IBM Technical University for PowerSystems 2015 – Cannes (both sessions files included)

I’m traveling the world since my first IBM Technical University for PowerSystems in Dublin (4 years ago as far as I remember). I had the chance to be in Budapest last year and in Cannes this year (a little bit less funny for a French guy than Dublin and Budapest) but in a different way. I had this year the opportunity to be a speaker for two sessions (and two repeats) thanks to the kindness of Alex Abderrazag (thank you for trusting me Alex). My first plan was to go to Tokyo for the Openstack summit to talk about PowerVC but unfortunately for me I was not able to make it because of confidentiality issues I had with my current company (the goal here was to be a customer reference for PowerVC). I didn’t realized that creating two sessions from scratch on two topics which are pretty new would have been so hard for me. I thought it would take me a couple of hours for each one but it took me so many hours for each one that I now have to be impressed by people who are doing this as their daily job ;-) . Something that took me even more hours than creating the slides is the preparation of these two sessions (Speaker notes, practicing (special thanks here to the people who helped me to practice the sessions especially the fantastic Bill Miller ;-) ) and so on …). One last thing I didn’t realized is that you have to manage your stress. As it was my first time in a such a big event I can assure you that I was super stressed. One funny thing about the stress is that I didn’t have any stress anymore just one hour before the session. Before that moment I had to find solution to deal with the stress … and I just realized that I wasn’t stress because of the sessions but because I had to speak English in front of so much people (super tricky thing to do for a shy french guy, trust me !). My first sessions (on both topics) were full (no more chairs available in the room) and the repeat were ok too, so I think it was ok and I think I was not so bad at it ;-) .


I wanted here to thanks all the people who helped me to do this. Philippe Hermes (best pre-sales in France ;-) ) for believing in me and helping me to do that (re-reading my Powerpoint, and taking care of me during the event). Alex Abderrazag for allowing me to do that. Nigel Griffiths for re-reading the PowerVC session and giving me a couple of tips and tricks about being a speaker. Bill Miller and Alain Lechevalier for the rehearsal of both sessions and finally Rosa Davidson (she gave me the envy to do that). I’m not forgetting Jay Kruemcke who gave me some IBM shirts to do these sessions (and also for a lot of other things). Sorry for those whom I may have forgotten.

Many people asked me to share my Powerpoint files, you will find both files below in this post, here are the two presentations:

  • PowerVC for PowerVM deep dive – Tips & Tricks.
  • Using Chef Automation on AIX.

PowerVC for PowerVM deep dive – Tips & Tricks

This session is for PowerVC advanced users. You’ll find a lot of tips and tricks allowing you to customize your PowerVC. More than a couple of tips and tricks you’ll also find in this session how PowerVC works (images, activation, cloud-init, and so on). If you are not a PowerVC user this session can be a little bit difficult for you. But these tips and tricks are the lessons I learned from the field using PowerVC in a production environment:

Using Chef Automation on AIX

This session will give you all the basis to understand what is Chef and what you can do with this tool. You’ll also find examples on how to update service pack and technology level on AIX using Chef. Good examples about using Chef for post installation tasks and how to use it with PowerVC are also provided in this session.


I hope you enjoyed the session if you were at Cannes this year. On my side I really enjoyed doing that, it was a very good experience for me. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to do that again. Feel free to tell my if want to see me in future technical events like these one. The next step is now to do something at Edge … not so sure this dream will come true any time ;-) .

Tips and tricks for PowerVC 1.2.3 (PVID, ghostdev, clouddev, rest API, growing volumes, deleting boot volume) | PowerVC 1.2.3 Redbook

Writing a Redbook was one of my main goal. After working days and nights for more than 6 years on PowerSystems IBM gave me the opportunity to write a Redbook. I was looking on the Redbook residencies page since a very very long time to find the right one. As there was nothing new on AIX and PowerVM (which are my favorite topics) I decided to give a try to the latest PowerVC Redbook (this Redbook is an update, but a huge one. PowerVC is moving fast). I am a Redbook reader since I’m working on AIX. Almost all Redbooks are good, most of them are the best source of information for AIX and Power administrators. I’m sure that like me, you saw that part about becoming an author every time you are reading a RedBook. I can now say THAT IT IS POSSIBLE (for everyone). I’m now one of this guys and you can also become one. Just find the Redbook that will fit for you and apply on the Redbook webpage ( I wanted to say a BIG Thank you to all the people who gave me the opportunity to do that, especially Philippe Hermes, Jay Kruemcke, Eddie Shvartsman, Scott Vetter, Thomas R Bosthworth. In addition to these people I wanted also to thanks my teammates on this Redbook: Guillermo Corti, Marco Barboni and Liang Xu, they are all true professional people, very skilled and open … this was a great team ! One more time thank you guys. Last, I take the opportunity here to thanks the people who believed in me since the very beginning of my AIX career: Julien Gabel, Christophe Rousseau, and JL Guyot. Thank you guys ! You deserve it, stay like you are. I’m now not an anonymous guy anymore.


You can download the Redbook at this address: I’ve learn something during the writing of the Redbook and by talking to the members of the team. Redbooks are not there to tell and explain you what’s “behind the scene”. A Redbook can not be too long, and needs to be written in almost 3 weeks, there is no place for everything. Some topics are better integrated in a blog post than in a Redbook, and Scott told me that a couple of time during the writing session. I totally agree with him. So here is this long awaited blog post. The are advanced topics about PowerVC read the Redbook before reading this post.

Last one thanks to IBM (and just IBM) for believing in me :-). THANK YOU SO MUCH.

ghostdev, clouddev and cloud-init (ODM wipe if using inactive live partition mobility or remote restart)

Everybody who is using cloud-init should be aware of this. Cloud-init is only supported with AIX version that have the clouddev attribute available on sys0. To be totally clear at the time of writing this blog post you will be supported by IBM only if you use AIX 7.1 TL3 SP5 or AIX 6.1 TL9 SP5. All other versions are not supported by IBM. Let me explain why and how you can still use cloud-init on older versions just by doing a little trick. But let’s first explain what the problem is:

Let’s say you have different machines some of them using AIX 7100-03-05 and some of them using 7100-03-04, both use cloud-init for the activation. By looking at cloud-init code at this address here we can say that:

  • After the cloud-init installation cloud-init is:
  • Changing clouddev to 1 if sys0 has a clouddev attribute:
  • # oslevel -s
    # lsattr -El sys0 -a ghostdev
    ghostdev 0 Recreate ODM devices on system change / modify PVID True
    # lsattr -El sys0 -a clouddev
    clouddev 1 N/A True
  • Changing ghostdev to 1 if sys0 don’t have a clouddev attribute:
  • # oslevel -s
    # lsattr -El sys0 -a ghostdev
    ghostdev 1 Recreate ODM devices on system change / modify PVID True
    # lsattr -El sys0 -a clouddev
    lsattr: 0514-528 The "clouddev" attribute does not exist in the predefined
            device configuration database.

This behavior can directly be observed in the cloud-init code:


Now that we are aware of that, let’s make a remote restart test between two P8 boxes. I take the opportunity here to present you one of the coolest feature of PowerVC 1.2.3. You can now remote restart your virtual machines directly from the PowerVC GUI if you have one of your host in a failure state. I highly encourage you to check my latest post about this subject if you don’t know how to setup remote restartable partitions

  • Only simplified remote restart can be managed by PowerVC 1.2.3, the “normal” version of remote restart is not handle by PowerVC 1.2.3
  • In the compute template configuration there is now a checkbox allowing you to create remote restartable partition. Be careful: you can’t go back to a P7 box without having to reboot the machine. So be sure your Virtual Machines will stay on P8 box if you check this option.
  • remote_restart_compute_template

  • When the machine is shutdown or there is a problem on it you can click the “Remotely Restart Virtual Machines” button:
  • rr1

  • Select the machines you want to remote restart:
  • rr2

  • While the Virtual Machines are remote restarting, you can check the states of the VM and the state of the host:
  • rr4

  • After the evacuation the host is in “Remote Restart Evacuated State”:


Let’s now check the state of our two Virtual Machines:

  • The ghostdev one (the sys0 messages in the errpt indicates that the partition ID has changed AND DEVICES ARE RECREATED (ODM Wipe)) (no more ip address set on en0):
  • # errpt | more
    A6DF45AA   0803171115 I O RMCdaemon      The daemon is started.
    1BA7DF4E   0803171015 P S SRC            SOFTWARE PROGRAM ERROR
    CB4A951F   0803171015 I S SRC            SOFTWARE PROGRAM ERROR
    CB4A951F   0803171015 I S SRC            SOFTWARE PROGRAM ERROR
    D872C399   0803171015 I O sys0           Partition ID changed and devices recreat
    # ifconfig -a
    lo0: flags=e08084b,c0
            inet netmask 0xff000000 broadcast
            inet6 ::1%1/0
             tcp_sendspace 131072 tcp_recvspace 131072 rfc1323 1
  • The clouddev one (the sys0 message in the errpt indicate that the partition ID has changed) (note that the errpt message does not indicate that the devices are recreated):
  • # errpt |more
    60AFC9E5   0803232015 I O sys0           Partition ID changed since last boot.
    # ifconfig -a
    en0: flags=1e084863,480
            inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
             tcp_sendspace 262144 tcp_recvspace 262144 rfc1323 1
    lo0: flags=e08084b,c0
            inet netmask 0xff000000 broadcast
            inet6 ::1%1/0
             tcp_sendspace 131072 tcp_recvspace 131072 rfc1323 1

