Automating systems deployment & other new features : HMC8, IBM Provisioning Toolkit for PowerVM and LPM Automation Tool

I am involved in a project where we are going to deploy dozen of Power Systems (still Power7 for the moment, and Power8 in a near future). All the systems will be the same : same models with the same slots emplacements and the same Virtual I/O Server configuration. To be sure that all my machines are the same and to allow other people (who are not aware of the design or are not skilled enough to do it by themselves) I had to find a solution to automatize the deployment of the new machines. For the virtual machines the solution is now to use PowerVC but what about the Virtual I/O Servers, what about the configuration of the Shared Ethernet Adapters. In other words what about the infrastructure deployment ? I spent a week with an IBM US STG Lab services consultant (Bonnie Lebarron) for a PowerCare (you have now a PowerCare included with every high end machine you buy) about the IBM Provisioning Toolkit for PowerVM (which is a very powerful tool that allows you to deploy your Virtual I/O Server and your virtual machines automatically) and the Live Partition Mobility Automation tool. With the new Hardware Management Console (8R8.2.0) you now have the possibility to create templates not just for the new virtual machines creation, but also to deploy create and configure your Virtual I/O Severs. The goal of this post is to show that there are different way to do that but also to show you the new features embedded with the new Hardware Management Console and to spread the world about those two STG Labs Services wonderful tools that are well know in US but not so much in Europe. So it’s a HUGE post, just take what is useful for you in it. Here we go :

Hardware Management Console 8 : System templates

The goal of the systems templates is to deploy a new server in minutes without having to logging on different servers to do some tasks, you now just have to connect on the HMC to do all the work. The systems templates will deploy the Virtual I/O Server image by using your NIM server or by using the images stored in the Hardware Management Console media repository. Please note a few points :

  • You CAN’T deploy a “gold” mksysb of your Virtual I/O Server using the Hardware Management Console repository. I’ve tried this myself and it is for the moment impossible (if someone has a solution …). I’ve tried two different ways. Creating a backupios image without the mksysb flag (it will produce a tar file impossible to upload on the image repository, but usable by the installios command). Creating a backupios image with the mksysb flag and use the mkcd/mkdvd command to create iso images. Both method were failing at the installation process.
  • The current Virtual I/O Server images provided in the Eelectonic Software Delivry ( at the moment) are provided in the .udf format and not the .iso format. This is not a huge problem, just rename both files to .iso before uploading the file on the Hardware Management Console.
  • If you want to deploy your own mksysb you can still choose to use your NIM server, but you will have to manually create the NIM objects, and to manually configure a bosinst installation (in my humble opinion what we are trying to do is to reduce manual interventions, but you can still do that for the moment, that’s what I do because I don’t have the choice). You’ll have to give the IP address of the NIM server and the HMC will boot the Virtual I/O Servers with the network settings already configured.
  • The Hardware Management Console installation with the media repository is based on the old well known installios command. You still need to have the NIM port opened between your HMC and the Virtual I/O Server management network (the one you will choose to install both Virtual I/O Servers) (installios is based on NIMOL). You may experience some problems if you already install your Virtual I/O Servesr this way and you may have to reset some things. My advice is to always run these three commands before deploying a system template :
  • # installios -F -e -R default1
    # installios -u 
    # installios -q

Uploading an iso file on the Hardware Management Console

Upload the images on the Hardware Management Console, I’ll not explain this in details …:


Creating a system template

To create a system template you have first to copy an existing predefined template provided by the Hardware Management Console (1) and then edit this template to fit you own needs (2) :


  • You can’t edit the physical I/O part when editing a new template, you first have to deploy a system with this template to choose the physical I/O for each Virtual I/O Server and then capture this deployed system as an HMC template. Change the properties of your Virtual I/O Server :
  • create_template_2

  • Create your Shared Ethernet Adapters : let’s say we want to create one Shared Ethernet Adapter in sharing mode with four virtual adapters :
  • Adapter 1 : PVID10, vlans=1024;1025
  • Adapter 2 : PVID11, vlans=1028;1029
  • Adapter 3 : PVID12, vlans=1032;1033
  • Adapter 4 : PVID13, vlans=1036;1037
  • In the new HMC8 the terms are changing and are not the same : Virtual Network Bridge = Shared Ethernet Adapter; Load (Balance) Group = A pair of virtual adapters with the same PVID on both Virtual I/O Server.
  • Create the Shared Ethernet Adapter with the first (with PVID10) and the second (with PVID11) adapter and the first vlan (vlan 1024 has to be added on adapter with PVID 10) :
  • create_sea1

  • Add the second vlan (the vlan 1028) in our Shared Ethernet Adapter (Virtual Network Bridge) and choose to put it on the adapter with PVID 11 (Load Balance Group 11) :
  • create_sea4

  • Repeat this operation for the next vlan (1032), but this time we have to create new virtual adapters with PVID 12 (Load Balance Group 12) :
  • create_sea7

  • Repeat this operation for the next vlan (1036), but this time we have to create new virtual adapters with PVID 13 (Load Balance Group 13).
  • You can check on this picture our 4 virtual adapters with two vlans for each ones :
  • create_sea8

  • I’ll not detail the other part which are very simple to understand. You can check at the end our template is created 2 Virtual I/O Servers and 8 virtual networks.

The Shared Ethernet Adapter problem : Are you deploying a Power8/Power7 with a 780 firmware or a Power6/7 server ?

When creating a system template you probably notice that when your are defining your your Shared Ethernet Adapters … sorry your Virtual Network Bridges there is no possibility to create any control channel adapters or any possibility to assign a vlan id for this control channel. If you choose to create the system template by hand with the HMC the template will be usable by all Power8 systems and all Power7 system with a firmware that allows you to create a Shared Ethernet Adapter without any control channel (780 firmwares). I’ve tried this myself and we will check that later. If you are deploying a system template an older power 7 system the deployment will fail because of this reason. You have two solutions to this problem. Create your first system “by hand” and create your Shared Ethernet Adapters with control channel on your own and then capture the system to redeploy on other machines or you have the choice to edit the XML of you current template to add the control channel adapter in it …no comments.


If you choose to edit the template to add the control channel on your own, export your template as an xml file and edit it by hand (here is an example on the picture below), and then re-imported the modified xml file :


Capture an already deployed system

As you can see creating a system template from scratch can be hard and cannot match all your needs especially with this Shared Ethernet Adapter problem. My advice is to deploy by hand or by using the toolkit your first system and then capture the system to create and Hardware Management Console template based on this one. By doing this all the Shared Ethernet Adapters will be captured as configured, the ones with control channels and the ones without control channel. It can match all the cases without having to edit the xml file by hand.

  • Click “Capture configuration as template with physical I/O” :
  • capture_template_with_physical_io

  • The whole system will be captured and if you put your physical I/O in the same slot (as we do in my team) each time you deploy a new server you will not have to choice which physical I/O will belong to which Virtual I/O server :
  • capture_template_with_physical_io_capturing

  • In the system template library you can check that the physical I/O are captured and that we do not have to define our Shared Ethernet Adapter (the screenshot below shows you 49 vlans ready to be deployed) :
  • capture_template_library_with_physical_io_and_vlan

  • To do this don’t forget to edit the template and check the box “Use captured I/O information” :
  • use_captured_io_informations

    Deploying a system template



    • If you are deploying a “non captured template” choose the physical I/O for each Virtual I/O Servers :
    • choose_io1

    • If you are deploying a “captured template” the physical I/O will be automatically choose for each Virtual I/O Servers :
    • choose_io2

    • The Virtual I/O Server profiles are craved here :
    • craving_virtual_io_servers

    • You next have the choice to use a NIM server or to use the HMC image repository to deploy the Virtual I/O Servers in both cases you have to choose the adapter used to deploy the image :
    • NIM way :
    • nim_way

    • HMC way (check the tip at the beginning of the post about installios if you are choosing this method :
    • hmc_way

    • Click start when you are ready. The start button will invoke the lpar_netboot command with the settings you put in the previous screen :
    • start_dep

    • You can monitor the installation process by clicking monitoring vterm (on the images below you can check the ping is successful, the bootp is ok, the tftp is downloading, and the being mksysb restored :
    • monitor1

    • The RMC connection has to be up on both Virtual I/O Servers to build the Shared Ethernet Adapters and the Virtual I/O Server license must be accepted. Check both are ok.
    • RMCok

    • Choose where the Shared Ethernet Adapters will be created and the create the link aggregation device here (choose here on which network adapters and network ports will your Shared Ethernet Adapters be created) :
    • choose_adapter

    • Click start on the next screen to create the Shared Ethernet Adapter automatically :
    • sea_creation_ok

    • After a successful deployment of a system template a summary will be displayed on the screen :
    • template_ok

    IBM Provisioning Toolkit for PowerVM : A tool created by the Admins for the Admins

    As you now know the HMC templates are ok, but there are some drawbacks about using this method. In my humble opinion the HMC templates are good for a beginner, the user is now guided step by step and it is much simpler for someone who doesn’t know anything about PowerVM to build a server from scratch, without knowing and understanding all the features of PowerVM (Virtual I/O Server, Shared Ethernet Adapter). The deployment is not fully automatized the HMC will not mirror your rootvg, will not set any attributes on your fiber channel adapters, will never run a custom script after the installation to fit your needs. Last point, I’m sure that as a system administrator you probably prefer using command line tools than a “crappy” GUI, a template can not be created, neither deployed in command line (change this please). There is another way to build your server and it’s called IBM PowerVM Provisioning toolkit. This tool is developed by STG Lab Services US and is not well known in Europe but I can assure you that a lot of US customers are using it (raise your voice in comments us guys). This tool can help you in many ways :

    • Carving Virtual I/O Servers profiles.
    • Building and deploying Virtual I/O Servers with a NIM Server without having to create anything by hand.
    • Creating your SEA with or without control channel, failover/sharing, tagged/non-tagged.
    • Setting attributes on your fire channel adapters.
    • Building and deploying Virtual I/O Clients in NPIV and vscsi.
    • Mirroring you rootvg.
    • Capturing a whole frame and redeploy it on another server.
    • A lot of other things.

