Installing Virtual HMC.

As part of our recent new system purchase we found that our existing HMC is no longer able to connect and configure the system partitions that we required. We did look at using Virtual Partition Manager as a substitute but felt that sticking with the HMC route would be a lot simpler than trying to educate ourselves on Virtual Partition Manager at the same time we are implementing the new system. The HMC allows us to Micro partition the system for the hosted partitions we need for demo, testing and development and although we tend to allocate more than the minimum CPU to each partition that may change in the future.

We had a quote direct from IBM to provide a HMC, the list price of the HMC (7042-CR9) is around $10,200CAD plus SWMA of around $1,100 excluding taxes. The cost of a Virtual HMC is approximately $4,200CAD plus SWMA of $1,680CAD so a cost saving of approximately $6,000CAD would be seen at list prices. The only other difference is the hardware needs to be factored in plus the IBM provides a different support contract for the vHMC. As we already had plenty of hardware to run the VM’s we did not need to purchase any additional hardware so additional pricing was not an issue.

To install vHMC IBM ships two virtualized HMC’s, one for VMWare and one for RedHat Enterprise Linux (KVM). We did try to get the RedHat Enterprise version up and running first but failed, some of that comes down to the knowledge we have on RedHat virtualization technologies, the other is the RedHat licensing(subscriptions) did not seem to work for us?

The VMWare set up was done on our MAC Pro laptop plus a Windows 10 system with 8 cores as we wanted to see if it was possible to run it on either platform. The VMWare tool we installed on the Windows 10 system was Workstation Pro, while on the MAC laptop we opted for Fusion 8 Pro. VMWare has lots of offers around their virtualization tools but the one we like most and why the MAC installs were important was special pricing on Fusion Pro where you are replacing Parallels as your VM tool, we paid $120USD for the software which can be used on up to 3 MAC systems.

You can download a copy of the vHMC from the IBM entitled Software site once your entitlement has been confirmed. The product is 5765-HMV. Once selected you should show the content of the product so that you can download just the required VM that you need. We actually downloaded both VM’s as we wanted to trial each one but you really only need the one that you are going to use (VMWare or KVM).

To install vHMC into Fusion we simply copied the .tar file to the system and unpacked using the MAC options. We needed 4 GB memory plus 160GB of Disk to install the VM so you need to ensure you have all the resources before starting the process. (we did not try to use less resources as we wanted to ensure it ran as effectively as possible). Once the .tar file has been extracted we needed to import the VM to Fusion using the .ova file extracted.

From here on out I am going to show the process for set up using the Workstation 12 Pro install as it is easier to extract the images we need,but the same process needs to be followed on Fusion 8 Pro.

The VMWare install of Workstation Pro 12 completed without any issues on our Windows 10 system, on start up you will see the following screen.

1-WS-12-Pro

VMWare Workstation 12 Pro home screen


We needed to Open a Virtual Machine which I thought was a little strange as I expected to have to Create a New Virtual Machine, but once I understood that the .ova file is actually a copy of a VM machine it made more sense. This then gave us a screen to import the .ova file as below.

2-VM-import

Setting information for the VM which is to be imported.


We named this install vHMC-2 as we already had an install of the HMC carried out previously which was already fully configured for our environment. Once we pressed the import button we then had to select the .ova file we were going to import.

3-OVA-Select

.ova selection

 

The import of the VM took about 5 minutes on my system, your results depend on how your system is configured etc.

4-importing-ova

import progress


Once the import is finished we need to start the VM. The following screen shows the VM already to start, we had already installed a copy so we now have 2 copies of the vHMC installed. The original vHMC had been configured and we wanted to be able to capture the screen shots as we went through the process.

5-VM-Imported

VM Imported ready to start


The initial screen shows the boot manager and has the HMC as the only boot option. Pressing enter will select the Hardware Management Console (just leaving it to auto select will work just the same).

6-select_VM

Boot Manager HMC select


The boot up of the HMC takes a few minutes as it goes through all of the standard Linux checks and processes. The screen below is just a snap shot of the boot up process.

7-VM_starting

HMC booting

As part of the installation there are some values which need to be set such as the LOCAl and the keyboard settings etc. We just captured 2 of the screens to show the different types of screen presented. I used the tab key to moved between the options in the selection lists as the mouse clicks did not seem to register, the mouse click on the radio button did however.

8-select_local

Select Local

 

10-select_kbd

Select keyboard layout


You will also be presented with a license agreement which needs to be accepted.

11-accept_Lic

License agreement

The next screen is showing the HMC itself is actually initialising, Linux is now running the HMC application processes.

12-VM_initialize

HMC initialising

Once the HMC application is started the first time it will give you the option of setting up a number of key components of the HMC via a Guided setup. I would recommend that you use this to set up the vHMC as it makes things a lot simpler.

13-VM_Guided

Request Guided Setup

The next screen simply gives you a list of the data to be collected. pressing enter will walk you through the data collection process.  We have not shown all of the screens but a selection we felt are appropriate.

14-VM_Guided-1

Information collection summary

Date and time information for the HMC

15-VM_Guided-2

Date and Time collection

You will be prompted to set the passwords for a number of important users for the HMC plus add any additional users you want to add. We added an additional user to the HMC with super user authority just in case we lost the HMC passwords.

16-VM_Guided-3

Setting Passwords

Once the tasks are completed you will be presented with a page confirming you have completed that step and informing you the network setup is next.

17-VM_Guided-4

Confirmation screen

For our install we are going to have the vHMC running on our PC, so we are not going to have it in a closed LAN as we did with our physical HMC. We only have a single adapter in the PC and while we have multiple LANs we only connect to one LAN via the PC. If you have more than one network adapter you could set up a closed LANjust for those PCS that are going to access the remote systems via the HMC. This would require a separate switch be configured with the HMC ports attached and your PC adapter connected to that switch.

18-VM_Guided-5

Ethernet adapter selection

The Ethernet settings are dependent on your environment, we selected an Open LAN configuration which means that the HMC will connect via the LAN interface on the IBM i, not one of the HMC interfaces.

19-VM_Guided-6

Network set up completed

Once we had completed all of the configuration steps required we were given a confirmation screen to show exactly what has been configured and the option to continue or go back to rectify any errors.

20-VM_Guided-7

Setup verification screen

The next screen shows the verification process as the configurations were set and various checks made against the configuration data. We did not have any errors on any of the set ups we did so not sure what would happen if we did?

21-VM_Guided-8

Configuration data is set.

Once all of this was done the vHMC needs to be restarted, it does sate it is just a log off but in fact each time wedidthis the vHMC was actually rebooted.

22-VM_Guided-9

Logoff request for config activation

We always got the following screen after the system was rebooted, we just ignored it and let the vHMC reboot.

23-VM_Guided-10

Errors sent

Once the vHMC had rebooted we were shown the web log in screen.

24-VM_Ready

We now have a working HMC that can be configured to work with our systems.

I like the new vHMC, but there are a few issues we need to address such as the screen does not scale on the large monitors we use (sure that is an XConfig issue we can address) and we had some difficulties registering the configs for the system that cleared up after a bit of retrying.  Overall though definitely something you should consider if you want to use a HMC but have always stepped back because of the costs involved with the Physical version.

Chris…