NovaLink ‘HMC Co-Management’ and PowerVC Resource Optimizer

Everybody now knows that I’m using PowerVC a lot in my current company. My environment is growing bigger and bigger and we are now managing more than 600 virtual machines with PowerVC (the goal is to reach ~ 3000 this year). Some of them were build by PowerVC itself and some of them were migrated through an homemade python script calling the PowerVC rest api and moving our old vSCSI machines to the new full NPIV/Live Partition Mobility/PowerVC environment (Still struggling with the “old mens” to move on SSP, but I’m alone versus everybody on this one). I’m happy with that but (there is always a but) I’m facing a lot problems. The first one is that we are doing more and more stuffs with PowerVC (Virtual Machine creation, virtual machines resizing, adding additional disks, moving machine with LPM, and finally using this python scripts to migrate the old machines to the new environment). I realized that the machine hosting the PowerVC was slower and slower and the more actions we do the more the PowerVC was “unresponsive”. By this I mean that the GUI was slow, creating objects was slower and slower. By looking at CPU graphs in lpar2rrd we noticed that the CPU consumption was growing as fast as we were doing stuffs on PowerVC (check the graph below). The second problem was my teams (unfortunately for me, we have here different teams doing different sort of stuffs here and everybody is using the Hardware Management Consoles it’s own way, some people are renaming the machine making them unusable with PowerVC, some people were changing the profiles disabling the synchronization, even worse we have some third party tools used for capacity planning making the Hardware Management Console unusable by PowerVC). The solution to all these problems is to use NovaLink and especially the NovaLink Co-Management. By doing this the Hardware Management Consoles will be restricted to a read-only view and PowerVC will stop querying the HMCs and will directly query the NovaLink partitions on each hosts instead of querying the Hardware Management Consoles.


What is NovaLink ?

If you are using PowerVC you know that this one is based on OpenStack. Until now all the Openstack services where running on the PowerVC host. If you check on the PowerVC today you can see that there is one Nova per managed host. In the example below I’m managing ten hosts so I have ten different Nova processes running :

# ps -ef | grep [n]ova-compute
nova       627     1 14 Jan16 ?        06:24:30 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_10D6666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_10D6666.log
nova       649     1 14 Jan16 ?        06:30:25 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_65E6666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_65E6666.log
nova       664     1 17 Jan16 ?        07:49:27 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_1086666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_1086666.log
nova       675     1 19 Jan16 ?        08:40:27 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_06D6666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_06D6666.log
nova       687     1 18 Jan16 ?        08:15:57 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_6576666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_6576666.log
nova       697     1 21 Jan16 ?        09:35:40 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_6556666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_6556666.log
nova       712     1 13 Jan16 ?        06:02:23 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_10A6666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_10A6666.log
nova       728     1 17 Jan16 ?        07:49:02 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_1016666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9117MMD_1016666.log
nova       752     1 17 Jan16 ?        07:34:45 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_1036666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9119MHE_1036666.log
nova       779     1 13 Jan16 ?        05:54:52 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova-9117MMD_6596666.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute-9119MHE_6596666.log
# ps -ef | grep [n]ova-compute | wc -l

The goal of NovaLink is to move these processes on a dedicated partition running on each managed host (each PowerSystems). This partition is called the NovaLink partition. This one is running on an Ubuntu 15.10 Linux OS (Little endian) (so only available on Power8 hosts) and is in charge to run the Openstack nova processes. By doing that you will distribute the load across all the NovaLink partitions instead of charging one PowerVC host. Even better my understanding is that the NovaLink partition is able to communicate directly with the FSP. By using NovaLink you will be able to stop using the Hardware Management Consoles anymore and avoid the slowness of theses ones. As the NovaLink partition is hosted on the host itself the RMC connections are can now use a direct link (ipv6) through the PowerHypervisor. No more RMC connection problem at all ;-), it’s just awesome. NovaLink allows you to choose between two modes of management:

