Get started with IBM Power Virtualization Center (PowerVC)

Maximize the virtualization capabilities of Power Systems hardware with PowerVC


Virtualization plays a key role in cloud computing. IBM Power Virtualization Center (PowerVC) is a new virtualization management tool that's built on OpenStack. It's designed to simplify the management of virtual resources in Power Systems™ environments, and thus improve administrator productivity.

In this tutorial, we'll cover fundamental concepts, installation, and basic configuration techniques, as well as ways to configure various resources like hosts, storage, and networks. We'll also take a look at virtual machines and images, and show you how to create and manage a VM using PowerVC with the help of screens.

Advantages of PowerVC

PowerVC enables you to maximize the virtualization capabilities of Power Systems hardware. You can register physical hosts/systems, storage, and network resources, and use them to create a virtual environment. You can capture and manage a library of Virtual Machine (VM) images, and quickly deploy the VM environment instead of manually creating it.

Once the physical hosts, storage providers, fabrics, and network resources are registered, you can:

  • Import existing VMs (client Logical Partitions, or LPARs) and volumes to be managed by PowerVC
  • Capture the existing running VM image that is custom configured in your environment
  • Create new VMs by deploying images quickly to meet the demands of your workload
  • Start, stop, restart, and resize VMs, and attach more volumes to them
  • Monitor the utilization of your resources
  • Migrate VMs while they are running (Live Partition Mobility)
  • Automatically place VMs when you deploy or migrate them, based on the criteria (placement policy) that you specify

PowerVC allows you to capture and manage a library of Virtual Machine (VM) images, and quickly deploy the VM environment instead of manually creating it.

PowerVC can also automatically capture existing virtual environment information on VIO servers, VMs from host and storage volumes, and zoning information from SAN switches.

PowerVC Standard Edition manages systems virtualized by PowerVM® that are currently being controlled by the Hardware Management Console (HMC) or that are managed directly by POWER Kernel Virtual Machine (PowerKVM).

We tested the following procedure in our environment by setting up PowerVC Standard Edition version on RHEL 7.1 LPAR on an IBM POWER8® processor-based system that was managed by the HMC version The Virtual I/O Server version was, and we used AIX® for the VMs.

Installing IBM Power Virtualization Center

To install PowerVC:

  1. Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the PowerVC management server
  2. Install the prerequisite packages
  3. Install PowerVC

Step 1. Install Red Hat Enterprise Linux as the PowerVC management server

Before you install PowerVC, you need to install Red Hat Enterprise Linux into the management server. Run the Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation wizard and choose Basic Web Server in the Software Selection window.

After you install the operating system, set the operating system maximum file size to unlimited by typing the command:

ulimit -f unlimited

Step 2. Install the prerequisite packages

PowerVC requires certain packages to be installed, so configure and enable the Red Hat Enterprise Linux "yum" repository on the management host by using a DVD mount or Red Hat Network (RHN). This allows PowerVC to find and install the required packages during installation. For Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and above, some of the prerequisites for installing PowerVC are moved from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS media to an optional software channel that is accessed through the RHN subscription. Install all of the packages that are mentioned in Table 1 of the PowerVC Knowledge Center page.

3. Install PowerVC

Note 1: PowerVC uses the default network interface, eth0. To use a different network interface, set the environment variable, HOST_INTERFACE, before running the install script. For example, for the interface eth1:

export HOST_INTERFACE=eth1

Note 2: PowerVC does not require that DB2 use the 32-bit file So you can ignore the following warning:

    Requirement not matched for DB2 database "Server".
    Summary of prerequisites that are not met on the current system:
         DBT3514W The db2prereqcheck utility failed to
         find the following 32-bit library file: "/lib/*".

  1. Configure the yum repository for the PowerVC install. As with the prerequisite packages, for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and above, some of the prerequisites for installing PowerVC are moved from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux OS media to an optional software channel that is accessed through the Red Hat Network (RHN) connection.

    Configure the yum repo by selecting and adding the new channel for optional software. For more information, see "Adding the Optional and Supplementary Repositories" in the Red Hat documentation.

    Verify that yum is seeing the new optional repo file:

    yum repolist
  2. Install interim fix IT10588 from Fix Central.
  3. Download PowerVC Version 1.2.3 from the Entitled Software Support website.
  4. Extract the downloaded file.
  5. Run the following command to start the installation:
    cd <extract location>/powervc-
    ./install –s standard

    After you accept the license agreement, PowerVC will be installed on the management server. An installation log file can be found in /opt/ibm/powervc/log file.
  6. After the installation is complete, we recommend that you download and install any fix pack that is available in Fix Central. We installed PowerVC fix pack 2 in our environment.

