The first PowerVC release in 2015 includes new capabilities for more sophisticated management of enterprise Power environments. It includes new features for managing groups of servers, improved automated placement of virtual machines, enhanced storage support and the capability to restart VMs that were on a failed server.
Based on the “Kilo” OpenStack release, the planned general availability for PowerVC V1.2.3 is June 12, 2015.
Enhanced storage support
The latest version PowerVC has a number of enhancements to give you more flexibility to configure and manage storage.
Multiple disk capture/deploy
You can now capture and deploy multiple volumes with PowerVC. For example, you could capture a boot disk, and then deploy the boot disk with data volumes from VM2 and VM3. You can capture boot and data volumes separately and deploy them together. Volumes do not have to reside on the same storage devices and PowerVC can discover and import multiple volumes when importing existing VMs.
Share storage volumes between VMs
You can configure PowerVC to share a storage volume between two virtual machines to support high availability solutions that require shared disks.
PowerVC now supports synchronous mirroring of SAN Volume Controller (SVC) volumes. You must define two storage pools in your SVC environment prior to creation of the new volume. You can use the SVC management console to add mirrors to existing SVC volumes.
IBM SDDPCM and EMC PowerPath in VIOS
PowerVC supports the use of IBM SDDPCM and EMC PowerPath multipathing software in the PowerVM Virtual I/O Server. Each VIOS can only use a single type of multipathing software.
Description field for captured VM volumes
You can now add a description to each captured storage volume. Clients used the PowerVC Request for Enhancement tool at https://ibm.biz/PowerVCRFE to request this feature.
New managed clients supported (PowerVM)
PowerVC now supports new, little endian distributions of Linux under PowerVM on POWER8 processor-based systems. Please see the PowerVM announcement for additional requirements such as firmware level and patches.
- RHEL 7.1 (LE)
- SLES 12 (LE)
- Ubuntu V15.04 (LE)
RHEL 7.1 for PowerVC management server
The PowerVC 1.2.3 management server now requires Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 7.1. The move from RHEL 6 was required due to the Red Hat lifecycle. The PowerVC management server can run on X86 based systems or on big endian or little endian editions of RHEL 7.1 on Power Systems.
Collections of physical hosts can be grouped together to focus management operations such as deployment on a subset of the hosts managed by PowerVC. Each group can have a unique placement policy like packing or striping.
Advanced placement policies
The scheduler component of PowerVC now supports more sophisticated automated placement of VMs during initial placement and during relocation in addition to the “Packing” and “Striping” previously available. The PowerVC scheduler now considers the different amount of processing and memory capacity provided by different models of Power Systems servers.
CPU Balance placement
Using the CPU Balance option places VMs on the physical host with the largest amount of free CPU capacity.
Memory Balance placement
Using the Memory Balance option places VMs on the host with largest amount of free memory capacity.
CPU Usage placement
Using the CPU Usage option places VMs on the host with the lowest historical CPU usage. The usage is the average CPU usage measured every minute over the last 15 minutes.
Virtual machine affinity and anti-affinity
Sometimes you must consider the relationship between virtual machines when deploying or relocating VMs.
VMs with Affinity are deployed to the same physical host. For example, an application server VM and a web front end VM are placed on the same host to minimize communications latency.
VMs with Anti-affinity are deployed to different physical hosts. This eliminates the physical host as a single point of failure for the application.
Redundant HMC support
PowerVC now supports redundant Power Hardware Management Consoles (HMC) to avoid a single point of failure when managing PowerVM environments. The PowerVC administrator must initiate the switchover between the redundant HMCs.
Cloud-init support for AIX 6 & AIX 7 clients
PowerVC worked with the AIX engineering team to deliver cloud-init image activation for AIX VMs. Image activation is the process that automatically runs when a new VM image is deployed to customize the VM instance. For example, you can use it to set the hostname, networking configuration, and SSH keys.
Cloud-init has become the de facto standard for activation in OpenStack. It offers more capability than the VSAE activation engine that previously was the only choice for AIX activation. The AIX team will deliver the cloud-init open source software via the AIX Toolbox for Linux Applications web page at https://ibm.biz/aixtoolboxc
Administrator Initiated Remote VM Restart (POWER8 only)
PowerVC V1.2.3 supports the simplified remote restart of VMs on POWER8 processor-based systems. Remote VM Restart allows VMs running on a host which unexpectedly fails to restart on hosts within the host group. The PowerVC administrator must initiate restart of VMs on a failed host.
PowerVC Express Edition withdrawn
PowerVC Express Edition and PowerVC Base Edition were withdrawn from marketing in April 2015.
These two editions were primarily stepping-stones to PowerVC Standard Edition. PowerVC Express Edition only worked with Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM) managed systems. PowerVC Base Edition was an early edition of PowerVC that was only available in China.
While both of these editions were important to the evolution of PowerVC Standard Edition, they are not relevant to our core enterprise customers, who use the Hardware Management Console (HMC) or PowerKVM to manage virtualized Power servers.
IBM plans to continue offering and enhancing PowerVC Standard Edition.
Scaling to 30 servers and 3000 VMs
PowerVC continues to improve the number of hosts and number of virtual machines it can manage.
The PowerVC engineering team has delivered a lot of new functionality in this release of PowerVC. Many of these features are the result of feedback and formal requests from clients like you. The PowerVC team welcomes your feedback and participation on our LinkedIn group https://ibm.biz/powervclink, on our Facebook page https://ibm.biz/powervcface and on DeveloperWorks https://ibm.biz/smcpowervc
Look for new articles on PowerVC 1.2.3 features in these groups and on our YouTube channel http://ibm.biz/powervcyoutube in the coming weeks.