Security APAR Assistant (SAAssist)

Posted by Kairo Araujo on Wed 01 February 2017

Hi there,

During my last vacation I started a new project with intention learn more about Python and AIX/PowerVM APARs and ifix. Now, I'm releasing it as an Open Source tool.

This project objectives is make easy to administrate and manage AIX/PowerVM APARs/ifix . This is the first version


Security APAR Assist (SAAssist) is a tool to controls security APARs for IBM AIX and IBM PowerVM environment.

There are two basic components on SAAssist, SAAssist Server (saassist-server) and SAAssist Client (saassist-client).

This is a Open Source software licensed by Apache License 2.0.


The Security APAR Assistant (including saassist-server and saassist-client) is not an IBM Inc. software and it is not supported or guaranteed by IBM.

IBM AIX, IBM PowerVM and IBM Fix Level Recommended Tool website are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

How it works

SAAssist Server (saassist-server) is the tool that works directly with the IBM Fix Level Recommendation Tool (FLRT) website ( and it creates a repository with APARs information and packages based on CVE or IV number.

Those APARs information and packages are accessed by SAAssist Client (saassist-client) by HTTP or NFS protocol and checks if the APAR affect the server and if it can be installed.

Only the SAAssist Server needs to access the IBM FLRT website, proxy is also supported and it can be used. AAssist Client needs to access only SAAssist Server by HTTP or NFS.

  • Schema overvivew

    _________________| | -----[ Internet ]-----[ IBM FLRT website ]| saassist server | * web proxy|_________________| | | `----- [ Repository ] [ info, fixes ] [ HTTP: :NFS ] | .--------------' |________|_________| || saassist client ||_________________| | | |`-{check} verifies if APAR is applicable & boot required | |`-{info} gets detailed information about APAR (asc file) | `-{install} installs APARsaassist-server: it can be an AIX, Linux or MacOS with Internet access directly   or through proxy.saassist-client:   AIX or PowerVM server

SAAssist Server (saassist-server)

The SAAssist Server (saassist-server) is written in Python.

saassist-server accesses the IBM FLRT website and collects all information about a specific CVE or IV number. It downloads data from website and stores it in a repository to be used by SAAssist Client (saassist-client) upon request through HTTP or NFS.

The saassist-server includes the HTTP server (saassist-webserver), if a non static HTTP server is available it can be used as well.

To use NFS is necessary that the system administrator exports the full path of repository ([saassist-server directory]/saassist/data/repos).

Using saassist-server

The saassist-server is simple to use. You need to run the saassist-server specifying the CVE or IV number that you want to create (-c) on the repository.

Example: saassist-server -c CVE-2016-3053 or saassist-server -c IV88136

The other options are -h to help of -u to update an existent CVE/IV.

  • Help


  • Creating a repository for a CVE


  • Updating an existing repository for IV


Running saassist-webserver

The web server is included. If you want to have a static HTTP Server is recommended install Apache or another one. If you want to run this temporary, just run:




SAAssist Client (saassist-client)

The SAAssist Client (saassist-client) is written in Korn Shell (ksh).

This is a simple ksh script that accesses the SAAssist Server (saassist-server) using HTTP or NFS protocol and collects information about a specific APAR (CVE/IV), checks if it is applicable for the server, provides detailed information and installs the fix if required by you.

Using NFS procotol, there is no requirements. Curl is required if you want to use saassist-client through HTTP procotol.

Using saassist-client

The saassist-server is simple to use. You need to run the with the actions (parameters) that you want to perform and specify the CVE or IV Number.

To get full help use: help

  • check : Verifies if the system is affected by CVE/IV
  • info : Shows details about the CVE/IV
  • install : Installs the APAR if it is available and applicable to the system


saassist-client check CVE-2016-0281

saassist-client info IV91004

saassist-client install CVE-2016-0281

  • Checking

not affected




  • Reading info


  • Install APAR/Fix



SAAssist Server (saassist-server) Installation

The dependencies to install the saassist-server are Python version 3 and BeautifulSoup4 module for Python.

Installing Python 3

Python version 3 is required by saassist-server and it can runs on Linux, AIX and MacOS (I have never on Windows, but I believe that it is possible too).

Follow bellow the instruction for Linux and AIX.


To install Python 3 use yum or apt-get from your Linux distribution, do the same to install pip3

yum install python3 pip3


I have been using this Python3 package to my environment and it can be installed using smitty install

Installing BeautifulSoup4

BeautifulSoup is a Python package (module) and it is required for saassist-server. It can be installed using PIP


pip3 install bs4

Installing saassist-server

To install saassist-server you need to download the latest version, extract the content and edit config file.

  1. Download

  2. Extract

    .zip unzip saassist-server[version].zip

    .tar tar xvf saassist-server[version].zip

  1. Configure the

    Please check the comments inside of config file


SAAssist Client (saassist-client) Installation

If you want to use HTTP protocol, remember the package curl is required for IBM AIX/PowerVM.

Download the saassist-client from the link, extract the files and edit client_config file.

  1. Download

  2. Extract the files

    .zip unzip saassist-client[version].zip

    .tar tar xvf saassist-client[version].zip

  1. Configure the client_config

    Please check the comments inside the config file

    vi client_config

Reporting bugs and improvements

SAAssist Server

SAAssist Client


SAAssist Server (saassist-server) is developed in Python (version 3) language

and SAAssist Client (saassist-client) is developed in Korn Shell (ksh).

To Do

  • [server] Avoid to store the same fix for different versions to reduce data storage usage.
  • [server/client] implement checksum for files
  • [server/client] Include support for ftp protocol
  • [server] Create all unit tests for Python code

New code or bug fixes

  1. Do the fork from or saassist-client
  2. Do the clone from your fork git clone
  3. Create a branch git checkout -b new_feature or git checkout -b bug_000X
  4. Do your code or fix a bug :)
  5. Run tests tox -e py34 (if your version is Python 3.5 use py35)
  6. Submit your code to review git-review

Comments !