VSAE is designed to manage ghostdev only OS on the other hand cloud-init is designed to manage clouddev OS. To be perfectly clear here are how ghostdev and clouddev works. But we first need to answer a question. Why do we need to set clouddev or ghostdev to 1 ? The answer is pretty obvious, one of this attribute needs to be set to 1 before capturing the Virtual Machine. When the Virtual Machines is captured, one of this attributes is set to 1. When you will deploy a new Virtual Machine this flag is needed to wipe the ODM before reconfiguring the virtual machine with the parameters set in the PowerVC GUI (ip, hostname). In both clouddev and ghostdev cases it is obvious that we need to wipe the ODM at the machine build/deploy time. Then VSAE or cloud-init (using config drive datasource) is setting hostname, ip address previously wiped by clouddev and ghostdev attributes. This is working well for a new deploy because we need to wipe the ODM in all cases but what about an inactive live partition mobility or a remote restart operation ? The Virtual Machine has moved (not on the same host, and not with the same lpar ID) and we need to keep the ODM as it is. How is it working:

  • If you are using VSAE, this one is managing the ghostdev attribute for you. At the capture time ghostdev is set to 1 by VSAE (when you run the pre-capture script). When deploying a new VM, at the activation time, VSAE is setting ghostdev back to 0. Inactive live partition mobility and remote restart operations will work fine with ghostdev set to 0.
  • If you are using cloud-init on a supported system clouddev is set to 1 at the installation of cloud-init. As cloud-init is doing nothing with both attributes at the activation time IBM needs to find a way to avoid wiping the ODM after the remote restart operation. The clouddev device was introduced: this one is writing a flag in the NVRAM, so when a new VM is built, there is no flag in the NVRAM for this one, the ODM is wiped. When an already existing VM is remote restarted, the flag exists in the NVRAM, the ODM is not wiped. By using clouddev there is no post deploy action needed.
  • If you are using cloud-init on an unsupported system ghostdev is set to 1 at the installation of cloud-init. As cloud-init is doing nothing at post-deploy time, ghostdev will remains to 1 in all cases and the ODM will always be wiped.


There is a way to use cloud-init on unsupported system. Keep in mind that in this case you will not be supported by IBM. So do this at you own risk. To be totally honest I’m using this method in production to use the same activation engine for all my AIX version:

  1. Pre-capture, set ghostdev to 1. What ever happens THIS IS MANDATORY.
  2. Post-capture, reboot the captured VM and set ghostdev to 0.
  3. Post-deploy on every Virtual machine set ghostdev to 0. You can put this in the activation input to do the job:
  4. #cloud-config
     - chdev -l sys0 -a ghostdev=0

The PVID problem

I realized I had this problem after using PowerVC for a while. As PowerVC images for rootvg and other volume group are created using Storage Volume Controller flashcopy (in case of a SVC configuration, but there are similar mechanisms for other storage providers) the PVID for both rootvg and additional volume groups will always be the same for each new virtual machines (all new virtual machines will have the same PVID for their rootvg, and the same PVID for each captured volume group). I did contact IBM about this and the PowerVC team told me that this behavior is totally normal and was observed since the release of VMcontrol. They didn’t have any issues related to this, so if you don’t care about it, just do nothing and keep this behavior as it is. I recommend doing nothing about this!

It’s a shame but most AIX administrators like to keep things as they are and don’t want any changes. (In my humble opinion this is one of the reason AIX is so outdated compared to Linux, we need a community, not narrow-minded people keeping their knowledge for them, just to stay in their daily job routine without having anything to learn). If you are in this case, facing angry colleagues about this particular point you can use the solution proposed below to calm the passions of the few ones who do not want to change !. :-). This is my rant : CHANGE !

By default if you build two virtual machines and check the PVID of each one, you will notice that the PVID are the same:

  • Machine A:
  • root@machinea:/root# lspv
    hdisk0          00c7102d2534adac                    rootvg          active
    hdisk1          00c7102d00d14660                    appsvg          active
  • Machine B:
  • root@machineb:root# lspv
    hdisk0          00c7102d2534adac                    rootvg          active
    hdisk1          00c7102d00d14660                    appsvg         active

For the rootvg the PVID is always set to 00c7102d2534adac and for the appsvg the PVID is always set to 00c7102d00d14660.

For the rootvg the solution is to change the ghostdev (only the ghostdev) to 2, and to reboot the machine. Putting ghostdev to 2 will change the PVID of the rootvg at the reboot time (after the PVID is changed ghostdev will be automatically set back to 0)

# lsattr -El sys0 -a ghostdev
ghostdev 2 Recreate ODM devices on system change / modify PVID True
# lsattr -l sys0 -R -a ghostdev
0...3 (+1)

For the non rootvg volume group this is a little bit tricky but still possible, the solution is to use the recreatevg (-d option) command to change the PVID of all the physical volumes of your volume group. Before rebooting the server ensure that:

  • Umount all the filesystems in the volume group on which you want to change the PVID.
  • varyoff the volume group.
  • Get the physical volumes names composing the volume group.
  • export the volume group.
  • recreate the volume group (this action will change the PVID)
  • re-import the volume group.

Here is the shell commands doing the trick:

# vg=appsvg
# lsvg -l $vg | awk '$6 == "open/syncd" && $7 != "N/A" { print "fuser -k " $NF }' | sh
# lsvg -l $vg | awk '$6 == "open/syncd" && $7 != "N/A" { print "umount " $NF }' | sh
# varyoffvg $vg
# pvs=$(lspv | awk -v my_vg=$vg '$3 == my_vg {print $1}')
# recreatevg -y $vg -d $pvs
# importvg -y $vg $(echo ${pvs} | awk '{print $1}'

We now agree that you want to do this, but as you are a smart person you want to do it automatically using cloud-init and the activation input, there are two way to do it, the silly way (using shell) and the noble way (using cloudinit syntax):

PowerVC activation engine (shell way)

Use this short ksh script in the activation input, this is not my recommendation, but you can do it for simplicity:


PowerVC activation engine (cloudinit way)

Here is the cloud-init way. Important note: use the latest version of cloud-init, the first one I used had a problem with the not using the right parameters for AIX:


Working with REST Api

I will not show you here how to work with the PowerVC RESTful API. I prefer to share a couple of scripts on my github account. Nice examples are often better than how to tutorials. So check the scripts on the github if you want a detailed how to … scripts are well commented. Just a couple of things to say before closing this topic: the best way to work with RESTful api is to code in python, there are a lot existing python libs to work with RESTful api (httplib2, pycurl, request). For my own understanding I prefer in my script using the simple httplib. I will put all my command line tools in a github repository called pvcmd (for PowerVC command line). You can download the scripts at this address, or just use git to clone the repo. One more time it is a community project, feel free to change and share anything:

Growing data lun

To be totally honest here is what I do when I’m creating a new machine with PowerVC. My customers always needs one additionnal volume groups for applications (we will call it appsvg). I’ve create a multi volume image with this volume group created (with a bunch of filesystem in it). As most of customers are asking for the volume group to be 100g large the capture was made with this size. Unfortunately for me we often get requests to create a bigger volume groups let’s say 500 or 600 Gb. Instead of creating a new lun and extending the volume group PowerVC allows you to grow the lun to the desired size. For volume group other than the boot one you must use the RESTful API to extend the volume. To do this I’ve created a python script to called pvcgrowlun (feel free to check the code on github) At each virtual machine creation I’m checking if the customer needs a larger volume group and extend it using the command provided below.

