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New PowerVM Configuration Options in HMC v8

IBM Hardware Management Console (HMC) version 8 is the required HMC version to support POWER8 servers. This HMC release also includes many new features, including a PowerVM Configuration menu. The PowerVM Configuration menu options provide a GUI that lets you configure and manage a variety of PowerVM features—including virtual IO server (VIOS)—right from the HMC. Previously, most of the VIOS configuration work was done using the VIOS command line (CL) interface.

Getting Started With PowerVM Configuration

The new PowerVM Configuration option consolidates the management of PowerVM features into one location on the HMC GUI. PowerVM Configuration options include: VIOS, virtual networks, virtual storage, hardware-virtualized I/O, shared processor pools and shared memory pool. The virtual networks and virtual storage options are particularly helpful. Working with these resources normally requires logging into the VIOS and doing a lot of CL work combined with manually maintained configuration documentation.

When you login to the HMC, you’ll be presented with the following HMC v8 interface options:

  • Enhanced – Presents the enhanced HMC interface that includes the new PowerVM Configuration menu options
  • Classic – Presents the traditional HMC menu structure without the new HMC v8 enhancements
  • Last Login – Login with the same menu structure as the last time you logged in (Enhanced or Classic)

You’ll want to login with the enhanced menus to gain access to the new functionality provided by HMC v8.

PowerVM Configuration

You can access the PowerVM Configuration menu by selecting Systems Management>Servers. After selecting a specific server, you’ll see an option in the HMC Tasks pane called Manage PowerVM. When you select this option, you’ll be presented with the PowerVM Configuration menu. Following is a description of each of the available options provided on the PowerVM Configuration menu.

Virtual I/O servers. The Virtual I/O Server option displays a list of all VIOS configured for the managed server you’re working with. You can see and dynamically modify the processor and memory assignments for each VIOS. An Add Virtual I/O Server button lets you to create a new VIOS on the managed server.

Virtual networks. The Virtual Network option lets you create virtual networks within the server. These networks can be set up between regular partitions or between partitions and VIO servers. Additionally, virtual switches and bridges can be created. Virtual Etherchannel can be defined, which enables partitions to make use of Network Interface Backup (NIB) for network access redundancy. This Virtual Networks panel is a great place to see a summary and details for all of the virtual networks configured on your managed server.

Virtual storage. The Virtual Storage menus let you work with local or SAN-based disk that’s been allocated to a VIOS. For each VIOS, you can see the partitions that have virtual SCSI connections to the VIOS, the virtual storage allocated to the partition and the physical device providing the storage. Use of this option can greatly simplify the management of VSCSI devices. Historically, managing large quantities of VSCSI from the CL interface has been challenging.

Hardware-virtualized I/O. There are two types of network hardware that can be virtualized without the use of VIOS. These are Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV) adapters and Host Ethernet Adapters (HEA). These adapters can be virtualized (divided) and shared among multiple partitions. The Hardware Virtualized I/O menu option provides both configuration and partition assignment details. Note that partitions configured with hardware-virtualized I/O resources can’t participate in Live Partition Mobility (LPM) operations. However, you can assign hardware-virtualized I/O resources to a VIOS and then use the VIOS to map these hardware resources to client partitions through virtual Ethernet connections. Partitions configured in this manner can participate in LPM events.

Shared processor pools. All of the shared processor pools will be listed here along with the option to add additional pools. Each pool has a configurable name, maximum processing units (pool size) and reserved processing units. These setting are dynamically changeable.

Shared memory pool. Using the Shared Memory Pool menus, you can create and manage shared the memory pool. You’ll be able to specify whether the pool is associated with a single VIOS or have a redundant VIO, which pertains to the location(s) of the paging space for the memory pool. Configuration options include memory pool size, the maximum pool size (the size to which it can be increased through a dynamic change operation) and the option to enable Active Memory Deduplication. Note that you can have only one shared memory pool per managed system.

Managing Logical Partitions

HMC v8 also provides PowerVM-related information for individual partitions. Here you’ll be able to see much of the same information I’ve discussed, but now on an LPAR basis. Options include:

  • Virtual networks
  • Virtual storage
  • Hardware-virtualized I/O

The GUI for these resources is easy to view and doesn’t require you to login to the partitions and run AIX commands or try to sort through all of the virtual resources connected to the VIOS.

A New View on Managing PowerVM Resources

With previous versions of the HMC, configuration and management of PowerVM features required the use of both the HMC GUI menus and CL interface work directly on the VIOS. The new PowerVM Configuration menus let you see, configure and manage PowerVM features using the HMC v8 GUI. Use of these new features can greatly simply your management workload and minimize the need to have spreadsheets or other tools to track virtual configuration information.

Charlie Cler supports customers in a solutions-architect role at Forsythe Technology Inc. He can be reached at

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