  • Full Nova Management: You install your new host directly with NovaLink on it and you will not need an Hardware Management Console Anymore (In this case the NovaLink installation is in charge to deploy the Virtual I/O Servers and the SEAs).
  • Nova Co-Management: Your host is already installed and you give the write access (setmaster) to the NovaLink partition, the Hardware Management Console will be limited in this mode (you will not be able to create partition anymore or modify profile, it’s not a “read only” mode as you will be able to start and stop the partitions and still do some stuffs with HMC but you will be very limited).
  • You can still mix NovaLink and Non-NovaLink management hosts, and still have P7/P6 managed by HMCs, P8 managed by HMCs, P8 Nova Co-Managed and P8 full Nova Managed ;-).
  • Nova1


As always upgrade your systems to the latest code level if you want to use NovaLink and NovaLink Co-Management

  • Power 8 only with firmware version 840. (or later)
  • Virtual I/O Server or later
  • For NovaLink co-management HMC V8R8.4.0
  • Obviously install NovaLink on each NovaLink managed system (install the latest patch version of NovaLink)
  • PowerVC or later

NovaLink installation on an existing system

I’ll show you here how to install a NovaLink partition on an existing deployed system. Installing a new system from scratch is also possible. My advice is that you look at this address to start: , and check this youtube video showing you how a system is installed from scratch :

The goal of this post is to show you how to setup a co-managed system on an already existing system with Virtual I/O Servers already deployed on the host. My advice is to be very careful. The first thing you’ll need to do is to created a partition (2VP 0.5EC and 5GB Memory) (I’m calling it nova in the example below) and use the Virtual Optical device to load the NovaLink system on this one. In the example below the machine is “SSP” backed. Be very careful when do that: setup the profile name, and all the configuration stuffs before moving to co-managed mode … after that it will be harder for you to change things as the new pvmctl command will be very new to you:

# mkvdev -fbo -vadapter vhost0
vtopt0 Available
# lsrep
Size(mb) Free(mb) Parent Pool         Parent Size      Parent Free
    3059     1579 rootvg                   102272            73216

Name                                                  File Size Optical         Access
PowerVM_NovaLink_V1.1_122015.iso                           1479 None            rw
vopt_a19a8fbb57184aad8103e2c9ddefe7e7                         1 None            ro
# loadopt -disk PowerVM_NovaLink_V1.1_122015.iso -vtd vtopt0
# lsmap -vadapter vhost0 -fmt :
vhost0:U8286.41A.21AFF8V-V2-C40:0x00000003:nova_b1:Available:0x8100000000000000:nova_b1.7f863bacb45e3b32258864e499433b52: :N/A:vtopt0:Available:0x8200000000000000:/var/vio/VMLibrary/PowerVM_NovaLink_V1.1_122015.iso: :N/A
  • At the gurb page select the first entry:
  • install1

  • Wait for the machine to boot:
  • install2

  • Choose to perform an installation:
  • install3

  • Accept the licenses
  • install4

  • padmin user:/li>

  • Put you network configuration:
  • install6

  • Accept to install the Ubuntu system:
  • install8

  • You can then modify anything you want in the configuration file (in my case the timezone):
  • install9

    By default NovaLink (I think not 100% sure) is designed to be installed on SAS disk, so without multipathing. If like me you decide to install the NovaLink partition in a “boot-on-san” lpar my advice is to launch the installation without any multipathing enabled (only one vscsi adapter or one virtual fibre channel adapter). After the installation is completed install the Ubuntu multipathd service and configure the second vscsi or virtual fibre channel adapter. If you don’t do that you may experience problem at the installation time (RAID error). Please remember that you have to do that before enabling the co-management. Last thing about the installation it may takes a lot of time to finish. So be patient (especially the preseed step).