While coding this script I got a problem using the os-extend parameter in my http request. PowerVC is not exactly using the same parameters as Openstack is, if you want to code by yourself be aware of this and check in the PowerVC online documentation if you are using “extended attributes” (Thanks to Christine L Wang for this one):

  • In the Openstack documentation the attribute is “os-extend” link here:
  • os-extend

  • In the PowerVC documentation the attribute is “ibm-extend” link here:
  • ibm-extend

  • Identify the lun you want to grow (as the script is taking the name of the volume as parameter) (I have one not published to list all the volumes, tell me if you want it). In my case the volume name is multi-vol-bf697dfa-0000003a-828641A_XXXXXX-data-1, and I want to change its size from 60 to 80. This is not stated in the offical PowerVC documentation but this will work for both boot and data lun.
  • Check the size of the lun is lesser than the desired size:
  • before_grow

  • Run the script:
  • # pvcgrowlun -v multi-vol-bf697dfa-0000003a-828641A_XXXXX-data-1 -s 80 -p localhost -u root -P mysecretpassword
    [info] growing volume multi-vol-bf697dfa-0000003a-828641A_XXXXX-data-1 with id 840d4a60-2117-4807-a2d8-d9d9f6c7d0bf
    JSON Body: {"ibm-extend": {"new_size": 80}}
    [OK] Call successful
  • Check the size is changed after the command execution:
  • aftergrow_grow

  • Don’t forget to do the job in the operating system by running a “chvg -g” (check total PPS here):
  • # lsvg vg_apps
    VOLUME GROUP:       vg_apps                  VG IDENTIFIER:  00f9aff800004c000000014e6ee97071
    VG STATE:           active                   PP SIZE:        256 megabyte(s)
    VG PERMISSION:      read/write               TOTAL PPs:      239 (61184 megabytes)
    MAX LVs:            256                      FREE PPs:       239 (61184 megabytes)
    LVs:                0                        USED PPs:       0 (0 megabytes)
    OPEN LVs:           0                        QUORUM:         2 (Enabled)
    TOTAL PVs:          1                        VG DESCRIPTORS: 2
    STALE PVs:          0                        STALE PPs:      0
    ACTIVE PVs:         1                        AUTO ON:        yes
    MAX PPs per VG:     32768                    MAX PVs:        1024
    LTG size (Dynamic): 256 kilobyte(s)          AUTO SYNC:      no
    HOT SPARE:          no                       BB POLICY:      relocatable
    PV RESTRICTION:     none                     INFINITE RETRY: no
    DISK BLOCK SIZE:    512                      CRITICAL VG:    no
    # chvg -g appsvg
    # lsvg appsvg
    VOLUME GROUP:       appsvg                  VG IDENTIFIER:  00f9aff800004c000000014e6ee97071
    VG STATE:           active                   PP SIZE:        256 megabyte(s)
    VG PERMISSION:      read/write               TOTAL PPs:      319 (81664 megabytes)
    MAX LVs:            256                      FREE PPs:       319 (81664 megabytes)
    LVs:                0                        USED PPs:       0 (0 megabytes)
    OPEN LVs:           0                        QUORUM:         2 (Enabled)
    TOTAL PVs:          1                        VG DESCRIPTORS: 2
    STALE PVs:          0                        STALE PPs:      0
    ACTIVE PVs:         1                        AUTO ON:        yes
    MAX PPs per VG:     32768                    MAX PVs:        1024
    LTG size (Dynamic): 256 kilobyte(s)          AUTO SYNC:      no
    HOT SPARE:          no                       BB POLICY:      relocatable
    PV RESTRICTION:     none                     INFINITE RETRY: no
    DISK BLOCK SIZE:    512                      CRITICAL VG:    no

My own script to create VMs

I’m creating Virtual Machine every weeks, sometimes just a couple and sometime I got 10 Virtual Machines to create in a row. We are here using different storage connectivity groups, and different storage templates if the machine is in production, in development, and so on. We also have to choose the primary copy on the SVC side if the machine is in production (I am using a streched cluster between two distant sites, so I have to choose different storage templates depending on the site where the Virtual Machine is hosted). I make mistakes almost every time using the PowerVC gui (sometime I forgot to put the machine name, sometimes the connectivity group). I’m a lazy guy so I decided to code a script using the PowerVC rest api to create new machines based on a template file. We are planing to give the script to our outsourced teams to allow them to create machine, without knowing what PowerVC is \o/. The script is taking a file as parameter and create the virtual machine:

  • Create a file like the one below with all the information needed for your new virtual machine creation (name, ip address, vlan, host, image, storage connectivity group, ….):
  • # cat test.vm
    target_host:Default Group
  • Launch the script, the Virtual Machine will be created:
  • pvcmkvm -f test.vm -p localhost -u root -P mysecretpassword
    name: test
    vlan: vlan666
    target_host: Default Group
    image: multi-vol
    storage_connectivity_group: npiv
    virtual_processor: 1
    entitled_capacity: 0.1
    memory: 1024
    storage_template: storage1
    [info] found image multi-vol with id 041d830c-8edf-448b-9892-560056c450d8
    [info] found network vlan666 with id 5fae84a7-b463-4a1a-b4dd-9ab24cdb66b5
    [info] found host aggregation Default Group with id 1
    [info] found storage template storage1 with id bfb4f8cc-cd68-46a2-b3a2-c715867de706
    [info] found image multi-vol with id 041d830c-8edf-448b-9892-560056c450d8
    [info] found a volume with id b3783a95-822c-4179-8c29-c7db9d060b94
    [info] found a volume with id 9f2fc777-eed3-4c1f-8a02-00c9b7c91176
    JSON Body: {"os:scheduler_hints": {"host_aggregate_id": 1}, "server": {"name": "test", "imageRef": "041d830c-8edf-448b-9892-560056c450d8", "networkRef": "5fae84a7-b463-4a1a-b4dd-9ab24cdb66b5", "max_count": 1, "flavor": {"OS-FLV-EXT-DATA:ephemeral": 10, "disk": 60, "extra_specs": {"powervm:max_proc_units": 32, "powervm:min_mem": 1024, "powervm:proc_units": 0.1, "powervm:max_vcpu": 32, "powervm:image_volume_type_b3783a95-822c-4179-8c29-c7db9d060b94": "bfb4f8cc-cd68-46a2-b3a2-c715867de706", "powervm:image_volume_type_9f2fc777-eed3-4c1f-8a02-00c9b7c91176": "bfb4f8cc-cd68-46a2-b3a2-c715867de706", "powervm:min_proc_units": 0.1, "powervm:storage_connectivity_group": "npiv", "powervm:min_vcpu": 1, "powervm:max_mem": 66560}, "ram": 1024, "vcpus": 1}, "networks": [{"fixed_ip": "", "uuid": "5fae84a7-b463-4a1a-b4dd-9ab24cdb66b5"}]}}
    {u'server': {u'links': [{u'href': u'', u'rel': u'self'}, {u'href': u'', u'rel': u'bookmark'}], u'OS-DCF:diskConfig': u'MANUAL', u'id': u'fc3ab837-f610-45ad-8c36-f50c04c8a7b3', u'security_groups': [{u'name': u'default'}], u'adminPass': u'u7rgHXKJXoLz'}}

One of the major advantage of using this is batching Virtual Machine creation. By using the script you can create one hundred Virtual Machine in a couple of minutes. Awesome !

Working with Openstack commands

PowerVC is based on Openstack, so why not using the Openstack command to work with PowerVC. It is possible, but I repeat one more time that this is not supported by IBM at all. Use this trick at you own risk. I was working with cloud manager with openstack (ICMO) and a script including shells variables is provided to “talk” to the ICMO Openstack. Based on the same file I created the same one for PowerVC. Before using any Openstack commands create a powervcrc file that match you PowerVC environement:

# cat powervcrc
export OS_USERNAME=root
export OS_PASSWORD=mypasswd
export OS_TENANT_NAME=ibm-default
export OS_AUTH_URL=
export OS_CACERT=/etc/pki/tls/certs/powervc.crt
export OS_REGION_NAME=RegionOne
export OS_USER_DOMAIN_NAME=Default

Then source the powervcrc file, and you are ready to play with all Openstack commands:

# source powervcrc

You can then play with Openstack commands, here are a few nice example:

