IBMi.org – Bart's blog

IBM i and PowerVM features and tools

My few words about HMC Enhanced + interface

Those of you who run recent hardware, probably noticed the new HMC interface called Enhanced+ GUI available since the HMC Firmware 8.8.1 SP1. In this post I would like to share my point of view and give some advice for people who would like to use it.The new GUI doesn’t have an easy life. Even local IBMers told me ‘do not use it’. But while at the beginning the functionality was miserable, the latest releases got it a way better. The other thing is that the interface is very different, and requires different thinking logic from an user. That’s why ‘old dinosaurs’ will not touch it. And probably the biggest issue, the Enhanced GUI is slower.

I had an opportunity to see the first draft of new GUI in 2012 when I’ve been working on PowerVM Redbook, it was very impressing to see all these modern icons comparing to the classic interface. Then I saw it in 2014, few months before GA. Again astonished by modern graphics but disgusted by functionality and speed. Unfortunately the new GUI was release as Techpreview release (8.8.1 SP1) which had performance issues and very often didn’t work as it supposed to. This destroyed the opinion very much.  With 8.8.1 user could collect performance data on the PHyp layer (similar to LPAR2RRD) but the speed was so bad, that it didn’t make much sense. The other thing is that the new interface requires latest VIO levels. Thus, if someone tried it, but oldest VIOSes, some functions just crash without proper explanations.

Here are my findings regarding Enhanced interface and HMC firmware based on MY experience.

8.8.1 SP1 – do not use it, waste of time.

8.8.2 – better, but there was some Java heap problem, which basically requires the HMC restart once a week. Not sure if that was already patched. The interface was slow.

8.8.3 – speed improvements, didn’t find too much issue but I haven’t too much opportunity to play with, because I migrated to ..

8.8.4 – In my humble opinion it runs faster than 8.8.3, much better error handling, still some issues exists, but you can safely create the SEA, and work with

Other recommendations which may help.

  • Use only with the latest HMC firmware+ eFixs
  • Upgrade VIOS to the recommended level
  • Upgrade the server firmware
  • First start of the Enhanced interface (and every other after the HMC reboot), takes more time. I believe some Java class must be loaded for the first time. Don’t give up if thefirst start takes ages.

There is also new function called Templates, which basically supposed to simplify and speed up deployment of new servers and Lpars. Unfortunately, I haven’t found too much use of it. A template image keeps only ‘a template’ of few parameters. I would expect to be consistent in Lpar configuration. For instance, Virtual adapter ID 2 reserved for vEth, ID 3 and 4 for NPIV. Unfortunately templates can’t keep such detailed standards.

I see big potential in the new interface for IBM i community, and people who have not experience with the HMC yet. They can start to use some techniques previously managed from VIOS only.

In my next posts, I will describe how to perform some operation from the Enhanced GUI while before it was necessary to use VIO.

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4 responses to “My few words about HMC Enhanced + interface

  1. Clay April 4, 2016 at 16:15

    Hi Bart,

    Thanks for taking the time to write about your experiences with the HMC’s Enhanced+ UI. One, we’re glad to see that it is starting to be adopted and given a trial by people. And second, thanks for sticking with it through the version upgrades as we continue to improve it.

    I’d say your review by version is pretty accurate overall as the 840 release offers HMC’s best Enhanced+ UI GA to date.

    We’re continuing to put a balanced focus on developing new features for the Enhanced+ UI as well as improving the overall product. One area that received a lot of attention for the upcoming 850 release is performance – which should make using the Enhanced+ UI an even more pleasant user experience.

    • Bart April 4, 2016 at 21:44

      Clay, glad to hear the positive feedback. Yes, I’m trying bring the attention to new features on POWER (wherever I can). I’m in touch with development guys regarding issues which I found on current releases.
      I’m really looking forward for FW 8.50 release.

  2. Mike H. April 6, 2017 at 19:29

    We just upgraded to 8.8.6, and have experienced slowness at the console, yet remote access is same as it ever was.

    And one of the HMC’s phoned home with a low memory warning. Nothing ever crashed, and I sent PEDBG data to the mother ship. Have not heard back from support yet.

    • Bart April 7, 2017 at 13:16

      I run multiple consoles with this firmware. I haven’t experienced such issues. The fact is, that it works bad on old CR5 models.

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