Updating to the latest code level

The iso file provider in the Entitled Software Support is not updated to the latest available NovaLink code. Make a copy of the official repository available at this address: Serve the content of this ftp server on you how http server (use the command below to copy it):

# wget --mirror

Modify the /etc/apt/sources.list (and source.list.d) and comment all the available deb repository to on only keep your copy

root@nova:~# grep -v ^# /etc/apt/sources.list
deb novalink_1.0.0 non-free
root@nova:/etc/apt/sources.list.d# apt-get upgrade
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
Calculating upgrade... Done
The following packages will be upgraded:
  pvm-cli pvm-core pvm-novalink pvm-rest-app pvm-rest-server pypowervm
6 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 165 MB of archives.
After this operation, 53.2 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n]
Get:1 novalink_1.0.0/non-free pypowervm all [363 kB]
Get:2 novalink_1.0.0/non-free pvm-cli all [63.4 kB]
Get:3 novalink_1.0.0/non-free pvm-core ppc64el [2,080 kB]
Get:4 novalink_1.0.0/non-free pvm-rest-server ppc64el [142 MB]
Get:5 novalink_1.0.0/non-free pvm-rest-app ppc64el [21.1 MB]
Get:6 novalink_1.0.0/non-free pvm-novalink ppc64el [1,738 B]
Fetched 165 MB in 7s (20.8 MB/s)
(Reading database ... 72094 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to unpack .../pypowervm_1.0.0.1-151203-1553_all.deb ...
Unpacking pypowervm ( over ( ...
Preparing to unpack .../pvm-cli_1.0.0.1-151202-864_all.deb ...
Unpacking pvm-cli ( over ( ...
Preparing to unpack .../pvm-core_1.0.0.1-151202-1495_ppc64el.deb ...
Removed symlink /etc/systemd/system/
Unpacking pvm-core ( over ( ...
Preparing to unpack .../pvm-rest-server_1.0.0.1-151203-1563_ppc64el.deb ...
Unpacking pvm-rest-server ( over ( ...
Preparing to unpack .../pvm-rest-app_1.0.0.1-151203-1563_ppc64el.deb ...
Unpacking pvm-rest-app ( over ( ...
Preparing to unpack .../pvm-novalink_1.0.0.1-151203-408_ppc64el.deb ...
Unpacking pvm-novalink ( over ( ...
Processing triggers for ureadahead (0.100.0-19) ...
ureadahead will be reprofiled on next reboot
Setting up pypowervm ( ...
Setting up pvm-cli ( ...
Installing bash completion script /etc/bash_completion.d/
Setting up pvm-core ( ...
addgroup: The group `pvm_admin' already exists.
Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/ to /usr/lib/systemd/system/pvm-core.service.
0513-071 The ctrmc Subsystem has been added.
Adding /usr/lib/systemd/system/ctrmc.service for systemctl ...
0513-059 The ctrmc Subsystem has been started. Subsystem PID is 3096.
Setting up pvm-rest-server ( ...
The user `wlp' is already a member of `pvm_admin'.
Setting up pvm-rest-app ( ...
Setting up pvm-novalink ( ...

NovaLink and HMC Co-Management configuration

Before adding the hosts on PowerVC you still need to do the most important thing. After the installation is finished enable the co-management mode to be able to have a system managed by NovaLink and still connected to an Hardware Management Console:

  • Enable the powerm_mgmt_capable attribute on the Nova partition:
  • # chsyscfg -r lpar -m br-8286-41A-2166666 -i "name=nova,powervm_mgmt_capable=1"
    # lssyscfg -r lpar -m br-8286-41A-2166666 -F name,powervm_mgmt_capable --filter "lpar_names=nova"
  • Enable co-management (please not here that you have to setmaster (you’ll see that the curr_master_name is the HMC) and then relmaster (you’ll see that the curr_master_name is the NovaLink Partition, this is that state where we want to be)):
  • # lscomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666
    # chcomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666 -o setmaster -t norm --terms agree
    # lscomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666
    # chcomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666 -o relmaster
    # lscomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666

Going back to HMC managed system

You can go back to an Hardware Management Console managed system whenever you want (set the master to the HMC, delete the nova partition and release the master from the HMC).

# chcomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666 -o setmaster -t norm --terms agree
# lscomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666
# chlparstate -o shutdown -m br-8286-41A-2166666 --id 9 --immed
# rmsyscfg -r lpar -m br-8286-41A-2166666 --id 9
# chcomgmt -o relmaster -m br-8286-41A-2166666
# lscomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666

Using NovaLink

After the installation you are now able to login on the NovaLink partition. (You can gain root access with “sudo su -” command). A command new called pvmctl is available on the NovaLink partition allowing you to perform any actions (stop, start virtual machine, list Virtual I/O Servers, ….). Before trying to add the host double check that the pvmctl command is working ok.

padmin@nova:~$ pvmctl lpar list
Logical Partitions
| Name | ID |  State  |    Env    |    Ref Code   | Mem  | CPU | Ent |
| nova | 3  | running | AIX/Linux | Linux ppc64le | 8192 |  2  | 0.5 |

Adding hosts

On the PowerVC side add the NovaLink host by choosing the NovaLink option:


Some deb (ibmpowervc-power)packages will be installed on configured on the NovaLink machine:


By doing this, on each NovaLink machine you can check that a nova-compute process is here. (By adding the host the deb was installed and configured on the NovaLink host:

# ps -ef | grep nova
nova      4392     1  1 10:28 ?        00:00:07 /usr/bin/python /usr/bin/nova-compute --config-file /etc/nova/nova.conf --log-file /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log
root      5218  5197  0 10:39 pts/1    00:00:00 grep --color=auto nova
# grep host_display_name /etc/nova/nova.conf
host_display_name = XXXX-8286-41A-XXXX
# tail -1 /var/log/apt/history.log
Start-Date: 2016-01-18  10:27:54
Commandline: /usr/bin/apt-get -o Dpkg::Options::=--force-confdef -o Dpkg::Options::=--force-confold -y install --force-yes --allow-unauthenticated ibmpowervc-powervm
Install: python-keystoneclient:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.reports:ppc64el (, automatic), ibmpowervc-powervm:ppc64el (, python-ceilometer:ppc64el (, automatic), ibmpowervc-powervm-compute:ppc64el (, automatic), nova-common:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.service:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.rootwrap:ppc64el (, automatic), python-pycadf:ppc64el (, automatic), python-nova:ppc64el (, automatic), python-keystonemiddleware:ppc64el (, automatic), python-kafka:ppc64el (, automatic), ibmpowervc-powervm-monitor:ppc64el (, automatic), ibmpowervc-powervm-oslo:ppc64el (, automatic), neutron-common:ppc64el (, automatic), python-os-brick:ppc64el (, automatic), python-tooz:ppc64el (, automatic), ibmpowervc-powervm-ras:ppc64el (, automatic), networking-powervm:ppc64el (, automatic), neutron-plugin-ml2:ppc64el (, automatic), python-ceilometerclient:ppc64el (, automatic), python-neutronclient:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.middleware:ppc64el (, automatic), python-cinderclient:ppc64el (, automatic), python-novaclient:ppc64el (, automatic), python-nova-ibm-ego-resource-optimization:ppc64el (2015.1-201511110358, automatic), python-neutron:ppc64el (, automatic), nova-compute:ppc64el (, automatic), nova-powervm:ppc64el (, automatic), openstack-utils:ppc64el (, automatic), ibmpowervc-powervm-network:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.policy:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.db:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.versionedobjects:ppc64el (, automatic), python-glanceclient:ppc64el (, automatic), ceilometer-common:ppc64el (, automatic), openstack-i18n:ppc64el (, automatic), python-oslo.messaging:ppc64el (, automatic), python-swiftclient:ppc64el (, automatic), ceilometer-powervm:ppc64el (, automatic)
End-Date: 2016-01-18  10:28:00

The command line interface

You can do ALL the stuffs you were doing on the HMC using the pvmctl command. The syntax is pretty simple: pvcmtl |OBJECT| |ACTION| where the OBJECT can be vios, vm, vea(virtual ethernet adapter), vswitch, lu (logical unit), or anything you want and ACTION can be list, delete, create, update. Here are a few examples :

