Ensure a resilient virtual server

Set up and deploy resilient virtual servers using IBM PureFlex System

IBM® PureFlex™ System comes with the hardware pre-integrated and the management stack pre-loaded for convenience, but there are a few manual steps you need to do before it can be used to host resilient virtual servers. In this article, the authors explain and show how to set up and deploy a resilient virtual server (in this article, Red Hat's KVM hypervisor is used). The instructions provided are valid for the first release of IBM PureFlex System, including fixpacks. Future releases of PureFlex System should simplify the process.

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CheKim Chhuor (chhuor@cn.ibm.com), Senior Software Engineer, IBM

CheKim ChhuorCheKim Chhuor (aka CK) currently works at IBM China Systems and Technology Lab, Shanghai. His current focus is on improving time-to-value and consumability of the IBM PureFlex System. He has previously worked at IBM Poughkeepsie on various system management products. He also worked at IBM Montreal as a consultant. He has many years of web infrastructure consulting experience and holds IBM certifications on WebSphere, DB2, and On Demand Business.



Hai Hang Wang (wanghaih@cn.ibm.com), Software Engineer, IBM

Hai Wang photoHai Hang Wang currently works at IBM China Systems and Technology Lab, Shanghai, in the PureFlex System Time-to-Value team. He has previously worked at ToolsCenter team as a software engineer. His current focus is on improving the usability and consumability of PureFlex System.



Wen Qian (shqianw@cn.ibm.com), Software Engineer, IBM

Wen Qian photoWen Qian (Omi) works at IBM China Systems and Technology Lab, Shanghai. She currently focuses on improving time to value and consumability of PureFlex System.



Yong Han, Software Engineer, IBM

Yong Han photoYong Han works at IBM China Systems and Technology Lab, Shanghai. He currently works in the Flex solution test team to improve PureFlex System's usability in customer-like environments. His current focus is platform virtualization technologies and workload deployment.



19 September 2012

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IBM® PureFlex System is an expert integrated system that combines compute nodes, storage, and network resources with prebuilt intelligence and automation expertise and patterns. While the system comes with many components preloaded and already integrated at manufacture time, there are some steps that the user must do manually to make use of the advanced virtualization functionalities. This article takes you through that journey by showing you the key steps to go from a newly configured system to deploying a virtual appliance into a resilient system pool. It also provides some explanations and key concepts along the way.

Before continuing, if you've never heard of IBM PureFlex System or the virtual appliance concept, read the developerWorks article, Automate your virtual cloud appliance onto IBM PureFlex System.

Although PureFlex System has built-in support of heterogeneous virtualization technologies such as IBM PowerVM® and Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM), the configuration steps for each of them are not exactly identical. This article only addresses KVM technology; PowerVM technology will be addressed in a future article.

The big picture

One major valuable asset of PureFlex System is having system management and virtualization management built into the design of the system instead of having the user integrate that on his own. Another valuable feature of PureFlex System is that the integrated offering includes heterogeneous compute platforms, shared storage, and advanced networking; on the integration side, it goes so far as to pre-cable chassis elements in the rack and pre-load software in the system.

Much of these capabilities are delivered by the Flex System Manager (FSM), an appliance running on a compute node inside the chassis. Of course, building all these end-to-end capabilities in one package exposes an IT team to a significantly wider range of management problems to be solved; as such, it can give the illusion that the system design and user interface seem complex when compared to some pure software offerings. But, if you were to build a rack of systems that included:

  • Heterogeneous platforms
  • Shared storage
  • Advanced networking

all using best of breed components from various vendors, you should be exposed to more integration challenges and multiple user interfaces at every stage of the life cycle — planning, acquisition, installation, configuration, management, maintenance, and support. That setup most likely requires multiple roles and expertise to get the systems up and running. PureFlex System (and other members of the IBM PureSystems™ family) is designed to minimize the number of physical experts required to successfully manage this sort of implementation, integration, and deployment.

That said, the instructions in this article are only applicable to the first release of PureFlex System (including fixpacks). We're working very hard to simplify and integrate various aspects of the system management and virtualization management; the next release will require fewer user steps to accomplish the same tasks in far less time.

To start our journey to setting up and deploying resilient virtual servers with PureFlex System, we'll look at connectivity and the hardware setup.