    Just to let you understand the approach of the tool let’s begin with an example. I want to deploy a new machine with two Virtual I/O Server :

    • 1 (white) – I’m writing a profile file : in this one I’m putting all the information that are the same all the machines (virtual switches, shared processor pools, Virtual I/O Server profiles, Shared Ethernet Adapter definition, image chosen to deploy the Virtual I/O Server, physical I/O adapter for each Virtual I/O Server)
    • 2 (white) – I’m writing a config file : in this one I’m putting all the information that are unique for each machine (name, ip, HMC name used to deploy, CEC serial number, and so on)
    • 3 (yellow) – I’m launching the provisioning toolkit to build my machine, the NIM objects are created (networks, standalone machines) and the bosinst operation is launched from the NIM server
    • 4 (red) – The Virtual I/O Servers profiles are created and the lpar_netboot command is launched an ssh key has to be shared between the NIM server and the Hardware management console
    • 5 (blue) – Shared Ethernet Adapter are created and post configuration is launched on the Virtual I/O Server (mirror creation, vfc attributes …)


    Let me show you a detailed example of a new machine deployment :

    • On the NIM server, the toolkit is located in /export/nim/provision. You can see that the main script called buildframe.ksh.v3.24.2, and two directories one for the profiles (build_profiles) and one for the configuration files (config_files). The work_area directory is the log directory :
    • # cd /export/nim/provision
      # ls
      build_profiles          buildframe.ksh.v3.24.2  config_files       lost+found              work_area
    • Let’s check a configuration file a new Power720 deployment :
    • # vi build_profiles/p720.conf
    • Some variables will be set in the configuration file put N/A value for this ones :
      VARIABLES      (BUILDUSER)=hscroot
      VARIABLES      (vio1_hostname)=(VIO1_LPARNAME)
      VARIABLES      (VIO1_PROFILE)=default_profile
      VARIABLES      (vio2_hostname)=(VIO2_LPARNAME)
      VARIABLES      (VIO2_PROFILE)=default_profile
      VARIABLES      (VIO1_IP)=NA
      VARIABLES      (VIO2_IP)=NA
    • Choose the ports that will be used to restore the Virtual I/O Server mksysb :
    • VARIABLES      (NIMPORT_VIO1)=(CEC1)-P1-C6-T1
      VARIABLES      (NIMPORT_VIO2)=(CEC1)-P1-C7-T1
    • In the example I’m building the Virtual I/O Server with 3 Shared Ethernet Adapters, and I’m not creating any LACP aggregation :
    • # SEA1
      VARIABLES      (SEA1VLAN1)=401
      VARIABLES      (SEA1VLAN2)=402
      VARIABLES      (SEA1VLAN3)=403
      VARIABLES      (SEA1VLAN4)=404
      # SEA2
      VARIABLES      (SEA2VLAN1)=100,101,102
      VARIABLES      (SEA2VLAN2)=103,104,105
      VARIABLES      (SEA2VLAN3)=106,107,108
      VARIABLES      (SEA2VLAN4)=109,110
      # SEA3
      VARIABLES      (SEA3VLAN1)=200,201,202,203,204,309
      VARIABLES      (SEA3VLAN2)=205,206,207,208,209,310
      VARIABLES      (SEA3VLAN3)=210,300,301,302,303
      VARIABLES      (SEA3VLAN4)=304,305,306,307,308
      # SEA DEF (I'm putting adapter ID and PVID here)
      SEADEF         seadefid=SEA1,networkpriority=S,vswitch=vdct,seavirtid=10,10,(SEA1VLAN1):11,11,(SEA1VLAN2):12,12,(SEA1VLAN3):13,13,(SEA1VLAN4),seactlchnlid=14,99,vlans=(SEA1VLANS),netmask=(SEA1NETMASK),gateway=(SEA1GATEWAY),etherchannel=NO,lacp8023ad=NO,vlan8021q=YES,seaat
      SEADEF         seadefid=SEA2,networkpriority=S,vswitch=vdca,seavirtid=15,15,(SEA2VLAN1):16,16,(SEA2VLAN2):17,17,(SEA2VLAN3):18,18,(SEA2VLAN4),seactlchnlid=19,98,vlans=(SEA2VLANS),netmask=(SEA2NETMASK),gateway=(SEA2GATEWAY),etherchannel=NO,lacp8023ad=NO,vlan8021q=YES,seaat
      SEADEF         seadefid=SEA3,networkpriority=S,vswitch=vdcb,seavirtid=20,20,(SEA3VLAN1):21,21,(SEA3VLAN2):22,22,(SEA3VLAN3):23,23,(SEA3VLAN4),seactlchnlid=24,97,vlans=(SEA3VLANS),netmask=(SEA3NETMASK),gateway=(SEA3GATEWAY),etherchannel=NO,lacp8023ad=NO,vlan8021q=YES,seaat
      # SEA ATTR 
      SEAATTR        seaattrid=nojumbo,ha_mode=sharing,largesend=1,large_receive=yes
    • I’m defining each physical I/O adapter for each Virtual I/O Servers :
    • VARIABLES      (HBASLOTS_VIO1)=(CEC1)-P1-C1-C1,(CEC1)-P1-C2
      VARIABLES      (HBASLOTS_VIO2)=(CEC1)-P1-C1-C2,(CEC1)-P1-C3
      VARIABLES      (ETHSLOTS_VIO1)=(CEC1)-P1-C6,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C3,(CEC1)-P1-C4
      VARIABLES      (ETHSLOTS_VIO2)=(CEC1)-P1-C7,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C4,(CEC1)-P1-C5
      VARIABLES      (SASSLOTS_VIO2)=(CEC1)-P1-C19-T1
      VARIABLES      (NPIVFCPORTS_VIO1)=(CEC1)-P1-C1-C1-T1,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C1-T2,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C1-T3,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C1-T4,(CEC1)-P1-C2-T1,(CEC1)-P1-C2-T2,(CEC1)-P1-C2-T3,(CEC1)-P1-C2-T4
      VARIABLES      (NPIVFCPORTS_VIO2)=(CEC1)-P1-C1-C2-T1,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C2-T2,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C2-T3,(CEC1)-P1-C1-C2-T4,(CEC1)-P1-C3-T1,(CEC1)-P1-C3-T2,(CEC1)-P1-C3-T3,(CEC1)-P1-C3-T4
    • I’m defining the mksysb image to use and the Virtual I/O Server profiles :
    • BOSINST        bosinstid=viogold,source=mksysb,mksysb=golden-vios-2234-29122014-mksysb,spot=golden-vios-2234-29122014-spot,bosinst_data=no_prompt_hdisk0-bosinst_data,accept_licenses=yes,boot_client=no
      PARTITIONDEF   partitiondefid=vioPartition,bosinstid=viogold,lpar_env=vioserver,proc_mode=shared,min_proc_units=0.4,desired_proc_units=1,max_proc_units=16,min_procs=1,desired_procs=4,max_procs=16,sharing_mode=uncap,uncap_weight=255,min_mem=1024,desired_mem=8192,max_mem=12
      PARTITION      name=(VIO1_LPARNAME),profile_name=(VIO1_PROFILE),partitiondefid=vioPartition,lpar_netboot=(NIM_IP),(vio1_hostname),(VIO1_IP),(NIMNETMASK),(NIMGATEWAY),(NIMPORT_VIO1),(NIM_SPEED),(NIM_DUPLEX),NA,YES,NO,NA,NA
      PARTITION      name=(VIO2_LPARNAME),profile_name=(VIO2_PROFILE),partitiondefid=vioPartition,lpar_netboot=(NIM_IP),(vio2_hostname),(VIO2_IP),(NIMNETMASK),(NIMGATEWAY),(NIMPORT_VIO2),(NIM_SPEED),(NIM_DUPLEX),NA,YES,NO,NA,NA
    • Let’s now check a configuration file for a specific machine (as you can see I’m putting the Virtual I/O Server name here, the ip address and all that is specific to the new machines (CEC serial number and so on)) :
    • # cat P720-8202-E4D-1.conf
    • We are now ready to build the new machine. the first thing to do is to create the vswitches on the machine (you have to confirm all operations):
    • ./buildframe.ksh.v3.24.2 -p p720 -c P720-8202-E4D-1.conf -f vswitch
      150121162625 Start of buildframe DATE: (150121162625) VERSION: v3.24.2
      150121162625        profile: p720.conf
      150121162625      operation: FRAMEvswitch
      150121162625 partition list:
      150121162625   program name: buildframe.ksh.v3.24.2
      150121162625    install dir: /export/nim/provision
      150121162625    post script:
      150121162625          DEBUG: 0
      150121162625         run ID: 150121162625
      150121162625       log file: work_area/150121162625_p720.conf.log
      150121162625 loading configuration file: config_files/P720-8202-E4D-1.conf
      Do you want to continue?
      Please enter Y or N Y
      150121162917 buildframe is done with return code 0
    • Let’s now build the Virtual I/O Servers, create the Shared Ethernet Adapters and let’s have a coffee ;-)
    • # ./buildframe.ksh.v3.24.2 -p p720 -c P720-8202-E4D-1.conf -f build
      150121172320 Creating partitions
      150121172320                 --> labvios1
      150121172322                 --> labvios2
      150121172325 Updating partition profiles
      150121172325   updating VETH adapters in partition: labvios1 profile: default_profile
      150121172329   updating VETH adapters in partition: labvios1 profile: default_profile
      150121172331   updating VETH adapters in partition: labvios1 profile: default_profile
      150121172342   updating VETH adapters in partition: labvios2 profile: default_profile
      150121172343   updating VETH adapters in partition: labvios2 profile: default_profile
      150121172344   updating VETH adapters in partition: labvios2 profile: default_profile
      150121172345   updating IOSLOTS in partition: labvios1 profile: default_profile
      150121172347   updating IOSLOTS in partition: labvios2 profile: default_profile
      150121172403 Configuring NIM for partitions
      150121172459 Executing--> lpar_netboot   -K -f -t ent -l U78AA.001.WZSKM8U-P1-C6-T1 -T off -D -s auto -d auto -S -G -C labvios1 default_profile s00ka9936774-8202-E4D-845B2CV
      150121173247 Executing--> lpar_netboot   -K -f -t ent -l U78AA.001.WZSKM8U-P1-C7-T1 -T off -D -s auto -d auto -S -G -C labvios2 default_profile s00ka9936774-8202-E4D-845B2CV
      150121174028 buildframe is done with return code 0
    • After the mksysb is deployed you can tail the logs on each Virtual I/O Server to check what is going on :
    • [..]
      150121180520 creating SEA for virtID: ent4,ent5,ent6,ent7
      ent21 Available
      150121180521 Success: running /usr/ios/cli/ioscli mkvdev -sea ent1 -vadapter ent4,ent5,ent6,ent7 -default ent4 -defaultid 10 -attr ctl_chan=ent8  ha_mode=sharing largesend=1 large_receive=yes, rc=0
      150121180521 found SEA ent device: ent21
      150121180521 creating SEA for virtID: ent9,ent10,ent11,ent12
      ent22 Available
      150121180523 Success: running /usr/ios/cli/ioscli mkvdev -sea ent20 -vadapter ent9,ent10,ent11,ent12 -default ent9 -defaultid 15 -attr ctl_chan=ent13  ha_mode=sharing largesend=1 large_receive=yes, rc=0
      150121180523 found SEA ent device: ent22
      150121180523 creating SEA for virtID: ent14,ent15,ent16,ent17
      ent23 Available
      150121180540 Success: /usr/ios/cli/ioscli cfgnamesrv -add -ipaddr, rc=0
      150121180540 adding DNS:
      150121180540 Success: /usr/ios/cli/ioscli cfgnamesrv -add -ipaddr, rc=0
      150121180540 adding DNS:
      150121180540 adding DOMAIN:
      150121180541 Success: /usr/ios/cli/ioscli cfgnamesrv -add -dname, rc=0
      150121180541 adding SEARCH:
      150121180541 Success: /usr/ios/cli/ioscli cfgnamesrv -add -slist, rc=0
      150121180542 Success: found fcs device for physical location WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T4: fcs3
      150121180542 Processed the following FCS attributes: fcsdevice=fcs4,fcs5,fcs6,fcs7,fcs0,fcs1,fcs2,fcs3,fcsattrid=fcsAttributes,port=WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T1,WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T2,WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T3,WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T4,WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T1,WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T2,WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T3,WZSKM8U-P
      150121180544 Processed the following FSCSI attributes: fcsdevice=fcs4,fcs5,fcs6,fcs7,fcs0,fcs1,fcs2,fcs3,fscsiattrid=fscsiAttributes,port=WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T1,WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T2,WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T3,WZSKM8U-P1-C1-C1-T4,WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T1,WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T2,WZSKM8U-P1-C2-T3,WZS
      150121180546 Success: found device U78AA.001.WZSKM8U-P2-D4: hdisk0
      150121180546 Success: found device U78AA.001.WZSKM8U-P2-D5: hdisk1
      150121180546 Mirror hdisk0 -->  hdisk1
      150121180547 Success: extendvg -f rootvg hdisk1, rc=0
      150121181638 Success: mirrorvg rootvg hdisk1, rc=0
      150121181655 Success: bosboot -ad hdisk0, rc=0
      150121181709 Success: bosboot -ad hdisk1, rc=0
      150121181709 Success: bootlist -m normal hdisk0 hdisk1, rc=0
      150121181709 VIOmirror <- rc=0
      150121181709 VIObuild <- rc=0
      150121181709 Preparing to reboot in 10 seconds, press control-C to abort

