Managing the Virtual Media Repository

Virtual media repository is very useful PowerVM feature. Some older IBM i administrators probably remember similar function available in iSeries ages ago. In short way, it allows to share CD/DVD images on a frame/server layer.

I use it very often, because it allows load a SLIC without physical access to a server. Practically you can install an IBM i OS, on completely new POWER server, which doesn’t even have a physical CD/DVD drive.

In this post I’d like to show different methods how to manage the Virtual Media Repository.

This feature is fully managed by a Phyp. Therefore, I believe it is completely transparent for a client.

As far as I know, there are three ways how to manage it.

  • From the VIOS command line
  • VIOS by cfgassist
  • From a HMC. (since ver 7.7.4 SP2)

At the very begging, remember that client-server SCSI relation must be created first. On a VIOS create a Virtual SCSI adapter type ‘Server’, while on a client – create a Virtual SCSI adapter type ‘Client’.



From VIOS by command

First thing is to create a repository. Let’s assume you want to have it in the rootvg file system 10Gb big.

mkrep -sp rootvg -size 10G

You created a ‘virtual space’ where you can load CDs,DVDs images. Images can be created from a physical media or from an iso image.

To create an image from a physical media put a disk to the drive and type:

mkvopt -name SLIC -dev cd0 -ro

To create an image from an iso image. Copy the image locally (for instance to /iso/slic.iso) and run

mkvopt -name SLIC -file /iso/slic.iso -ro

You have image created, now lets create a file backed optical device and link it to the virtual scsi device (you can find it by lsdev, it should be vhost#).

mkvdev -fbo -vadapter vhost#

I believe this created a fbo device. You can check by lsdev, it should be vtopt#. Now you can load the image to the fbo device.

loadopt -disk SLIC -vtd vtopt#

Now on a client system you are going to find the SLIC image loaded to an OPT0X device.

If you use it for installation of Operating System you need to change an image to the next media. To do so, remove the current image (SLIC in our scenario) by command unloadopt -vtd vtopt# and proceed from step create an image or load an image (if you already have images in the repository).

From VIOS using cfgassist

In a VIOS type cfgassist

Go to Storage Management -> Virtual Media Repository  -> Create the Repository

In the Parent STORAGE POOL name define a file system where you want to create the repository. Lets assume in rootvg

In the SIZE of the Repository define size (ex 10G) and hit Enter.

You should get a confirmation that ‘Virtual Media Repository Created’

If the pool has been created you can list it. Storage Management -> Virtual Media Repository  -> List Contents of the Repository

To create an image from a physical media put a disk to the physical drive and from cfgassist choose:

Storage Management -> Virtual Media Repository -> Virtual Optical Media Disks -> Add a Virtual Optical Disk -> Create Virtual Optical Disk from an existing Physical Optical Disk

Define name in a Virtual OPTICAL DISK name (ex SLIC) and define source device (ex cd0) and hit  Enter

To create an image from an iso image. Copy the image locally (for instance to iso/slic.iso) and in cfgassist perform

torage Management -> Virtual Media Repository -> Virtual Optical Media Disks -> Add a Virtual Optical Disk -> Create Virtual Optical Disk from a File

Define name in a Virtual OPTICAL DISK name (ex SLIC) and location of a file in Source File Path (ex iso/slic.iso) and hit Enter.

I didn’t find options in cfgassist for load/unload virtual Optical disks. Therefore, use commands or HMC to perform these tasks.


HMC 7.7.4 SP2 is required to perform this option.

Select a physical server -> Configuration -> Virtual Resources -> Virtual Storage Management

Virtal Resources

Select VIOS which will be hosting a repository and click Optical Devices, and Click Library


Specify size of the virtual library.


Select Add media


Specify a iso file location and give a name to a file


Once the image is created, click modify partition assignment to load the image to virtual repository.


You will BE prompt for which partition you want to assign ( I suggest Any)


This will create Virtual Target Device – File-backed Optical device (vtopt0) on VIOS and load the image.

Now, you can start to use the image in the same way as the physical one.

9 thoughts on “Managing the Virtual Media Repository

  1. Hello,

    I tried this method to install a new 7.2 LPAR on S814. It works great for the first .udf file (I_BASE_01) but then, the OS installation loops, asking for next media, a,d seems unable to detect the B_GROUP1_01, B_GROUP1_02, etc… I’ve mounted these .udf files on an existing IBM i partition, and once mounted in an image catalogue, there are readable, so that’s not a media corruption problem.

    1. There must be some issue with disk order. I remember the same problem, but If I’m not mistaken, For the first time I left the same DVD image mounted and just entered R for reply.

      1. Well, I tried that too. Leaving the I_BASE_01 and then inserting the B_GROUP1_01 when asked for next media. I went up to B_GROUP1_05 (last DVD). Tried also to rename the .udf to .iso . No success.
        By the way there is no „R”, only answers are 1 to continue or 2 to cancel the installation.

      2. Eric, Do you select all LICPGM to install or just few? What I usually do , I select only very basic programs like :
        Library QGPL
        Library QUSRSYS
        Extended Base Support and 5770TC1. Then I set IP address, and continue with rest of the installation from local IBMi IMGCLG.
        I did this like dozen of times.

  2. I don’t even get there. That’s a brand new install, not an upgrade. I’ve an S814 with nothing else than 2 VIO servers and an empty IBM i LPAR with SAN storage. In ordre to install V7.2 on the LPAR, I’m starting the partition with IPL D specifying the VIOS VMR as alternate IPL device (I_BASE_01 being loaded). The LIC installation works perfectly. ThenI get the “IPL or Install the system” menu and I select option 2 Install the operating system. The system will display for a while “searching Optical Media” and then directly the “Insert next media” with only options 1 to continue or 2 to cancel. So I’m far from reaching the LICPGM selection.

    1. only two thimgs comes to my head.
      1. Verify size of the objects transferred to VIO if checksum is correct.
      2.When you complete the first IPL do you get prompt for a resource for installation? If so, remeber to selct OPT device, no virtual repository ( dont remember exact wording)

      1. Thank you Bart. Looks like the images for B_GROUP1_01 got corrupted during transfer to the VIO server, as the size does not match (a few bytes missing). Need to re-upload the image.

  3. After reloading B_GROUP1_01_IBM_i_RS_720-00_LCD8_2043_00.udf, installation ran fine. Thank you for your help.

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