  • List virtual machines:
  • # nova list
    | ID                                   | Name                  | Status | Task State | Power State | Networks               |
    | dc5c9fce-c839-43af-8af7-e69f823e57ca | ghostdev0clouddev1    | ACTIVE | -          | Running     | vlan666=    |
    | d7d0fd7e-a580-41c8-b3d8-d7aab180d861 | ghostdevto1cloudevto1 | ACTIVE | -          | Running     | vlan666=    |
    | bf697dfa-f69a-476c-8d0f-abb2fdcb44a7 | multi-vol             | ACTIVE | -          | Running     | vlan666=    |
    | 394ab4d4-729e-44c7-a4d0-57bf2c121902 | deckard               | ACTIVE | -          | Running     | vlan666=    |
    | cd53fb69-0530-451b-88de-557e86a2e238 | priss                 | ACTIVE | -          | Running     | vlan666=    |
    | 64a3b1f8-8120-4388-9d64-6243d237aa44 | rachael               | ACTIVE | -          | Running     |                        |
    | 2679e3bd-a2fb-4a43-b817-b56ead26852d | batty                 | ACTIVE | -          | Running     |                        |
    | 5fdfff7c-fea0-431a-b99b-fe20c49e6cfd | tyrel                 | ACTIVE | -          | Running     |                        |
  • Reboot a machine:
  • # nova reboot multi-vol
  • List the hosts:
  • # nova hypervisor-list
    | ID | Hypervisor hostname | State | Status  |
    | 21 | 828641A_XXXXXXX     | up    | enabled |
    | 23 | 828641A_YYYYYYY     | up    | enabled |
  • Migrate a virtual machine (run a live partition mobility operation):
  • # nova live-migration ghostdevto1cloudevto1 828641A_YYYYYYY
  • Evacuate and set a server in maintenance mode and move all the partitions to another host:
  • # nova maintenance-enable --migrate active-only --target-host 828641A_XXXXXX 828641A_YYYYYYY
  • Virtual Machine creation (output truncated):
  • # nova boot --image 7100-03-04-cic2-chef --flavor powervm.tiny --nic net-id=5fae84a7-b463-4a1a-b4dd-9ab24cdb66b5,v4-fixed-ip= novacreated
    | Property                            | Value                                                                                                                                            |
    | OS-DCF:diskConfig                   | MANUAL                                                                                                                                           |
    | OS-EXT-AZ:availability_zone         | nova                                                                                                                                             |
    | OS-EXT-SRV-ATTR:host                | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | OS-EXT-SRV-ATTR:hypervisor_hostname | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | OS-EXT-SRV-ATTR:instance_name       | novacreated-bf704dc6-00000040                                                                                                                    |
    | OS-EXT-STS:power_state              | 0                                                                                                                                                |
    | OS-EXT-STS:task_state               | scheduling                                                                                                                                       |
    | OS-EXT-STS:vm_state                 | building                                                                                                                                         |
    | accessIPv4                          |                                                                                                                                                  |
    | accessIPv6                          |                                                                                                                                                  |
    | adminPass                           | PDWuY2iwwqQZ                                                                                                                                     |
    | avail_priority                      | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | compliance_status                   | [{"status": "compliant", "category": "resource.allocation"}]                                                                                     |
    | cpu_utilization                     | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | cpus                                | 1                                                                                                                                                |
    | created                             | 2015-08-05T15:56:01Z                                                                                                                             |
    | current_compatibility_mode          | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | dedicated_sharing_mode              | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | desired_compatibility_mode          | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | endianness                          | big-endian                                                                                                                                       |
    | ephemeral_gb                        | 0                                                                                                                                                |
    | flavor                              | powervm.tiny (ac01ba9b-1576-450e-a093-92d53d4f5c33)                                                                                              |
    | health_status                       | {"health_value": "PENDING", "id": "bf704dc6-f255-46a6-b81b-d95bed00301e", "value_reason": "PENDING", "updated_at": "2015-08-05T15:56:02.307259"} |
    | hostId                              |                                                                                                                                                  |
    | id                                  | bf704dc6-f255-46a6-b81b-d95bed00301e                                                                                                             |
    | image                               | 7100-03-04-cic2-chef (96f86941-8480-4222-ba51-3f0c1a3b072b)                                                                                      |
    | metadata                            | {}                                                                                                                                               |
    | name                                | novacreated                                                                                                                                      |
    | operating_system                    | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | os_distro                           | aix                                                                                                                                              |
    | progress                            | 0                                                                                                                                                |
    | root_gb                             | 60                                                                                                                                               |
    | security_groups                     | default                                                                                                                                          |
    | status                              | BUILD                                                                                                                                            |
    | storage_connectivity_group_id       | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | tenant_id                           | 1471acf124a0479c8d525aa79b2582d0                                                                                                                 |
    | uncapped                            | -                                                                                                                                                |
    | updated                             | 2015-08-05T15:56:02Z                                                                                                                             |
    | user_id                             | 0688b01e6439ca32d698d20789d52169126fb41fb1a4ddafcebb97d854e836c9                                                                                 |

LUN order, remove a boot lun

If you are moving to PowerVC you will probably need to migrate existing machines to your PowerVC environment. One of my customer is asking to move its machines from old boxes using vscsi, to new PowerVC managed boxes using NPIV. I am doing it with the help of a SVC for the storage side. Instead of creating the Virtual Machine profile on the HMC, and then doing the zoning and masking on the Storage Volume Controller and on the SAN switches, I decided to let PowerVC do the job for me. Unfortunately, PowerVC can’t only “carve” Virtual Machine, if you want to do so you have to build a Virtual Machine (rootvg include). This is what I am doing. During the migration process I have to replace the PowerVC created lun by the lun used for the migration …. and finally delete the PowerVC created boot lun. There is a trick to know if you want to do this:

  • Let’s say the lun created by PowerVC is the one named “volume-clouddev-test….” and the orignal rootvg is named “good_rootvg”. The Virtual Machine is booted on the “good_rootvg” lun and I want to remove the “volume-clouddev-test….”:
  • root1

  • You first have to click the “Edit Details” button:
  • root2

  • Then toggle the boot set to “YES” for the “good_rootvg” lun and click move up (the rootvg order must be set to 1, it is mandatory, the lun at order 1 can’t be deleted):
  • root3

  • Toggle the boot set to “NO” for the PowerVC created rootvg:
  • root4

  • If you are trying to detach the volume in first position you will got an error:
  • root5

  • When the order are ok, you can detach and delete the lun created by PowerVC:
  • root6


There are always good things to learn about PowerVC and related AIX topics. Tell me if these tricks are useful for you and I will continue to write posts like this one. You don’t need to understand all this details to work with PowerVC, most customers don’t. I’m sure you prefer understand what is going on “behind the scene” instead of just clicking a nice GUI. I hope it helps you to better understand what PowerVC is made of. And don’t be shy share you tricks with me. Next: more to come about Chef ! Up the irons !

Using Chef and cloud-init with PowerVC | What’s new in version

I’ve been busy; very busy and I apologize for that … almost two months since the last update on the blog, but I’m still alive and I love AIX more than ever ;-). There is no blog post about it but I’ve developped a tool called “lsseas” which can be useful to all PowerVM administrators (you can find the script on github at this address I’ll not talk to much about it but I thought sharing the information to all my readers who are not following me on twitter was the best way to promote the tool. Have a look on it, submit your own changes on github, code and share !

This said we can talk about this new blog post. PowerVC has been released since a few months and there are a few things I wanted to talk about. The new version include new features making the product more powerful than ever (export/import images, activation input, vscsi lun management). PowerVC is only building “empty” machine, it’s a good start but we can do better. The activation engine can customize the virtual machines but is limited and in my humble opinion not really usable for post-installation tasks. With the recent release of cloud-init and Chef for AIX PowerVC can be utilized to build your machines from nothing … and finally get your application running in minutes. Using cloud-init and Chef can help you making your infrastructure repeatable, “versionable” and testable this is what we call infrastructure as code and it is damn powerful.

A big thank you to Jay Kruemcke (@chromeaix), Philippe Hermes (@phhermes) and S.Tran ( , they gave me very useful help about the cloud-init support on AIX. Follow them on twitter !

PowerVC mandatory fixes

Before starting please note that I strongly recommend to have the latest ifixes installed on your Virtual I/O Server. These ones are mandatory for PowerVC, install these ifixes no matter what :

  • On Virtual I/O Servers install IV66758m4c, rsctvios2:
  • # emgr -X -e /mnt/VIOS_2.2.3.4_IV66758m4c.150112.epkg.Z
    # emgr -l
    === ===== ========== ================= ========== ======================================
    1    S    rsctvios2  03/03/15 12:13:42            RSCT fixes for VIOS
    2    S    IV66758m4c 03/03/15 12:16:04            Multiple PowerVC fixes VIOS
    3    S    IV67568s4a 03/03/15 14:12:45            man fails in VIOS shell
  • Check you have the latest version of the Hardware Management Console (I strongly recommend v8.2.20 Service Pack 1):
  • hscroot@myhmc:~> lshmc -V
    "version= Version: 8
     Release: 8.2.0
     Service Pack: 1
    HMC Build level 20150216.1

Exporting and importing image from another PowerVC

The PowerVC latest version allows you to export and import images. It’s a good thing ! Let’s say that like me you have a few PowerVC hosts, on different SAN networks with different storage arrays, you probably do not want to create your images on each one and you prefer to be sure to use the same image for each PowerVC. Just create one image and use the export/import feature to copy/move this image to a different storage array or PowerVC host:

  • To do so map your current image disk on the PowerVC itself (in my case by using the SVC), you can’t attach volume used for an image volume directly from PowerVC so you have to do it on the storage side by hand:
  • maptohost

  • On the PowerVC host, rescan the volume and copy the whole new discovered lun with a dd:
  • powervc_source#
    powervc_source# multipath -ll
    mpathe (3600507680c810010f800000000000097) dm-10 IBM,2145
    powervc_source# dd if=/dev/mapper/mpathe of=/data/download/aix7100-03-04-cloudinit-chef-ohai bs=4M
    16384+0 records in
    16384+0 records out
    68719476736 bytes (69 GB) copied, 314.429 s, 219 MB/s                                         
  • Map a new volume to the new PowerVC server and upload this new created file on the new PowerVC server, then dd the file back to the new volume:
  • mapnewlun

    powervc_dest# scp /data/download/aix7100-03-04-cloudinit-chef-ohai new_powervc:/data/download
    aix7100-03-04-cloudinit-chef-ohai          100%   64GB  25.7MB/s   42:28.
    powervc_dest# dd if=/data/download/aix7100-03-04-cloudinit-chef-ohai of=/dev/mapper/mpathc bs=4M
    16384+0 records in
    16384+0 records out
    68719476736 bytes (69 GB) copied, 159.028 s, 432 MB/s
  • Unmap the volume from the new PowerVC after the dd operation, and import it with the PowerVC graphical interface.
  • Manage the existing current volume you just created (note that the current PowerVC code does not allows you to choose cloud-init as an activation engine even if it is working great) :
  • manage_ex1