    The new server was deployed in one command and you avoid any manual mistake by using the toolkit. The example above is just one of the many was to use the toolkit. This is a very powerful and simple tool and I really want to see other Europe customers using it, so ask you IBM Pre-sales, ask for PowerCare and take the control of you deployment by using the toolkit. The toolkit is also used to capture and redeploy a whole frame for disaster recovery plan.

    Live Partition Mobility Automation Tool

    Because understanding the provisioning toolkit didn't takes me one full week we still had plenty of time the with Bonnie from STG Lab Service and we decided to give a try to another tool called Live Partition Mobility Automation Tool. I'll not talk about it in details but this tool allows you to automatize your Live Partition Mobility moves. It's a web interface coming with a tomcat server that you can run on a Linux or directly on your laptop. This web application is taking control of your Hardware Management Console and allows you to do a lot of things LPM related :

    • You can run a validation on every partitions on a system.
    • You can move you partitions by spreading or packing them on destination server.
    • You can "record" a move to replay it later (very very very useful for my previous customer for instance, we were making our moves by clients, all clients were hosted on two big P795)
    • You can run a dynamic platform optimizer after the moves.
    • You have an option to move back the partitions to their original location and this is (in my humble opinion) what's make this tool so powerfull


    Since I have this tool I'm now running on a week basis a validation of all my partition to check if there are any errors. I'm now using it to move and move back the partitions when I have to. So I really recommends the Live Partition Mobility Automation tool.

    Hardware Management Console 8 : Other new features

    Adding a VLAN to an already existing Shared Ethernet Adapter

    With the new Hardware Management Console you can easily add a new vlan to an already existing Shared Ethernet Adapter (failover and shared, with and without control channel : no restriction) without having to perform a dlpar operation on each Virtual I/O Server and then modifying your profiles (if you do not have the synchronization enabled). Even better by using this method to add your new vlans you will avoid any misconfiguration, for instance by forgetting to add the vlan on one or the Virtual I/O Server or by not choosing the same adapter on both side.

    • Open the Virtual Network page in the HMC and click "Add a Virtual Network". You have to remember that a Virtual Network Bridge is an Shared Ethernet Adapter, and a Load balance group is a pair of virtual adapters on both Virtual I/O Server with the same PVID :
    • add_vlan5

    • Choose the name of your vlan (in my case VLAN3331), then choose bridged network (bridged network is the new name for Shared Ethernet Adapters ...), choose "yes" for vlan tagging, and put the vlan id (in my case 3331). By choosing the virtual switch, the HMC will only let you choose a Shared Ethernet Adapter configured in the virtual switch (no mistake possible). DO NOT forget to check the box "Add new virtual network to all Virtual I/O servers" to add the vlan on both sides :
    • add_vlan

    • On the next page you have to choose the Shared Ethernet Adapter on which the vlan will be added (in my case this is super easy, I ALWAYS create one Shared Ethernet Adapter per virtual switch to avoid misconfiguration and network loops created by adding with the same vlan id on two differents Shared Ethernet Adapter) :
    • add_vlan2

    • At last choose or create a new "Load Sharing Group". A load sharing group is one of the virtual adapter of your Shared Ethernet Adapter. In my case my Shared Ethernet Adapter was created with two virtual adapters with id 10 and 11. On this screenshot I'm telling the HMC to add the new vlan on the adapter with the id 10 on both Virtual I/O Servers. You can also create a new virtual adapter to be included in the Shared Ethernet Adapter by choosing "Create a new load sharing group" :
    • add_vlan3

    • Before applying the configuration a summary is prompted to the user to check the changes :
    • add_vlan4

    Partition Templates

    You can also use the template to capture and created partitions not just systems. I'll not give you all the details because the HMC is well documented for this part and there is no tricky things to do, just follow the GUI. One more time the HMC8 is for the noobs \o/. Here are a few screenshot of partitions templates (capture and deploy) :


    A new a nice look and feel for the new Hardware Management Console

    Everybody that the HMC GUI is not very nice but it's working great. One of the major new thing of the HMC 8r8.2.0 is the new GUI. In my opinion the new GUI is awesome the design is nice and I love it. Look at the pictures below :



    The Hardware Management Console 8 is still young but offers a lot of new cool features like system and partitions template, performance dashboard and a new GUI. In my opinion the new GUI is slow and there are a lot of bugs for the moment, my advice is to use when you have the time to use it, not in a rush. Learn the new HMC on your own by trying to do all the common tasks with the new GUI (there are still impossible things to do ;-)). I can assure you that you will need more than a few hour to be familiarized with all those new features. And don't forget to call you pre-sales to have a demonstration of the STG's toolkits, both provisioning and LPM are awesome. Use it !

    What is going on in this world

    This blog is not and will never be the place for political things but with the darkest days we had in France two weeks ago with this insane and inhuman terrorists attacks I had to say a few words about it (because even if my whole life is about AIX for the moment, I'm also an human being .... if you doubt about it). Since the tragic death of 17 men and women in France everybody is raising his voice to tell us (me ?) what is right and what is wrong without thinking seriously about it. Things like this terrorist attack should never happen again. I just wanted to say that I'm for liberty, no only for the "liberty of expression", but just the liberty. By defending this liberty we have to be very careful because in the name of this defense things that are done by our government may take us what we call liberty forever. Are the phone and the internet going to be tapped and logged in the name of the liberty ? Is this liberty ? Think about it and resist.

    Configuration of a Remote Restart Capable partition

    How can we move a partition to another machine if the machine or the data-center on which the partition is hosted is totally unavailable ? This question is often asked by managers and technical people. Live Partition Mobility can’t answer to this question because the source machine needs to be running to initiate the mobility. I’m sure that most of you are implementing a manual solution based on a bunch of scripts recreating the partition profile by hand but this is hard to maintain and it’s not fully automatized and not supported by IBM. A solution to this problem is to setup your partitions as Remote Restart Capable partitions. This PowerVM feature is available since the release of VMcontrol (IBM Systems Director plugin). Unfortunately this powerful feature is not well documented but will probably in the next months or in the next year be a must have on your newly deployed AIX machines. One last word : with the new Power8 machines things are going to change about remote restart, the functionality will be easier to use and a lot of prerequisites are going to disappear. Just to be clear this post has been written using Power7+ 9117-MMD machines, the only thing you can’t do with these machines (compared to Power8 ones) is changing a current partition to be remote restart capable aware without having to delete and recreate its profile.


    To create and use a remote restart partition on Power7+/Power8 machines you’ll need this prerequisites :

    • A PowerVM enterprise license (Capability “PowerVM remote restart capable” to true, be careful there is another capability named “Remote restart capable” this was used by VMcontrol only, so double check the capability ok for you).
    • A firmware 780 (or later all Power8 firmware are ok, all Power7 >= 780 are ok).
    • Your source and destination machine are connected to the same Hardware Management Console, you can’t remote restart between two HMC at the moment.
    • Minimum version of HMC is 8r8.0.0. Check you have the rrstartlpar command (not the rrlpar command used by VMcontrol only).
    • Better than a long post check this video (don’t laugh at me, I’m trying to do my best but this is one of my first video …. hope it is good) :

    What is a remote restart capable virtual machine ?

    Better than a long text to explain you what is, check the picture below and follow each number from 1 to 4 to understand what is a remote restart partition :


    Create the profile of you remote restart capable partition : Power7 vs Power8

    A good reason to move to Power8 faster than you planed is that you can change a virtual machine to be remote restart capable without having to recreate the whole profile. I don’t know why at the time of writing this post but changing a non remote restart capable lpar to a remote restart capable lpar is only available on Power8 systems. If you are using a Power7 machine (like me in all the examples below) be carful to check this option while creating the machine. Keep in mind that if you forgot to check to option you will not be able to enable the remote restart capability afterwards and you unfortunately have to remove you profile and recreate it, sad but true … :

    • Don’t forget to check the check box to allow the partition to be remote restart capable :
    • remote_restart_capable_enabled1

    • After the partition is created you can notice in the I/O tab that all remote restart capable partition are not able to own any physical I/O adapter :
    • rr2_nophys

    • You can check in the properties that the remote restart capable feature is activated :
    • remote_restart_capable_activated

    • If you try to modify an existing profile on a Power7 machine you’ll get this error message. On a Power8 machine there will be not problem :
    • # chsyscfg -r lpar -m XXXX-9117-MMD-658B2AD -p test_lpar-i remote_restart_capable=1
      An error occurred while changing the partition named test_lpar.
      The managed system does not support changing the remote restart capability of a partition. You must delete the partition and recreate it with the desired remote restart capability.
    • You can verify that some of your lpar are remote restart capable :
    • lssyscfg -r lpar -m source-machine -F name,remote_restart_capable
    • On a Power 7 machine the best way to enable remote restart on an already created machine is to delete the profile and recreate it by hand and adding it the remote restart attribute :
    • Get the current partition profile :
    • $ lssyscfg -r prof -m s00ka9927558-9117-MMD-658B2AD --filter "lpar_names=temp3-b642c120-00000133"
    • Remove the partition :
    • $ chsysstate -r lpar -o shutdown --immed -m source-server -n temp3-b642c120-00000133
      $ rmsyscfg -r lpar -m source-server -n temp3-b642c120-00000133
    • Recreate the partition with the remote restart attribute enabled :
    • mksyscfg -r lpar -m s00ka9927558-9117-MMD-658B2AD -i 'name=temp3-b642c120-00000133,profile_name=default_profile,remote_restart_capable=1,lpar_id=11,lpar_env=aixlinux,all_resources=0,min_mem=8192,desired_mem=8192,max_mem=8192,min_num_huge_pages=0,desired_num_huge_pages=0,max_num_huge_pages=0,mem_mode=ded,mem_expansion=0.0,hpt_ratio=1:128,proc_mode=shared,min_proc_units=2.0,desired_proc_units=2.0,max_proc_units=2.0,min_procs=4,desired_procs=4,max_procs=4,sharing_mode=uncap,uncap_weight=128,shared_proc_pool_name=DefaultPool,affinity_group_id=none,io_slots=none,lpar_io_pool_ids=none,max_virtual_slots=64,"virtual_serial_adapters=0/server/1/any//any/1,1/server/1/any//any/1",virtual_scsi_adapters=3/client/2/s00ia9927560/32/0,virtual_eth_adapters=32/0/1659//0/0/vdct/facc157c3e20/all/0,virtual_eth_vsi_profiles=none,"virtual_fc_adapters=""2/client/1/s00ia9927559/32/c050760727c5007a,c050760727c5007b/0"",""4/client/1/s00ia9927559/35/c050760727c5007c,c050760727c5007d/0"",""5/client/2/s00ia9927560/34/c050760727c5007e,c050760727c5007f/0"",""6/client/2/s00ia9927560/35/c050760727c50080,c050760727c50081/0""",vtpm_adapters=none,hca_adapters=none,boot_mode=norm,conn_monitoring=1,auto_start=0,power_ctrl_lpar_ids=none,work_group_id=none,redundant_err_path_reporting=0,bsr_arrays=0,lpar_proc_compat_mode=default,sriov_eth_logical_ports=none'

    Creating a reserved storage device

    The reserved storage device pool is used to store the configuration data of the remote restart partition. At the time of writing this post thoses devices are mandatory and as far as I know they are used just to store the configuration and not the state (memory state) of the virtual machines itself (maybe in the future, who knows ?) (You can’t create or boot any remote restart partition if you do not have a reserved storage device pool created, do this before doing anything else) :

    • You have first to find on both Virtual I/O Server and on both machines (source and destination machine used for the remote restart operation) a bunch of devices. These ones have to be the same on all the Virtual I/O Server used for the remote restart operation. The lsmemdev command is used to find those devices :
    • vios1$ lspv | grep -iE "hdisk988|hdisk989|hdisk990"
      hdisk988         00ced82ce999d6f3                     None
      hdisk989         00ced82ce999d960                     None
      hdisk990         00ced82ce999dbec                     None
      vios2$ lspv | grep -iE "hdisk988|hdisk989|hdisk990"
      hdisk988         00ced82ce999d6f3                     None
      hdisk989         00ced82ce999d960                     None
      hdisk990         00ced82ce999dbec                     None
      vios3$ lspv | grep -iE "hdisk988|hdisk989|hdisk990"
      hdisk988         00ced82ce999d6f3                     None
      hdisk989         00ced82ce999d960                     None
      hdisk990         00ced82ce999dbec                     None
      vios4$ lspv | grep -iE "hdisk988|hdisk989|hdisk990"
      hdisk988         00ced82ce999d6f3                     None
      hdisk989         00ced82ce999d960                     None
      hdisk990         00ced82ce999dbec                     None
      $ lsmemdev -r avail -m source-machine -p vios1,vios2
      $ lsmemdev -r avail -m dest-machine -p vios3,vios4
    • Create the reserved storage device pool using the chhwres command on the Hardware Management Console (create on all machines used by the remote restart operation) :
    • $ chhwres -r rspool -m source-machine -o a -a vios_names=\"vios1,vios2\"
      $ chhwres -r rspool -m source-machine -o a -p vios1 --rsubtype rsdev --device hdisk988 --manual
      $ chhwres -r rspool -m source-machine -o a -p vios1 --rsubtype rsdev --device hdisk989 --manual
      $ chhwres -r rspool -m source-machine -o a -p vios1 --rsubtype rsdev --device hdisk990 --manual
      $ lshwres -r rspool -m source-machine --rsubtype rsdev
      $ lshwres -r rspool -m source-machine
    • You can also create the reserved storage device pool from Hardware Management Console GUI :
    • After selecting the Virtual I/O Server, click select devices :
    • rr_rsd_pool_p

    • Choose the maximum and minimum size to filter the devices you can select for the creation of the reserved storage device :
    • rr_rsd_pool2_p

    • Choose the disk you want to put in you reserved storage device pool (put all the devices used by remote restart partitions in manual mode, automatic devices are used by suspend/resume operation or AMS pool. One device can not be shared by two remote restart partitions) :
    • rr_rsd_pool_waiting_3_p

    • You can check afterwards that your reserved device storage pool is created and is composed by three devices :
    • rr_pool_create_9

    Select a storage device for each remote restart partition before starting it :

    After creating the reserved device storage pool you have for every partition to select a device from the storage pool. This device will be used to store the configuration data of the partition :

    • You can see you cannot start the partition if no devices were selected !
    • To select the correct device size you first have to calculate the needed space for every partition using the using the lsrsdevsize command. This size around the size of max memory value set in the partition profile (don’t ask me why):
    • $ lsrsdevsize -m source-machine -p temp3-b642c120-00000133
    • Select the device you want to assign to your machine (in my case there was already a device selected for this machine) :
    • rr_rsd_pool_assign_p

    • Then select the machine you want to assign for the device :
    • rr_rsd_pool_assign2_p

    • Or do this in command line :
    • $ chsyscfg -r lpar -m source-machine -i "name=temp3-b642c120-00000133,primary_rs_vios_name=vios1,secondary_rs_vios_name=vios2,rs_device_name=hdisk988"
      $ lssyscfg -r lpar -m source-machine --filter "lpar_names=temp3-b642c120-00000133" -F primary_rs_vios_name,secondary_rs_vios_name,curr_rs_vios_name
      $ lshwres -r rspool -m source-machine --rsubtype rsdev

    Launch the remote restart operation

    All the remote restart operations are launched from the Hardware Management Console with the rrstartlpar command. At the time of writing this post there is not GUI function to remote restart a machine and you can only do it with the command line :


    Like you can do it with a Live Partition Mobility move you can validate a remote restart operation before running it. You can only perform the remote restart operation if the machine on which the remote restart machine is hosted is shutdown or in error, so the validation is very useful and mandatory to check your remote restart machine are well configured without having to stop the source machine :

    $ rrstartlpar -o validate -m source-machine -t dest-machine -p rrlpar
    $ rrstartlpar -o validate -m source-machine -t dest-machine -p rrlpar -d 5
    $ rrstartlpar -o validate -m source-machine -t dest-machine -p rrlpar --redundantvios 2 -d 5 -v


    As I said before the remote restart operation can only be performed if the source machine is in a particular state, the states that allows a remote restart operation are :

    • Power Off.
    • Error.
    • Error – Dump in progress state.

    So the only way to test a remote restart operation today is to shutdown your source machine :

    • Shutdown the source machine :
    • step1

      $ chsysstate -m source-machine -r sys  -o off --immed


    • You can next check on the Hardware Management Console that Virtual I/O Servers and the remote restart lpar are in state “Not available”. You’re now ready to remote restart the lpar (if the partition id is used on the destination machine the next available one will be used) (you have to wait a little before remote restarting the partition, check below) :
    • $ rrstartlpar -o restart -m source-machine -t dest-machine -p rrlpar -d 5 -v
      HSCLA9CE The managed system is not in a valid state to support partition remote restart operations.
      $ rrstartlpar -o restart -m source-machine -t dest-machine -p rrlpar -d 5 -v
      HSCLA32F The specified partition ID is no longer valid. The next available partition ID will be used.



    When the source machine is ready to be up (after an outage for instance) just boot the machine and its Virtual I/O Server. After the machine is up you can notice that the rrlpar profile is still there and it can be a huge problem if somebody is trying to boot this machine because it is started on the other machine after the remote restart operation. To prevent such an error you have to cleanup your remote restart partition by using the rrstartlpar command again. Be careful not to check the option to boot the partitions after the machine is started :

    • Restart the source machine and its Virtual I/O Servers :
    • $ chsysstate -m source-machine -r sys -o on
      $ chsysstate -r lpar -m source-machine -n vios1 -o on -f default_profile
      $ chsysstate -r lpar -m source-machine -n vios2 -o on -f default_profile


    • Perform the cleanup operation to remove the profile of the remote restart partition (if you want later to LPM back your machine you have to keep the device of the reserved device storage pool in the pool, if you do not use the –retaindev option the device will be automatically removed from the pool) :
    • $ rrstartlpar -o cleanup -m source-machine -p rrlpar --retaindev -d 5 -v --force


    Refresh the partition and profile data

    During my test I encounter a problem. The configuration was not correctly synced between the device used in the reserved device storage pool and the current partition profile. I had to use a command named refdev (for refresh device) to synchronize the partition and profile data to the storage device.

    $ refdev -m source-machine -p refdev -m sys1 -p temp3-b642c120-00000133 -v 

    What’s in the reserved storage device ?

    I’m a curious guy. After playing with remote restart I asked myself a question, what is really stored in the reserved device storage device assigned to the remote restart partition. Looking in the documentation on the internet does not answer to my question so I had to look on it on my own. By ‘dding” the reserved storage device assigned to a partition I realized that the profile is stored in xml format. Maybe this format is the same format that the one used by the HMC 8 templates library. For the moment and during my tests on Power7+ machine the state of the memory of the partition is not transferred to the destination machine, maybe because I had to shutdown the whole source machine to test. Maybe the memory state of the machine is transferred to the destination machine if this one is in error state or is dumping. I had not chance to test this :

    root@vios1:/home/padmin# dd if=/dev/hdisk17 of=/tmp/hdisk17.out bs=1024 count=10
    10+0 records in
    10+0 records out
    root@vios1:/home/padmin# more hdisk17.out
     lpar_name="rrlpar" lpar_uuid="0D80582A44F64B43B2981D632743A6C8" lpar_uuid_gen_method="0"><SourceLparConfig additional_mac_addr_bases="" ame_capability="0" auto_start_e
    rmal" conn_monitoring="0" desired_proc_compat_mode="default" effective_proc_compat_mode="POWER7" hardware_mem_encryption="10" hardware_mem_expansion="5" keylock="normal
    "4" lpar_placement="0" lpar_power_mgmt="0" lpar_rr_dev_desc="	<cpage>		<P>1</P>
    " lpar_rr_status="6" lpar_tcc_slot_id="65535" lpar_vtpm_status="65535" mac_addres
    x_virtual_slots="10" partition_type="rpa" processor_compatibility_mode="default" processor_mode="shared" shared_pool_util_authority="0" sharing_mode="uncapped" slb_mig_
    ofile="1" time_reference="0" uncapped_weight="128"><VirtualScsiAdapter is_required="false" remote_lpar_id="2" src_vios_slot_number="4" virtual_slot_number="4"/><Virtual
    "false" remote_lpar_id="1" src_vios_slot_number="3" virtual_slot_number="3"/><Processors desired="4" max="8" min="1"/><VirtualFibreChannelAdapter/><VirtualEthernetAdapt
    " filter_mac_address="" is_ieee="0" is_required="false" mac_address="82776CE63602" mac_address_flags="0" qos_priority="0" qos_priority_control="false" virtual_slot_numb
    witch_id="1" vswitch_name="vdct"/><Memory desired="8192" hpt_ratio="7" max="16384" memory_mode="ded" min="256" mode="ded" psp_usage="3"><IoEntitledMem usage="auto"/></M
     desired="200" max="400" min="10"/></SourceLparConfig></SourceLparInfo></SourceInfo><FileInfo modification="0" version="1"/><SriovEthMappings><SriovEthVFInfo/></SriovEt
    VirtualFibreChannelAdapterInfo/></VfcMappings><ProcPools capacity="0"/><TargetInfo concurr_mig_in_prog="-1" max_msp_concur_mig_limit_dynamic="-1" max_msp_concur_mig_lim
    concur_mig_limit="-1" mpio_override="1" state="nonexitent" uuid_override="1" vlan_override="1" vsi_override="1"><ManagerInfo/><TargetMspInfo port_number="-1"/><TargetLp
    ar_name="rrlpar" processor_pool_id="-1" target_profile_name="mig3_9117_MMD_10C94CC141109224549"><SharedMemoryConfig pool_id="-1" primary_paging_vios_id="0"/></TargetLpa
    argetInfo><VlanMappings><VlanInfo description="VkVSU0lPTj0xClZJT19UWVBFPVZFVEgKVkxBTl9JRD0zMzMxClZTV0lUQ0g9dmRjdApCUklER0VEPXllcwo=" vlan_id="3331" vswitch_mode="VEB" v
    ibleTargetVios/></VlanInfo></VlanMappings><MspMappings><MspInfo/></MspMappings><VscsiMappings><VirtualScsiAdapterInfo description="PHYtc2NzaS1ob3N0PgoJPGdlbmVyYWxJbmZvP
    DAwMDAwMDAwMDNGQTA0MjE0NTAzSUJNZmNwPC91ZGlkPgoJCQkJPHR5cGU+VURJRDwvdHlwZT4KCQkJPC9BSVg+CgkJPC9ibG9ja1N0b3JhZ2U+Cgk8L3ZpcnREZXY+Cjwvdi1zY3NpLWhvc3Q+" slot_number="4" sou
    _slot_number="4"><PossibleTargetVios/></VirtualScsiAdapterInfo><VirtualScsiAdapterInfo description="PHYtc2NzaS1ob3N0PgoJPGdlbmVyYWxJbmZvPgoJCTx2ZXJzaW9uPjIuNDwvdmVyc2lv
    ZmNwPC91ZGlkPgoJCQkJPHR5cGU+VURJRDwvdHlwZT4KCQkJPC9BSVg+CgkJPC9ibG9ja1N0b3JhZ2U+Cgk8L3ZpcnREZXY+Cjwvdi1zY3NpLWhvc3Q+" slot_number="3" source_vios_id="1" src_vios_slot_n
    tVios/></VirtualScsiAdapterInfo></VscsiMappings><SharedMemPools find_devices="false" max_mem="16384"><SharedMemPool/></SharedMemPools><MigrationSession optional_capabil
    les" recover="na" required_capabilities="veth_switch,hmc_compatibilty,proc_compat_modes,remote_restart_capability,lpar_uuid" stream_id="9988047026654530562" stream_id_p

    About the state of the source machine ?

    You have to know this before using remote restart : at the time of writing this post the remote restart feature is still young and have to evolve before being usable in real life, I’m saying this because the FSP of the source machine has to be up to perform a remote restart operation. To be clear the remote restart feature does not answer to the total loss of one of your site. It’s just useful to restart partitions of a system with a problem that is not an FSP problem (problem with memory DIMM, problem with CPUs for instance). It can be used in your DRP exercises but not if your whole site is totally down which is -in my humble opinion- one of the key feature that remote restart needs to answer. Don’t be afraid read the conclusion ….


    This post have been written using Power7+ machines, my goal was to give you an example of remote restart operations : a summary of what is is, how it work, and where and when to use it. I’m pretty sure that a lot of things are going to change about remote restart. First, on Power8 machines you don’t have to recreate the partitions to make them remote restart aware. Second, I know that changes are on the way for remote restart on Power8 machines, especially about reserved storage devices and about the state of the source machine. I’m sure this feature will have a bright future and used with PowerVC it can be a killer feature. Hope to see all this changes in a near future ;-). Once again I hope this post helps you.

    An overview of the IBM Technical Collaboration Council for PowerSystems 2014

    Since now eight ten months I decided to change my job for better or for worst. Talking about the better I had the chance to be enrolled for the Technical Collaboration Council for Power Systems (I’ll not talk about the worst … this could takes me hours to explain it..). The Technical Collaboration Council is not well known in Europe, and not well known for Power Systems and I think writing this blog post may offer a better worldwide visibility to the Technical Collaboration Council. It deserve a blog post :-).

    To be clear and to avoid any problem to participate in the meeting you have first to sign a Non Disclosure Announcement. A lot of presentations are still IBM confidential. This said I had sign this NDA. So I cannot talk about the content of the meeting. Sure there is a lot of things to say but I have to keep it for me … :-)

    But what is exactly the Technical Collaboration Council ? This annual meeting takes places in Austin Texas at the home of Power Systems :-). The duration is for one week from Monday to Friday. The Technical Collaboration Council is inviting biggest IBM customers all over the world. For a guy like me so involved in this community, coming here was a great opportunity and way to spread the word about my blog and my participation in the Power community. In fact we were just a few people coming from Europe and a lot of US guys. The TCC looks like an IBM Technical University in better … because you can participate during the meeting and answer to a lot of surveys about the shape of things to come about Power Systems :-) :-) :-) .

    Here is what you can see and what you can do when you are coming to the TCC Power. And for me it’s exciting !!! :

    • Meetings about trends an directions about Power Systems (overview of new products (hardware and software), new functionality and new releases going to be released in the next year).
    • Direct Access to IBM Lab. You can go and ask the lab about a particular feature you need, or about something you didn’t understand. For instance I had a quick meeting with PowerVC guys (not only guys, sorry Christine) about my needs for the next few months. Another one : I had the chance to talk to the head manager of AIX and ask him about a few things I’d like to see in the new version of AIX (Who said an installation over http ?).
    • Big “names” of Power are here, they share and talk : Doug Ballog, Satya Sharma. Seeing them is always impressive !
    • Interaction and sharing with other customers : like me a lot of customers were here at the TCC and sharing about how they do things and how they use their Power Systems it ALWAYS useful. Had a few interesting conversations with guys from another big bank with the same constraints as me.
    • You can say what you think. IBM is waiting for you feedback .. positive or negative.
    • Demo and hands on new products and new functionality (Remember about the IBM Provisionning Toolkit for PowerVM & a cool LPM scheduler presented by STG lab services guys).
    • Possibility to enroll for beta programs … (in my case HMC)
    • You can finally meet guys you had on the phone or by mail since a couple of years in real. It’s always useful !
    • And of course lot of fun :-)

    I had the chance to talk about my experience about PowerVC in front of all the TCC members. It was very stressful for a French guy like me … and I just had a few minutes to prepare … Hope it was good, but It was a great experience. You can do things like this at the TCC … you think PowerVC is good, just go on the scene and have 15 minutes talk about it … :-)


    The Technical Collaboration Council is not just about technical stuffs and work. You can also have a lot of fun talking to IBM guys and customers. There are a lot of moments when people can eat and drink together and the possibility to share about everything is always here. And if I had to remember only one thing about the Technical Collaboration Council it will be that it is a great moment of sharing with others and not just about work and Power Systems. This said I wanted to thanks IBM and a lot of people for their kindness, their availability and all the fun they give us during this week. So thanks to : Philippe H., Patrice P., Satya S., Jay K., Carl B., Eddy S., Natalie M, Christine W, François L, Rosa D … and sorry for those I’ve forgotten :-). And never forget that Power is performance redefined.

    Ok ; one last word. Maybe some of the customers who were here this year are going to read this post and I encourage you to react to this post and to post comments. Redhat moto is “We grow when we share”, but in such events I am (and we are) growing when IBM is sharing. People may think that IBM do not share … I disagree :-). They are doing it and they are doing it well ! And never forget that the Power Community is still alive and ready to rocks ! So please raise your voice about it. In such times, times of Media and Social we have to prove to IBM and to the world that is community is growing, is great, and is ready to share.
    One last thing, the way to work in US seems to be very different than the way we do in Europe … could be cool to move to US

    Exploit the full potential of PowerVC by using Shared Storage Pools & Linked Clones | PowerVC secrets about Linked Clones (pooladm,mksnap,mkclone,vioservice)

    My journey into PowerVC still continues :-). The blog was not updated for two months but I’ve been busy these days, get sick … and so on, have another post in the pipe but this one has to be approved by IBM before posting ….. Since the latest version (at the time of writing this post PowerVC is now capable of managing Shared Storage Pool (SSP). It’s a huge announcement because a lot of customers do not have a Storage Volume Controller and supported fibre channel switches. By using PowerVC in conjunction with SSP you will reveal the true and full potential of the product. There are two major enhancements brought by SSP, the first is the time of deployment of the new virtual machines … by using an SSP you’ll move from minutes to …. seconds. Second huge enhancement : by using SSP you’ll automatically -without knowing it- using a feature called “Linked Clones”. For those who are following my blog since the very beginning you’re probably aware that Linked Clones are usable and available since SSP were managed by the IBM Systems Director VMcontrol module. You can still refer to my blog posts about it … even if ISD VMcontrol is now a little bit outdated by PowerVC : here. Using PowerVC with Shared Storage Pools is easy, but how does it work behind the scene ? After analysing the process of deployment I’ve found some cool features, PowerVC is using secrets undocumented commands, pooladm, vioservice, mkdev secrets arguments … :

    Discovering Shared Storage Pool on your PowerVC environment

    The first step to do before beginning is to discover the Shared Storage Pool on PowerVC. I’m taking the time to explain you that because it’s so easy that people (like me) can think there is much to do about it … but no PowerVC is simple. You have nothing to do. I’m not going to explain you here how to create a Shared Storage Pool, please refer to my previous posts about this : here and here. After the Shared Storage Pool is created this one will be automatically added into PowerVC … nothing to do. Keep in mind that you will need the latest in date version of the Hardware Management Console (v8r8.1.0). If you are in trouble discovering the Shared Storage Pool check the Virtual I/O Server‘s RMC are ok. In general if you can query and perform any action on the Shared Storage Pool from the HMC there will be no problem from the PowerVC side.

    • You don’t have to reload PowerVC after creating the Shared Storage Pool, just check you can see it from the storage tab :
    • pvc_ssp1

    • You will get more details by clicking on the Shared Storage Pool ….
    • pvc_ssp2

    • such as captured image on the Shared Storage Pool ….
    • pvc_ssp3

    • volumes created on it …
    • pvc_ssp4

    What is a linked clone ?

    Think before start. You have to understand what is a Linked Clone before reading the rest of this post. Linked Clones are not well described in documentations and Rebooks. Linked Clones are based on Shared Storage Pools snapshots. No Shared Storage Pool = No Linked Clones. Here is what is going behind the scene when you are deploying a Linked Clone :

    1. The captured rootvg underlying disk is a Shared Storage Pool Logical Unit.
    2. When the image is captured the rootvg Logical Unit is copied and is known as a “Logical (Client Image) Unit”.
    3. When deploying a new machine a snapshot is created from the Logical (Client Image) Unit.
    4. A “special Logical Unit” is created from the snapshot. This Logical Unit seems to be a pointer to the snapshot. We call it a clone.
    5. The machine is booted and the activation engine is running and reconfiguring the network.
    6. When a block is modified on the new machine this one is duplicated and modified on one new block on the Shared Storage Pool.
    7. This said if no blocks are modified all the machines created from this capture are sharing the same blocks on the Shared Storage Pool.
    8. Only modified blocks are not shared between Linked Clones. The more things you will change on your rootvg the more space you will use on the Shared Storage Pool.
    9. That’s why these machines are called Linked Clones : they all are connected by the same source Logical Unit.
    10. You will save TIME (just a snapshot creation for the storage side) and SPACE (all rootvg will be shared by all the deployed machines) by using Linked Clones.

