PowerVC Virtualization Manager Adds Promised IBM i Partitions
October 20, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In last week’s issue, The Four Hundred told you all about two cloud controller programs IBM had updated in its Cloud Manager and Cloud Orchestrator tools, both derived from different editions of the OpenStack cloud controller, for managing virtualized compute and storage on Power-based systems. IBM has also updated its more basic PowerVC tool as part of the October Power Systems announcements.
Power Virtualization Center, or PowerVC for short, made its debut this time last year and was created explicitly to replace the VMControl functions that were part of the generic Systems Director tool that IBM was trying to span all of its systems. Systems Director started out in the BladeCenter blade servers and then was brought to Power Systems machines and other platforms. But the Power Systems division, perhaps anticipating that IBM would eventually be selling off the System x division to Lenovo Group. PowerVC took hunks of the OpenStack cloud controller and used it to take control of the Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM) method of spinning up logical partitions on Power Systems servers. IVM only allows for virtual I/O drivers and is generally used to spin up a few Linux partitions on an IBM i or AIX machine; it is often used by shops who do not want to be messing around with the much more complex Hardware Management Console (HMC), which does much more sophisticated virtualization control, including physical and virtual I/O drivers for peripherals.
Here is how the various Power Systems management tools relate to one another:
PowerVC Express Edition is aimed at IVM hypervisor setup, while PowerVC Standard Edition is tied to machines with HMCs. It works in conjunction with any Power Systems machine that has Power7, Power7+, and now Power8 processors. PowerVC Express costs $30 per core for small systems, and it is only available on small systems. PowerVC Standard Edition costs $80 per core on small machines, $120 per core on medium machines, and $160 per core on large machines.
At the launch of PowerVC last year, IBM promised that it would not only have PowerVC manage logical partitions for AIX and Linux on its own PowerVM hypervisor and Linux virtual machines on top of the PowerKVM variant of the open source KVM hypervisor, but that it would eventually offer the capability for PowerVC to manage IBM i logical partitions on Power machines. In announcement letter 214-292, IBM is fulfilling this promise with PowerVC V1.2.2.
You can access the basic functions of PowerVC with the PowerVM Standard Edition of the IBM hypervisor, and with PowerVM Enterprise Edition, PowerVM for PowerLinux, and PowerKVM hypervisors on Power iron, you can use the full set of PowerVC functions to manage partitions and virtual machines.
The details are quite thin in the announcement letter, but Jay Kruemcke, program executive for client collaboration for software defined environments at Systems and Technology Group, blogged about the details of the new PowerVC release. The latest PowerVC is based on the “Juno” release of OpenStack, which just came out last week. IBM will ship PowerVC V1.2.2 on December 12, and it will allow for the management of IBM i 7.1 TR7 or IBM i 7.2 clients on top of PowerVM. IBM added Fixpack 2 for PowerVC V1.2.1 back in August that added control of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 atop PowerVM. PowerVC already supported all releases of AIX 6 and 7 on PowerVM. The PowerVC V1.2.2 update also has support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, to be announced any day now, and Canonical Ubuntu Server 14.10, which is also coming soon. IBM and the OpenStack team have worked together to integrate Cinder block storage drivers so they can work with Cisco Systems‘s storage area network fabric on its MDS family of switches and EMC‘s VMAX and VNX storage arrays. IBM’s own XIV Gen3 arrays are also supported with the update.