press F4 and select the Service Label you defined earlier.

Move the cursor to the application server line, press F4 and select the Application Server you defined earlier.

Move the cursor to the Volume Groups line, press F4 and select the Volume Group(s) for the application.

Press F3 repeatedly until you are at the Extended Configuration Menu and select Extended Verification and Synchronization and select interactive at the correct errors found in verification line. Synchronize the cluster.

Press enter and wait for the ok prompt.

If no errors occurred and you have an ok prompt, you can press F10 to exit smit and start the cluster. smitty clstart. Select the nodes you want to start, change Startup Cluster Information Daemon to true and press enter.





Using the instructions in this paper you should be able to configure a two node cluster supporting a single application. However you will not have taken advantage of many of the newer features of HACMP. Tools like application monitoring or fallover for reasons other than node, network adapter or network failures, and a number of administrative tools that will monitor the health of the cluster and report changes that could affect that health.

Each of those items can be found in the HACMP Documentation, and is discussed in IBM training classes for Systems Administrators who will be responsible for HACMP clusters. Both the manuals and the training classes can be accessed through the IBM web pages.

Manuals can be found at:


Training Classes can be found at: