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TechTip: Virtualization Made Simple with i-hosting-i

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Virtualizing has never been easier!

 

What is i-hosting-i? As the name implies, the i-hosting-i technology is simply an environment where an IBM i partition virtualizes resources for another IBM i partition. The hosting partition is often referred to as the host or server partition, and the hosted partition is typically known as the client partition. The client partition utilizes virtual resources from the host partition and typically has no physical hardware directly assigned to it. The host partition can virtualize the following hardware for the client: disk, tape, optical media, and networking. The client can have a mixture of virtual and physical hardware assigned to it (i.e., the client does not have to be a pure virtual image).

Why Should I Use i-hosting-i?

Implementing i-hosting-i offers several advantages and benefits:

  • Maximize the utilization of physical I/O by virtualizing existing resources, making for a better return on investment
  • Take advantage of virtualization using your existing IBM i skills
  • Make use of broad hardware support (more details on this below)
  • Achieve simple, efficient network virtualization; one network adapter can virtualize Ethernet for many hosted clients
  • Host a 6.1 partition on a 7.1 partition, and vice versa
  • Create new logical partitions without dedicated or additional I/O
  • Automatically save client backup data when the hosting partition is saved
  • Rapidly deploy partitions by cloning client partitions

 

What Are the Supported Configs?

As previously mentioned, there is a wide range of support for i-hosting-i. Any IBM POWER6 or IBM POWER7 server that supports IBM i 6.1 or higher is supported. Likewise, any storage, network adapter, tape device, or optical device that supports IBM i 6.1 or higher is supported.

 

How Do I Set Up i-hosting-i?

The main requirement for utilizing i-hosting-i is having adequate storage capacity in the host partition to create the virtual disks for the client partitions. If you have disk arms that are being lightly used, both in terms of activity and storage utilization, then you're good to go for i-hosting-i.

 

Create Client Partition/Create Virtual SCSI

The first step in setting up i-hosting-i is to create a new client partition. And the key step while creating the client partition is configuring the virtual SCSI adapter pairings between the host and client partitions. The following example will walk you through the steps to set up the virtual SCSI mappings between the host and the client partitions. In our example, we assume the usage of a Hardware Management Console (HMC). No HMC? No problem! To learn more about utilizing i-hosting-i without an HMC, check out this IBM Redpaper.

 

For assistance in creating a new logical partition, please reference this Redbook.

Server/Client Virtual SCSI Overview

The virtual SCSI adapters must map correctly between the host partition and the client partition. The example below illustrates the proper pairing.

                       

101212BoyumFigure1

Figure 1: The host and the client partitions must be mapped like this.

 

Host Partition

From the HMC, select the host partition and edit the profile. Select the Virtual Adapters tab and click on Actions > Create Virtual Adapter > SCSI Adapter. In our example, the server adapter ID is 4, and the client adapter ID is 2. The adapter type must be set to Server on the host partition. Once the client partition has been created, we can specify the mappings to allow only the specific client partition to connect. But for now, we will allow any client partition to connect, and later on we'll update this setting to point to the specific client partition. Save the changes to the profile by clicking OK.

Note: If you are unable to shut down the host partition to activate the profile changes, then the user must also create the virtual SCSI adapter using Dynamic Logical Partitioning (DLPAR).

 

101212BoyumFigure2  

Figure 2: Create the virtual SCSI adapter for the host partition.

 

Client Partition

Create the client partition as you would any other IBM i partition. In the Create LPAR wizard, at the Virtual Adapters panel, select Actions > Create Virtual Adapter > SCSI Adapter. The SCSI adapter ID will default to the first available adapter ID, which is 2 in our example below. For the adapter type, select Client. Check the box to specify that the adapter is required for partition activation.

 

Next, from the Server partition drop-down menu, select the Host partition from the list of logical partitions. The server adapter ID maps to the virtual SCSI adapter ID from the host partition, which is 4 in our example. Click OK to save the Virtual SCSI adapter, and finish creating the client partition by completing the Create LPAR wizard.

 

101212BoyumFigure3

Figure 3: Create the virtual SCSI adapter for the client partition similar to this.

 

Host Partition

After the client partition has been created, we can update the Virtual SCSI settings on the host partition to allow the new client partition to connect. Edit the host partition profile, and select the Virtual Adapters tab. Edit the existing Server SCSI adapter, and choose "Only selected client partition can connect." Next, select the client partition from the menu pull-down, and click OK to save the changes to the profile.

 

101212BoyumFigure4

Figure 4: Specify the client partition as the only partition that can connect to the host.

 

Create Network Server Objects on the Host Partition

Now that we have completed the Virtual SCSI mappings, our next steps on the host partition are to create the Network Server Description (NWSD), the Network Server Storage Spaces (NWSSTG), and the links between the description and the storage spaces.

 

Create NWSD

On the Host partition, identify the resource of the Virtual SCSI adapter. Run WRKHDWRSC *CMN, and look for a 290B resource (CTL02 in the example below).


101212BoyumFigure5

Figure 5: Look for communication resource of type 290B, and make note of the CTLxx number (CTL02 in this example).

 

To verify that the correct resource has been identified, use Option 7 to Display resource detail. In the following example, V1 corresponds to the hosting partition ID which is 1. The C4 corresponds to the client Virtual SCSI adapter ID, which is 4 in our example.

 

101212BoyumFigure6 

Figure 6: V1 maps to the host partition id 1, and C4 maps to virtual adapter 4.

 

Now we are ready to create the NWSD. From the command line, issue the CRTNWSD command. Here's an example of creating a network server description:

 

CRTNWSD NWSD(TOPEKA) RSRCNAME(CTL02) TYPE(*GUEST *OPSYS) ONLINE(*YES) PARTITION(Topeka) IPLSRC(*PANEL) PWRCTL(*NO) TEXT('Network Server Description for Topeka')

                                                              

Create NWSSTGs

Use CRTNWSSTG to create the storage spaces/virtual disks for the client partition. Six network server storage spaces will be created in our example.

 

Note: One NWSD can support up to 16 storage spaces. If more than 16 virtual disks are required, additional NWSDs must be created.

 

The following example will create storage spaces of size 35000 MB (~34.2 GB).

 

CRTNWSSTG NWSSTG(TOPEKA1) NWSSIZE(35000) FORMAT(*OPEN) TEXT('Network Server Storage Space for Topeka')

CRTNWSSTG NWSSTG(TOPEKA2) NWSSIZE(35000) FORMAT(*OPEN) TEXT('Network Server Storage Space for Topeka')

CRTNWSSTG NWSSTG(TOPEKA3) NWSSIZE(35000) FORMAT(*OPEN) TEXT('Network Server Storage Space for Topeka')

CRTNWSSTG NWSSTG(TOPEKA4) NWSSIZE(35000) FORMAT(*OPEN) TEXT('Network Server Storage Space for Topeka')

CRTNWSSTG NWSSTG(TOPEKA5) NWSSIZE(35000) FORMAT(*OPEN) TEXT('Network Server Storage Space for Topeka')

CRTNWSSTG NWSSTG(TOPEKA6) NWSSIZE(35000) FORMAT(*OPEN) TEXT('Network Server Storage Space for Topeka')

 

Add Server Storage Links

Once the NWSSTGs have been created, they must be linked to the NWSD to associate the network storage space with the network server.

 

The following example links our six virtual disks to the NWSD:

 

ADDNWSSTGL NWSSTG(TOPEKA1) NWSD(TOPEKA)

ADDNWSSTGL NWSSTG(TOPEKA2) NWSD(TOPEKA)

ADDNWSSTGL NWSSTG(TOPEKA3) NWSD(TOPEKA)

ADDNWSSTGL NWSSTG(TOPEKA4) NWSD(TOPEKA)

ADDNWSSTGL NWSSTG(TOPEKA5) NWSD(TOPEKA)

ADDNWSSTGL NWSSTG(TOPEKA6) NWSD(TOPEKA)

 

Vary On the NWSD

Issue a WRKCFGSTS *NWS and enter Option 1 next to the NWSD to vary on the NWSD. After the vary on has completed, the status will change to Active. Note that the NWSD must be in Active status before the client partition can be activated.

Virtual Ethernet Bridging

To virtualize Ethernet in an i-hosting-i environment, we will utilize Layer-2 bridging. Layer-2 bridging enables an Ethernet port in the host partition to provide network access for client partitions.

 

For a detailed overview of Layer-2 bridging, look here.

 

Host Partition

Create the Virtual Ethernet Adapter on the host partition. From the HMC, select the host partition, and select Manage Profiles > Virtual Adapters. Click on Actions > Create Virtual Adapter > Ethernet Adapter. Click on the View Virtual Network button to see any existing Virtual LANs. Identify a VLAN ID that has not already been defined. Specify the VLAN ID (1 in the example below), and check the checkbox to "Use this adapter for Ethernet bridging." Click OK to save the profile changes.

 

Note: If you are unable to shut down the host partition to activate the profile change, then create the virtual Ethernet adapter using Dynamic Logical Partitioning (DLPAR). 

 

101212BoyumFigure7 

Figure 7: Specify a VLAN ID that is not already in use on your machine, and select the checkbox to use the adapter for Ethernet bridging.

 

Create Ethernet Line Description

Ethernet Layer-2 bridging is configured on the host partition with the CRTLINETH command. Identify the resources for the line descriptions using the WRKHDWRSC *CMN command.

 

Identify an Ethernet resource that can be dedicated for the physical line description on the host. Also, identify the virtual resource by looking for a resource of type 268C (see example below). This virtual resource was created in the previous section when we created the virtual Ethernet adapter on the host partition.

 

101212BoyumFigure8 

Figure 8: The virtual resource will be of type 268C, and the physical resource will match the hardware type (5767 in this example).

 

Next, issue the CRTLINETH commands to create the line descriptions. Note that the bridge identifier must be identical on both line descriptions in order to bridge the two adapters together.

 

CRTLINETH LIND(PHYSICAL) RSRCNAME(CMN11) BRIDGE(BRIDGE)

CRTLINETH LIND(VIRTUAL) RSRCNAME(CMN10) BRIDGE(BRIDGE)

 

Client Partition

Create the Virtual Ethernet Adapter on the client partition. From the HMC, select the client partition, and under Manage Profiles > Virtual Adapters, click on Actions > Create Virtual Adapter > Ethernet Adapter. Ensure the VLAN ID is the same VLAN ID specified on the host partition. Leave the Ethernet bridging checkbox unselected (see example below), and click OK to save the profile. A 268C Ethernet resource will be created, which can be used for the Ethernet line description on the Client partition.

 

101212BoyumFigure9 

Figure 9: Specify the same VLAN ID as on the host partition, and leave the Ethernet bridging checkbox unselected.

 

Activate and Install the Client Partition

Ensure the NWSD is varied on, and then activate the client partition from the HMC as you would activate any other IBM i partition. Install the client partition using your favorite installation method (optical, virtual optical, tape, network install, etc.). Refer to the IBM InfoCenter publication SC41-5120-11: "Installing, upgrading, or deleting IBM i and related software" for details on the IBM i installation process.

 

 

Dan Boyum and Dave Snyder

Dan Boyum is an Advisory Software Engineer on the IBM i System Test team located at the Rochester, Minnesota, laboratory. Dan is the Technical Leader of the IBM i Post-GA Test team. He has been in the software testing field since 2000. Dan can be reached at dboyum@us.ibm.com.

Dave Snyder is a Staff Software Engineer on the IBM i System Test team located at the Rochester, Minnesota, laboratory. He has been in the software testing field since 1987. Dave can be reached at snyderd@us.ibm.com.

 

 

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    Don't miss this chance to take your knowledge of IBM i security beyond the basics.

     

     

  • 5 IBM i Security Quick Wins

    SB PowerTech WC GenericIn today’s threat landscape, upper management is laser-focused on cybersecurity. You need to make progress in securing your systems—and make it fast.
    There’s no shortage of actions you could take, but what tactics will actually deliver the results you need? And how can you find a security strategy that fits your budget and time constraints?
    Join top IBM i security expert Robin Tatam as he outlines the five fastest and most impactful changes you can make to strengthen IBM i security this year.
    Your system didn’t become unsecure overnight and you won’t be able to turn it around overnight either. But quick wins are possible with IBM i security, and Robin Tatam will show you how to achieve them.

  • How to Meet the Newest Encryption Requirements on IBM i

    SB PowerTech WC GenericA growing number of compliance mandates require sensitive data to be encrypted. But what kind of encryption solution will satisfy an auditor and how can you implement encryption on IBM i? Watch this on-demand webinar to find out how to meet today’s most common encryption requirements on IBM i. You’ll also learn:

    • Why disk encryption isn’t enough
    • What sets strong encryption apart from other solutions
    • Important considerations before implementing encryption

     

     

  • Security Bulletin: Malware Infection Discovered on IBM i Server!

