AIX NIM (Network Installation Manager)



NIM is a client/server application which uses object oriented technology. It provides an environment to install and manage AIX filesets (base operating system, Maintenance Levels, individual fixes, and so on) on machines over the network.

NIM allows system administrators to install, upgrade, back up and maintain AIX 5L systems remotely. There is no need to use CDs or tapes. Physical access to the systems is no longer required (except perhaps during initial installation.

There are three basic machine roles in a NIM environment: the master, the client (NIM “machine”), and the resource server. The resource server can be either the NIM master or a standalone machine (a system that has its own local copy of the AIX operating system).


Master refers the machine where you set up and maintain your NIM environment. You can also initiate installations from here (push mode). It is the key piece of the NIM environment.


The NIM client can be the target for NIM master-initiated operations such as installation, updates, and so forth (push mode). Also, a client can initiate its own installation or update (pull mode). A NIM client automatically becomes a resource server when it holds NIM resources.

Resource server

Any machine (the master or a standalone client) can be configured by the master as a server for a particular software resource. In most environments, the master is also resource server. If other machines are already reporting to the master and they are installed (AIX), you can chose one of them to act as a resource server, thus relieving the NIM master of the heavy I/O load (disk and network). In such cases, the NIM master is only used to run administrative tasks.

Push and pull modes

The push mode operation is initiated from the master. The pull mode operation is initiated from the client. The very first time a client is installed, only the pull mode can be used. Note the following points:
* In order for the push mode to be successful, the client must have a minimum AIX image already installed and TCP/IP configured. * To use the pull mode, you need access to the clients’ SMS menu. For this you either need a console attached to the machine, or for HMC-managed systems, you need access to the HMC.

NIM database

The NIM database is stored in the AIX Object Data Management (ODM) repository on the NIM master and is divided into four classes: machines, networks, resources, groups. These classes are listed in the Table below.


To illustrate the contents of this NIM database, we use the lsnim command to extract the content (on a NIM master that is already set up and working), as shown below.

{nimmast}:/ # lsnim
master			machines 			master
boot 			resources 			boot
nim_script 		resources 			nim_script
NET_EN1 		networks 			ent
LPP_53_ML4 		resources 			lpp_source
SPOT_53_ML4 		resources 			spot
BID_NP_HD0 		resources 			bosinst_data
LPAR1 			machines 			standalone
LPAR2 			machines 			standalone
LPAR3 			machines 			standalone
LPAR4 			machines 			standalone
LPAR5 			machines 			standalone
LPAR6 			machines 			standalone
LPAR123456 		groups 				mac_group
nimgrp 			groups 				mac_group
spotaix5104 		resources 			spot
lpp_sourceaix5204 	resources 			lpp_source
spotaix5204 		resources 			spot
AllDevicesKernels 	resources 			installp_bundle