Topics: AIX, LVM, Storage, System Admin

VGs (normal, big, and scalable)

The VG type, commonly known as standard or normal, allows a maximum of 32 physical volumes (PVs). A standard or normal VG is no more than 1016 physical partitions (PPs) per PV and has an upper limit of 256 logical volumes (LVs) per VG. Subsequently, a new VG type was introduced which was referred to as big VG. A big VG allows up to 128 PVs and a maximum of 512 LVs.

AIX 5L Version 5.3 has introduced a new VG type called scalable volume group (scalable VG). A scalable VG allows a maximum of 1024 PVs and 4096 LVs. The maximum number of PPs applies to the entire VG and is no longer defined on a per disk basis. This opens up the prospect of configuring VGs with a relatively small number of disks and fine-grained storage allocation options through a large number of PPs, which are small in size. The scalable VG can hold up to 2,097,152 (2048 K) PPs. As with the older VG types, the size is specified in units of megabytes and the size variable must be equal to a power of 2. The range of PP sizes starts at 1 (1 MB) and goes up to 131,072 (128 GB). This is more than two orders of magnitude above the 1024 (1 GB), which is the maximum for both normal and big VG types in AIX 5L Version 5.2. The new maximum PP size provides an architectural support for 256 petabyte disks.

The table below shows the variation of configuration limits with different VG types. Note that the maximum number of user definable LVs is given by the maximum number of LVs per VG minus 1 because one LV is reserved for system use. Consequently, system administrators can configure 255 LVs in normal VGs, 511 in big VGs, and 4095 in scalable VGs.

VG typeMax PVsMax LVsMax PPs per VGMax PP size
Normal VG3225632,512 (1016 * 32)1 GB
Big VG128512130,048 (1016 * 128)1 GB
Scalable VG102440962,097,152128 GB

The scalable VG implementation in AIX 5L Version 5.3 provides configuration flexibility with respect to the number of PVs and LVs that can be accommodated by a given instance of the new VG type. The configuration options allow any scalable VG to contain 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 768, or 1024 disks and 256, 512, 1024, 2048, or 4096 LVs. You do not need to configure the maximum values of 1024 PVs and 4096 LVs at the time of VG creation to account for potential future growth. You can always increase the initial settings at a later date as required.

The System Management Interface Tool (SMIT) and the Web-based System Manager graphical user interface fully support the scalable VG. Existing SMIT panels, which are related to VG management tasks, have been changed and many new panels added to account for the scalable VG type. For example, you can use the new SMIT fast path _mksvg to directly access the Add a Scalable VG SMIT menu.

The user commands mkvg, chvg, and lsvg have been enhanced in support of the scalable VG type.

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