– Bart's blog

IBM i and PowerVM features and tools

What about my secret project?

In October I had a pleasure to attend IBM TechU 2018 in Rome. I will write few words about the conference in another post, but I’ve been asked several times what about my secret project. I have already disclosed some information in the November IBM Systems Magazine, so let me share few details.

You may heard me last year when I talked about a new method of migration IBMi OS. I promised to share the information and write a white paper about it. Also, on few conferences I offered sessions where I was about to explain this solution, but for various reasons I did not attend the conferences. As a matter of fact, I’m happy how things turned out, because I’ve realized that some technique used for the migration can be used for cloning the IBMi OS.

In the IBM Systems Magazine I’m saying “In my free time, I’m working on a tool to simplify and significantly speed up the commissioning of IBM i logical partitions using PowerVM. I believe this will be a very interesting product for an IBM i administrator because it allows quick deployment of a virtual machine without touching the Virtual I/O Server and can provision the OS from the predefined template. Everything is managed from the green screen.”

The secret project is a tool running on IBMi with a classic menu interface. It allows to create a logical partition, set all virtual adapters, link them together on the VIO. The advanced feature offers cloning of the OS to the newly created Lpar. How this can be achieved? Well, one very small IBMi Lpar is needed. It acts as a ‘gold image’/template. The template Lpar need to be started only from time to time it also need to be maintained by an administrator with regular PTFs and licensed program. In another words, keep your basic setup which you want to be cloned.  The tool copy the entire Lpar, change the system name, change an IP address and start it on the newly created virtual machine. It does not use the FlashCopy mechanism, therefore it can be used in conjunction to any type of storage.

You can imagine that it gives you the capability of quick deployment of IBMi virtual hosts on an external or internal storage, no VIOS skills needed and not wasting time on the HMC GUI.

This sounds as PowerVC, does it? But PowerVC is complicated for configuration, it is an additional appliance, it requires an external array with Flashcopy licenses and it DOES NOT run on IBMi.

I think it might be a game changer, because it would offer the real Cloud functionality to everyone regardless the storage used behind. Big users hosting multiple IBM Power Systems may use it in their Private Cloud deployment. Just imagine,  1-5 min spent on defining Lpar parameters such as memory and cpu, and after 10-15 mins (time needed for copying the image) you have new IBMi Lpar with the OS and PTFs, with the correct IP address and the system name.

Small users may benefit in other way. Usually, they do not create IBMi lpars very often. But if they do, it is time consuming process, VIOS skills needed, and if only internal storage being used than IBMi administrator must go thru the scratch OS installation + PTF (8 hrs processes).

When the tool will be available? My goal is to make the user interface, installation/configuration processes as simple as possible. And, this is time consuming, also I want to use very specific modern interfaces and protocols. I hope to show the product around January 2019, but I can’t promise because I’m depended on other people.

As soon as I get a beta version, I will produce a video to show the tool functionality.

Please leave me some feedback if you like the idea, it may speed up the process:)



One response to “What about my secret project?

  1. Bob Cozzi November 6, 2018 at 16:01

    Great idea. I’ve partitioned my own system using the green screen, because HMC prices are criminal. And I can testify that it is a nightmare to do that. So good luck!

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