Rebuild of the i-hosting-i underway.

We have finally started the rebuild of the data for the i-hosting-i partitions and came across a few problems.

First problem was to do with the system plan. Before we started down the VIOS route we created a system plan from the existing partition and system information and checked it to make sure we had no errors logged. Nothing was shown as a problem so our plan was to use it to deploy again if we could not get the VIOS set up functioning. As it turns out we could not use the system plan, the deployment failed every time because of adapter issues which did not show up when we viewed the plan on the HMC.

This required us to edit the system plan which required us to use the system planning tool. We downloaded the SPT to a PC and installed it, a slight issue with Windows 8 meant we had to run the program in Windows 7 mode to get it to install, but once it was up and running we managed to import the original system plan. Even though the system plan was created from a running system with active partitions the planning tool threw up a lot of errors. We had problems with the addition of the internal SATA tape drive blocking the USB adapter and so on which took a pretty long time to understand, in the end we just configured few things we must have to export the plan and exported it ready for import to the HMC. Eventually the plan did deploy on the HMC so it looked like we were ready to go.

We did an IPL D using the SAVSYS tape and all seemed to go well until we got to the DASD configuration in DST. We had the LIC installed the first drive as the load source but we needed to add all of the other drives and Raid protect them. As we progressed through the DST options we kept getting errors about connections being missing, a search using Google turned up nothing so decided to take the F10 option (ignore the message and continue). It turned out to be a problem because we only had one of the Raid cards set up, not have both (I thought we only had one but 2 show up in the hardware list) so when we took the option to add the drives to ASP1 and then started Raid protection it took hours (IBM support did try to help by DLPAR’ing the additional Raid card but we were too late to gain any benefit) so 6 hours later we had the drives set up and protected.

Because this is the hosting partition the other partition data was restored at the same time which took about 5 hours to complete. We checked the NWSD objects for the hosted partitions were restored correctly and configured, we saw that they were were in a VARIED OFF state so we VARIED them ON and watched as they became ACTIVE, so far so good.

At this point we thought OK we are now ready to start the other partitions. We took the option to activate the first partition profile on the HMC but it quickly came to a grinding halt! the SRC code displayed was B2004158 LP=0002, not much information turned up with a Google search so I tried to get a console up to see what was actually going on. It appears that when you first start the partition you need to specifically set the advanced start up parameters the first time (the normal setting is do not override the Mode and source settings), we just set it to B,N and the partition started up.

We still have one partition which fails to start, this is a V6R1 partition and while we did see some reference in the VIOS configurations to dedicated IO for V6R1 on Power 7+ we know this was running before so we think it was damaged on the restore of the NWSD? We have a full system save on tape for it so as soon as everything else is fixed we will try a IPL D with the SAVSYS and rebuild the data.

After over a week of fighting with IBM to get the right hardware and software to run a VIOS based partitioned system we have accepted that i-hosting-i will be the solution for now. We have already started to look at SAN in the hopes of one day having enough bandwidth to trek down this road again, this time we know that internal disks are not for VIOS partitioning! Pity the IBM sales team didn’t know that before we ordered the additional hardware for Ethernet and the additional core activations for PowerVM. I am sure that with enough trail and error you could get a VIOS running with internal disk running, but if the performance is degraded as IBM suggests (they don’t say by how much) I think it may be a futile exercise?

Hope you find the information useful, maybe it will help you avoid some of the pitfalls we came across and save you time and money :-).

Chris..

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