  • Import the image:
  • import1

You can also use the command powervc-volume-image-import to import the new volume by using the command line instead of the graphical user interface. Here is an example with a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 image:

powervc_source# dd if=/dev/hdisk4 of=/apps/images/rhel-6.4.raw bs=4M
5815360+0 records in
15360+0 records out
powervc_dest# scp .
powervc_dest# dd if=/home/rhel-6.4.raw of=/dev/mapper/mpathe
30720+0 records in
30720+0 records out
64424509440 bytes (64 GB) copied, 124.799 s, 516 MB/s
powervc_dest# powervc-volume-image-import --name rhel64 --os rhel --volume volume_capture2 --activation-type ae
Image creation complete for image id: e3a4ece1-c0cd-4d44-b197-4bbbc2984a34

Activation input (cloud-init and ae)

Instead of doing post-installation tasks by hand after the deployment of the machine you can now use the activation input added recently in PowerVC. The activation input can be utilized to run any scripts you want or even better things (such as cloud-config syntax) if you are using cloud-init instead of the old activation engine. You have to remember that cloud-init is not yet officially supported by PowerVC, for this reason I think most of customers will still use the old activation engine. Latest activation engine version is also working with the activation input. On the examples below I’m of course using cloud-init :-). Don’t worry I’ll detail later in this post how to install and use cloud-init on AIX:

  • If you are using the activation engine please be sure to use the latest version. The current version of the activation engine in PowerVC 1.2.2.* is vmc-vsae-ext-2.4.5-1, the only way to be sure your are using this version is to check the size of /opt/ibm/ae/AS/vmc-sys-net/ The size of this file is 21127 bytes for the latest version. Check this before trying to do anything with the activation input. More information can be found here: Activation input documentation.
  • A simple shebang script can be used, on the example below this one is just writing a file, but it can be anything you want:
  • ai1

    # cat /tmp/activation_input
    Activation input was used on this server
  • If you are using cloud-init you can directly put cloud-config “script” in the activation input. The first line is always mandatory to tell the format of the activation input. If you forget to put this first line the activation input can not determine the format and the script will not be executed. Check the next point for more information about activation input:
  • ai2

    # cat /tmp/activation_input
    cloud-config activation input
  • There are additional fields called “server meta data key/value pairs”, just do not use them. They are used by images provided by IBM with customization of the activation engine. Forget about this it is useless, use this field only if IBM told you to do so.
  • cloud-init valid activation input can be found here: As you can see on the two examples above shell scripts and cloud-config format can be utilized, but you can also upload a gzip archive, or use a part handler format. Go on the url above for more informations.

vscsi and mix NPIV/vscsi machine creation

This is one of the major enhancement, PowerVC is now able create and map vscsi disks, even better you can create mixed NPIV vscsi machine. To do so create storage connectivity groups for each technology you want to use. You can choose a different way to create disk for boot volumes and for data volumes. Here are three examples, full NPIV, full vscsi, and a mixed vscsi(boot) and NPIV(data):


What is really cool about this new feature is that PowerVC can use existing mapped luns on the Virtual I/O Server, please note that PowerVC will only use SAN backed devices and cannot use iSCSI or local disk (local disk can be use in the express version). You obviously have to make the zoning of your Virtual I/O Server by yourself. Here is an example where I have 69 devices mapped to my Virtual I/O Server, you can see that PowerVC is using one of the existing device for its deployment. This can be very useful if you have different teams working for the SAN and the system side, the storage guys will not change their habits and still can map you bunch of luns on the Virtual I/O Server, this can be used as a transition if you did not succeed in convincing guys from you storage team:

$ lspv | wc -l


$ lspv | wc -l
$ lsmap -all -fmt :
vhost1:U8202.E4D.845B2DV-V2-C28:0x00000009:vtopt0:Available:0x8100000000000000:/var/vio/VMLibrary/vopt_c1309be1ed244a5c91829e1a5dfd281c: :N/A:vtscsi1:Available:0x8200000000000000:hdisk66:U78AA.001.WZSKM6P-P1-C3-T1-W500507680C11021F-L41000000000000:false

Please note that you still need to add fabrics and storage on PowerVC even if you have pre-mapped luns on your Virtual I/O Servers. This is mandatory for PowerVC image management and creation.

Maintenance Mode

This last feature is probably the one I like the most. You can now put your host in maintenance mode, this means that when you put a host in maintenance mode all the virtual machines hosted on this one are migrated with live partition mobility (remember the migrlpar –all option, I’m pretty sure this option is utilized for the PowerVC maintenance mode). By putting an host in maintenance mode this one is no longer available for new machines deployment and for mobility operations. The host can be shutdown for instance for a firmware upgrade.

  • Select a host and click the “Enter maintenance mode button”:
  • maintenance1

  • Choose where you want to move virtual machines, or let PowerVC decide for you (packing or stripping placement policy):
  • maintenance2

  • The host is entering maintenance mode:
  • maintenance3

  • Once the host is in maintenance mode this one is ready to be shutdown:
  • maintenance4

  • Leave the maintenance mode when you are ready:
  • maintenance5

An overview of Chef and cloud-init

With PowerVC you are now able to deploy new AIX virtual machines in a few minutes but there is still some work to do. What about post-installation tasks ? I’m sure that most of you are using NIM post-install scripts for post installation tasks. PowerVC does not use NIM and even if you can run your own shell scripts after a PowerVC deployment the goal of this tool is to automate a full installation… post-install included.

If the activation engine do the job to change the hostname and ip address of the machine it is pretty hard to customize it to do other tasks. Documentation is hard to find and I can assure you that it is not easy at all to customize and maintain. PowerVC Linux user’s are probably already aware of cloud-init. cloud-init is a tool (like the activation engine) in charge of the reconfiguration of your machine after its deployment, as the activation engine do today cloud-init change the hostname and the ip address of the machine but it can do way more than that (create user, add ssh-keys, mounting a filesystem, …). The good news is that cloud-init is now available an AIX since a few days, and you can use it with PowerVC. Awesome \o/.

If cloud-init can do one part of this job, it can’t do all and is not designed for that! It is not a configuration management tool, configurations are not centralized in a server, there is now way to create cookbooks, runbooks (or whatever you call it), you can’t pull product sources from a git server, there are a lot of things missing. cloud-init is a light tool designed for a simple job. I recently (at work and in my spare time) played a lot with configuration management tools. I’m a huge fan of Saltstack but unfortunately salt-minion (which are Saltstack clients) is not available on AIX… I had to find another tool. A few months ago Chef (by Opscode) announced the support of AIX and a release of chef-client for AIX, I decided to give it a try and I can assure you that this is damn powerful, let me explain this further.

Instead of creating shell scripts to do your post installation, Chef allows you to create cookbooks. Cookbooks are composed by recipes and each recipes is doing a task, for instance install an Oracle client, create the home directory for root user and create its profile file, enable or disable service on the system. The recipes are coded in a Chef language, and you can directly put Ruby code inside a recipe. Chef recipes are idempotent, it means that if something has already be done, it will not be done again. The advantage of using a solution like this is that you don’t have to maintain shell code and shells scripts which are difficult to change/rewrite. Your infrastructure is repeatable and changeable in minutes (after Chef is installed you can for instance told him to change /etc/resolv.conf for all your Websphere server). This is called “infrastructure as a code”. Give it a try and you’ll see that the first thing you’ll think will be “waaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooo”.