    An image is sometimes better than long text, so here is a schema explaining all about Linked Clones :


    You have to capture an SSP base VM to deploy on the SSP

    Be aware of one thing, you can’t deploy a virtual machine on the SSP if you don’t have an captured image on the SSP. You can’t deploy your Storwize images to deploy on the SSP. You first have to create by your own a machine which has its rootvg running on the SSP :

    • Create an image based on an SSP virtual machine :
    • pvc_ssp_capture1

    • Shared Storage Pool Logical Unit are stored in /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1.
    • Shared Storage Pool Logical (Client Image) Unit are stored in /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM.
    • The Logical Unit of the captured virtual machine is copied with the dd command from the VOL1 (/var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1) directory to the IM directory (/var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM) (so from volumes to images).
    • If you do this yourself by using the dd command you can see that the capture image is not shown at the ouput of the snapshot command (by using Linked Clones the snapshot command is separated in two categories, the actuals and “real” Logical Unit and Logical (Client Image) Units which are the PowerVC images …
    • A secret API managed by a secret command called vioservice is adding your newly created image too the Shared Storage pool soliddb.
    • After the “registration” the Client Image is visible with the snapshot command.


    After the image is captured and stored on the Shared Storage Pool images directory, you can now deploy virtual machines based on this image. Keep in mind that blocks are shared by each linked clones, you’ll be suprised that deploying machines will not used the free space on the shared storage pool. But be aware that you can’t deploy any machines if there is no “blank” space in the PowerVC space bar (check image below ….) :


    Step by step deployment by exemple

    • A snapshot of the image is created trough the pooladm command. You can check the output of the snapshot command after this step you’ll see a new snapshot derived from the Logical (Client Image) Unit.
    • This snapshot is cloned (My understanding of the clone is that it is a normal logical unit sharing block with an image). After the snapshot is cloned a new volume is created in the shared storage pool volume directory but at this step this one is not visible with the lu command because creating a clone do not create meta-data on the shared storage pool.
    • A dummy logical unit is created. Then the clone is moved on the dummy logical unit to replace it.
    • The clone logical unit is mapped to client.


    You can do it yourself without PowerVC (not supported)

    Just for my understanding of what is doing PowerVC behind the scene I decided to try to do all the steps on my own.This steps are working but are not supported at all by IBM.

    • Before starting to read this you need to know that $ prompts are for padmin commands, # prompts are for root commands. You’ll need the cluster id and the pool id to build some xml files :
    • $ cluster -list -field CLUSTER_ID
      CLUSTER_ID:      c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30
      $ lssp -clustername powervc_cluster -field POOL_ID
      POOL_ID:         000000000AFFF80C0000000053DA327C
    • So the cluster id will be c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30 and the pool id will be c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30000000000AFFF80C0000000053DA327C. These id are often prefixed by two characters (I don’t know the utility of these ones but it will work in all cases …)
    • Image files are stored in /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM.
    • Logical units files are stored in /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1.
    • Create the “envelope” of the Logical (Client Image) Unit, by creating an xml file (the udid are build with the cluster udid and the pool udid) used as the standard input of the vioservice command :
    • # cat create_client_image.xml
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <VIO xmlns="" version="1.20">
          <Request action="1">
              <Cluster udid="22c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30">
                  <Pool udid="24c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30000000000AFFF80C0000000053DA327C">
                          <LU capacity="55296" type="8">
                              <Image label="chmod666-homemade-image"/>
      # /usr/ios/sbin/vioservice lib/libvio/lu < create_client_image.xml
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <VIO xmlns="" version="1.20">
      <Response><Cluster udid="22c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30" name="powervc_cluster"><Pool udid="24c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30000000000AFFF80C0000000053DA327C" name="powervc_sp" raidLevel="0" overCommitSpace="0"><Tier udid="25c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f3019f95b3ea4c4dee1" name="SYSTEM" overCommitSpace="0"><LU udid="29c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874" capacity="55296" physicalUsage="0" unusedCommitment="0" type="8" derived="" thick="0" tmoveState="0"><Image label="chmod666-homemade-image" relPath=""/></LU></Tier></Pool></Cluster></Response></VIO>
      # ls -l /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM
      total 339759720
      -rwx------    1 root     staff    57982058496 Sep  8 19:00 chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
      -rwx------    1 root     system   57982058496 Aug 12 17:53 volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-SSP3e2066b2a7a9437194f48860affd56c0.ac671df86edaf07e96e399e3a2dbd425
      -rwx------    1 root     system   57982058496 Aug 18 19:15 volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-c--5bd3991bdac84c48b519e19bfb1be381.e525b8eb474f54e1d34d9d02cb0b49b4
    • You can now see with the snapshot command that a new Logical (Client Image) Unit is here :
    • $ snapshot -clustername powervc_cluster -list -spname powervc_sp
      Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
      volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-SSP3e2066b2a7a9437194f48860affd56c055296          THIN               100% 0              ac671df86edaf07e96e399e3a2dbd425
      chmod666-homemade-image  55296          THIN                 0% 55299          d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
      volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-c--5bd3991bdac84c48b519e19bfb1be38155296          THIN               100% 55299          e525b8eb474f54e1d34d9d02cb0b49b4
    • Copy the source image (the stopped virtual machine with the activation engine activated) to this newly created image. (This one will be the new reference of all your virtual machines created with this image as source). Use the dd command to do it (and don’t forget the block size). You can check while the dd is running that the unused percentage is increasing :
    • # dd if=/var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-aaaa95f8317c666549c4809264281db536dd.a2b7ed754030ca97668b30ab6cff5c45 of=/var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874 bs=1M
      $ snapshot -clustername powervc_cluster -list -spname powervc_sp
      Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
      chmod666-homemade-image  55296          THIN                23% 0              d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
      $ snapshot -clustername powervc_cluster -list -spname powervc_sp
      Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
      chmod666-homemade-image  55296          THIN                40% 0              d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
      n$ snapshot -clustername powervc_cluster -list -spname powervc_sp
      Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
      chmod666-homemade-image  55296          THIN               100% 0              d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
    • You have now a new reference image. This one will be used as a reference for all you linked clone deployed virtual machines. A linked clone is created from a snapshot, so you have first to create a snapshot of the newly created image, by using the pooladm command (keep in mind that you can’t use snapshot command to work on Logical (Client Image) Unit). The snapshot is identified by the logical unit name suffixed by the “@“. Use mksnap to create the snap, and lssnap to show it. The snapshot will be visible at the output of the snapshot command :
    • # pooladm file mksnap /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874@chmod666IMSnap
      # pooladm file lssnap /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
      Primary Path         File Snapshot name
      /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874 chmod666IMSnap
      $ snapshot -clustername powervc_cluster -list -spname powervc_sp
      Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
      chmod666-homemade-image  55296          THIN               100% 55299  d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
    • You can now create the clone from the snap (snap are identified by a ‘@’ character prefixed by the image name). Name the clone the way you want because this one will be renamed and moved to replace a normal logical unit, I’m using here the PowerVC convention (IMtmp). The creation of the clone will create a new file in the VOL1 directory with no shared storage pool meta data, so this clone will no be visible at the output of the lu command :
    • $ pooladm file mkclone /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874@chmod666IMSnap /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666-IMtmp
      $ ls -l  /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/*chmod666-IM*
      -rwx------    1 root     system   57982058496 Sep  9 16:27 /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666-IMtmp
    • By using vioservice, create a logical unit on the shared storage pool. This will create a new image with a newly generated udid. If you check in the volume directory you can notice that the clone does not have the meta-data file needed by shared storage pool.(This file is prefixed by a dot (.)). After creating this logical unit replace it with your clone with a simple move :
    • $ cat create_client_lu.xml
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <VIO xmlns="" version="1.20">
          <Request action="1">
              <Cluster udid="22c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30">
                  <Pool udid="24c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30000000000AFFF80C0000000053DA327C">
                          <LU capacity="55296" type="1">
      $ /usr/ios/sbin/vioservice lib/libvio/lu < create_client_lu.xml
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <VIO xmlns="" version="1.20">
      <Response><Cluster udid="22c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30" name="powervc_cluster"><Pool udid="24c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30000000000AFFF80C0000000053DA327C" name="powervc_sp" raidLevel="0" overCommitSpace="0"><Tier udid="25c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f3019f95b3ea4c4dee1" name="SYSTEM" overCommitSpace="0"><LU udid="27c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30e4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d777" capacity="55296" physicalUsage="0" unusedCommitment="0" type="1" derived="" thick="0" tmoveState="0"><Disk label="volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666"/></LU></Tier></Pool></Cluster></Response></VIO>
      $ mv /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666-IMtmp /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666.e4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d777
    • You are ready to use your linked clone, you have a source image, a snap of this one, and a clone of this snap :
    • # pooladm file lssnap /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874
      Primary Path         File Snapshot name
      /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/chmod666-homemade-image.d87113d5be9004791d28d44208150874 chmod666IMSnap
      # pooladm file lsclone /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666.e4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d777
      Snapshot             Clone name
      chmod666IMSnap /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666.e4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d777
    • Then, using vioservice or the mkdev command map the clone to your virtual scsi adapter (identifed by its physloc name) (do this on both Virtual I/O Servers) :
    • $ cat map_clone.xml
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <VIO xmlns="" version="1.20">
          <Request action="5">
              <Cluster udid="22c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30">
                  <Map label="" udid="27c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30e4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d777" drcname="U9117.MMD.658B2AD-V2-C99"/>
      $ /usr/ios/sbin/vioservice lib/libvio/lu < map_clone.xml
      <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
      <VIO xmlns="" version="1.20">
      <Response><Cluster udid="22c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30" name="powervc_cluster"/></Response></VIO>


      # mkdev -t ngdisk -s vtdev -c virtual_target -aaix_tdev=volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-chmod666.e4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d777 -audid_info=4d360832b29be950824d3e5bf57d77 -apath_name=/var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1 -p vhost5 -acluster_id=c50a291c18ab11e489f46cae8b692f30
    • Boot the machine ... this one is a linked clone create by yourself without PowerVC.

    About the activation engine ?

