Putting NovaLink in Production & more PowerVC ( tips and tricks

I’ve been quite busy and writing the blog is getting to be more and more difficult with the amount of work I have but I try to stick to my thing as writing these blogs posts is almost the only thing I can do properly in my whole life. So why do without ? As my place is one of the craziest place I have ever worked in -(for the good … and the bad (I’ll not talk here about how are the things organized here or how is the recognition of your work but be sure it is probably be one the main reason I’ll probably leave this place one day or another)- the PowerSystems growth is crazy and the number of AIX partitions we are managing with PowerVC never stops increasing and I think that we are one the biggest PowerVC customer in the whole world (I don’t know if it is a good thing or not). Just to give you a couple of examples we have here on the biggest Power Enterprise Pool I have ever seen (384 Power8 mobile cores), the number of partitions managed by PowerVC is around 2600 and we have a PowerVC managing almost 30 hosts. You have understand well … theses numbers are huge. It’s seems to be very funny, but it’s not ; the growth is problem, a technical problem and we are facing problems that most of you will never hit. I’m speaking about density and scalability. Hopefully for us the “vertical” design of PowerVC can now be replaced by what I call an “horizontal” design. Instead of putting all the nova instances on one single machine, we now have the possibility to spread the load on each host by using NovaLink. As we needed to solve these density and scalability problems we decided to move all the P8 hosts to NovaLink (this process is still ongoing but most of the engineering stuffs are already done). As you now know we are not deploying a host every year but generally a couple by month and that’s why we needed to find a solution to automate this. So this blog post will talk about all the things and the best practices I have learn using and implementing NovaLink in a huge production environment (automated installation, tips and tricks, post-install, migration and so on). But we will not stop here I’ll also talk about the new things I have learn about PowerVC ( and and give more tips and tricks to use the product as it best. Before going any further I’d first want to say a big thank you to the whole PowerVC team for their kindness and the precious time they gave to us to advise and educate the OpenStack noob I am. (A special thanks to Drew Thorstensen for the long discussions we had about Openstack and PowerVC. He is probably one the most passionate guy I have ever met at IBM).

Novalink Automated installation

I’ll not write big introduction, let’s work and let’s start with NovaLink and how to automate the Novalink installation process. Copy the content of the installation cdrom to a directory that can be served by an http server on your NIM server (I’m using my NIM server for the bootp and tftp part). Note that I’m doing this with a tar command because there are symbolic links in the iso and a simple cp will end up with a full filesystem.

# loopmount -i ESD_-_PowerVM_NovaLink_V1.0.0.3_062016.iso -o "-V cdrfs -o ro" -m /mnt
# tar cvf iso.tar /mnt/*
# tar xvf ios.tar -C /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
# ls -l /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
total 320
dr-xr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Jul 28 17:54 .disk
-r--r--r--    1 root     system          243 Apr 20 21:27 README.diskdefines
-r--r--r--    1 root     system         3053 May 25 22:25 TRANS.TBL
dr-xr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 Apr 20 11:59 boot
dr-xr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 Apr 20 21:27 dists
dr-xr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 Apr 20 21:27 doc
dr-xr-xr-x    2 root     system         4096 Aug 09 15:59 install
-r--r--r--    1 root     system       145981 Apr 20 21:34 md5sum.txt
dr-xr-xr-x    2 root     system         4096 Apr 20 21:27 pics
dr-xr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 Apr 20 21:27 pool
dr-xr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 Apr 20 11:59 ppc
dr-xr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Apr 20 21:27 preseed
dr-xr-xr-x    4 root     system          256 May 25 22:25 pvm
lrwxrwxrwx    1 root     system            1 Aug 29 14:55 ubuntu -> .
dr-xr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 May 25 22:25 vios

Prepare the PowerVM NovaLink repository. The content of the repository can be found in the NovaLink iso image in pvm/repo/pvmrepo.tgz:

# ls -l /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
total 720192
-r--r--r--    1 root     system          223 May 25 22:25 TRANS.TBL
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system         2106 Sep 05 15:56 pvm-install.cfg
-r--r--r--    1 root     system    368722592 May 25 22:25 pvmrepo.tgz

Extract the content of this tgz file in a directory that can be served by the http server:

# mkdir /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
# cp /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
# cd /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
# gunzip pvmrepo.tgz
# tar xvf pvmrepo.tar
x ./pool/non-free/p/pvm-core/pvm-core-dbg_1.0.0.3-160525-2192_ppc64el.deb, 54686380 bytes, 106810 media blocks.
x ./pool/non-free/p/pvm-core/pvm-core_1.0.0.3-160525-2192_ppc64el.deb, 2244784 bytes, 4385 media blocks.
x ./pool/non-free/p/pvm-core/pvm-core-dev_1.0.0.3-160525-2192_ppc64el.deb, 618378 bytes, 1208 media blocks.
x ./pool/non-free/p/pvm-pkg-tools/pvm-pkg-tools_1.0.0.3-160525-492_ppc64el.deb, 170700 bytes, 334 media blocks.
x ./pool/non-free/p/pvm-rest-server/pvm-rest-server_1.0.0.3-160524-2229_ppc64el.deb, 263084432 bytes, 513837 media blocks.
# rm pvmrepo.tar 
# ls -l 
total 16
drwxr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Sep 11 13:26 conf
drwxr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Sep 11 13:26 db
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system          203 May 26 02:19 distributions
drwxr-xr-x    3 root     system          256 Sep 11 13:26 dists
-rw-r--r--    1 root     system         3132 May 24 20:25 novalink-gpg-pub.key
drwxr-xr-x    4 root     system          256 Sep 11 13:26 pool

Copy the NovaLink boot files in a directory that can be served by your tftp server (I’m using /var/lib/tftpboot):

# mkdir /var/lib/tftpboot
# cp -r /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/ /var/lib/tftpboot
# ls -l /var/lib/tftpboot
total 1016
-r--r--r--    1 root     system         1120 Jul 26 20:53 TRANS.TBL
-r--r--r--    1 root     system       494072 Jul 26 20:53 core.elf
-r--r--r--    1 root     system          856 Jul 26 21:18 grub.cfg
-r--r--r--    1 root     system        12147 Jul 26 20:53 pvm-install-config.template
dr-xr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Jul 26 20:53 repo
dr-xr-xr-x    2 root     system          256 Jul 26 20:53 rootfs
-r--r--r--    1 root     system         2040 Jul 26 20:53 sample_grub.cfg

I still don’t know why this is the case on AIX but the tftp server is searching for the grub.cfg in the root directory of your AIX system. It’s not the case for my RedHat Enterprise Linux installation but it’s the case for the NovaLink/Ubuntu installation. Copy the sample-grub.cfg to /grub.cfg and modify the content of the file:

  • As the gateway, netmask and nameserver will be provided the the pvm-install-config.cfg (the configuration file of the Novalink installer we will talk about this later) file comment those three lines.
  • The hostname will still be needed.
  • Modify the linux line and point to the vmlinux file provided in the NovaLink iso image.
  • Modify the live-installer to point to the filesystem.squashfs provided in the NovaLink iso image.
  • Modify the pvm-repo line to point to the pvm-repository directory we created before.
  • Modify the pvm-installer line to point to the NovaLink install configuration file (we will modify this one after).
  • Don’t do anything with the pvm-vios line as we are installing NovaLink on a system already having Virtual I/O Servers installed (I’m not installing Scale Out system but high end models only).
  • I’ll talk later about the pvm-disk line (this line is not by default in the pvm-install-config.template provided in the NovaLink iso image).
# cp /var/lib/tftpboot/sample_grub.cfg /grub.cfg
# cat /grub.cfg
# Sample GRUB configuration for NovaLink network installation
set default=0
set timeout=10

menuentry 'PowerVM NovaLink Install/Repair' {
 insmod http
 insmod tftp
 regexp -s 1:mac_pos1 -s 2:mac_pos2 -s 3:mac_pos3 -s 4:mac_pos4 -s 5:mac_pos5 -s 6:mac_pos6 '(..):(..):(..):(..):(..):(..)' ${net_default_mac}
 set bootif=01-${mac_pos1}-${mac_pos2}-${mac_pos3}-${mac_pos4}-${mac_pos5}-${mac_pos6}
 regexp -s 1:prefix '(.*)\.(\.*)' ${net_default_ip}
# Setup variables with values from Grub's default variables
 set ip=${net_default_ip}
 set serveraddress=${net_default_server}
 set domain=${net_ofnet_network_domain}
# If tftp is desired, replace http with tftp in the line below
 set root=http,${serveraddress}
# Remove comment after providing the values below for
# set gateway=
# set netmask=
# set namserver=
  set hostname=nova0696010
# In this sample file, the directory novalink is assumed to exist on the
# BOOTP server and has the NovaLink ISO content
 linux /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/ \
 live-installer/net-image=http://${serveraddress}/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/ \
 pkgsel/language-pack-patterns= \
 pkgsel/install-language-support=false \
 netcfg/disable_dhcp=true \
 netcfg/choose_interface=auto \
 netcfg/get_ipaddress=${ip} \
 netcfg/get_netmask=${netmask} \
 netcfg/get_gateway=${gateway} \
 netcfg/get_nameservers=${nameserver} \
 netcfg/get_hostname=${hostname} \
 netcfg/get_domain=${domain} \
 debian-installer/locale=en_US.UTF-8 \
 debian-installer/country=US \
# The directory novalink-repo on the BOOTP server contains the content
# of the pvmrepo.tgz file obtained from the pvm/repo directory on the
# NovaLink ISO file.
# The directory novalink-vios on the BOOTP server contains the files
# needed to perform a NIM install of VIOS server(s)
#  pvmdebug=1
 pvm-repo=http://${serveraddress}/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/ \
 pvm-installer-config=http://${serveraddress}/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/ \
 pvm-viosdir=http://${serveraddress}/novalink-vios \
 pvmdisk=/dev/mapper/mpatha \
 initrd /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/

Modify the pvm-install.cfg, it’s the NovaLink installer configuration file. We just need to modify here the [SystemConfig],[NovaLinkGeneralSettings],[NovaLinkNetworkSettings],[NovaLinkAPTRepoConfig] and [NovaLinkAdminCredential]. My advice is to configure one NovaLink by hand (by doing an installation directly with the iso image, then after the installation your configuration file is saved in /var/log/pvm-install/novalink-install.cfg. You can copy this one as your template on your installation server. This file is filled by the answers you gave during the NovaLink installation)

# more /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
serialnumber = XXXXXXXX
lmbsize = 256

ntpenabled = True
ntpserver = timeserver1
timezone = Europe/Paris

dhcpip = DISABLED
ipaddress = YYYYYYYY
gateway = ZZZZZZZZ
netmask =
dns1 =
dns2 =
hostname = WWWWWWWW
domain = lab.chmod666.org

downloadprotocol = http
mirrorhostname = nimserver
mirrordirectory = /export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/
mirrorproxy =

novalink_private_ip =
vios1_private_ip =
vios2_private_ip =
novalink_netmask =
viosinstallprompt = False

username = padmin
password = $6$N1hP6cJ32p17VMpQ$sdThvaGaR8Rj12SRtJsTSRyEUEhwPaVtCTvbdocW8cRzSQDglSbpS.jgKJpmz9L5SAv8qptgzUrHDCz5ureCS.
userdescription = NovaLink System Administrator

Finally modify the /etc/bootptab file and add a line matching your installation:

# tail -1 /etc/bootptab

Don’t forget to setup an http server, serving all the needed files. I know this configuration is super unsecured. But honestly I don’t care my NIM server is in a super secured network just accessible by the VIOS and NovaLink partition. So I’m good :-) :

# cd /opt/freeware/etc/httpd/ 
# grep -Ei "^Listen|^DocumentRoot" conf/httpd.conf
Listen 80
DocumentRoot "/"


Instead of doing this over and over and over at every NovaLink installation I have written a custom script preparing my NovaLink installation file, what I do in this script is:

  • Preparing the pvm-install.cfg file.
  • Modifying the grub.cfg file.
  • Adding a line to the /etc/bootptab file.
#  ./custnovainstall.ksh nova0696010


echo "+--------------------------------------+"
echo "NovaLink name: ${novalinkname}"
echo "NovaLink IP: ${novalinkip}"
echo "NovaLink GW: ${novalinkgw}"
echo "NovaLink NM: ${novalinknm}"
echo "+--------------------------------------+"
echo "Cfg ref: ${cfgfile}"
echo "Cfg file: ${cfgfile}.${novalinkname}"
echo "+--------------------------------------+"

typeset -u serialnumber
serialnumber=$(echo ${novalinkname} | sed 's/nova//g')

echo "SerNum: ${serialnumber}"

cat ${cfgfile} | sed "s/serialnumber = XXXXXXXX/serialnumber = ${serialnumber}/g" | sed "s/ipaddress = YYYYYYYY/ipaddress = ${novalinkip}/g" | sed "s/gateway = ZZZZZZZZ/gateway = ${novalinkgw}
/g" | sed "s/netmask = = ${novalinknm}/g" | sed "s/hostname = WWWWWWWW/hostname = ${novalinkname}/g" > ${cfgfile}.${novalinkname}
cp ${cfgfile}.${novalinkname} ${desfile}
cat ${grubcfg} | sed "s/  set hostname=WWWWWWWW/  set hostname=${novalinkname}/g" > ${grubcfg}.${novalinkname}
cp ${grubcfg}.${novalinkname} ${grubdes}
# nova1009425:bf=/var/lib/tftpboot/core.elf:ip=
echo "${novalinkname}:bf=/var/lib/tftpboot/core.elf:ip=${novalinkip}:ht=ethernet:sa=${novalinkgw}:sm=${novalinknm}:" >> /etc/bootptab

Novalink installation: vSCSI or NPIV ?

NovaLink is not designed to be installed of top of NPIV it’s a fact. As it is designed to be installed on a totally new system without any Virtual I/O Servers configured the NovaLink installation is by default creating the Virtual I/O Servers and using these VIOS the installation process is creating backing devices on top of logical volumes created in the default VIOS storage pool. Then the Novalink installation partition is created on top of these two logical volumes and at the end mirrored. This is the way NovaLink is doing for Scale Out systems.