Hardware setup and connectivity

Here's the hardware used while writing this article:

  • 1 IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis
  • 1 IBM Flex System Manager
  • 1 IBM Flex System FC3171 8Gb SAN Switch (based on QLogic technology)
  • 1 IBM Flex System EN2092 1Gb Ethernet Switch (formerly BNT technology)
  • 1 IBM Storwize V7000 storage server
  • 3 IBM Flex System x240 compute nodes with Emulex HBA

Figure 1 shows how these components are wired together.

Figure 1. Ethernet and Fibre Channel connection topology
Ethernet and Fibre Channel connection topology

The compute nodes are automatically wired to the Ethernet switch and Fibre Channel switch at the chassis midplane. The Flex System Manager's first Ethernet port is wired at the midplane to the Chassis Management Module's (CMM) built-in layer 2 Ethernet switch and likewise for the compute nodes' Integrated Management Module (IMM). The V7000 is cabled to the chassis Ethernet switch and chassis SAN switch in manufacture.

The topology diagram would be more complex if we had redundant Ethernet and Fibre Channel paths and also if there was more than one chassis in the management domain. For the purpose of this exercise, we kept it simple with a single connection path.

The PureFlex System normally ships pre-cabled within the rack; the user only needs to connect the respective EN2092 uplink ports to the top of rack (TOR) switch.


System initial setup

Once you have the network and power connected, the system initial setup is fairly straightforward so we won't cover it in detail here. Essentially you connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the Flex System Manager using the console breakout cable, then follow the initial setup wizard to provide basic information such as time, network addresses, administrator account name, and password. The Flex System Manager will restart itself at the end of the initial setup to pick up the new configuration.

After the initial login, initial setup tasks guide you to update the system components and manage the chassis.

Check the hardware status in Flex System Manager chassis map

The Flex System Manager's chassis map is a powerful interface that consolidates the launching point to most of the Flex System Manager's capabilities, especially for hardware management and status. Figure 2 shows the chassis map view of our system.

Figure 2. Check the hardware status in the chassis map
Check the hardware status in the chassis map

Notice the Flex System Manager (FSM) is in bay 1 (bottom left), followed by the three x240 nodes. The Ethernet and Fibre Channel switches are shown respectively at the chassis rear. You can ignore the two POWER nodes in bays 7 and 10, as well as the extra Fibre Channel and Ethernet switches at the bay 1 and bay 4 of chassis rear.

To launch the Flex System Manager web console:

  1. Click the Chassis Manager tab to open a list of chassis that are under management.
  2. Click the chassis that you want to manage; TTV_chassis is the name used in this exercise.

Under normal circumstances, you shouldn't see any red alert icons on the chassis components. If you have any components in critical status, try to understand what the problem is and get it resolved if possible. A critical status might potentially prevent some steps in this article from completing successfully.

Please note that the midrange storage controller Storwize V7000 isn't automatically discovered during the manage chassis task. You must run the command manageV7000 from the Flex System Manager command line interface for that. For example:

smcli manageV7000 -i V7000_IP_address -p superuser_password

Note also that the V7000 doesn't show up in the chassis map. It is only shown in the Resource Explorer table.

Check the status of all resources

When a chassis is added to the Flex System Manager's management scope, the Flex System Manager requests access to the hardware components in the background using default built-in accounts that can vary by components. For a given component there might be more than one protocol to be unlocked. Once access is obtained, the Flex System Manager retrieves health status of the managed components to display in the Problems column.

To check the components' status:

  • At the right side of Chassis Manager, select General Actions > Resource Explorer.
  • Click All Systems to display all the resources managed by Flex System Manager. Ensure that Access state and Problems state of the resources mentioned above are OK.
Figure 3. Check the access state of resources
Check the access state of resources

If the access state is Partial Access or No Access, click on it to see which protocols failed to be unlocked and try to take corrective action. If there are problems, you can also click on it to see the description and try to take corrective action.


Setting up SAN storage

A PureFlex System is delivered with Storwize V7000 as the standard shared storage device. When a PureFlex System is ordered with POWER compute nodes, they are zoned in manufacturing to have visibility to the V7000 controllers inside the chassis Fibre Channel switches. However, x86 compute nodes are not currently covered by that process, so zoning must be done manually via the switch's web interface.

Likewise, when POWER nodes are ordered, the V7000 is also initialized in manufacturing to have a basic storage pool. But if your system doesn't come with the V7000 pre-initialized, you might have to manually walk through the V7000 initial setup wizard which guides you to create a basic storage pool that consumes all the V7000's internal disks.