    Your captured image has the activation engine enabled. To reconfigure the network & the hostname PowerVC is copying an iso from the PowerVC server to the Virtual I/O Server. This iso contains an ovf file needed by the activation engine to customize your virtual machine. To customize my linked clone virtual machine created on my own I decided to re-use an old iso file created by PowerVC for another deployment :

    • Mount the image located in /var/vio/VMLibrary, and modify the xml ovf file to fit your needs :
    • # ls -l /var/vio/VMLibrary
      total 840
      drwxr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Jul 31 20:17 lost+found
      -r--r-----    1 root     system       428032 Sep  9 18:11 vopt_c07e6e0bab6048dfb23586aa90e514e6
      # loopmount -i vopt_c07e6e0bab6048dfb23586aa90e514e6 -o "-V cdrfs -o ro" -m /mnt
    • Copy the content of the cd to a directory :
    • # mkdir /tmp/mycd
      # cp -r /mnt/* /tmp/mycd
    • Edit the ovf file to fit your needs (In my case for instance I'm changing the hostname of the machine and it's ip address :
    • # cat /tmp/mycd/ovf-env.xml
      <Environment xmlns="" xmlns:ovf="" xmlns:ovfenv="" xmlns:rasd="" xmlns:vssd="" xmlns:xsi="" ovfenv:id="vs0">
        <Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value=""/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value="homemadelinkedclone"/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value="32"/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value=""/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value="false"/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value=""/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value=""/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value="localdomain"/><Property ovfenv:key="" ovfenv:value=""/></PropertySection>
    • Recreate the cd using the mkdvd command and put it in the /var/vio/VMLibrary directory :
    • # mkdvd -r /tmp/mycd -S
      Initializing mkdvd log: /var/adm/ras/mkcd.log...
      Verifying command parameters...
      Creating temporary file system: /mkcd/cd_images...
      Creating Rock Ridge format image: /mkcd/cd_images/cd_image_19267708
      Running mkisofs ...
      mkrr_fs was successful.
      # mv /mkcd/cd_images/cd_image_19267708 /var/vio/VMLibrary
      $ lsrep
      Size(mb) Free(mb) Parent Pool         Parent Size      Parent Free
          1017     1015 rootvg                   279552           171776
      Name                                                  File Size Optical         Access
      cd_image_19267708                                             1 None            rw
      vopt_c07e6e0bab6048dfb23586aa90e514e6                         1 vtopt1          ro
    • Load the cdrom and map it to the linked clone :
    • $ mkvdev -fbo -vadapter vhost11
      $ loadopt -vtd vtopt0 -disk cd_image_19267708
    • When the linked clone virtual machine will boot the cd will be mounted and the activation engine will take the ovf file as parameter, and will reconfigure the network. For instance you can check the hostname has changed :
    • # hostname

    A view on the layout ?

    I asked myself a question about Linked Clones, how can we check Shared Storage Pool blocks (or PP ?) are shared by the capture machine (the captured LU) on one linked clone ? To answer to this question I had to play with the pooladm command (which is unsupported for customer use) to check the logcial unit layout of the capture virtual machine and of the deployed linked clone and then compare them. Please note that this is my understanding of the linked clones. This is not validated by any IBM support, do this at your own risk, you can correct my interpretation of what I'm seeing here :-) :

    • Get the layout of the captured VM by getting the layout of the logical unit (the captured image is in my case located in /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-c--5bd3991bdac84c48b519e19bfb1be381.e525b8eb474f54e1d34d9d02cb0b49b4) :
    • root@vios:/home/padmin# ls -l /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM
      total 339759720
      -rwx------    1 root     system   57982058496 Aug 12 17:53 volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-SSP3e2066b2a7a9437194f48860affd56c0.ac671df86edaf07e96e399e3a2dbd425
      -rwx------    1 root     system   57982058496 Aug 18 19:15 volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-c--5bd3991bdac84c48b519e19bfb1be381.e525b8eb474f54e1d34d9d02cb0b49b4
      # pooladm file layout /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/IM/volume-Image_7100-03-03-1415-c--5bd3991bdac84c48b519e19bfb1be381.e525b8eb474f54e1d34d9d02cb0b49b4 | /tmp/captured_vm.layout
      0x0-0x100000 shared
          LP 0xFE:0xF41000
          PP /dev/hdisk968 0x2E8:0xF41000
      0x100000-0x200000 shared
          LP 0x48:0x387F000
          PP /dev/hdisk866 0x1:0x387F000
    • Get the layout of the linked clone (the linked clone is in my case located in /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-layo583b3eb5e98b495b992fdc3accc39bc3.54c172062957d73ec92e90d203d23fba)
    • # ls /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-layo583b3eb5e98b495b992fdc3accc39bc3.54c172062957d73ec92e90d203d23fba
      # pooladm file layout /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-layo583b3eb5e98b495b992fdc3accc39bc3.54c172062957d73ec92e90d203d23fba | tee /tmp/linked_clone.layout
      0x0-0x100000 shared
          LP 0xFE:0xF41000
          PP /dev/hdisk968 0x2E8:0xF41000
      0x100000-0x200000 shared
          LP 0x48:0x387F000
          PP /dev/hdisk866 0x1:0x387F000
    • At this step you can first compare the two files, you can see some useful informations, but do not misunderstand this output. You first have to sort it to make conclusion. But you can be sure of one thing : some PPs have been modified on the linked clone and cannot be shared anymore, others are shared between the linked clone and the capture image :
    • sdiff_layout1_modifed_1

    • You can have a better view of shared and not shared PPs by sorting the output of these files, here the commands I used to do it :
    • #grep PP linked_clone.layout | tr -s " " | sort -k1 > /tmp/pp_linked_clone.layout
      #grep PP captured_vm.layout | tr -s " " | sort -k1 > /tmp/pp_captured_vm.layout
    • By sdiffing these two files I can now check which PPs are shared and which are not :
    • sdiff_layout2_modifed_1

    • The pooladm command can give you stats about linked clone. My understanding of the owned block count tell me that 78144 SSP blocks (not PPs) (so blocks of 4k) are uniq to this linked clones and not shared with the captured image :
    • vios1#pooladm file stat /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-layo583b3eb5e98b495b992fdc3accc39bc3.54c172062957d73ec92e90d203d23fba
      Path: /var/vio/SSP/powervc_cluster/D_E_F_A_U_L_T_061310/VOL1/volume-boot-9117MMD_658B2AD-layo583b3eb5e98b495b992fdc3accc39bc3.54c172062957d73ec92e90d203d23fba
      Size            57982058496
      Number Blocks   14156655
      Data Blocks     14155776
      Pool Block Size 4096
      Tier: SYSTEM
      Owned Blocks    78144
      Max Blocks      14156655
      Block Debt      14078511

    Mixed NPIV & SSP deployment

    For some reasons for some machine with an I/O intensive workload, it can be usefull to put your data luns on an NPIV adapter. I'm actually working on a project involving PowerVC and the question was ask, why not mix SSP Lun for rootvg and NPIV based lun for data volume group. One more time it's very simple with PowerVC, just attach a volume, this time by choosing your Storage Volume Controller provider ... easy :


    This will created NPIV adapters and create new zoning and masking on the fibre channels switches. One more time easy ....

    Debugging ?

    I'll not lie. I had a lot of problems with Shared Storage Pool and PowerVC but these problems were related to my configuration moving a lot during the tests. Always remind you that you'll learn from theses errors and in my case it helped my a lot to debug PowerVC :

    • From the Virtual I/O Server side check you have no core file in the /home/ios/logs directory. A core file in this directory indicates one of the command run by PowerVC just "cored" :
    • root@vios1:/home/ios/logs# ls core*
    • From the Virtual I/O Server side check the /home/ios/logs/viosvc.log. You can check all the xml files and all the ouputs used by the vioservice command. Most of PowerVC actions are performed trough the vioservice command ....
    • root@vios1:/home/ios/logs# ls viosvc.log
      -rw-r--r--    1 root     system     10240000 Sep 11 00:28 viosvc.log
    • Step by step check all PowerVC actions are ok. For instance verify with the lsrep command that the iso has been copied from PowerVC to the Virtual I/O Server library. Check there is space left on the Shared Storage Pool ....
    • Sometimes the secret vioserivce api is stucked and not responding. In some cases it can be useful to rebuild the soliddb ... I'm using this script to do it (run it as root) :
    • # cat
      set -x
      stopsrc -s vio_daemon
      sleep 30
      rm -rf /var/vio/CM
      startsrc -s vio_daemon
    • EDIT I had another info from IBM regarding the method to rebuild the SolidDB, using my script won't properly bring up the SolidDB back up properly and could leave you in a bad state. Just add this at the end of the script :
    • pid=$(lssrc -s vio_daemon | awk 'NR==2 {print $2}')
      kill -1 $pid  
    • On PowerVC side when you have problem it is always good to increase the verbosity of the logs (located in /var/log) (in this case nova) (restart PowerVC after setting verbosity level)
    • # openstack-config --set /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_658B2AD.conf DEFAULT default_log_levels powervc_nova=DEBUG,powervc_k2=DEBUG,nova=DEBUG


    It takes me more than two months write this post. Why ? Just because PowerVC design is not documented. It work like a charm, but nobody will explain you HOW. I hope this post will help you to understand how PowerVC is working. I'm a huge fan of PowerVC and SSP, try it by yourself and you'll see that it is a pleasure to use it. It's simple, effecient, and powerfull. Anybody can give me an access to a PowerKVM host to write & proove that PowerVC is also simple and efficient with PowerKVM ... ?