    SB PowerTech WC GenericMalicious programs can bring entire businesses to their knees—and IBM i shops are not immune. It’s critical to grasp the true impact malware can have on IBM i and the network that connects to it. Attend this webinar to gain a thorough understanding of the relationships between:

    • Viruses, native objects, and the integrated file system (IFS)
    • Power Systems and Windows-based viruses and malware
    • PC-based anti-virus scanning versus native IBM i scanning

    There are a number of ways you can minimize your exposure to viruses. IBM i security expert Sandi Moore explains the facts, including how to ensure you're fully protected and compliant with regulations such as PCI.

     

     

  • Fight Cyber Threats with IBM i Encryption

    SB PowerTech WC GenericCyber attacks often target mission-critical servers, and those attack strategies are constantly changing. To stay on top of these threats, your cybersecurity strategies must evolve, too. In this session, IBM i security expert Robin Tatam provides a quick recap of IBM i security basics and guides you through some advanced cybersecurity techniques that can help you take data protection to the next level. Robin will cover:

    • Reducing the risk posed by special authorities
    • Establishing object-level security
    • Overseeing user actions and data access

     

     

     

  • 10 Practical IBM i Security Tips for Surviving Covid-19 and Working From Home

    SB PowerTech WC GenericNow that many organizations have moved to a work from home model, security concerns have risen.

    During this session Carol Woodbury will discuss the issues that the world is currently seeing such as increased malware attacks and then provide practical actions you can take to both monitor and protect your IBM i during this challenging time.

     

  • How to Transfer IBM i Data to Microsoft Excel

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_Generic3 easy ways to get IBM i data into Excel every time
    There’s an easy, more reliable way to import your IBM i data to Excel? It’s called Sequel. During this webinar, our data access experts demonstrate how you can simplify the process of getting data from multiple sources—including Db2 for i—into Excel. Watch to learn how to:

    • Download your IBM i data to Excel in a single step
    • Deliver data to business users in Excel via email or a scheduled job
    • Access IBM i data directly using the Excel add-in in Sequel

    Make 2020 the year you finally see your data clearly, quickly, and securely. Start by giving business users the ability to access crucial business data from IBM i the way they want it—in Microsoft Excel.

     

     

  • HA Alternatives: MIMIX Is Not Your Only Option on IBM i

    SB_HelpSystems_WC_GenericIn this recorded webinar, our experts introduce you to the new HA transition technology available with our Robot HA software. You’ll learn how to:

    • Transition your rules from MIMIX (if you’re happy with them)
    • Simplify your day-to-day activities around high availability
    • Gain back time in your work week
    • Make your CEO happy about reducing IT costs

    Don’t stick with a legacy high availability solution that makes you uncomfortable when transitioning to something better can be simple, safe, and cost-effective.

     

     

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  • Backup and Recovery on IBM i: Your Strategy for the Unexpected

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates the routine tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:
    - Simplified backup procedures
    - Easy data encryption
    - Save media management
    - Guided restoration
    - Seamless product integration
    Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Try the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Manage IBM i Messages by Exception with Robot

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Managing messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events?
    Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated message management
    - Tailored notifications and automatic escalation
    - System-wide control of your IBM i partitions
    - Two-way system notifications from your mobile device
    - Seamless product integration
    Try the Robot Message Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Easiest Way to Save Money? Stop Printing IBM i Reports

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing.
    Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

    - Automated report distribution
    - View online without delay
    - Browser interface to make notes
    - Custom retention capabilities
    - Seamless product integration
    Rerun another report? Never again. Try the Robot Report Management Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • Hassle-Free IBM i Operations around the Clock

    SB HelpSystems SC 5413For over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i.
    Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:
    - Automated batch, interactive, and cross-platform scheduling
    - Event-driven dependency processing
    - Centralized monitoring and reporting
    - Audit log and ready-to-use reports
    - Seamless product integration
    Scale your software, not your staff. Try the Robot Job Scheduling Solution FREE for 30 days.

  • ACO MONITOR Manages your IBM i 24/7 and Notifies You When Your IBM i Needs Assistance!

    SB DDL Systems 5429More than a paging system - ACO MONITOR is a complete systems management solution for your Power Systems running IBM i. ACO MONITOR manages your Power System 24/7, uses advanced technology (like two-way messaging) to notify on-duty support personnel, and responds to complex problems before they reach critical status.

    ACO MONITOR is proven technology and is capable of processing thousands of mission-critical events daily. The software is pre-configured, easy to install, scalable, and greatly improves data center efficiency.