While the IBM Flex System Enterprise Chassis fully supports multipath SAN connections with a pair of FC switches, care must be taken to zone for multipath between the HBA ports, the switches, and the V7000 controllers (zoning is beyond the scope of this article. Read more about zoning.

One simple approach is to start with a single path during this setup process to avoid confusion. Once the environment is understood and working properly, then enable the second path for higher availability.

After you have validated or completed the zoning and have the V7000 under management by the Flex System Manager, you must check the SAN environment connection. Collect the inventory of the switches and the V7000 to allow the Flex System Manager to have a full picture of your storage infrastructure.

Having healthy SAN connectivity is critical to the end-to-end provisioning of virtual servers. A command is provided to validate whether each compute node has visibility to the SAN storage. We recommend that the user visually validates this connectivity before proceeding further.

On the Flex System Manager command line interface, run the command smcli dumpstcfg to see the SAN configuration information. Ensure that Switches, Storage Subsystems, and Hosts Accessible Containers are correct in the SAN configuration list.

Listing 1. SAN configuration list
1- USERID@r2-c3-chl-fsmeth0:-> smcli dumpstcfg
2-               SAN Configuration
              ------------------------
3- Switches
   --------
4- Name              OID   Provider IP     Switch IP               WWPN

5- FC Switch   8729  9.27.20.203   9.27.20.203         10000000DD1F247F

6- Storage Subsystems
   ------------------
7- Name           OID Provider IP  Subsystem IP                Largest Slice (in GBs) 
8- Storwize V7000 9540    -       {'9.27.20.225'}        6701.5

9- Server Accessible Containers
   --------------------------------------
10- NAME: STORAGE SUBSYSTEM/POOL
11- KVM_host_1:       Storwize V7000/DefaultPoo101 
12- FSM_host:         Storwize V7000/DefaultPoo101
13- KVM_host_2:       Storwize V7000/DefaultPoo101
14- ImRepo_host:      Storwize V7000/DefaultPoo101

If your server-accessible containers from line 11 to 14 are showing that hosts aren't connecting with V7000 as you expect, verify that switch zoning is accurate, then collect inventory of the compute nodes, switches, and V7000 once again. Ensure that inventory collection completes successfully without error.


Install RHEL on a compute node for image repository

The image repository is one of the necessary pieces of Flex System Manager virtualization image management. Virtual appliances are managed through the image repository during capture and deployment. As such, the image repository must run on a host with the same access to the SAN infrastructure as the hypervisor nodes. An image repository is running on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) operating system with IBM Systems Director Common Agent and VMControl Common Repository subagent installed. Follow these steps to set up an image repository.

Install RHEL6.2

  1. Start the installation wizard, select Basic Server to install; no additional packages are required.
  2. After the operating system installs, configure the network.
  3. Turn SELinux to permissive state and disable the firewall:
    1. Common Agent is unable to be installed when SELinux policy is in enforcing state. Check SELinux state by running the getenforce command. If the output is enforcing, run setenforce 0 to turn SELinux to permissive state.
    2. Firewall needs to be disabled to make sure CIM protocol can be discovered by Flex System Manager. Check firewall state by running service iptables status command. If the result is not firewall is not running, run service iptables stop and chkconfig iptables off to disable firewall.
  4. Install the required packages for IBM Systems Director Common Agent. Some packages must be installed before installing Common Agent:
    • libcrypt.so.1
    • libc.so.6
    • libdl.so.2
    • libstdc++.so.5
    • libgcc_s.so.1
    • libm.so.6
    • libnsl.so.1
    • libpam.so.0
    • libpthread.so.0
    • librt.so.1
    • unzip
    • bind-utils
    • net-tools
    • libstdc++.so.6
    • db4
    • libselinux
    • cracklib
    • audit-libs
    All these packages are available in the directory /packages/ of the RHEL 6.2 ISO image.

