AIX > Administrator > Virtualization

Configuring PowerVC With Shared Storage Pools


Benoît Créau wrote an excellent article on exploiting the full potential of PowerVC using Shared Storage Pools (SSPs). I recently configured something similar and thought I’d share my experience.

Getting PowerVC to Recognize SSP

The first challenge I faced was trying to get PowerVC to recognize the SSP configured in my environment. When we first installed PowerVC, we added our POWER8 S824 to the PowerVC environment. This worked OK and PowerVC was able to manage the host and we could deploy some AIX partitions with virtual FC adapters (NPIV). A few days later, we configured the shared storage pool on the dual VIOS on the S824. After we created the SSP, we quickly discovered that PowerVC couldn’t add or discover the SSP once the host had been placed under the control of PowerVC. You had to create the SSP before adding the host to PowerVC. This was clearly documented in the IBM Knowledge Center:

"Important: To use shared storage pools with PowerVC, you must create them externally before registering the host. Then when the host is added to PowerVC, the shared storage pools are added automatically. Maintenance tasks, such as adding a physical volume, backup, and so on, must be done outside of PowerVC."

We decided to remove the host from PowerVC and then re-add it, allowing PowerVC to automatically discover the SSP cluster. This is where we hit our next challenge. We were able to remove the host but we couldn’t add it again to PowerVC. We received the error message shown in Figure 1.

Error message details:
Unable to add host Server-8286-42A-SN214F58V.
9/16/14, 8:33 PM
AEVCOM003E
Explanation: 
PD-A001001 Could not access the Hardware Management 
Console for an unknown reason. Refer to the 
/var/log/nova/compute-828642A_214F58V.log file for more details.
Response: 
Review the explanation and try the request again.

We noticed the following K2HttpError error in the nova compute log file on the PowerVC server:

[root@powervc_pvm nova]# tail compute-828642A_214F58V.log
...
2014-09-17 19:30:15.982 11596 TRACE 
nova.openstack.common.threadgroup K2HttpError: 
HTTP error for GET /rest/api/uom/ManagedSystem/ 
f51d86e4-e36b-3890-b333-c99b48b51057/  
VirtualIOServer?group=ViosNetwork: 
500 (Internal Server Error)
2014-09-17 19:30:15.982 11596 TRACE 
nova.openstack.common.threadgroup

We discovered that this issue was introduced after we applied service pack 1 for HMC V8R8.1.0. Fortunately, we were able to resolve this problem by following the steps in the following tech note, Error "3003c 2610-366" after apply of Service Pack 1.

This fix also resolved another issue we had with the new PowerVM Management interface on the HMC, but more on that in another article.

With the fix in place, we were able to add the host back under PowerVC’s control. Now we could test the capture and deployment of an AIX partition using SSP disk.

First, we had to manually create a new AIX partition using SSP disk. We would use this partition as the base from which we could capture and deploy new AIX partitions via PowerVC. We created a new AIX partition on the HMC, assigned some disk from the SSP and then installed AIX 7.1 TL3 SP3 using the VIOS virtual media library.

The partition profile (shown in Figure 2) was simple: just two VSCSI adapters and one virtual Ethernet adapter.

The LUs were created and mapped on both VIOS using the following commands. Note, we also added a virtual optical (vopt) device to use with the virtual media library on the second VIOS.

s824vio1
$ lu -create -clustername voyager -lu gibbossp1 -size 50G
$ lu -map -lu gibbossp1 -vadapter vhost3
$ lsmap -vadapter vhost3
SVSA            Physloc                                      Client Partition ID
--------------- -------------------------------------------- ------------------
vhost3          U8286.42A.214F58V-V1-C98                     0x0000000a

VTD                   vtscsi0
Status                Available
LUN                   0x8100000000000000
Backing device        gibbossp1.2c85a15aa486f3e22f989649185f0d25
Physloc
Mirrored              N/A

s824vio2
$  lu -map -lu gibbossp1 -vadapter vhost5
$  mkvdev -fbo -vadapter vhost5
$ loadopt -disk aix_71_3_3 -vtd vtopt5
$ lsmap -vadapter vhost5
SVSA            Physloc                                      Client Partition ID
--------------- -------------------------------------------- ------------------
vhost5          U8286.42A.214F58V-V2-C99                     0x0000000a