Trying to explain how PowerVC, cloud-init and Chef can work together is not really easy, a nice diagram is probably better than a long text:


  1. You have built an AIX virtual machine. On this machine cloud-init is installed, Chef client 12 is installed. cloud-init is configured to register the chef-client on the chef-server, and to run a cookbook for a specific role. This server has been captured with PowerVC and is now ready to be deployed.
  2. Virtual machines are created with PowerVC.
  3. When the machine is built cloud-init is running on first boot. The ip address and the hostname of this machine is changed with the values provided in PowerVC. cloud-init create the chef-client configuration (client.rb, validation.pem). Finally chef-client is called.
  4. chef-client is registering on chef-server. Machine are now known by the chef-server.
  5. chef-client is resolving and downloading cookbooks for a specific role. Cookbooks and recipes are executed on the machine. After cookbooks execution the machine is ready and configured.
  6. Administrator create and upload cookbooks an recipe from his knife workstation. (knife is the tool to interact with the chef-server this one can be hosted anywhere you want, your laptop, a server …)

In a few step here is what you need to do to use PowerVC, cloud-init, and Chef together:

  1. Create a virtual machine with PowerVC.
  2. Download cloud-init, and install cloud-init in this virtual machine.
  3. Download chef-client, and install chef-client in this virtual machine.
  4. Configure cloud-init, modifiy /opt/freeware/etc/cloud.cfg. In this file put the Chef configuration of the cc_chef cloud-init module.
  5. Create mandatory files, such as /etc/chef directory, put your ohai plugins in /etc/chef/ohai-plugins directory.
  6. Stop the virtual machine.
  7. Capture the virtual machine with PowerVC.
  8. Obviously as prerequisites a chef-server is up and running, cookbooks, recipes, roles, environments are ok in this chef-server.

cloud-init installation

cloud-init is now available on AIX, but you have to build the rpm by yourself. Sources can be found on github at this address : There are a lot of prerequisites, most of them can be found on the github page, some of them on famous perzl site, download and install these prerequisites; it is mandatory (links to download the prerequisites are on the github page, the zip file containing cloud-init can be downloaded here :

# rpm -ivh --nodeps gettext-0.17-8.aix6.1.ppc.rpm
gettext                     ##################################################
# for rpm in bzip2-1.0.6-2.aix6.1.ppc.rpm db-4.8.24-4.aix6.1.ppc.rpm expat-2.1.0-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm gmp-5.1.3-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm libffi-3.0.11-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm openssl-1.0.1g-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm zlib-1.2.5-6.aix6.1.ppc.rpm gdbm-1.10-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm libiconv-1.14-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm bash-4.2-9.aix6.1.ppc.rpm info-5.0-2.aix6.1.ppc.rpm readline-6.2-3.aix6.1.ppc.rpm ncurses-5.9-3.aix6.1.ppc.rpm sqlite- python-2.7.6-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-2.7.6-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-devel-2.7.6-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-xml-0.8.4-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-boto-2.34.0-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-argparse-1.2.1-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-cheetah-2.4.4-2.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-configobj-5.0.5-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-jsonpointer-1.0.c1ec3df-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-jsonpatch-1.8-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-oauth-1.0.1-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-pyserial-2.7-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-prettytable-0.7.2-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm python-requests-2.4.3-1.aix6.1.noarch.rpm libyaml-0.1.4-1.aix6.1.ppc.rpm python-setuptools-0.9.8-2.aix6.1.noarch.rpm fdupes-1.51-1.aix5.1.ppc.rpm ; do rpm -ivh $rpm ;done
python-oauth                ##################################################
python-pyserial             ##################################################
python-prettytable          ##################################################
python-requests             ##################################################
libyaml                     ##################################################

Build the rpm by following the commands below. You can reuse this rpm on every AIX on which you want to install cloud-init package:

# jar -xvf
inflated: cloud-init-0.7.5-master/upstart/cloud-log-shutdown.conf
# mv cloud-init-0.7.5-master  cloud-init-0.7.5
# chmod -Rf +x cloud-init-0.7.5/bin
# chmod -Rf +x cloud-init-0.7.5/tools
# cp cloud-init-0.7.5/packages/aix/ /opt/freeware/src/packages/SPECS/cloud-init.spec
# tar -cvf cloud-init-0.7.5.tar cloud-init-0.7.5
a cloud-init-0.7.5/upstart/cloud-init.conf 1 blocks
a cloud-init-0.7.5/upstart/cloud-log-shutdown.conf 2 blocks
# gzip cloud-init-0.7.5.tar
# cp cloud-init-0.7.5.tar.gz /opt/freeware/src/packages/SOURCES/cloud-init-0.7.5.tar.gz
# rpm -v -bb /opt/freeware/src/packages/SPECS/cloud-init.spec
Requires: cloud-init = 0.7.5
Wrote: /opt/freeware/src/packages/RPMS/ppc/cloud-init-0.7.5-4.1.aix7.1.ppc.rpm
Wrote: /opt/freeware/src/packages/RPMS/ppc/cloud-init-doc-0.7.5-4.1.aix7.1.ppc.rpm
Wrote: /opt/freeware/src/packages/RPMS/ppc/cloud-init-test-0.7.5-4.1.aix7.1.ppc.rpm

Finally install the rpm:

# rpm -ivh /opt/freeware/src/packages/RPMS/ppc/cloud-init-0.7.5-4.1.aix7.1.ppc.rpm
cloud-init                  ##################################################
# rpm -qa | grep cloud-init

cloud-init configuration

By installing cloud-init package on AIX some entries have been added to /etc/rc.d/rc2.d:

ls -l /etc/rc.d/rc2.d | grep cloud
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     system           33 Apr 26 15:13 S01cloud-init-local -> /etc/rc.d/init.d/cloud-init-local
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     system           27 Apr 26 15:13 S02cloud-init -> /etc/rc.d/init.d/cloud-init
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     system           29 Apr 26 15:13 S03cloud-config -> /etc/rc.d/init.d/cloud-config
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     system           28 Apr 26 15:13 S04cloud-final -> /etc/rc.d/init.d/cloud-final

The default configuration file is located in /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/cloud.cfg, this configuration file is splited in three parts. The first one called cloud_init_module tells cloud-init to run specifics modules when the cloud-init script is started at boot time. For instance set the hostname of the machine (set_hostname), reset the rmc (reset_rmc) and so on. In our case this part will automatically change the hostname and the ip address of the machine by the values provided in PowerVC at the deployement time. This cloud_init_module part is splited in two, the local one and the normal one. The local on is using information provided by the cdrom build by PowerVC at the time of the deployment. This cdrom provides ip and hostname of the machine, activation input script, nameservers information. The datasource_list stanza tells cloud-init to use the “ConfigDrive” (in our case virtual cdrom) to get ip and hostname needed by some cloud_init_modules. The second one called cloud_config_module tells cloud-init to run specific modules when cloud-config script is called, at this stage the minimal requirements have already been configured by the previous cloud_init_module stage (dns, ip address, hostname are ok). We will configure and setup the chef-client in this stage. The last part called cloud_final_module tells cloud-init to run specific modules when the cloud-final script is called. You can at this step print a final message, reboot the host and so on (In my case host reboot is needed by my install_sddpcm Chef recipe). Here is an overview of the cloud.cfg configuration file:


  • The datasource_list stanza tells cloud-init to use the virtual cdrom as a source of information:
  • datasource_list: ['ConfigDrive']
  • cloud_init_module:
  • cloud_init_modules:
     - set-multipath-hcheck-interval
     - update-bootlist
     - reset-rmc
     - set_hostname
     - update_hostname
     - update_etc_host
  • cloud_config_module:
  • cloud_config_modules:
      - mounts
      - chef
      - runcmd
  • cloud_final_module:
  • cloud_final_modules:
      - final-message

If you do not want to use Chef at all you can modify the cloud.cfg file to fit you needs (running homemade scripts, mounting filesystems …), but my goal here is to do the job with Chef. We will try to do the minimal job with cloud-init, so the goal here is to configure cloud-init to configure chef-client. Anyway I also wanted to play with cloud-init and see its capabilities. The full documentation of cloud-init can be found here Here are a few thing I just added (the Chef part will be detailed later), but keep in mind you can just use cloud-init without Chef if you want (setup you ssh key, mount or create filesystems, create files and so on):

  - path: /tmp/cloud-init-started
    content: |
      cloud-init was started on this server
    permissions: '0755'
  - path: /var/log/cloud-init-sub.log
    content: |
      starting chef logging
    permissions: '0755'

final_message: "The system is up, cloud-init is finished"

EDIT : The IBM developper of cloud-init for AIX just send me a mail yesterday about the new support of cc_power_state. As I need to reboot my host at the end of the build I can with the latest version of cloud-init for AIX use the power_state stanza, I here use poweroff as an example, use reboot … for reboot:

 delay: "+5"
 mode: poweroff
 message: cloud-init mandatory reboot for sddpcm
 timeout: 5


Rerun cloud-init for testing purpose

You probably want to test your cloud-init configuration before of after capturing the machine. When cloud-init is launched by the startup script a check is performed to be sure that cloud-init has not already been run. Some “semaphores” files are created in /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instance/sem to tell modules have already been executed. If you want to re-run cloud-init by hand without having to rebuild a machine, just remove these files in this directory :

# rm -rf /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instance/sem

Let’s say we just want to re-run the Chef part:

# rm /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instance/sem/config_chef

To sum up here is what I want to do with cloud-init:

  1. Use the cdrom as datasource.
  2. Set the hostname and ip.
  3. Setup my chef-client.
  4. Print a final message.
  5. Do a mandatory reboot at the end of the installation.

chef-client installation and configuration

Before modifying the cloud.cfg file to tell cloud-init to setup the Chef client we first have to download and install the chef-client on the AIX host we will capture later. Download the Chef client bff file at this address: and install it:

# installp -aXYgd . chef
                         Installing Software...

installp: APPLYING software for:
Installation Summary
Name                        Level           Part        Event       Result
chef                      USR         APPLY       SUCCESS
chef                      ROOT        APPLY       SUCCESS
# lslpp -l | grep -i chef
  chef                C     F    The full stack of chef
# which chef-client