  • List the Virtual I/O Servers:
  • # pvmctl vios list
    Virtual I/O Servers
    |     Name     | ID |  State  | Ref Code | Mem  | CPU | Ent |
    | s00ia9940825 | 1  | running |          | 8192 |  2  | 0.2 |
    | s00ia9940826 | 2  | running |          | 8192 |  2  | 0.2 |
  • List the partitions (note the -d for display-fields allowing me to print somes attributes):
  • # pvmctl vm list
    Logical Partitions
    |   Name   | ID |  State   |   Env    | Ref Code |  Mem  | CPU | Ent |
    | aix72ca> | 3  | not act> | AIX/Lin> | 00000000 |  2048 |  1  | 0.1 |
    |   nova   | 4  | running  | AIX/Lin> | Linux p> |  8192 |  2  | 0.5 |
    | s00vl99> | 5  | running  | AIX/Lin> | Linux p> | 10240 |  2  | 0.2 |
    | test-59> | 6  | not act> | AIX/Lin> | 00000000 |  2048 |  1  | 0.1 |
    # pvmctl list vm -d name id 
    # pvmctl vm list -i id=4 --display-fields
    # pvmctl vm list  --display-fields LogicalPartition.srr_enabled SharedProcessorConfiguration.desired_virtual SharedProcessorConfiguration.uncapped_weight
  • Delete the virtual adapter on the partition name nova (note the –parent-id to select the partition) with a certain uuid which was found with (pvmclt list vea):
  • # pvmctl vea delete --parent-id name=nova --object-id uuid=fe7389a8-667f-38ca-b61e-84c94e5a3c97
  • Power off the lpar named aix72-2:
  • # pvmctl vm power-off -i name=aix72-2-536bf0f8-00000091
    Powering off partition aix72-2-536bf0f8-00000091, this may take a few minutes.
    Partition aix72-2-536bf0f8-00000091 power-off successful.
  • Delete the lpar named aix72-2:
  • # pvmctl vm delete -i name=aix72-2-536bf0f8-00000091
  • Delete the vswitch named MGMTVSWITCH:
  • # pvmctl vswitch delete -i name=MGMTVSWITCH
  • Open a console:
  • #  mkvterm --id 4
    vterm for partition 4 is active.  Press Control+] to exit.
    Elapsed time since release of system processors: 57014 mins 10 secs
  • Power on an lpar:
  • # pvmctl vm power-on -i name=aix72capture
    Powering on partition aix72capture, this may take a few minutes.
    Partition aix72capture power-on successful.

Is this a dream ? No more RMC connectivty problem anymore

I’m 100% sure that you always have problems with RMC connectivity due to firwall issues, ports not opened, and IDS blocking RMC ongoing or outgoing traffic. NovaLink is THE solution that will solve all the RMC problems forever. I’m not joking it’s a major improvement for PowerVM. As the NovaLink partition is installed on each hosts this one can communicate through a dedicated IPv6 link with all the partitions hosted on the host. A dedicated virtual switch called MGMTSWITCH is used to allow the RMC flow to transit between all the lpars and the NovaLink partition. Of course this Virtual Switch must be created and one Virtual Ethernet Adapter must also be created on the NovaLink partition. These are the first two actions to do if you want to implement this solution. Before starting here are a few things you need to know:

  • For security reason the MGMTSWITCH must be created in Vepa mode. If you are not aware of what are VEPA and VEB modes here is a reminder:
  • In VEB mode all the the partitions connected to the same vlan can communicate together. We do not want that as it is a security issue.
  • The VEPA mode gives us the ability to isolate lpars that are on the same subnet. lpar to lpar traffic is forced out of the machine. This is what we want.
  • The PVID for this VEPA network is 4094
  • The adapter in the NovaLink partition must be a trunk adapter.
  • It is mandatory to name the VEPA vswitch MGMTSWITCH.
  • At the lpar creation if the MGMTSWITCH exists a new Virtual Ethernet Adapter will be automatically created on the deployed lpar.
  • To be correctly configured the deployed lpar needs the latest level of rsct code ( for now).
  • The latest cloud-init version must be deploy on the captured lpar used to make the image.
  • You don’t need to configure any addresses on this adapter (on the deployed lpars the adapter is configured with the local-link address (it’s the same thing as addresses used in IPv4 format but for IPv6)(please note that any IPv6 adapter must “by design” have a local-link address).