Install IBM Systems Director Common Agent and subagent

Install Common Agent

  1. Download Common Agent 6.3.1 package for Linux from IBM Systems Director Downloads page (Select manual installation).
  2. Upload agent package SysDir6_3_1_Common_Agent_Linux_x86.tar.gz to the image repository host, then extract it and run dir6.3.1_commonagent_linux_x86 to start the installation.
  3. Check Common Agent status by running install_root/agent/runtime/agent/bin/endpoint.sh status. If Common Agent is not running, run endpoint.sh start to start Common Agent.
  4. Discover and collect inventory on the operating system:
    1. On Flex System Manager Home page, select Plug-ins tab.
    2. Click System Discovery under Discovery Manager section and input the IP address of the operating system.
    3. Click Discover Now.
    4. After the operating system is discovered, click the access state of the operating system and input its account to request access.
    5. When the access state of the operating system is OK, collect inventory on both the image repository host and operating system by right clicking the resources and select Inventory > Collect Inventory.
  5. Check the protocols of the operating system. Right-click the operating system of the image repository host and select Security > Configure Access. Make sure that the CIM and CAS protocols are available. A common reason for failing protocol check is inadequate firewall rules, when in doubt, try disabling the firewall just to see if that works.

Install VMControl Common Repository subagent

Note: If you are using the second release of PureFlex System, skip this step. Installing a subagent is part of creating an image repository wizard.

To launch the Flex System Manager web console:

  1. Open VMControl summary page and select Basics tab.
  2. Click Install Agent. Complete the Agent Installation wizard.
    1. On the Agents page, select and add the subagent package CommonAgentSubagent_VMControl_ComonAgentRepository-2.4.1.
    2. On the Systems page, select and add the image repository host, ImRepo_host.
  3. Recollect inventory on the operating system to make sure agents are available to be managed by Flex System Manager.

Create VMControl image repository

  1. On VMControl summary page, select Virtual Appliances tab.
  2. Click Create image repository and complete the Create Image Repository wizard.
    1. On the Name page, specify the name of the image repository. KVM_SAN_ImRepo is used in this exercise.
    2. On the Target System page, select the operating system of the image repository host.
    3. On the Storage page, select the storage pool created in V7000 such as DefaultPool01.

To save you effort, we provided a customized kickstart response file to install RHEL 6.2 for the image repository. It auto-configures SELinux, the firewall, and installs required packages. With the help of this kickstart file, only the following steps are required:

  1. Install IBM Systems Director Common Agent
  2. Discover and Collect Inventory on the host's operating system
  3. Install VMControl Common Repository subagent
  4. Collect Inventory on the host's operating system again
  5. Create VMControl image repository

Install RHEL KVM on the compute nodes

On the KVM hypervisor host, you must install the IBM Systems Director Platform Agent for KVM for the Flex System Manager to remotely control the hypervisor. In addition, you must also configure and enable the SNMP daemon for the purpose of network system pools.

Install RHEL 6.2 for KVM hosts

  1. Complete the installation wizard. On packages selection page, select all groups in the Desktops and Virtualization categories.
  2. After the operating system is installed, configure the network bridge for virtual server network connectivity:
    1. Back up the network script file /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0.
    2. Navigate to the script directory and create another copy of network script for defining a Linux bridge associated with the network card: cp ifcfg-eth0 ifcfg-br0
    3. Edit the script file (static IP address is configured on the system):
      • For ifcfg-eth0:
        DEVICE=eth0
        TYPE=Ethernet
        ONBOOT=yes
        NM_CONTROLLED=no
        BRIDGE=br0
        HWADDR=00:14:5E:C2:1E:40
      • For ifcfg-br0:
        DEVICE=br0
        TYPE=Bridge
        ONBOOT=yes
        NM_CONTROLLED=no
        BOOTPROTO=static
        IPADDR=9.27.20.222
        NETMASK=255.255.252.0
        GATEWAY=9.27.20.1
    4. Restart the network: service network restart
    5. Disable Netfilter processing by appending the following lines to the /etc/sysctl.conf file:
      net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-ip6tables = 0
      net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-iptables = 0
      net.bridge.bridge-nf-call-arptables = 0
  3. Turn SELinux to the permissive state and disable the firewall. See detailed steps.
  4. Install required packages for installing the KVM Platform Agent and launching remote control console of virtual server.
    • vncserver
    • libconfig
    • libsysfs
    • lm_sensors
    • net-snmp
    • net-snmp-libs
    • redhat-lsb
    All these packages are available in the directory /Packages/ of the RHEL 6.2 ISO image.

Setup SNMP daemon for network topology

You must enable SNMP for all systems and switches that you want to appear in Network Topology Inventory for the available network system pool. On the KVM host command line interface, run the following commands to ensure SNMP is available.