The configuration file of chef-client created by cloud-init will be created in the /etc/chef directory, by default the /etc/chef directory does not exists, so you’ll have to create it

# mkdir -p /etc/chef
# mkdir -p /etc/chef/ohai_plugins

If -like me- you are using custom ohai plugins, you have two things to do. cloud-init is using templates files to build configuration files needed by Chef. Theses templates files are located in /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/templates. Modify the chef_client.rb.tmpl file to add a configuration line for ohai plugin_path. Copy your ohai plugin in /etc/chef/ohai_plugins:

# tail -1 /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/templates/chef_client.rb.tmpl
Ohai::Config[:plugin_path] << '/etc/chef/ohai_plugins'
# ls /etc/chef/ohai_plugins

Add the chef stanza in the /opt/freeware/cloud/cloud.cfg. After this step the image is ready to be captured (Check ohai plugin configuration if you need one), so the chef-client is already installed. Put the force_install stanza to false, put the server_url, the validation_name of your Chef server, the organization and finally put the validation RSA private key provided in your Chef server (in the example below the key has been truncated for obvious purpose; server_url and validation_name have also been replaced). As you can see below, I tell here to Chef to run all recipes defined in the aix7 cookbook, we'll see later how to create a cookbook and recipes :

  force_install: false
  server_url: ""
  validation_name: "chmod666-validator"
  validation_key: |
    -----END RSA PRIVATE KEY-----
    - "role[aix7]"

  - /usr/bin/chef-client

EDIT: With the latest build of cloud-init for AIX there is no need to run chef-client with the runcmd stanza. Just add exec: 1 in the chef stanza.

To sum up, cloud-init is installed, cloud-init is configured to run a few actions at boot time but mainly to configure chef-client and run it with a specific role> The chef-client is installed. The machine can now be shutdown and is ready to be deployed. At the deployement time cloud-init will do the job to change ip address and hostname, and configure Chef. Chef will retreive the cookbooks and recipes and run it on the machine.

If you want to use custom ohai plugins read the ohai part before capturing your machine.


Use chef-solo for testing

You will have to create your own recipes. My advice is to use chef-solo to debug. The chef-solo binary file is provided with the chef-client package. This one can be use without a Chef server to run and execute Chef recipes:

  • Create a test recipe:
  • # mkdir -p ~/chef/cookbooks/testing/recipes
    # cat  ~/chef/cookbooks/testing/recipes/test.rb
    file "/tmp/helloworld.txt" do
      owner "root"
      group "system"
      mode "0755"
      action :create
      content "Hello world !"
  • Create a run_list with you test recipe:
  • # cat ~/chef/node.json
      "run_list": [ "recipe[testing::test]" ]
  • Create attribute file for chef-solo execution:
  • # cat  ~/chef/solo.rb
    file_cache_path "/root/chef"
    cookbook_path "/root/chef/cookbooks"
    json_attribs "/root/chef/node.json"
  • Run chef-solo:
  • # chef-solo -c /root/chef/solo.rb


cookbooks and recipes example on AIX

Let's say you have written all you recipes using chef-solo on a test server. On the Chef server you now want to put all these recipes in a cookbook. From the workstation, create a cookbook :

# knife cookbook create test
** Creating cookbook test in /home/kadmin/.chef/cookbooks
** Creating README for cookbook: aix7
** Creating CHANGELOG for cookbook: aix7
** Creating metadata for cookbook: aix7

In the .chef directory you can now find a directory for the aix7 cookbook. In this one you will find a directory for each Chef objects : recipes, templates, files, and so on. This place is called the chef-repo. I strongly recommend using this place as a git repository (you will by doing this save all modifications of any object in the cookbook).

# ls /home/kadmin/.chef/cookbooks/aix7/recipes
create_fs_rootvg.rb  create_profile_root.rb  create_user_group.rb  delete_group.rb  delete_user.rb  dns.rb  install_sddpcm.rb  install_ssh.rb  ntp.rb  ohai_custom.rb  test_ohai.rb
# ls /home/kadmin/.chef/cookbooks/aix7/templates/default
aixcustom.rb.erb  ntp.conf.erb  ohai_test.erb  resolv.conf.erb


Here are a few examples of my own recipes:

  • install_ssh, the recipe is mounting an nfs filesystem (nim server). The nim_server is an attribute coming from role default attribute (we will check that later), the oslevel is an ohai attribute coming from an ohai custom plugin (we will check that later too). openssh.license and openssh.server filesets are installed, the filesystem is unmounted, and finally ssh service is started:
  • # creating temporary directory
    directory "/var/mnttmp" do
      action :create
    # mouting nim server
    mount "/var/mnttmp" do
      device "#{node[:nim_server]}:/export/nim/lppsource/#{node['aixcustom']['oslevel']}"
      fstype "nfs"
      action :mount
    # installing ssh packages (openssh.license, openssh.base)
    bff_package "openssh.license" do
      source "/var/mnttmp"
      action :install
    bff_package "openssh.base" do
      source "/var/mnttmp"
      action :install
    # umount the /var/mnttmp directory
    mount "/var/mnttmp" do
      fstype "nfs"
      action :umount
    # deleting temporary directory
    directory "/var/mnttmp" do
      action :delete
    # start and enable ssh service
    service "sshd" do
      action :start
  • install_sddpcm, the recipe is mounting an nfs filesystem (nim server). The nim_server is an attribute coming from role default attribute (we will check that later), the platform_version is coming from ohai. and devices.sddpcm.71.rte filesets are installed, the filesystem is unmounted:
  • # creating temporary directory
    directory "/var/mnttmp" do
      action :create
    # mouting nim server
    mount "/var/mnttmp" do
      device "#{node[:nim_server]}:/export/nim/lpp_source/#{node['platform_version']}/sddpcm-71-2660"
      fstype "nfs"
      action :mount
    # installing sddpcm packages (, devices.sddpcm.71.rte)
    bff_package "" do
      source "/var/mnttmp"
      action :install
    bff_package "devices.sddpcm.71.rte" do
      source "/var/mnttmp"
      action :install
    # umount the /var/mnttmp directory
    mount "/var/mnttmp" do
      fstype "nfs"
      action :umount
    # deleting temporary directory
    directory "/var/mnttmp" do
      action :delete
  • create_fs_rootvg, some filesystems are extended, an /apps filesystem is created and mounted. Please note that there are no cookbooks for AIX lvm for the moment and you have here to use the execute statement which is the only not to be idempotent:
  • execute "hd3" do
      command "chfs -a size=1024M /tmp"
    execute "hd9var" do
      command "chfs -a size=512M /var"
    execute "/apps" do
      command "crfs -v jfs2 -g rootvg -m /apps -Ay -a size=1M ; chlv -n appslv fslv00"
      not_if { ::File.exists?("/dev/appslv")}
    mount "/apps" do
      device "/dev/appslv"
      fstype "jfs2"
  • ntp, ntp.conf.erb located in the template directory is copied to /etc/ntp.conf:
  • template "/etc/ntp.conf" do
      source "ntp.conf.erb"
  • dns, resolv.conf.erb located in the template directory is copied to /etc/resolv.conf:
  • template "/etc/resolv.conf" do
      source "resolv.conf.erb"
  • crearte_user_group, a user for tadd is created:
  • user "taddmux" do
      gid 'sys'
      uid 421
      home '/home/taddmux'
      comment 'user TADDM connect SSH'


On the recipes above templates are used for ntp and dns configuration. Templates files are files in which some strings are replaced by Chef attributes found in the roles, the environments, in ohai, or even directly in recipes, here are the two files I used for dns and ntp

  • ntp.conf.erb, ntpserver1,2,3 attributes are found in environments (let's say I have siteA and siteB and ntp are different for each site, I can define an environment for siteA en siteB):
  • [..]
    server <%= node['ntpserver1'] %>
    server <%= node['ntpserver2'] %>
    server <%= node['ntpserver3'] %>
    driftfile /etc/ntp.drift
    tracefile /etc/ntp.trace
  • resolv.conf.erb, nameserver1,2,3 and namesearch are found in environments:
  • search  <%= node['namesearch'] %>
    nameserver      <%= node['nameserver1'] %>
    nameserver      <%= node['nameserver2'] %>
    nameserver      <%= node['nameserver3'] %>

role assignation

Chef roles can be used to run different chef recipes depending of the type of server you want to post install. You can for instance create a role for webserver in which the Websphere recipe will be executed and create a role for databases server in which the recipe for Oracle will be executed. In my case and for the simplicity of this example I just create one role called aix7

# knife role create aix7
Created role[aix7]
# knife role edit aix7
  "name": "aix7",
  "description": "",
  "json_class": "Chef::Role",
  "default_attributes": {
    "nim_server": "nimsrv01"
  "override_attributes": {

  "chef_type": "role",
  "run_list": [
  "env_run_lists": {


What we can se here are two important things. We created an attribute specific to this role called nim_server. In all recipes, templates "node['nim_server']" will be replaced by nimsrv01 (remember the recipes above, and remember we told chef-client to run the aix7 role). We created a run_list telling that recipes coming from aix7 cookbook : install_ssh, install_sddpcm, ... should be exectued on a server calling chef-client with the aix7 role.


