When you build a VIO server on HMC 18.104.22.168 SP1, there's a new option to make your life easier.
Check out the HMC readme:
“Add a GUI enhancement for the installation of VIOS, allowing the user to install the Virtual I/O Server and managing Virtual I/O Server images using a GUI interface.”
The readme also points to future support (delivered by service pack) for importing VIO server images via FTP.
This new functionality makes it easier for "non-AIX" people to install VIOS. It seems particularly helpful if you're dealing with one of the smaller server models with a split backplane, since these models make it physically impossible to load the VIO server by attaching the internal system DVD to both sets of internal disks.
In any event, as soon as I learned of this option, I naturally wanted to try it out. So I first verified my HMC version:
I selected yes to install the VIO server, and I got some new options:
It will assume you're booting over the network since your install images will reside on your HMC, and you'll see:
Be sure you don't have any open and connected console windows, because the subsequent error message doesn't mention the console. It only says your network adapter cannot be detected, and you won't be able to activate your VIO partition.
This is a totally different way to install. It's not necessary to select SMS or open a console window as you might have done in the past. Of course you can still use the old installation method if you prefer.
On the next screen you can specify where you're installing VIOS from. In my case I was installing from DVD, but remember that this DVD is now physically located in the HMC:
I entered the IP address, subnet mask and gateway as requested. When I selected OK, I got this screen:
The installation process started to run the commands under the covers, using my HMC as a network installation server:
I then loaded the second VIO install DVD into the HMC, and processing began:
After it had copied both DVDs, flashing messages appeared about powering up the profile, doing ping tests, etc. The messages scroll by in the window on your screen. Unfortunately, the newest messages aren't written to your screen, they're located at the bottom of a log file, so you'll have manually scroll down to view them. Expect to be annoyed whenever new messages pop up. Alternatively, you can ssh into the HMC and check /var/log/nimol.log, but it would be nice if the messages appeared in a friendly way on the screen.
In the log file I saw quite a few entries, this is just a taste of what you will find:
ioserver nimol: ,info=LED 610: mount -r 10.44.3.108:/extra/default1/SPOT/usr /SPOT/usr
ioserver nimol: ,-S,booting,ioserver
ioserver nimol: ,info=LED 610: mount 10.44.3.108:/extra/default1/mksysb /NIM_BOS_IMAGE
ioserver nimol: ,info=LED 610: mount 10.44.3.1.08:/extra/default1/bosinst.data /NIM_BOSINST_DATA
ioserver nimol: ,info=LED 610: mount 10.44.3.108:/extra/default1/lpp_source /SPOT/usr/sys/inst.images,
ioserver nimol: ,info=extract_data_files
ioserver nimol: ,info=query_disks
ioserver nimol: ,info=extract_diskette_data
ioserver nimol: ,info=setting_console
ioserver nimol: ,info=initialization
ioserver nimol: ,info=verifying_data_files
ioserver nimol: ,info=prompting_for_data_at_console
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 1% complete : Making boot logical volume.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 2% complete : Making paging logical volumes.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 3% complete : Making logical volumes.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 4% complete : Forming the jfs log.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 5% complete : Making file systems.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 6% complete : Mounting file systems.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 7% complete
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 7% complete : Restoring base operating system.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 7% complete : 0% of mksysb data restored.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 89% complete
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 89% complete : Initializing dump device.
ioserver nimol: ,info=recover_device_attributes
ioserver nimol: ,-R,success
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 89% complete : Network Install Manager customization.
ioserver nimol: ,info=BOS install 90% complete : Creating boot image.
In one instance my network guys hadn't set up the switch to ensure that the port was on the right VLAN, so my ping test between the new VIO server and the HMC failed. If this happens to you, you won't be able to simply return to the screen where you entered the IP information. You'll have to start over. So make sure your physical network is ready to go when you try this.
For a second test, instead of selecting the DVD, I tried the local repository option:
Again I filled in my network information and clicked OK. Instead of reading from the DVD in the HMC, it was reading directly from the HMC's local disk repository, much like the way VIO servers read from the virtual media repository that we can create on our VIO servers. Obviously using the disk image in the repository was much faster than using the DVD media, and I didn't need to physically remove DVD1 and insert DVD2. This made subsequent installs less painful, as no one needed to visit the raised floor.
You'll see status updates in the bar in the upper left, like:
Network booting install adapter
Network boot proceeding
Installation in progress
I didn't like that it just took control and started installing to a disk without allowing operator intervention. This could be dangerous if disks you don't want overwritten simply appear on your VIO server. For instance, if I had data on hdisk0 and wanted to install specifically to hdisk1, I didn't find an intuitive way to specify that I wanted to use hdisk1.
Once the install was running I opened my console window and was able to watch it install as I would normally expect to. At the same time I was logged into my HMC running tail –f /var/log/nimol.log so I could view the install progress.
I'll write more as I continue to experiment with this.
So have you tried this method? Did you know this new functionality even existed?