For High End systems NovaLink is assuming your going to install the NovaLink partition on top of vSCSI (have personnaly tried with hdisk backed and SSP Logical Unit backed and both are working ok). For those like me who wants to install NovaLink on top of NPIV (I know this is not a good choice, but once again I was forced to do that) there still is a possiblity to do it. (In my humble opinion the NPIV design is done for high performance and the Novalink partition is not going to be an I/O intensive partition. Even worse our whole new design is based on NPIV for LPARs …. it’s a shame as NPIV is not a solution designed for high denstity and high scalability. Every PowerVM system administrator should remember this. NPIV IS NOT A GOOD CHOICE FOR DENSITY AND SCALABILITY USE IT FOR PERFORMANCE ONLY !!!. The story behind this is funny. I’m 100% sure that SSP is ten time a better choice to achieve density and scalability. I decided to open a poll on twitter asking this question “Will you choose SSP or NPIV to design a scalable AIX cloud based on PowerVC ?”. I was 100% sure SSP will win and made a bet with friend (I owe him beers now) that I’ll be right. What was my surprise when seeing the results. 90% of people vote for NPIV. I’m sorry to say that guys but there are two possibilities: 1/ You don’t really know what scalability and density means because you never faced it so that’s why you made the wrong choice. 2/ You know it and you’re just wrong :-) . This little story is another proof telling that IBM is not responsible about the dying of AIX and PowerVM … but unfortunately you are responsible of it not understanding that the only way to survive is to face high scalable solution like Linux is doing with Openstack and Ceph. It’s a fact. Period.)

This said … if you are trying to install NovaLink on top of NPIV you’ll get an error. A workaround to this problem is to add the following line to the grub.cfg file

 pvmdisk=/dev/mapper/mpatha \

If you do that you’ll be able to install NovaLink on your NPIV disk but still have an error the first time you’ll install it at the “grub-install step”. Just re-run the installation a second time and the grub-install command will work ok :-) (I’ll explain how to do to avoid this second issue later).

One work-around to this second issue is to recreate the initrd by adding a line in the debian-installer config file.

Fully automated installation by example

  • Here the core.elf file is downloaded by tftp. You can se in the capture below that the grub.cfg file is searched in / :
  • 1m

  • The installer is starting:
  • 2

  • The vmlinux is downloaded (http):
  • 3

  • The root.squashfs is downloaded (http):
  • 4m

  • The pvm-install.cfg configuration file is downloaded (http):
  • 5

  • pvm services are started. At this time if you are running in co-management mode you’ll see the Red lock in the HMC Server status:
  • 6

  • The Linux and Novalink istallation is ongoing:
  • 7

  • System is ready:
  • 14

Novalink code auto update

When adding a NovaLink host to PowerVC the powervc packages coming from the powervc management host will be installed on the NovaLink partition. You can check this during the installation. Here is what’s going on when adding the NovaLink host to PowerVC:


# cat /opt/ibm/powervc/log/powervc_install_2016-09-11-164205.log
Starting the IBM PowerVC Novalink Installation on:

LOG file is /opt/ibm/powervc/log/powervc_install_2016-09-11-164205.log

2016-09-11T16:42:05.18+02:00 Installation directory is /opt/ibm/powervc
2016-09-11T16:42:05.18+02:00 Installation source location is /tmp/powervc_img_temp_1473611916_1627713/powervc-
Setting up python-neutron (10:8.0.0-201608161728.ibm.ubuntu1.375) ...
Setting up neutron-common (10:8.0.0-201608161728.ibm.ubuntu1.375) ...
Setting up neutron-plugin-ml2 (10:8.0.0-201608161728.ibm.ubuntu1.375) ...
Setting up ibmpowervc-powervm-network ( ...
Setting up ibmpowervc-powervm-oslo ( ...
Setting up ibmpowervc-powervm-ras ( ...
Setting up ibmpowervc-powervm ( ...
W: --force-yes is deprecated, use one of the options starting with --allow instead.

IBM PowerVC Novalink installation
 successfully completed at 2016-09-11T17:02:30+02:00.
 Refer to
 for more details.


Installing the missing deb packages if NovaLink host was added before PowerVC upgrade

If the NovaLink host was added in PowerVC and you updated to PowerVC you have to update the package by hand because there is a little bug during the update of some packages:

  • From the PowerVC management host copy the latest packages to the NovaLink host:
  • # scp /opt/ibm/powervc/images/powervm/powervc-powervm-compute- padmin@nova0696010:~
    padmin@nova0696010's password:
  • Update the packages on the NovaLink host
  • # tar xvzf powervc-powervm-compute-
    # cd powervc-
    # dpkg -i nova-powervm_2.0.3-160816-48_all.deb
    # dpkg -i networking-powervm_2.0.1-160816-6_all.deb
    # dpkg -i ceilometer-powervm_2.0.1-160816-17_all.deb
    # /opt/ibm/powervc/bin/powervc-services restart

rsct and pvm deb update

Never forget to install latest rsct and pvm packages after the installation. You can clone the official IBM repository for pvm and rsct files (you can check my previous post about Novalink for more details about cloning the repository). Then create two files in /etc/apt/sources.list.d one for pvm, the other for rsct

# vi /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pvm.list
deb http://nimserver/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/nova/debian novalink_1.0.0 non-free
# vi /etc/apt/source.list.d/rsct.list
deb http://nimserver/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/rsct/ubuntu xenial main
# dpkg -l | grep -i rsct
ii  rsct.basic                                                 ppc64el      Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology - Basic
ii  rsct.core                                         ppc64el      Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology - Core
ii  rsct.core.utils                                   ppc64el      Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology - Utilities
# # dpkg -l | grep -i pvm
ii  pvm-cli                                              all          Power VM Command Line Interface
ii  pvm-core                                             ppc64el      PVM core runtime package
ii  pvm-novalink                                         ppc64el      Meta package for all PowerVM Novalink packages
ii  pvm-rest-app                                         ppc64el      The PowerVM NovaLink REST API Application
ii  pvm-rest-server                                      ppc64el      Holds the basic installation of the REST WebServer (Websphere Liberty Profile) for PowerVM NovaLink 
# apt-get install rsct.core rsct.basic
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  docutils-common libpaper-utils libpaper1 python-docutils python-roman
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove them.
The following additional packages will be installed:
  rsct.core.utils src
The following packages will be upgraded:
  rsct.core rsct.core.utils src
3 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 6 not upgraded.
Need to get 9,356 kB of archives.
After this operation, 548 kB disk space will be freed.
# apt-get install pvm-novalink
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information... Done
The following packages were automatically installed and are no longer required:
  docutils-common libpaper-utils libpaper1 python-docutils python-roman
Use 'apt autoremove' to remove them.
The following additional packages will be installed:
  pvm-core pvm-rest-app pvm-rest-server pypowervm
The following packages will be upgraded:
  pvm-core pvm-novalink pvm-rest-app pvm-rest-server pypowervm
5 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 1 not upgraded.
Need to get 287 MB of archives.
After this operation, 203 kB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] Y

After the installation, here is what you should have if everything was updated properly:

dpkg -l | grep rsct
ii  rsct.basic                                        ppc64el      Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology - Basic
ii  rsct.core                                         ppc64el      Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology - Core
ii  rsct.core.utils                                   ppc64el      Reliable Scalable Cluster Technology - Utilities
dpkg -l | grep pvm
ii  pvm-cli                                              all          Power VM Command Line Interface
ii  pvm-core                                           ppc64el      PVM core runtime package
ii  pvm-novalink                                       ppc64el      Meta package for all PowerVM Novalink packages
ii  pvm-rest-app                                       ppc64el      The PowerVM NovaLink REST API Application
ii  pvm-rest-server                                    ppc64el      Holds the basic installation of the REST WebServer (Websphere Liberty Profile) for PowerVM NovaLink