VTD                   vtopt5
Status                Available
LUN                   0x8200000000000000
Backing device        /var/vio/VMLibrary/aix_71_3_3
Physloc
Mirrored              N/A

VTD                   vtscsi0
Status                Available
LUN                   0x8100000000000000
Backing device        gibbossp1.2c85a15aa486f3e22f989649185f0d25
Physloc
Mirrored              N/A

Once AIX was installed in the new partition, we were then able to take control of this new virtual machine using PowerVC. We did this by selecting Manage Existing from the PowerVC Virtual Machine panel, shown in Figure 3.

We selected our POWER8 system, as shown in Figure 4.

We chose Select specific virtual machines as shown in Figure 5. Then, from the list of possible candidate partitions, we selected our newly installed SSP client LPAR (gibossp), as shown in Figure 6.

After several minutes, PowerVC reported that it was now managing the gibossp partition. You can see examples in Figure 7 and Figure 8.

After a few minutes, the host was added and under the management of PowerVC. Now we could capture an image of the partition using PowerVC.

To capture the image, first we had to install the IBM Activation Engine. If you forget to do this, don’t worry. PowerVC will remind you that you need to prepare the partition for capture. It will display a very helpful pop-up window (Figure 9) that will prompt you to prepare the partition for capture by installing the activation engine. Just follow the instructions and see Figure 10 and Figure 11. It’s simple and easy.

After copying the activation engine package from the PowerVC Linux partition to the AIX partition, we followed the instructions to install the software. See Code Sample 1.

Now that the activation engine was installed, we could run it to prepare the system for capture by PowerVC. See Code Sample 2.

With the AIX partition now stopped, we were able to capture an image of the partition and then deploy a new AIX partition using this image.

To start the capture, we must open the Virtual Machines panel in PowerVC (see Figure 12). We then select the partition we wish to capture. You’ll notice that the partition is already powered off. The activation engine script was run to prepare the partition and then power it off. We then clicked on Capture.

Click Continue, as shown in Figure 13.

We entered a name for the new image capture (gibossp_capture_2), as shown in Figure 14.

We were presented with the message in Figure 15 (in the bottom right-hand corner of the PowerVC interface) telling us that the snapshot was underway. And under the Images panel, we saw that a new image was being created (Figure 16).

A minute or so later, PowerVC informed us that the capture was finished and that a new image volume had been created (Figure 17).

From the VIOS command line, we were able to list the available snapshot volumes in the SSP.

Before the image capture:

$ snapshot -list -clustername voyager -spname olympic
Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
volume-Image_gibossp_capture_1--6ebc044d8757415f9e5533a607bf848351200          THIN               
100% 51203          
5a1e5d674e2c099ec05391d5afad83dc
                Snapshot
                49dcdd9ad068729966f45045dbd50f92IMSnap
                25ecb9fee56222959e6cbb6e809f3d72IMSnap
                a33914517d53a446ac3c61bd7dd6ffc3IMSnap

After the image capture:

$ snapshot -list -clustername voyager -spname olympic
Lu(Client Image)Name     Size(mb)       ProvisionType     %Used Unused(mb)     Lu Udid
volume-Image_gibossp_capture_2--430ec81fb687466f804f518bdf0a737151200          THIN               
100% 0              e09f0b2cb261e1ae8929e387e983f55c
volume-Image_gibossp_capture_1--6ebc044d8757415f9e5533a607bf848351200          THIN               
100% 51203          5a1e5d674e2c099ec05391d5afad83dc
                Snapshot
                49dcdd9ad068729966f45045dbd50f92IMSnap
                25ecb9fee56222959e6cbb6e809f3d72IMSnap
                a33914517d53a446ac3c61bd7dd6ffc3IMSnap

Now we can deploy a new AIX partition using this captured image.

Chris Gibson is an AIX and PowerVM specialist located in Melbourne, Australia. He is an IBM Champion for Power Systems, IBM CATE (Power Systems and AIX), and a co-author of several IBM Redbooks publications.



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