Topics: System Admin, Virtual I/O Server, Virtualization

Accessing the virtual terminal on IVM managed hosts

Virtual clients running on a IVM (Integrated Virtualization Manager) do not have a direct atached serial console nor a virtual window which can be opened via an HMC. So how do you access the console?

You can log on as the padmin user on the VIOS which is serving the client you want to logon to its console. Just log on to the VIOS, switch to user padmin:

# su - padmin
Then run the lssyscfg command to list the available LPARs and their IDs on this VIOS:
# lssyscfg -r lpar -F name,lpar_id
Alternatively you can log on to the IVM using a web browser and click on "View/Modify Partitions" which will also show LPAR names and their IDs.

Use the ID of the LPAR you wish to access:
# mkvt -id [lparid]
This should open a console to the LPAR. If you receive a message "Virtual terminal is already connected", then the session is already in use. If you are sure no one else is using it, you can use the rmvt command to force the session to close.
# rmvt -id [lparid]
After that you can try the mkvt command again.

When finished log off and type "~." (tilde dot) to end the session. Sometimes this will also close the session to the VIOS itself and you may need to logon to the VIOS again.

Topics: AIX, Backup & restore, System Admin, Virtual I/O Server, Virtualization

How to make a system backup of a VIOS

To create a system backup of a Virtual I/O Server (VIOS), run the following commands (as user root):

# /usr/ios/cli/ioscli viosbr -backup -file vios_config_bkup
-frequency daily -numfiles 10
# /usr/ios/cli/ioscli backupios -nomedialib -file /mksysb/$(hostname).mksysb -mksysb
The first command (viosbr) will create a backup of the configuration information to /home/padmin/cfgbackups. It will also schedule the command to run every day, and keep up to 10 files in /home/padmin/cfgbackups.

The second command is the mksysb equivalent for a Virtual I/O Server: backupios. This command will create the mksysb image in the /mksysb folder, and exclude any ISO repositiory in rootvg, and anything else excluded in /etc/exclude.rootvg.

Topics: Virtual I/O Server, Virtualization

Virtual I/O Server lifecycle dates

ProductVersionEnd of Support
PowerVM VIOS Enterprise Edition2.2.xnot announced
PowerVM VIOS Express Edition2.2.xnot announced
PowerVM VIOS Standard Edition2.2.xnot announced
PowerVM VIOS Enterprise Edition2.1.xSep 30, 2012
PowerVM VIOS Express Edition2.1.xSep 30, 2012
PowerVM VIOS Standard Edition2.1.xOct 30, 2012
Virtual I/O Server1.5.xSep 30, 2011
Virtual I/O Server1.4.xSep 30, 2010
Virtual I/O Server1.3.xSep 30, 2009
Virtual I/O Server1.2.xSep 30, 2008
Virtual I/O Server1.1.xSep 30, 2008


Topics: System Admin, Virtual I/O Server

Unable to open file: ioscli.log for append

After installing VIO version SP-02, with some commands the following error will show up:

padmin $ netstat -num -state
Name  Mtu   Network    Address          Ipkts Ierrs Opkts Oerrs  Coll
en5   1500  link#2     5c.f3.fc.6.61.c1 10495     0  1855     0     0
en5   1500  10.188.107    10495     0  1855     0     0
lo0   16896 link#1                        458     0   458     0     0
lo0   16896 127          458     0   458     0     0
lo0   16896 ::1%1                         458     0   458     0     0
Unable to open file: ioscli.log for append
The solution is simple: correct the permissions on the /home/padmin folder:
padmin $ oem_setup_env
# chmod 755 /home/padmin
# chown padmin:staff /home/padmin
# exit

Topics: Logical Partitioning, Virtual I/O Server, Virtualization

Introduction to VIO

Prior to the introduction of POWER5 systems, it was only possible to create as many separate logical partitions (LPARs) on an IBM system as there were physical processors. Given that the largest IBM eServer pSeries POWER4 server, the p690, had 32 processors, 32 partitions were the most anyone could create. A customer could order a system with enough physical disks and network adapter cards, so that each LPAR would have enough disks to contain operating systems and enough network cards to allow users to communicate with each partition.