  • Create the virtual switch called MGMTSWITCH in Vepa mode:
  • # pvmctl vswitch create --name MGMTSWITCH --mode=Vepa
    # pvmctl vswitch list  --display-fields VirtualSwitch.mode 
  • Create a virtual ethernet adapter on the NovaLink partition with the PVID 4094 and a trunk priorty set to 1 (it’s a trunk adapter). Note that we now have two adapters on the NovaLink partition (one in IPv4 (routable) and the other one in IPv6 (non-routable):
  • # pvmctl vea create --pvid 4094 --vswitch MGMTSWITCH --trunk-pri 1 --parent-id name=nova
    # pvmctl vea list --parent-id name=nova
    | VirtualEthernetAdapter |
    | VirtualEthernetAdapter |

    Configure the local-link IPv6 address in the NovaLink partition:

    # more /etc/network/interfaces
    auto eth1
    iface eth1 inet manual
     up /sbin/ifconfig eth1
    # ifup eth1
    # ifconfig eth1
    eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr b6:f8:37:19:2e:63
              inet6 addr: fe80::b4f8:37ff:fe19:2e63/64 Scope:Link
              UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
              RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
              TX packets:17 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
              collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
              RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:1454 (1.4 KB)

Capture an AIX host with the latest version of rsct installed ( or later and the latest version of cloud-init installed. This version of RMC/rsct handle this new feature so this is mandatory to have it installed on the captured host. When PowerVC will deploy a Virtual Machine on a Nova managed host with this version of rsct installed a new adapter with the PVID 4094 in the virtual switch MGMTSWITCH will be created and finally all the RMC traffic will use this adapter instead of your public IP address:

# lslpp -L rsct*
  Fileset                      Level  State  Type  Description (Uninstaller)
  rsct.core.auditrm    C     F    RSCT Audit Log Resource
  rsct.core.errm       C     F    RSCT Event Response Resource
  rsct.core.fsrm       C     F    RSCT File System Resource
  rsct.core.gui        C     F    RSCT Graphical User Interface
  rsct.core.hostrm     C     F    RSCT Host Resource Manager
  rsct.core.lprm       C     F    RSCT Least Privilege Resource
  rsct.core.microsensor    C     F    RSCT MicroSensor Resource
  rsct.core.rmc        C     F    RSCT Resource Monitoring and
  rsct.core.sec        C     F    RSCT Security
  rsct.core.sensorrm    C     F    RSCT Sensor Resource Manager         C     F    RSCT Registry
  rsct.core.utils      C     F    RSCT Utilities

When this image will be deployed a new adapter will be created in the MGMTSWITCH virtual switch, an IPv6 local-link address will be configured on it. You can check the cloud-init activation to see the IPv6 address is configured at the activation time:

# pvmctl vea list --parent-id name=aix72-2-0a0de5c5-00000095
| VirtualEthernetAdapter |
| VirtualEthernetAdapter |
# ifconfig -a
en0: flags=1e084863,14c0
        inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast
         tcp_sendspace 262144 tcp_recvspace 262144 rfc1323 1
en1: flags=1e084863,14c0
        inet6 fe80::c032:52ff:fe34:6e4f/64
         tcp_sendspace 262144 tcp_recvspace 262144 rfc1323 1
sit0: flags=8100041
        inet6 ::

Note that the local-link address is configured at the activation time (fe80 starting addresses):

# more /var/log/cloud-init-output.log
auto eth1

iface eth1 inet6 static
    address fe80::c032:52ff:fe34:6e4f
    hwaddress ether c2:32:52:34:6e:4f
    netmask 64
    pre-up [ $(ifconfig eth1 | grep -o -E '([[:xdigit:]]{1,2}:){5}[[:xdigit:]]{1,2}') = "c2:32:52:34:6e:4f" ]
# entstat -d ent1 | grep -iE "switch|vlan"
Invalid VLAN ID Packets: 0
Port VLAN ID:  4094
VLAN Tag IDs:  None

To be sure all is working correctly here is a proof test. I’m taking down the en0 interface on which the IPv4 public address is configured. Then I’m launching a tcpdump on the en1 (on the MGMTSWITCH address). Finally I’m resizing the Virtual Machine with PowerVC. AND EVERYTHING IS WORKING GREAT !!!! AWESOME !!! :-) (note the fe80 to fe80 communication):