Novalink post-installation (my ansible way to do that)

You all now know that I’m not very fond of doing the same things over and over again, that’s why I have create an ansible post-install playbook especially for NovaLink post installation. You can download it here: nova_ansible. Then install ansible on a host that has an ssh access to all your NovaLink partitions and run the the ansible playbook:

  • Untar the ansible playbook:
  • # mkdir /srv/ansible
    # cd /srv/ansible
    # tar xvf novalink_ansible.tar 
  • Modify the group_vars/novalink.yml to fit your environment:
  • # cat group_vars/novalink.yml
      - ntpserver1
      - ntpserver2
      - lab.chmod666.org
    vepa_iface: ibmveth6
    repo: nimserver
  • Share root ssh key to the NovaLink host (be careful by default NovaLink does not allow root login you have to modify the sshd configuration file):
  • Put all your Novalink hosts into the inventory file:
  • #cat inventories/hosts.novalink
  • Run ansible-playbook and you’re done:
  • # ansible-playbook -i inventories/hosts.novalink site.yml


More details about NovaLink

MGMTSWITCH vswitch automatic creation

Do not try to create the MGMTSWITCH by yourself. The NovaLink installer is doing it for you. As my Virtual I/O Servers are installed using the IBM Provisioning Toolkit for PowerVM … I was creating the MGMTSWITCH at this time but I was wrong. You can see this in the file /var/log/pvm-install/pvminstall.log on the NovaLink partition:

# cat /var/log/pvm-install/pvminstall.log
Fri Aug 12 17:26:07 UTC 2016: PVMDebug = 0
Fri Aug 12 17:26:07 UTC 2016: Running initEnv
Fri Aug 12 17:27:08 UTC 2016: Using user provided pvm-install configuration file
Fri Aug 12 17:27:08 UTC 2016: Auto Install set
Fri Aug 12 17:27:44 UTC 2016: Auto Install = 1
Fri Aug 12 17:27:44 UTC 2016: Validating configuration file
Fri Aug 12 17:27:44 UTC 2016: Initializing private network configuration
Fri Aug 12 17:27:45 UTC 2016: Running /opt/ibm/pvm-install/bin/switchnetworkcfg -o c
Fri Aug 12 17:27:46 UTC 2016: Running /opt/ibm/pvm-install/bin/switchnetworkcfg -o n -i 3 -n MGMTSWITCH -p 4094 -t 1
Fri Aug 12 17:27:49 UTC 2016: Start setupinstalldisk operation for /dev/mapper/mpatha
Fri Aug 12 17:27:49 UTC 2016: Running updatedebconf
Fri Aug 12 17:56:06 UTC 2016: Pre-seeding disk recipe

NPIV lpar creation problem !

As you know my environment is crazy. Every lpar we are creating have 4 virtual fibre channels adapters. Obviously two on fabric A and two on fabric B. And obviously again each fabric must be present on each Virtual I/O Servers. So to sum up. An lpar must have access to fabric A and B using VIOS1 and to fabric A and B using VIOS2. Unfortunately there was a little bug in the current NovaLink ( code and all the lpar created were created with only two adapters. The PowerVC team gave my a patch to handle this particular issue patching the npiv.py file. This patch needs to be installed on the NovaLink partition itself.:

# cd /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/powervc_nova/virt/ibmpowervm/pvm/volume
# sdiff npiv.py.back npiv.bck


I’m intentionally not giving you the solution here (just by copying/pasting code) because an issue is addressed and an APAR has been opened for this issue and is resolved in version. IT16534

From NovaLink to HMC …. and the opposite

One of the challenge for me was to be sure everything was working ok regarding LPM and NovaLink. So I decided to test different cases:

  • From NovaLink host to Novalink host (didn’t had any trouble) :-)
  • From NovaLink host to HMC host (didn’t had any trouble) :-)
  • From HMC host to Novalink host (had a trouble) :-(

Once again this issue avoiding HMC to Novalink LPM to work correctly is related to storage. A patch is ongoing but let me explain this issue a little bit (only if you have to absolutely move an LPAR from HMC to NovaLink and your are in the same case as I am):

PowerVC is not correctly doing the mapping to the destination Virtual I/O Servers and is trying to map two times the fabric A on the VIOS1 and two time the fabric B on the VIOS2. Hopefully for us you can do the migration by hand :

  • Do the LPM operation from PowerVC and check on the HMC side how PowerVC is doing the mapping (log on the HMC to check this):
  • #  lssvcevents -t console -d 0 | grep powervc_admin | grep migrlpar
    time=08/31/2016 18:53:27,"text=HSCE2124 User name powervc_admin: migrlpar -m 9119-MME-656C38A -t 9119-MME-65A0C31 --id 18 --ip -u wlp -i ""virtual_fc_mappings=6/vios1/2//fcs2,3/vios2/1//fcs2,4/vios2/1//fcs1,5/vios1/2//fcs1"",shared_proc_pool_id=0 -o m command failed."
  • One interesting point you can see here is that the NovaLink user used for LPM is not padmin but wlp. Have look on the Novalink machine if you are a little bit curious:
  • 18

  • If you are double checking the mapping you’ll see that PowerVC is mixing up the VIOS. Just rerun the command in the right order and you’ll see that you’re going to be able to do HMC to NovaLink LPM (By the way PowerVC is automattically detecting that the host has changed for this lpar (moved outside of PowerVC)):
  • # migrlpar -m 9119-MME-656C38A -t 9119-MME-65A0C31 --id 18 --ip -u wlp -i '"virtual_fc_mappings=6/vios2/1//fcs2,3/vios1/2//fcs2,4/vios2/1//fcs1,5/vios1/2//fcs1"',shared_proc_pool_id=0 -o m
    # lssvcevents -t console -d 0 | grep powervc_admin | grep migrlpar
    time=08/31/2016 19:13:00,"text=HSCE2123 User name powervc_admin: migrlpar -m 9119-MME-656C38A -t 9119-MME-65A0C31 --id 18 --ip -u wlp -i ""virtual_fc_mappings=6/vios2/1//fcs2,3/vios1/2//fcs2,4/vios2/1//fcs1,5/vios1/2//fcs1"",shared_proc_pool_id=0 -o m command was executed successfully."

One more time don't worry about this issue a patch is on the way. But I thought it was interessting to talk about it just to show you how PowerVC is handling this (user, key sharing, check on the HMC).