The Advanced POWER Virtualization feature of POWER5 platforms, makes it possible to allocate fractions of a physical CPU to a POWER5 LPAR. Using virtual CPU's and virtual I/O, a user can create many more LPARs on a p5 system than there are CPU's or I/O slots. The Advanced POWER Virtualization feature accounts for this by allowing users to create shared network adapters and virtual SCSI disks. Customers can use these virtual resources to provide disk space and network adapters for each LPAR they create on their POWER5 system.

There are three components of the Advanced POWER Virtualization feature: Micro-Partitioning, shared Ethernet adapters, and virtual SCSI. In addition, AIX 5L Version 5.3 allows users to define virtual Ethernet adapters permitting inter-LPAR communication.


An element of the IBM POWER Virtualization feature called Micro-Partitioning can divide a single processor into many different processors. In POWER4 systems, each physical processor is dedicated to an LPAR. This concept of dedicated processors is still present in POWER5 systems, but so is the concept of shared processors. A POWER5 system administrator can use the Hardware Management Console (HMC) to place processors in a shared processor pool. Using the HMC, the administrator can assign fractions of a CPU to individual partitions. If one LPAR is defined to use processors in the shared processor pool, when those CPUs are idle, the POWER Hypervisor makes them available to other partitions. This ensures that these processing resources are not wasted. Also, the ability to assign fractions of a CPU to a partition means it is possible to partition POWER5 servers into many different partitions. Allocation of physical processor and memory resources on POWER5 systems is managed by a system firmware component called the POWER Hypervisor.

Virtual Networking

Virtual networking on POWER5 hardware consists of two main capabilities. One capability is provided by a software IEEE 802.1q (VLAN) switch that is implemented in the Hypervisor on POWER5 hardware. Users can use the HMC to add Virtual Ethernet adapters to their partition definitions. Once these are added and the partitions booted, the new adapters can be configured just like real physical adapters, and the partitions can communicate with each other without having to connect cables between the LPARs. Users can separate traffic from different VLANs by assigning different VLAN IDs to each virtual Ethernet adapter. Each AIX 5.3 partition can support up to 256 Virtual Ethernet adapters.

In addition, a part of the Advanced POWER virtualization virtual networking feature allows users to share physical adapters between logical partitions. These shared adapters, called Shared Ethernet Adapters (SEAs), are managed by a Virtual I/O Server partition which maps physical adapters under its control to virtual adapters. It is possible to map many physical Ethernet adapters to a single virtual Ethernet adapter, thereby eliminating a single physical adapter as a point of failure in the architecture.

There are a few things users of virtual networking need to consider before implementing it. First, virtual networking ultimately uses more CPU cycles on the POWER5 machine than when physical adapters are assigned to a partition. Users should consider assigning a physical adapter directly to a partition when heavy network traffic is predicted over a certain adapter. Secondly, users may want to take advantage of larger MTU sizes that virtual Ethernet allows, if they know that their applications will benefit from the reduced fragmentation and better performance that larger MTU sizes offer. The MTU size limit for SEA is smaller than Virtual Ethernet adapters, so users will have to carefully choose an MTU size so that packets are sent to external networks with minimum fragmentation.

Virtual SCSI

The Advanced POWER Virtualization feature called virtual SCSI allows access to physical disk devices which are assigned to the Virtual I/O Server (VIOS). The system administrator uses VIOS logical volume manager commands to assign disks to volume groups. The administrator creates logical volumes in the Virtual I/O Server volume groups. Either these logical volumes or the physical disks themselves may ultimately appear as physical disks (hdisks) to the Virtual I/O Server's client partitions, once they are associated with virtual SCSI host adapters. While the Virtual I/O Server software is packaged as an additional software bundle that a user purchases separately from the AIX 5.3 distribution, the virtual I/O client software is a part of the AIX 5.3 base installation media, so an administrator does not need to install any additional filesets on a Virtual SCSI client partition.

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