LPARKit – tool for managing VIOS from 5250 and cloning IBM i OS

I don’t think many people noticed this information yet, but recently a project which I was involved for last two years get live. My feeling is that many people do not understand the idea, thus I created a post explaining the functionality and possible usage. Read more about LPARKit below – tool which allows to create LPARs from 5250 and cloning IBM i OS.

What is idea behind LPARKit?

  • Speed up process of creating LPARs
  • No VIOS, no HMC skills needed.
  • 5250 menu driven interface, no ssh, no funky commands to remember
  • 2 min takes process of creating LPAR which is logged in to SAN, and ready for SAN zoning and attaching an external storage (if NPIV used)
  • 2 min takes to create LPAR with vSCSI disks (which were already provisioned to VIOS), and OS installation or flashcopy can be issued
  • Take away from IBM i user all VIOS commands
  • It is designed for companies who create/delete LPARs on daily/weekly/monthly basis, and they want to simplify/automate the process
  • Business partner may quickly deploy LPARs on a customer site
  • If IBM i admins do not have PowerVM skills and whenever they are planning to deploy a new LPAR order a service from a 3rd party

LPARKit can do everything listed above in light version which is free!

In addition, the tool offers IBM i cloning functionality, as no other tool on the market.

  • Possible to clone IBM i OS from the template LPAR
  • Functionality for private cloud deployment
  • Shops hosting IBM i LPARs can in very short time deploy IBM i instance for a customer, a person deploying the LPAR doesn’t need VIOS skills
  • No additional appliance needed (everything runs from IBM i)
  • No FlashCopy, Snapshot license needed. Cloning happens between VIOSes thru TCP/IP
  • A user can easily deploy one or many LPARs with complete IBM i build within minutes
  • Integrity of OS, because the image of the operating system being cloned, all LPARs will get the same version of PTFs, tools which are already installed/pre-installed
  • Deployment possible between different physical servers
  • Template LPAR may have many virtual disks with different images. For instance, image with 7.1, 7.2. 7.3, 7.4 or different PTFs version or different tool set – image for prod, image for test, etc.
  • Business partners may use it for customer LPARs deployment. Prepare the IBM i OS image with PTFs in advance, copy the image to a flash drive or send to a customer through a network. (They don’t have to perform scratch OS installation or restore image from a tape which is time consuming and requires specific infrastructure). An LPAR with IBM i OS can be deployed within 5-20 mins (depending on a disk speed) from the binary image. If you multiply this by many instances time saving is significant. On the customer side the requirement is to have IBM Power Server with PowerVM standard license, and at least one VIOS configured.
  • It is possible to dynamically add/remove virtual adapters on the LPARs and VIOS (functionality which is not available in the HMC Enhanced GUI)
  • Map/unmapped NPIV/vSCSI adapters from physical adapters from 5250. It simplify management when an HBA must be replaced and all hosts using the adapters must be temporary removed.
  • Produce reports about virtual adapters. Generate a report to a spoolfile or csv documenting how virtual adapters are connected

What is necessary to clone IBM i LPAR, how it works?

  • All I/O must be virtualized. Storage connected thru NPIV or vSCSI. Network virtualized via the Shared Ethernet Adapter. If you don’t have virtualized environment yet or you afraid – check Services offered by Cloud Walkers.
  • Template IBM i LPAR runs on storage provision from a VIOS and it stores as a binary image
  • Template LPAR must be created on a single LUN configuration. Once cloning process get completed more LUNs can be manually added to the ASP configuration
  • Because it is a binary image it can be copied anywhere
  • VIOS requires more storage than regular installation because of the LPAR image/images.
  • VIOS storage can be provisioned from anything, internal disks, IBM, EMC, HP, Hitachi
  • Toolkit assist you in creating a virtual disk and assigning it to a template LPAR
  • New LPAR is built and activated with new IP address, subnet, hostname, system name
  • Once new LPAR been built, it is necessary to perform copy the load source data from the virtual disk to a design storage. This is manual process (not yet automated)
  • After copy load source process finish, the tool offers an option to remove the virtual disk from the LPAR configuration.
  • The template LPAR must be active during cloning process. The controlling partition communicates with the template and transfer parameters. If the template LPAR has more virtual disks (with different versions of the OS), the LPAR must be activated from this disk.
  • Tool does not create SAN zones nor LUNs on an external storage (yet).

The tool can be find at www.cwalkers.com

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