Deep dive into the initrd

I am curious and there is no way to change this. As I wanted to know how the NovaLink installer is working I had to check into the netboot_initrd.gz file. There are a lot of interesting stuff to check in this initrd. Run the commands below on a Linux partition if you also want to have a look:

# scp nimdy:/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/ .
# gunzip netboot_initrd
# cpio -i < netboot_initrd
185892 blocks

The installer is located in opt/ibm/pvm-install:

# ls opt/ibm/pvm-install/data/
40mirror.pvm  debpkgs.txt  license.txt  nimclient.info  pvm-install-config.template  pvm-install-preseed.cfg  rsct-gpg-pub.key  vios_diagram.txt
# ls opt/ibm/pvm-install/bin
assignio.py        envsetup        installpvm                    monitor        postProcessing    pvmwizardmain.py  restore.py        switchnetworkcfg  vios
cfgviosnetwork.py  functions       installPVMPartitionWizard.py  network        procmem           recovery          setupinstalldisk  updatedebconf     vioscfg
chviospasswd       getnetworkinfo  ioadapter                     networkbridge  pvmconfigdata.py  removemem         setupviosinstall  updatenimsetup    welcome.py
editpvmconfig      initEnv         mirror                        nimscript      pvmtime           resetsystem       summary.py        user              wizpkg

You can for instance check what's the installer is exactly doing. Let's take again the exemple of the MGMTSWITCH creation, you can see in the output below that I was right saying that:


Remember that I was telling you before that I had problem with installation on NPIV. You can avoid installing NovaLink two times by modifying the debian installer directly in the initrd by adding a line in the debian installer file opt/ibm/pvm-install/data/pvm-install-preseed.cfg (you have to rebuild the initrd after doing this) :

# grep bootdev opt/ibm/pvm-install/data/pvm-install-preseed.cfg
d-i grub-installer/bootdev string /dev/mapper/mpatha
# find | cpio -H newc -o > ../new_initrd_file
# gzip -9 ../new_initrd_file
# scp ../new_initrdfile.gz nimdy:/export/nim/lpp_source/powervc/novalink/

You can also find good example here of pvmctl commands:

# grep -R pvmctl *
pvmctl lv create --size $LV_SIZE --name $LV_NAME -p id=$vid
pvmctl scsi create --type lv --vg name=rootvg --lpar id=1 -p id=$vid --stor-id name=$LV_NAME


NovaLink is not PowerVC so here is a little reminder of what I do to troubleshot Novalink:

  • Installation troubleshooting:
  • #cat /var/log/pvm-install/pvminstall.log
  • Neutron Agent log (always double check this one):
  • # cat /var/log/neutron/neutron-powervc-pvm-sea-agent.log
  • Nova logs for this host are not accessible on the PowerVC management host anymore, so check it on the NovaLink partition if needed:
  • # cat /var/log/nova/nova-compute.log
  • pvmctl logs:
  • # cat /var/log/pvm/pvmctl.log

One last thing to add about NovaLink. One thing I like a lot is that Novalink is doing backups of the system and VIOS hourly/daily. These backup are stored in /var/backup/pvm :

# crontab -l
# VIOS hourly backups - at 15 past every hour except for midnight
15 1-23 * * * /usr/sbin/pvm-backup --type vios --frequency hourly
# Hypervisor hourly backups - at 15 past every hour except for midnight
15 1-23 * * * /usr/sbin/pvm-backup --type system --frequency hourly
# VIOS daily backups - at 15 past midnight
15 0    * * * /usr/sbin/pvm-backup --type vios --frequency daily
# Hypervisor daily backups - at 15 past midnight
15 0    * * * /usr/sbin/pvm-backup --type system --frequency daily
#ls -l /var/backups/pvm
total 4
drwxr-xr-x 2 root pvm_admin 4096 Sep  9 00:15 9119-MME*0265FF47B

More PowerVC tips and tricks

Let's finish this blog post with more PowerVC tips and tricks. Before giving you the tricks I have to warn you. All of these tricks are not supported by PowerVC, use them at your own risk OR contact your support before doing anything else. You may break and destroy everything if you are not aware of what you are doing. So please be very careful using all these tricks. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED !!!!!!

Accessing and querying the database

This first trick is funny and will allow you to query and modify the PowerVC database. Once again do this a your own risks. One of the issue I had was strange. I do not remeber how it happends exactly but some of my luns that were not attached to any hosts and were still showing an attachmenent number equals to 1 and I didn't had the possibility to remove it. Even worse someone has deleted these luns on the SVC side. So these luns were what I called "ghost lun". Non existing but non-deletable luns. (I had also to remove the storage provider related to these luns). The only way to change this was to change the state to detached directly in the cinder database. Be careful this trick is only working with MariaDB.

First get the database password. Get the encrypted password from /opt/ibm/powervc/data/powervc-db.conf file and decode it to have the clear password:

# grep ^db_password /opt/ibm/powervc/data/powervc-db.conf
db_password = aes-ctr:NjM2ODM5MjM0NTAzMTg4MzQzNzrQZWi+mrUC+HYj9Mxi5fQp1XyCXA==
# python -c "from powervc_keystone.encrypthandler import EncryptHandler; print EncryptHandler().decode('aes-ctr:NjM2ODM5MjM0NTAzMTg4MzQzNzrQZWi+mrUC+HYj9Mxi5fQp1XyCXA==')"
# mysql -u root -p cinder
Enter password:
MariaDB [cinder]> MariaDB [cinder]> show tables;
| Tables_in_cinder           |
| backups                    |
| cgsnapshots                |
| consistencygroups          |
| driver_initiator_data      |
| encryption                 |

Then get the lun uuid on the PowerVC gui for the lun you want to change, and follow the commands below:


MariaDB [cinder]> select * from volume_attachment where volume_id='9cf6d85a-3edd-4ab7-b797-577ff6566f78' \G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
   created_at: 2016-05-26 08:52:51
   updated_at: 2016-05-26 08:54:23
   deleted_at: 2016-05-26 08:54:23
      deleted: 1
           id: ce4238b5-ea39-4ce1-9ae7-6e305dd506b1
    volume_id: 9cf6d85a-3edd-4ab7-b797-577ff6566f78
attached_host: NULL
instance_uuid: 44c7a72c-610c-4af1-a3ed-9476746841ab
   mountpoint: /dev/sdb
  attach_time: 2016-05-26 08:52:51
  detach_time: 2016-05-26 08:54:23
  attach_mode: rw
attach_status: attached
1 row in set (0.01 sec)
MariaDB [cinder]> select * from volumes where id='9cf6d85a-3edd-4ab7-b797-577ff6566f78' \G
*************************** 1. row ***************************
                 created_at: 2016-05-26 08:51:57
                 updated_at: 2016-05-26 08:54:23
                 deleted_at: NULL
                    deleted: 0
                         id: 9cf6d85a-3edd-4ab7-b797-577ff6566f78
                     ec2_id: NULL
                    user_id: 0688b01e6439ca32d698d20789d52169126fb41fb1a4ddafcebb97d854e836c9
                 project_id: 1471acf124a0479c8d525aa79b2582d0
                       host: pb01_mn_svc_qual
                       size: 1
          availability_zone: nova
                     status: available
              attach_status: attached
               scheduled_at: 2016-05-26 08:51:57
                launched_at: 2016-05-26 08:51:59
              terminated_at: NULL
               display_name: dummy
        display_description: NULL
          provider_location: NULL
              provider_auth: NULL
                snapshot_id: NULL
             volume_type_id: e49e9cc3-efc3-4e7e-bcb9-0291ad28df42
               source_volid: NULL
                   bootable: 0
          provider_geometry: NULL
                   _name_id: NULL
          encryption_key_id: NULL
           migration_status: NULL
         replication_status: disabled
replication_extended_status: NULL
    replication_driver_data: NULL
        consistencygroup_id: NULL
                provider_id: NULL
                multiattach: 0
            previous_status: NULL
1 row in set (0.00 sec)
MariaDB [cinder]> update volume_attachment set attach_status='detached' where volume_id='9cf6d85a-3edd-4ab7-b797-577ff6566f78';
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)
Rows matched: 1  Changed: 1  Warnings: 0
MariaDB [cinder]> update volumes set attach_status='detached' where id='9cf6d85a-3edd-4ab7-b797-577ff6566f78';
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)
Rows matched: 1  Changed: 1  Warnings: 0