# ifconfig en0 down detach ; tcpdump -i en1 port 657
tcpdump: WARNING: en1: no IPv4 address assigned
tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
listening on en1, link-type 1, capture size 96 bytes
22:00:43.224964 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: S 4049792650:4049792650(0) win 65535 
22:00:43.225022 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: S 2055569200:2055569200(0) ack 4049792651 win 28560 
22:00:43.225051 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: . ack 1 win 32844 
22:00:43.225547 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: P 1:209(208) ack 1 win 32844 
22:00:43.225593 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: . ack 209 win 232 
22:00:43.225638 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: P 1:97(96) ack 209 win 232 
22:00:43.225721 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: P 209:377(168) ack 97 win 32844 
22:00:43.225835 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: P 97:193(96) ack 377 win 240 
22:00:43.225910 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: P 377:457(80) ack 193 win 32844 
22:00:43.226076 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: P 193:289(96) ack 457 win 240 
22:00:43.226154 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: P 457:529(72) ack 289 win 32844 
22:00:43.226210 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: P 289:385(96) ack 529 win 240 
22:00:43.226276 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: P 529:681(152) ack 385 win 32844 
22:00:43.226335 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819: P 385:481(96) ack 681 win 249 
22:00:43.424049 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.32819 > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: . ack 481 win 32844 
22:00:44.725800 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc: UDP, length 88
22:00:44.726111 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: UDP, length 88
22:00:50.137605 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc: UDP, length 632
22:00:50.137900 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: UDP, length 88
22:00:50.183108 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: UDP, length 408
22:00:51.683382 IP6 fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc > fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc: UDP, length 408
22:00:51.683661 IP6 fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868.rmc > fe80::9850:f6ff:fe9c:5739.rmc: UDP, length 88

To be sure security requirements are met from the lpar I’m pinging the NovaLink host (the first one) which is answering and then I’m pinging the second lpar (the second ping) which is not working. (And this is what we want !!!).

# ping fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868
PING fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868 (fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868): 56 data bytes
64 bytes from fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868: icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=0.203 ms
64 bytes from fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.206 ms
64 bytes from fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868: icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.216 ms
--- fe80::d09e:aff:fecf:a868 ping statistics ---
3 packets transmitted, 3 packets received, 0% packet loss
round-trip min/avg/max = 0/0/0 ms
# ping fe80::44a0:66ff:fe61:1b09
PING fe80::44a0:66ff:fe61:1b09 (fe80::44a0:66ff:fe61:1b09): 56 data bytes
--- fe80::44a0:66ff:fe61:1b09 ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 0 packets received, 100% packet loss

PowerVC Dynamic Resource Optimizer

In addition to the NovaLink part of this blog post I also wanted to talk about the killer app of 2016. Dynamic Resource Optimizer. This feature can be used on any PowerVC managed hosts (you obviously need at least to hosts). DRO is in charge to re-balance your Virtual Machines across all the available hosts (in the host-group). To sum up if a host is experiencing an heavy load and reaching a certain amount of CPU consumption over a period of time, DRO will move your virtual machines to re-balance the load across all the available hosts (this is done at a host level). Here are a few details about DRO:

  • The DRO configuration is done at a host level.
  • You setup a threshold (in the capture below) to reach to trigger the Live Partition Moblity or Mobily Cores movements (Power Entreprise Pool).
  • droo6

  • To be triggered this threshold must be reached a certain number of time (stabilization) over a period you are defining (run interval).
  • You can choose to move virtual machines using Live Partition Mobilty, or to move “cores” using Power Entreprise Pool (you can do both; moving CPU will always be preferred as moving partitions)
  • DRO can be run in advise mode (nothing is done, a warning is thrown in the new DRO events tab) or in active mode (which is doing the job and moving things).