  • Network topology requires MIB2 Tree SNMP access. Open the /etc/snmp/snmpd.conf file in an editor and verify all of the following lines exist for required SNMP configuration. Ensure that both lines beginning with view appear:
    # Make at least snmpwalk -v 1 localhost -c public system fast again.
    #       name       incl/excl   subtree   mask(optional)
    view   systemview   included   .1.3.6.1.2.1.1
    view   systemview   included   .1.3.6.1.2.1
  • Run the following command to restart the SNMP service: service snmpd restart
  • Run the following command to ensure the SNMP service starts up when the system reboots: chkconfig snmpd on

Install KVM Platform Agent for virtualization management

  • Download KVM Platform Agent 6.3.1 for RHEL 6.2 from the IBM Systems Director Downloads page. Select manual installation.
  • Upload SysDir6_3_1_Platform_Agent_Linux_RHEL6KVM_x86_64.tar.gz to KVM host.
  • Extract the Platform Agent file.
  • Run dir6.3.1_platform_agent_linux_rhel6kvm_x86_64 to start the installation.

Discover and collect inventory on the KVM host's OS

Discover and collect inventory on the KVM host's operating system:

  1. Discover the operating systems of KVM hosts.
  2. Request access on discovered operating systems.
  3. When the access state of the operating system is OK, collect inventory on both the KVM hosts and operating systems.
  4. Check the protocols of the operating system: Right-click the operating system of the KVM host and select Security > Configure Access. Make sure that CIM and SNMP protocols are available.

To save time, a customized kickstart response file is provided to install RHEL 6.2 for KVM host. It auto-configures SELinux and the firewall and installs required packages. Using this kickstart file, you only need to follow these steps:

  1. Configure the network bridge.
  2. Configure and enable the SNMP daemon.
  3. Install IBM Systems Director Platform Agent for KVM.
  4. Discover and collect inventory on the host's operating system.

Create a virtual server and install the OS

Create a virtual server from Flex System Manager VMControl, then install an operating system in it. Creating a virtual server is fairly straightforward using the wizard, but installing an operating system has additional considerations.

Standard operating system installation methods such as PXE or remote mount of ISO file through IMM are applicable to the virtual server, but this article demonstrates a method that performs better than the standard methods. This method consists of copying the installation media ISO file to a logical drive on the V7000, then using the logical drive to emulate a DVD device to boot the virtual server for installation. We refer to the logical drive as the installation media drive.

To install an operating system in the virtual server:

  1. Create and configure the installation media drive.
  2. Create virtual sever using VMControl wizard.
  3. Power on the virtual server.
  4. Install the operating system in the virtual server via VNC remote control.
  5. Remove the installation media drive from the virtual server's boot list.

Note that the installation media drive only needs to be created once for subsequent use. You can also capture a previously installed virtual server as a virtual appliance and then deploy it. In that case you won't have to install the operating system again.

Create the installation media and copy ISO content into it

First, leverage Flex System Manager's storage management capability to create the installation media drive on the V7000 and automatically map it to a hypervisor host without having to jump around the storage server or the switch's interfaces. Then, copy the ISO file's content into it and ultimately assign it as the boot drive when creating the virtual server.

  1. Upload ISO image to KVM host using the scp command.
  2. Create the installation media drive and map to host. To create the logical drive on V7000:
    1. On the VMControl summary page, click the Virtual Servers and Hosts tab.
    2. Select the target host KVM_host_1. Right-click the KVM host and select System Configuration > Edit Host.
    3. On the Disks tab, click Create and choose the storage pool DefaultPool01. Click Apply.
    4. Enter the volume label (the name must end with _ISO), which is RHEL_ISO in this exercise, and disk size. Click OK.
    5. After the creation is complete, you can find the disk attached to the KVM host on the Disks page of the KVM host.
      Figure 4. Check disk attachment on KVM host
      Check disk attachment on KVM host

Copy content into the installation media drive

Upload the installation media ISO file onto the host (for example, in the /tmp directory). Use the dd command to make a binary copy of the ISO file into the installation media drive.

On our system it took two minutes to complete the binary copy. Then the drive can be reused for every subsequent virtual server installation. We're assuming you can complete the operating system installation using only one DVD ISO file. If you need the second DVD's content, we suggest that you install those packages after the initial installation is completed.