The second issue I had was about having some machines in deleted state but the reality was that the HMC just rebooted and for an unknow reason these machines where seen as 'deleted' .. but they were not. Using this trick I was able to force a re-evalutation of each machine is this case:

#  mysql -u root -p nova
Enter password:
MariaDB [nova]> select * from instance_health_status where health_state='WARNING';
| created_at          | updated_at          | deleted_at | deleted | id                                   | health_state | reason                                                                                                                                                                                                                | unknown_reason_details |
| 2016-07-11 08:58:37 | NULL                | NULL       |       0 | 1af1805c-bb59-4bc9-8b6d-adeaeb4250f3 | WARNING      | [{"resource_local": "server", "display_name": "p00ww6754398", "resource_property_key": "rmc_state", "resource_property_value": "initializing", "resource_id": "1af1805c-bb59-4bc9-8b6d-adeaeb4250f3"}]                |                        |
| 2015-07-31 16:53:50 | 2015-07-31 18:49:50 | NULL       |       0 | 2668e808-10a1-425f-a272-6b052584557d | WARNING      | [{"resource_local": "server", "display_name": "multi-vol", "resource_property_key": "vm_state", "resource_property_value": "deleted", "resource_id": "2668e808-10a1-425f-a272-6b052584557d"}]                         |                        |
| 2015-08-03 11:22:38 | 2015-08-03 15:47:41 | NULL       |       0 | 2934fb36-5d91-48cd-96de-8c16459c50f3 | WARNING      | [{"resource_local": "server", "display_name": "clouddev-test-754df319-00000038", "resource_property_key": "rmc_state", "resource_property_value": "inactive", "resource_id": "2934fb36-5d91-48cd-96de-8c16459c50f3"}] |                        |
| 2016-07-11 09:03:59 | NULL                | NULL       |       0 | 3fc42502-856b-46a5-9c36-3d0864d6aa4c | WARNING      | [{"resource_local": "server", "display_name": "p00ww3254401", "resource_property_key": "rmc_state", "resource_property_value": "initializing", "resource_id": "3fc42502-856b-46a5-9c36-3d0864d6aa4c"}]                |                        |
| 2015-07-08 20:11:48 | 2015-07-08 20:14:09 | NULL       |       0 | 54d02c60-bd0e-4f34-9cb6-9c0a0b366873 | WARNING      | [{"resource_local": "server", "display_name": "p00wb3740870", "resource_property_key": "rmc_state", "resource_property_value": "inactive", "resource_id": "54d02c60-bd0e-4f34-9cb6-9c0a0b366873"}]                    |                        |
| 2015-07-31 17:44:16 | 2015-07-31 18:49:50 | NULL       |       0 | d5ec2a9c-221b-44c0-8573-d8e3695a8dd7 | WARNING      | [{"resource_local": "server", "display_name": "multi-vol-sp5", "resource_property_key": "vm_state", "resource_property_value": "deleted", "resource_id": "d5ec2a9c-221b-44c0-8573-d8e3695a8dd7"}]                     |                        |
6 rows in set (0.00 sec)
MariaDB [nova]> update instance_health_status set health_state='PENDING',reason='' where health_state='WARNING';
Query OK, 6 rows affected (0.00 sec)
Rows matched: 6  Changed: 6  Warnings: 0


The ceilometer issue

When updating from PowerVC to PowerVC is changing the database backend from DB2 to MariaDB. This is a good thing but the way the update is done is by exporting all the data in flat files and then re-inserting it in the MariaDB database records per records. I had a huge problem because of this, just because my ceilodb base was huge because of the number of machines I had and the number of operations we run on PowerVC since it is in production. The DB insert took more than 3 days and never finish. If you don't need the ceilo data my advice is to change the retention from 270 days y default to 2 hours:

# powervc-config metering event_ttl --set 2 --unit hr 
# ceilometer-expirer --config-file /etc/ceilometer/ceilometer.conf

If this is not enough an you still experiencing problems regarding the update the best way is to flush the entire table before the update:

# /opt/ibm/powervc/bin/powervc-services stop
# /opt/ibm/powervc/bin/powervc-services db2 start
# /bin/su - pwrvcdb -c "db2 drop database ceilodb2"
# /bin/su - pwrvcdb -c "db2 connect to ceilodb2 ; db2 grant dbadm on database to user ceilometer"
# /opt/ibm/powervc/bin/powervc-dbsync ceilometer
# /bin/su - pwrvcdb -c "db2 connect TO ceilodb2; db2 CALL GET_DBSIZE_INFO '(?, ?, ?, 0)' > /tmp/ceilodb2_db_size.out; db2 terminate" > /dev/null

Multi tenancy ... how to deal with a huge environment

As my environment is growing bigger and bigger I faced a couple people trying to force me to multiply the number of PowerVC machine we have. As Openstack is a solution designed to handle both density and scalability I said that doing this is just a "non-sense". Seriously people who still believe in this have not understand anything about the cloud, openstack and PowerVC. Hopefully we found a solution acceptable by everybody. As we are created what we are calling "building-block" we had to find a way to isolate one "block" from one another. The solution for host isolation is called mutly tenancy isolation. For the storage side we are just going to play with quotas. By doing this a user will be able to manage a couple of hosts and the associated storage (storage template) without having the right to do anything on the others:


Before doing anything create the tenant (or project) and a user associated with it:

# cat /opt/ibm/powervc/version.properties | grep cloud_enabled
cloud_enabled = yes
# ~/powervcrc
export OS_USERNAME=root
export OS_PASSWORD=root
export OS_TENANT_NAME=ibm-default
export OS_AUTH_URL=https://powervc.lab.chmod666.org:5000/v3/
export OS_CACERT=/etc/pki/tls/certs/powervc.crt
export OS_REGION_NAME=RegionOne
export OS_USER_DOMAIN_NAME=Default
# source powervcrc
# openstack project create hb01
| Field       | Value                            |
| description |                                  |
| domain_id   | default                          |
| enabled     | True                             |
| id          | 90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf |
| is_domain   | False                            |
| name        | hb01                             |
| parent_id   | default                          |
# openstack role list
| ID                               | Name                |
| 1a76014f12594214a50c36e6a8e3722c | deployer            |
| 54616a8b136742098dd81eede8fd5aa8 | vm_manager          |
| 7bd6de32c14d46f2bd5300530492d4a4 | storage_manager     |
| 8260b7c3a4c24a38ba6bee8e13ced040 | deployer_restricted |
| 9b69a55c6b9346e2b317d0806a225621 | image_manager       |
| bc455ed006154d56ad53cca3a50fa7bd | admin               |
| c19a43973db148608eb71eb3d86d4735 | service             |
| cb130e4fa4dc4f41b7bb4f1fdcf79fc2 | self_service        |
| f1a0c1f9041d4962838ec10671befe33 | vm_user             |
| f8cf9127468045e891d5867ce8825d30 | viewer              |
# useradd hb01_admin
# openstack role add --project hb01 --user hb01_admin admin

Then associate each host group (aggregates in Openstack terms) (you have to put your allowed hosts in an host group to enable this feature) that are allowed for this tenant using filter_tenant_id meta-data. For each allowed host group add this field to the metatadata of the host. (first find the tenant id):