Chef environments can be use to separate you environments, for instance production, developpement, backup, or in my example sites. In my company depending the site on which you are building a machine nameservers and ntp servers will differ. Remember that we are using templates files for resolv.conf and ntp.conf files :

knife environment show siteA
chef_type:           environment
description:         production site
json_class:          Chef::Environment
name:                siteA

When chef-client will be called with -E siteA attribute it will replace node['namesearch'] by "" in all recipes, and templates files.

A Chef run

When you are ok with your cookbook upload it to the Chef server:

# knife cookbook upload aix7
Uploading aix7           [0.1.0]
Uploaded 1 cookbook.

When chef-client is not executed by cloud-init you can run it by hand. I thought it is interessting to put an output of chef-client here, you can see that files are modified, packages installed and so on ;-) :



ohai is a command delivered with chef-client. Its purpose is to gather information about the machine on which chef-client is executed. Each time chef-client is running a call to ohai is launched. By default ohai is gathering a lot of information such as ip address of the machine, the lpar id, the lpar name, and so on. A call to ohai is returning a json tree. Each element of this json tree can be accessed in Chef recipes or in Chef templates. For instance to get the lpar name the 'node['virtualization']['lpar_name']' can be called. Here is an example of a single call to ohai:

# ohai | more
  "ipaddress": "",
  "macaddress": "FA:A3:6A:5C:82:20",
  "os": "aix",
  "os_version": "1",
  "platform": "aix",
  "platform_version": "7.1",
  "platform_family": "aix",
  "uptime_seconds": 14165,
  "uptime": "3 hours 56 minutes 05 seconds",
  "virtualization": {
    "lpar_no": "7",
    "lpar_name": "s00va9940866-ada56a6e-0000004d"

At the time of writing this blog post there is -at my humble opinion- some attirbutes missing in ohai. For instance if you want to install a specific package from an lpp_source you first need to know what is you current oslevel (I mean the output of oslevel -s). Fortunately ohai can be surcharged by custom plugin and you can add your own attributes what ever it is.

  • In ohai 7 (the one shipped with chef-client 12) an attribute needs to be added to the Chef client.rb configuration to tells where the ohai plugins will be located. Remember that the chef-client is configured by cloud-init, to do so you need to modify the template used by cloud-init the build the client.rb file. This one is located in /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/template:
  • # tail -1 /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/templates/chef_client.rb.tmpl
    Ohai::Config[:plugin_path] << '/etc/chef/ohai_plugins'
    # mkdir -p /etc/chef/ohai_plugins
  • After this modification the machine is ready to be captured.
  • You want your custom ohai plugins to be uploaded to the chef-client machine at the time of chef-client execution, here is an example of custom ohai plugin used as a template. This one will gather the oslevel (oslevel -s), the node name, the partition name and the memory mode of the machine. These attributes are gathered with lparstat command:
  • Ohai.plugin(:Aixcustom) do
      provides "aixcustom"
      collect_data(:aix) do
        oslevel = shell_out("oslevel -s").stdout.split($/)[0]
        nodename = shell_out("lparstat -i | awk -F ':' '$1 ~ \"Node Name\" {print $2}'").stdout.split($/)[0]
        partitionname = shell_out("lparstat -i | awk -F ':' '$1 ~ \"Partition Name\" {print $2}'").stdout.split($/)[0]
        memorymode = shell_out("lparstat -i | awk -F ':' '$1 ~ \"Memory Mode\" {print $2}'").stdout.split($/)[0]
        aixcustom[:oslevel] = oslevel
        aixcustom[:nodename] = nodename
        aixcustom[:partitionname] = partitionname
        aixcustom[:memorymode] = memorymode
  • The custom ohai plugin is written. Remember that you want this one to be uploaded on the machine a the chef-client execution. New attributes created by this plugin needs to be added in ohai. Here is a recipe uploading the custom ohai plugin, at the time the plugin is uploaded ohai is reloaded and new attributes can be utilized in any further templates (for recipes you have no other choice than putting the custom ohai plugin in the directroy before the capture):
  • cat ~/.chef/cookbooks/aix7/recipes/ohai_custom.rb
    ohai "reload" do
      action :reload
    template "/etc/chef/ohai_plugins/aixcustom.rb" do
      notifies :reload, "ohai[reload]", :immediately

chef-server, chef workstation, knife

I'll not detail here how to setup a Chef server, and how configure you Chef workstation (knife). There are plenty of good tutorials about that on the internet. Please just note that you need to use Chef sever 12 if you are using Chef client 12. Here are some good link to start.

I had some difficulties during the configuration here are a few tricks to know :

  • cacert can by found here: /opt/opscode/embedded/ssl/cert/cacert.pem
  • The Chef validation key can be found in /etc/chef/chef-validator.pem

Building the machine, checking the logs

  • The write_file part was executed, the file is present in /tmp filesystem:
  • # cat /tmp/cloud-init-started
    cloud-init was started on this server
  • The chef-client was configured, file are present in /etc/chef directory, looking at the log file these files were created by cloud-init
  • # ls -l /etc/chef
    total 32
    -rw-------    1 root     system         1679 Apr 26 23:46 client.pem
    -rw-r--r--    1 root     system          646 Apr 26 23:46 client.rb
    -rw-r--r--    1 root     system           38 Apr 26 23:46 firstboot.json
    -rw-r--r--    1 root     system         1679 Apr 26 23:46 validation.pem
    # grep chef | /var/log/cloud-init-output.log
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,463 -[DEBUG]: Found cc_chef with attributes ['handle'] in ['cloudinit.config.cc_chef']
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,879 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instances/a8b8fe0d-34c1-4bdb-821c-777fca1c391f/sem/config_chef - wb: [420] 23 bytes
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,882 -[DEBUG]: Running config-chef using lock ()
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,884 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /etc/chef/validation.pem - wb: [420] 1679 bytes
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,887 -[DEBUG]: Reading from /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/templates/chef_client.rb.tmpl (quiet=False)
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,889 -[DEBUG]: Read 892 bytes from /opt/freeware/etc/cloud/templates/chef_client.rb.tmpl
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,954 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /etc/chef/client.rb - wb: [420] 646 bytes
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,958 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /etc/chef/firstboot.json - wb: [420] 38 bytes
  • The runcmd part was executed:
  • # cat /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instance/scripts/runcmd
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,488 -[DEBUG]: Found cc_runcmd with attributes ['handle'] in ['cloudinit.config.cc_runcmd']
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,983 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instances/a8b8fe0d-34c1-4bdb-821c-777fca1c391f/sem/config_runcmd - wb: [420] 23 bytes
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,986 -[DEBUG]: Running config-runcmd using lock ()
    2015-04-26 23:46:22,987 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instances/a8b8fe0d-34c1-4bdb-821c-777fca1c391f/scripts/runcmd - wb: [448] 31 bytes
    2015-04-26 23:46:25,868 -[DEBUG]: Running command ['/opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instance/scripts/runcmd'] with allowed return codes [0] (shell=False, capture=False)
  • The final message was printed in the output of the cloud-init log file
  • 2015-04-26 23:06:01,203 -[DEBUG]: Running config-final-message using lock ()
    The system is up, cloud-init is finished
    2015-04-26 23:06:01,240 -[DEBUG]: The system is up, cloud-init is finished
    2015-04-26 23:06:01,242 -[DEBUG]: Writing to /opt/freeware/var/lib/cloud/instance/boot-finished - wb: [420] 57 bytes

On the Chef server you can check the client registred itself and get details about it.

# knife node list | grep a8b8fe0d-34c1-4bdb-821c-777fca1c391f
# knife node show a8b8fe0d-34c1-4bdb-821c-777fca1c391f
Node Name:   a8b8fe0d-34c1-4bdb-821c-777fca1c391f
Environment: _default
Run List:    role[aix7]
Roles:       france_testing
Recipes:     aix7::create_fs_rootvg, aix7::create_profile_root
Platform:    aix 7.1

What's next ?

If you have a look on the Chef supermarket (the place where you can download Chef cookbooks written by the community and validated by opscode) you'll see that there are not a lot of cookbooks for AIX. I'm currently writting my own cookbook for AIX logical volume manager and filesystems creation, but there is still a lot of work to do on cookbooks creation for AIX. Here is a list of cookbooks that needs to be written by the community : chdev, multibos, mksysb, nim client, wpar, update_all, ldap_client .... I can continue this list but I'm sure that you have a lot of ideas. Last word learn ruby and write cookbooks, they will be used by the community and we can finally have a good configuration management tool on AIX. With PowerVC, cloud-init and Chef support AIX will have a full "DevOps" stack and can finally fight against Linux. As always hope this blog post helps you to understand PowerVC, cloud-init and Chef !

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 ... ?