To create a virtual sever using the VMControl wizard:

  1. On the VMControl summary page, click the Virtual Servers and Hosts tab.
  2. Right-click the target KVM host KVM_host_1 and select System Configuration > Create Virtual Server. Complete the Create Virtual Server wizard.
    1. On the Name page, enter the name of the virtual server, which is VS_RHEL61 in this exercise.
    2. On the Processor page, specify the number of processors and amount of memory to assign to this virtual server.
    3. On the Disk and Devices page, click Add Existing Disks to add the installation media RHEL_ISO created in the step, Create the installation media drive and map to host.
    4. On the same page, click Create New Disk to add new created disk you specified to the assigned disks and devices list.
    5. On the Boot Order page, specify First ISO Device (cdrom) as first boot device and First Virtual Disk (hd) as the second.
    6. On the Network page, select the networks you want to assign to this virtual server.
Figure 5. Summary page of the Create Virtual Server wizard
Summary page of the Create Virtual Server wizard

Install operating system on virtual server via VNC remote control

Before proceeding further, make sure you have a VNC viewer software package installed (like RealVNC) on your workstation and configured to open .vnc file extensions.

To install an operating system on the virtual server:

  1. On the VMControl summary page, click the Virtual Servers and Hosts tab.
  2. Right-click the target virtual server VS_RHEL61 and select Power On/Off > Power On.
  3. Right-click the virtual server and select Remote Access > Remote Console to open the remote console to start operating system installation.

Configure IP address and remove boot disk

After the operating system installation is complete, configure the network of the virtual server and remove the boot disk from the virtual server.

  1. Power off the virtual server through VNC or Flex System Manager web console.
  2. On the VMControl summary page, click the Virtual Servers and Hosts tab.
  3. Right-click the virtual server and select System Configuration > Edit Virtual Server.
  4. Choose the Disks and Devices tab, select boot disk then click Remove.
  5. Power on the virtual server.

Now the virtual server creation and operating system installation are complete.


Capture the virtual server as virtual appliance

The capture task enables you to capture from a variety of sources to create a virtual appliance. You can then deploy the virtual appliance to create a new virtual server that is complete with a fully functional operating system and software applications.

An activation engine allows a virtual server that is deployed from a virtual appliance to be automatically customized as part of deployment when the virtual server is first started. We use the Virtual Solutions Activation Engine (VSAE) for Linux operating system capture. VSAE is shipped with VMControl to apply IP configuration from a virtual appliance captured with VMControl. For Windows, you can use VMCWINAE.

While using an activation engine is optional, it is convenient for the deployment of a virtual appliance — it ensures that the deployed virtual server will have IP networking configured at first start and the user doesn't have to add it in remotely in order to configure networking. This is particularly helpful in a fully automated self-service cloud environment where DHCP is not being used.

Install Virtual Solutions Activation Engine (VSAE)

To install VSAE on the virtual server:

  1. Login to the virtual server and copy the VSAE package from Flex System Manager. The vmc.vsae.tar package is located in the directory /opt/ibm/director/proddata/activation-engine on Flex System Manager.
  2. Extract the contents of the compressed file.
  3. Run the ./linux-vsae.sh command in the VSAE-extracted directory to install VSAE on the virtual server.
  4. Please note that if you are using the second release of PureFlex System, you should run /opt/ibm/ae/AE.sh -reset to reset VSAE.

Capture virtual server

To capture the virtual server:

  1. Power off the virtual server VS_RHEL61.
  2. Right-click the virtual server and select System Configuration > Capture.
  3. Complete the Capture wizard to capture the virtual server and create a new virtual appliance named VS_RHEL61_VA.
Figure 6. Summary page of the Capture Virtual Server wizard
Summary page of the Capture Virtual Server wizard

Create a network system pool

The new virtual server is supposed to communicate on a different VLAN from the management VLAN. Therefore, Network Control needs to be set up so it can automatically configure and manage the VLANs. Additional VLANs are available when deploying the virtual appliance through VMControl.

Three main steps are required to setup Network Control:

  1. Collect and view network topology.
  2. Create the logical network profile.
  3. Create the network system pool.

Collect and view network topology

Topological information about the network devices is required to create a network system pool. To collect the information, enable SNMP protocol on all ethernet switches and operating systems in the network system pool. Then, collect and view the network topology through Flex System Manager web interface.