# openstack project list
| ID                               | Name        |
| 1471acf124a0479c8d525aa79b2582d0 | ibm-default |
| 90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf | hb01        |
| b79b694c70734a80bc561e84a95b313d | powervm     |
| c8c42d45ef9e4a97b3b55d7451d72591 | service     |
| f371d1f29c774f2a97f4043932b94080 | project1    |
# openstack aggregate list
| ID | Name          | Availability Zone |
|  1 | Default Group | None              |
| 21 | aggregate2    | None              |
| 41 | hg2           | None              |
| 43 | hb01_mn       | None              |
| 44 | hb01_me       | None              |
# nova aggregate-set-metadata hb01_mn filter_tenant_id=90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf 
Metadata has been successfully updated for aggregate 43.
| Id | Name    | Availability Zone | Hosts             | Metadata                                                                                                                                   
| 43 | hb01_mn | -                 | '9119MME_1009425' | 'dro_enabled=False', 'filter_tenant_id=90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf', 'hapolicy-id=1', 'hapolicy-run_interval=1', 'hapolicy-stabilization=1', 'initialpolicy-id=4', 'runtimepolicy-action=migrate_vm_advise_only', 'runtimepolicy-id=5', 'runtimepolicy-max_parallel=10', 'runtimepolicy-run_interval=5', 'runtimepolicy-stabilization=2', 'runtimepolicy-threshold=70' |
# nova aggregate-set-metadata hb01_me filter_tenant_id=90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf 
Metadata has been successfully updated for aggregate 44.
| Id | Name    | Availability Zone | Hosts             | Metadata                                                                                                                                   
| 44 | hb01_me | -                 | '9119MME_0696010' | 'dro_enabled=False', 'filter_tenant_id=90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf', 'hapolicy-id=1', 'hapolicy-run_interval=1', 'hapolicy-stabilization=1', 'initialpolicy-id=2', 'runtimepolicy-action=migrate_vm_advise_only', 'runtimepolicy-id=5', 'runtimepolicy-max_parallel=10', 'runtimepolicy-run_interval=5', 'runtimepolicy-stabilization=2', 'runtimepolicy-threshold=70' |

To make this work add the AggregateMultiTenancyIsolation to the scheduler_default_filter in nova.conf file and restart nova services:

# grep scheduler_default_filter /etc/nova/nova.conf
scheduler_default_filters = RamFilter,CoreFilter,ComputeFilter,RetryFilter,AvailabilityZoneFilter,ImagePropertiesFilter,ComputeCapabilitiesFilter,MaintenanceFilter,PowerVCServerGroupAffinityFilter,PowerVCServerGroupAntiAffinityFilter,PowerVCHostAggregateFilter,PowerVMNetworkFilter,PowerVMProcCompatModeFilter,PowerLMBSizeFilter,PowerMigrationLicenseFilter,PowerVMMigrationCountFilter,PowerVMStorageFilter,PowerVMIBMiMobilityFilter,PowerVMRemoteRestartFilter,PowerVMRemoteRestartSameHMCFilter,PowerVMEndianFilter,PowerVMGuestCapableFilter,PowerVMSharedProcPoolFilter,PowerVCResizeSameHostFilter,PowerVCDROFilter,PowerVMActiveMemoryExpansionFilter,PowerVMNovaLinkMobilityFilter,AggregateMultiTenancyIsolation
# powervc-services restart

We are done regarding the hosts.

Enabling quotas

To allow one user/tenant to create volumes only on onz storage provider we first need to enable quotas using the following commands:

# grep quota /opt/ibm/powervc/policy/cinder/policy.json
    "volume_extension:quotas:show": "",
    "volume_extension:quotas:update": "rule:admin_only",
    "volume_extension:quotas:delete": "rule:admin_only",
    "volume_extension:quota_classes": "rule:admin_only",
    "volume_extension:quota_classes:validate_setup_for_nested_quota_use": "rule:admin_only",

Then put to 0 all the non-allowed storage template for this tenant and let the only one you want to 10000. Easy:

# cinder --service-type volume type-list
|                  ID                  |                     Name                    | Description | Is_Public |
| 53434872-a0d2-49ea-9683-15c7940b30e5 |               svc2 base template            |      -      |    True   |
| e49e9cc3-efc3-4e7e-bcb9-0291ad28df42 |               svc1 base template            |      -      |    True   |
| f45469d5-df66-44cf-8b60-b226425eee4f |                     svc3                    |      -      |    True   |
# cinder --service-type volume quota-update --volumes 0 --volume-type "svc2" 90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf
# cinder --service-type volume quota-update --volumes 0 --volume-type "svc3" 90d064b4abea4339acd32a8b6a8b1fdf
|                        Property                       |  Value   |
|                    backup_gigabytes                   |   1000   |
|                        backups                        |    10    |
|                       gigabytes                       | 1000000  |
|              gigabytes_svc2 base template             | 10000000 |
|              gigabytes_svc1 base template             | 10000000 |
|                     gigabytes_svc3                    |    -1    |
|                  per_volume_gigabytes                 |    -1    |
|                       snapshots                       |  100000  |
|             snapshots_svc2 base template              |  100000  |
|             snapshots_svc1 base template              |  100000  |
|                     snapshots_svc3                    |    -1    |
|                        volumes                        |  100000  |
|            volumes_svc2 base template                 |  100000  |
|            volumes_svc1 base template                 |    0     |
|                      volumes_svc3                     |    0     |
# powervc-services stop
# powervc-services start

By doing this you have enable the isolation between two tenants. Then use the appropriate user to do the appropriate task.

PowerVC cinder above the Petabyte

Now that quota are enabled use this command if you want to be able to have more that one petabyte of data managed by PowerVC:

# cinder --service-type volume quota-class-update --gigabytes -1 default
# powervc-services stop
# powervc-services start

PowerVC cinder above 10000 luns

Change the osapi_max_limit in cinder.conf if you want to go above the 10000 lun limits (check every cinder configuration files; the cinder.conf if for the global number of volumes):

# grep ^osapi_max_limit cinder.conf
osapi_max_limit = 15000
# powervc-services stop
# powervc-services start

Snapshot and consistncy group

There is a new cool feature available with the latest version of PowerVC ( This feature allows you to create snapshots of volume (only on SVC and Storwise for the moment). You now have the possibility to create consistency group (group of volumes) and create snapshots of these consistency groups (allowing for instance to make a backup of a volume group directly from OpenStack. I'm doing the example below using the command line because I think it is easier to understand with these commands rather than showing you the same thing with the rest api):

First create a consistency group:

# cinder --service-type volume type-list
|                  ID                  |                     Name                    | Description | Is_Public |
| 53434872-a0d2-49ea-9683-15c7940b30e5 |              svc2 base template             |      -      |    True   |
| 862b0a8e-cab4-400c-afeb-99247838f889 |             p8_ssp base template            |      -      |    True   |
| e49e9cc3-efc3-4e7e-bcb9-0291ad28df42 |               svc1 base template            |      -      |    True   |
| f45469d5-df66-44cf-8b60-b226425eee4f |                     svc3                    |      -      |    True   |
# cinder --service-type volume consisgroup-create --name foovg_cg "svc1 base template"
|      Property     |                   Value                   |
| availability_zone |                    nova                   |
|     created_at    |         2016-09-11T21:10:58.000000        |
|    description    |                    None                   |
|         id        |    950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd   |
|        name       |                  foovg_cg                 |
|       status      |                  creating                 |
|    volume_types   | [u'e49e9cc3-efc3-4e7e-bcb9-0291ad28df42'] |
# cinder --service-type volume consisgroup-list
|                  ID                  |   Status  |   Name   |
| 950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd | available | foovg_cg |