  • Your most critical virtual machines can be excluded from DRO:
  • droo5

How is DRO choosing which machines are moved

I’m running DRO in production since now one month and I had the time to check what is going on behind the scene. How is DRO choosing which machines are moved when a Live Partition Moblity operation must be run to face an heavy load on a host ? To do so I decided to launch 3 different cpuhog (16 forks, 4VP, SMT4) processes (which are eating CPU ressource) on three different lpars with 4VP each. On the PowerVC I can check that before launching this processes the CPU consumption is ok on this host (the three lpars are running on the same host) :


# cat

print "eating the CPUs\n";

foreach $i (1..16) {
      $pid = fork();
      last if $pid == 0;
      print "created PID $pid\n";

while (1) {
# perl
eating the CPUs
created PID 47514604
created PID 22675712
created PID 3015584
created PID 21496152
created PID 25166098
created PID 26018068
created PID 11796892
created PID 33424106
created PID 55444462
created PID 65077976
created PID 13369620
created PID 10813734
created PID 56623850
created PID 19333542
created PID 58393312
created PID 3211988

I’m waiting a couple of minutes and I realize that the virtual machines on which the cpuhog processes were launched are the ones which are migrated. So we can say that PowerVC is moving the machine that are eating CPU (another strategy could be to move all the non-eating CPU machines to let the working ones do their job without launching a mobility operation).

# errpt | head -3
A5E6DB96   0118225116 I S pmig           Client Partition Migration Completed
08917DC6   0118225116 I S pmig           Client Partition Migration Started

After the moves are ok I can see that the load is now ok on the host. DRO has done the job for me and moved the lpar to met the configured thresold ;-)


The images below will show you a good example of the “power” of PowerVC and DRO. To update my Virtual I/O Servers to the latest version the PowerVC maintenance mode was used to free up the Virtual I/O Servers. After leaving the maintenance mode the DRO was doing the job to re-balance the Virtual Machines across all the hosts (The red arrows symbolize the maintenance mode action and the purple ones the DRO actions). You can also see that some lpars were moved across 4 different hosts during this process. All these pictures are taken from real life experience on my production systems. This not a lab environment, this is one part of my production. So yes DRO and PowerVC are production ready. Hell yes!



As my environment is growing bigger the next step for me will be to move on NovaLink on my P8 hosts. Please note that the NovaLink Co-Management feature is today a “TechPreview” but should be released GA very soon. Talking about DRO I was waiting for that for years and it finally happens. I can assure you that it is production ready, to prove this I’ll just give you this number. To upgrade my Virtual I/O Servers to release using PowerVC maintenance mode and DRO more than 1000 Live Partition Mobility moves were performed without any outage on production servers and during working hours. Nobody in my company was aware of this during the operations. It was a seamless experience for everybody.

9 thoughts on “NovaLink ‘HMC Co-Management’ and PowerVC Resource Optimizer

  1. Hi Benoit,
    Thank you again for sharing.
    When you’re talking about reaching 3000 VM running with PowerVC, how many of them are AIX LPAR ?


  2. Dear Friend Thank You So Much For Usefull Information which you shared with us .I had this kind of problems with Power7 Lpars and Vio .when Number of your Client’s grow up rapidly , You have a many problems with Vio Limitation, HMC and Other lacks and also you see System are going to Slow and slow more and more .For IBM Power8 this is a good and wisley way but what is your Idea about Clients which installed in Power 7?

  3. Hi benoit, very nice article about NovaLink and PowerVC. I have tested NovaLink co-management in my environment and when I want to go back to HMC Management I follow your procedure. Then I run the “lscomgmt” command and had this result.
    hscroot@vhmcr51:~> lscomgmt -m BELON
    And I was able to modify profile and so on.
    In your post, you wrote :
    # lscomgmt -m br-8286-41A-2166666
    Can you test it again ?

    I will try asap the new switch for RMC as It will be usefull to reduce the deployment time and to have the active / active status in PowerVC.

  4. Hi Benoit,
    Great Article! Is it possible to configure the RMC for an existing lpar without using cloud-init by the new vswitch method you shown above?

    • Yes.
      Just configure an IPv6 local link on a Virtual adapter in vswitch MGMTSWITCH in vlan 4094 and that’s it.

  5. i have existing machine s822, but without HMC Connection (IVM only).
    Is it possible to install powervm novalink in the existing machine with IVM Only ?

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