Check SNMP status on ethernet switch and operating systems
The SNMP enablement has been done on two operating systems of KVM hosts. Refer to Setup SNMP daemon for network topology for detailed configuration and confirmation steps. To configure SNMP on the ethernet switch:

  1. Ensure SNMP is enabled on the switch.

    For the switch command-line interface, use the command /cfg/sys/ssnmp/snmpv3/v1v2. At the prompt, enter e to enable SNMP, then enter apply. Enter save if SNMP is successfully enabled.

    For the Flex System Manager web interface:

    1. On the Chassis Manager page, under General Actions, click Resource Explorer, and select All Systems.
    2. Right-click the ethernet switch and select Security > Configure Access.
    3. Ensure that an access type of SNMP is available and the access state is OK. If SNMP is locked, you must unlock it. First, select SNMP and click Configure Credentials. Complete the Configure Credential wizard.
      1. On the Credential Type page, select SNMP v3.
      2. On the Credential Details page, enter the correct SNMP details based on the SNMP profile on the switch. There is a default SNMP user:
        • User ID: adminmd5
        • Authentication Protocol: MD5 (default authentication password is usually adminmd5)
        • Privacy Protocol: DES (default privacy password is usually adminmd5)
      3. On the Configure Access page, click the switch name Ethernet switch to confirm that the SNMP credential is unlocked.
      Figure 7. Checking SNMP status on ethernet switch
      Checking SNMP status on ethernet switch
  2. Ensure inventory is collected on the switch:
    1. On the Resource Explorer page, click All Systems.
    2. Right-click the Ethernet switch and select Inventory > Collect Inventory.
  3. Verify that each IP endpoint has a subnet mask:
    1. On the Resource Explorer page, click All Systems.
    2. Right-click the Ethernet switch and select Properties.
    3. Click the Inventory tab. In the navigation tree in the Collected Items box, expand Network Configuration and click IP Interface.
    4. Check the Subnet Mask field in the table on the right side. Make sure there is a valid value there. If not, configure the subnet mask on the Ethernet switch and collect inventory again.
  4. Make sure forwarding database (FDB) learning is enabled; the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and Link Layer Discovery Protocol (LLDP) are turned on at the switch and the port. On the switch web interface, expand the navigation tree on the left side by clicking IBM Flex System EN2092 1Gb ScSw > Layer 2:
    1. Click FDB, the state should be FORWARD.
    2. Click Spanning Tree Groups, the state should be On.
    3. Click LLDP > General, the state should be On.

Collect network topology
On the Flex System Manager web interface:

  1. On the Plug-ins tab, click Network Control.
  2. In the Common Tasks field on the right side, click Network Topology Inventory.
  3. Click Collect network topology for SNMP-enabled resources.
  4. Select All Systems from the Show drop-down.
  5. Select two KVM hosts and the ethernet switch from the All Systems (View Members) table. Click Add to add them into the Selected field on the right side.
  6. Click Collect Topology.
Figure 8. Selecting systems to collect network topology
Selecting systems to collect network topology

View network topology
When collecting network topology job completes:

  1. Click View network topology on the Network Topology Inventory page.
  2. Make sure the operating system of two KVM hosts and the ethernet switch are added in the Selected field.
  3. Select Port-level from the Network topology perspective drop-down and click View Topology.
  4. Make sure that there are connections between Ethernet switch and KVM hosts.
Figure 9. Viewing network topology
Viewing network topology

Create the logical network profile

Logical network profiles define the attributes that describe the logical networks that reside within a network system pool. Servers that are on the same logical network are guaranteed to be able to connect to each other. This is a key function provided by network system pools. Each logical network profile specifies a VLAN ID to which you want to connect virtual servers.

To create a logical network profile:

  1. On the Plug-ins tab, click Configuration Templates under the Configuration Manager section.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Select System pool from the Template type drop-down.
  4. Select Logical Network Configuration from the Configuration to create a template drop-down.
  5. Specify a name in the Configuration template name field.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. Click Create. Complete the Logical Network Configuration wizard:
    1. On the Profile Name page, specify the name of the profile. VLAN457 is used in this exercise.
    2. On the VLAN Configuration page, select a VLAN ID. 457 is selected in this exercise.
  8. Click Save.
Figure 10. Summary page of Logical Network Configuration Profile wizard
Summary page of Logical Network Configuration Profile wizard

Create the network system pool

To create a network system pool:

  1. On the VMControl summary page, select the System Pools tab. Select Network system pools from the View drop-down.
  2. Click Create. Complete the Create Network System Pool wizard:
    1. On the Name page, specify the name of network system pool. KVM_NSP is used in this exercise.
    2. On the Initial System page, select the switch to be included in the network system pool, which is Ethernet switch in this exercise.
    3. On the Logical Network Profiles page, click Add to add all profiles that are allowed deployment within this network system pool. In this exercise, it is VLAN457.
Figure 11. Summary page of Create Network System Pool wizard
Summary page of Create Network System Pool wizard

Create a server system pool

A server system pool logically groups similar hosts and facilitates the relocation of virtual servers from one host to another host in the system pool.