Create volume in this consistency group:

# cinder --service-type volume create --volume-type "svc1 base template" --name foovg_vol1 --consisgroup-id 950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd 200
# cinder --service-type volume create --volume-type "svc1 base template" --name foovg_vol2 --consisgroup-id 950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd 200
|           Property           |                                                                          Value                                                                           |
|         attachments          |                                                                            []                                                                            |
|      availability_zone       |                                                                           nova                                                                           |
|           bootable           |                                                                          false                                                                           |
|     consistencygroup_id      |                                                           950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd                                                           |
|          created_at          |                                                                2016-09-11T21:23:02.000000                                                                |
|         description          |                                                                           None                                                                           |
|          encrypted           |                                                                          False                                                                           |
|        health_status         | {u'health_value': u'PENDING', u'id': u'8d078772-00b5-45fc-89c8-82c63e2c48ed', u'value_reason': u'PENDING', u'updated_at': u'2016-09-11T21:23:02.669372'} |
|              id              |                                                           8d078772-00b5-45fc-89c8-82c63e2c48ed                                                           |
|           metadata           |                                                                            {}                                                                            |
|       migration_status       |                                                                           None                                                                           |
|         multiattach          |                                                                          False                                                                           |
|             name             |                                                                        foovg_vol2                                                                        |
|    os-vol-host-attr:host     |                                                                           None                                                                           |
| os-vol-tenant-attr:tenant_id |                                                             1471acf124a0479c8d525aa79b2582d0                                                             |
|      replication_status      |                                                                         disabled                                                                         |
|             size             |                                                                           200                                                                            |
|         snapshot_id          |                                                                           None                                                                           |
|         source_volid         |                                                                           None                                                                           |
|            status            |                                                                         creating                                                                         |
|          updated_at          |                                                                           None                                                                           |
|           user_id            |                                             0688b01e6439ca32d698d20789d52169126fb41fb1a4ddafcebb97d854e836c9                                             |
|         volume_type          |                                                                   svc1 base template                                                                     |

You're now able to attach these two volumes to a machine from the PowerVC GUI:


# lsmpio -q
Device           Vendor Id  Product Id       Size    Volume Name
hdisk0           IBM        2145                 64G volume-aix72-44c7a72c-000000e0-
hdisk1           IBM        2145                100G volume-snap1-dab0e2d1-130a
hdisk2           IBM        2145                100G volume-snap2-5e863fdb-ab8c
hdisk3           IBM        2145                200G volume-foovg_vol1-3ba0ff59-acd8
hdisk4           IBM        2145                200G volume-foovg_vol2-8d078772-00b5
# cfgmr
# lspv
hdisk0          00c8b2add70d7db0                    rootvg          active
hdisk1          00f9c9f51afe960e                    None
hdisk2          00f9c9f51afe9698                    None
hdisk3          none                                None
hdisk4          none                                None

Then you can create a snapshot fo these two volumes. It's that easy :-) :

# cinder --service-type volume cgsnapshot-create 950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd
|       Property      |                Value                 |
| consistencygroup_id | 950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd |
|      created_at     |      2016-09-11T21:31:12.000000      |
|     description     |                 None                 |
|          id         | 20e2ce6b-9c4a-4eea-b05d-f0b0b6e4768f |
|         name        |                 None                 |
|        status       |               creating               |
# cinder --service-type volume cgsnapshot-list
|                  ID                  |   Status  | Name |
| 20e2ce6b-9c4a-4eea-b05d-f0b0b6e4768f | available |  -   |
# cinder --service-type volume cgsnapshot-show 20e2ce6b-9c4a-4eea-b05d-f0b0b6e4768f
|       Property      |                Value                 |
| consistencygroup_id | 950a5193-827b-49ab-9511-41ba120c9ebd |
|      created_at     |      2016-09-11T21:31:12.000000      |
|     description     |                 None                 |
|          id         | 20e2ce6b-9c4a-4eea-b05d-f0b0b6e4768f |
|         name        |                 None                 |
|        status       |              available               |



Please keep in mind that the content of this blog post comes from real life and production examples. I hope you will be able to better understand that scalability, density, fast deployment, snapshots, multi tenancy are some features that are absolutely needed in the AIX world. As you can see the PowerVC team is moving fast. Probably faster than every customer I have ever seen. I must admit they are right. Doing this is the only way the face the Linux X86 offering. And I must confess this is damn fun to work on those things. I'm so happy to have the best of two worlds AIX/PowerSystem and Openstack. This is the only direction we have to take if we want AIX to survive. So please stop being scared or not convinced by these solutions they are damn good, production ready. Please face and embrace the future and stop looking at the past. As always I hope it help.

4 thoughts on “Putting NovaLink in Production & more PowerVC ( tips and tricks

  1. Bonjour ,

    Je me suis intéressé à l’installation de NovaLink sur notre S822 de LAB dans le dernière version de Firmware type 840 pour ce modèle attaché à une HMC en 8.8.5 mais sans succès.
    L’installation de la via l’ISO échoue avec un “no space left on device” et le message suivant dans le pvm_install.log
    Sun Nov 20 15:13:36 UTC 2016: PVMDebug = 0
    Sun Nov 20 15:13:36 UTC 2016: Running initEnv
    Sun Nov 20 15:14:59 UTC 2016: VIOS Server list: XXXXXXX
    Sun Nov 20 15:15:01 UTC 2016: PVMConfig file =
    Sun Nov 20 15:15:01 UTC 2016: Using default pvm-install configuration file
    Sun Nov 20 15:15:03 UTC 2016: VIOS Server list: XXXXXXX
    Sun Nov 20 15:15:06 UTC 2016: VIOS Server list: XXXXXXX
    Sun Nov 20 15:15:06 UTC 2016: Auto Install = 0
    Sun Nov 20 15:15:06 UTC 2016: Launching wizard with arg list
    Sun Nov 20 15:16:57 UTC 2016: Validating configuration file
    Sun Nov 20 15:16:57 UTC 2016: Initializing private network configuration
    Sun Nov 20 15:16:59 UTC 2016: Start setupinstalldisk operation for /dev/sda
    Sun Nov 20 15:17:20 UTC 2016: Running updatedebconf
    Sun Nov 20 15:18:04 UTC 2016: PVMDebug = 0
    Sun Nov 20 15:18:04 UTC 2016: Running initEnv
    Sun Nov 20 15:18:11 UTC 2016: An error has occured: Unable to setup mount points

    Avez-vous été confronté à ce type de problème lors de vos premières installations. Suis sur une installation en vscsi et non NPIV.

    Bien Cordialement,

    • Hi Ludovic,
      Nope I didn’t face this problem … not as far as I remember.
      I this an automated installation or just using the CD and using the interactive installer.

    • OK go the issue fixed.
      You don’t have enough memory on your novalink partition.
      Minimum memory is 4.5GB please double check this … the problem is this installation is done trough a ramfs filesystem … this one needs to be big enough to perform the installation … obvious :)
      Tell me if it fix your pb.

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