To create a network system pool:

  1. On the VMControl summary page, select the System Pools tab. Select Server system pools from the View drop-down.
  2. Click Create. Complete the Create Server System Pool wizard:
    1. On the Name page, specify the name of server system pool. KVM_SSP is used in this exercise.
    2. On the Pooling Criteria page:
      1. Click Only add hosts capable of the virtual server relocation.
      2. Click Only add hosts connected to a network system pool and capable of automated network deployment.
      3. Select target network system pool in the Network System Pools (View Members) table. In this exercise, it is KVM_NSP.
    3. On the Initial Host page:
      1. Select All Targets from the Show drop-down.
      2. Select one of the KVM hosts and click Add to add it to the Selected field.
      3. Select target storage from the Available shared storage drop-down, which is Storwize V7000 in this exercise.
    4. On the Additional Hosts page, select the other KVM host and click Add to add it to the Selected box.
Figure 12. Summary page for the Create Server System Pool wizard
Summary page for the Create Server System Pool wizard

Deploy the virtual appliance into server system pool

To deploy the virtual appliance:

  1. On the VMControl summary page, select the Virtual Appliances tab.
  2. Select the virtual appliance to be deployed from the Virtual Appliances (View Members) table and click Deploy Virtual Appliance.
  3. Complete the Deploy Virtual Appliance wizard:
    1. On the Target page, select KVM_SSP which is the target server system pool.
    2. On the Name page, specify the name of the virtual server. VS_RHEL61_deploy is used in this exercise.
    3. On the Network Mapping page, select VLAN1032, which is the target logical network profile from the Assigned Virtual LAN on Host drop-down.
    4. On the Product page, enter the network attributes.
Figure 13. Entering network attributes on Product page
Entering network attributes on Product page

Validate that resources are properly created

Make sure the virtual disk is created on the V7000 storage and make sure the VLAN is created on the network switch.

Virtual disk created on V7000

On the V7000 web interface, view Volumes > Volumes by Host. The new volume is created on KVM_host_2 with the UID 60050768028083283800000000000193.

Figure 14. Viewing the new virtual disk on V7000
Viewing the new virtual disk on V7000

On the KVM_host_2 command line interface, run the command ls /dev/disk/by-id. The newly created volume is listed, which can be identified from the UID.

Listing 2. Viewing the new virtual disk attached to the KVM host
[root@r2-c3-ch1-ite4-eth0 ~]# ls /dev/disk/by-id/
scsi-360050768028083283800000000000193
scsi-360050768028083283800000000000193-part1
scsi-360050768028083283800000000000193-part2
wwn-0x60050768028083283800000000000193
wwn-0x60050768028083283800000000000193-part1
wwn-0x60050768028083283800000000000193-part2

VLAN created on network switch

On the Ethernet switch web console, expand the navigation tree on the left side by clicking IBM Flex System EN2092 1Gb ScSw > Layer 2 > Virtual LANs. The new VLAN 457 is added to the port automatically.

Figure 15. Viewing the new VLAN created on the Ethernet switch
Viewing the new VLAN created on the Ethernet switch

In conclusion

In this article, we've taken you through the PureFlex System's end-to-end process of setting up an image repository, installing the KVM hypervisor, creating a Network System Pool and Server System Pool, creating and installing a virtual server, and capturing and deploying a virtual appliance for live relocation with resiliency.

We also showed you some key points to focus on for validation along the way. Although each environment always has some unique elements of challenge, we hope that the explanation and validation steps were sufficient to guide you smoothly to success.

We will continue to aggressively integrate, simplify, and automate the IBM PureFlex System to improve overall time to production and reduce the skill level required to leverage the system.


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Zone=Cloud computing, Linux
ArticleID=835497
ArticleTitle=Ensure a resilient virtual server
publish-date=09192012