Adding resources

You must register the resources that you want to manage before you can start performing tasks in PowerVC. You can register storage, SAN fabric, and host, and create networks to use when you deploy VMs.

To register resources, log on to the PowerVC GUI with the credentials of a user in the admin group by opening your web browser and typing the URL:


Step 1. Storage and SAN Fabric

If you are using a storage area network (SAN), you must initially register your storage provider and SAN switch. For registration, you must specify a user ID from the storage system's "Administrator" group, and you may be prompted to accept the SSH host key.

When you register storage, a default storage template and a storage connectivity group are created. Storage templates enable you to specify the properties of a storage volume, such as thin provisioning and compression. A storage connectivity group is a set of virtual I/O servers that are considered storage connectivity candidates for VMs during deployment, during migration, and when new storage volume is attached to a VM.

You can use these defaults when you deploy and migrate VMs, or you can customize your environment by creating storage templates and storage connectivity groups to suit your needs.

To register storage, click Add Storage on the PowerVC home page. Then select the storage type (we used type XIV), type in other access details of your storage, and click Connect.

Figure 1. Add storage
Add storage
Add storage

On the next screen, select a storage pool for the default storage template. Click Add Storage.

On the next screen, you will get an option to add SAN Fabric. Choose Add Fabric to continue. Select the fabric type, type in the other access details for your fabric, and click Add Fabric. We used Brocade and Cisco SAN fabrics for this testing.

Figure 2. Add fabric
Add fabric
Add fabric

You can view the added sources by clicking Storage Providers or the Fabrics links on the home page.

Step 2. Network

A network in PowerVC can be static with IP addresses determined by PowerVC when a VM is deployed, or the network can be Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) with IP addresses set by a DHCP server after a VM boots. When you create a static network, PowerVC creates an IP address pool that can be used by the VMs in the network based on the subnet mask and the gateway IP addresses you provide. If you want to reserve an IP address so that it is not used during deploy, you can lock it in the IP address pool before deploying your images. When you deploy an image, you choose an existing network, and the network settings are applied to the new VM.

When you create a network in PowerVC, a Shared Ethernet Adapter is automatically chosen from each registered host. The Shared Ethernet Adapter is chosen based on the VLAN that you specified when you defined the network. If the VLAN does not yet exist on the Shared Ethernet Adapter, the network will provision the VLAN to the appropriate set of available Shared Ethernet Adapters.

To add a network, click Add Network on the PowerVC Home page.

Figure 3. Add network
Add network
Add network

Type in all the details of your network and click Add Network.

Step 3. Host

In PowerVC, a host is a physical server that contains physical processors, memory, and I/O resources. When you register a host, you provide the name and credentials for the Hardware Management Console (HMC) that manages the host. Specify a user ID with the hmcsuperadmin role.

To add a host, on the PowerVC home page, click Add Host.

Figure 4. Add host
Add host
Add host

Type in all the access details of your HMC and click Add Connection.

On the next screen, select your system(s) and click Add Host. After completing the process, you can create a new Host Group and add system(s) to that new group.

Configuring PowerVC

When you install PowerVC, you can get started quickly using the default settings and the templates that are created when you initially register your resources. However, you may want to change some settings from the defaults or further customize PowerVC. We won't cover all the customization here, but we will describe one important customization option: the storage connectivity group. This is a way of grouping resources that connect to the storage, a set of virtual I/O servers that are considered storage connectivity candidates for VMs during deployment, during migration, and when a new storage volume is attached to a VM. Refer to the PowerVC knowledge center to learn about other configurations and customizations.

To create a new storage connectivity group, click Configuration on the PowerVC home page, and then click Storage Connectivity Group on the next page. Enter all of the details to match your requirements and environment (such as Boot volume connectivity, NPIV Fabric connectivity, VIO Server Redundancy, and VIO Servers), and finally click Add Group.

Figure 5. Create storage connectivity group
Create storage connectivity group
Create storage connectivity group

Managing VMs

In PowerVC terminology, Virtual Machine (VM) refers to logical partitions or LPARs that are generally used in a Power Systems context. It is a collection of processors, memory, and I/O resources defined to run an operating system and its applications.

You can create a VM by deploying images that are created by capturing a VM image in a volume or import a volume-backed image. You can also add an existing VM to PowerVC to manage. In this process, any supported volumes attached to the VMs will also be managed.

Step 1. Add existing VMs

To manage an existing VM, click the Virtual Machine link on the left pane of the PowerVC home page. In the new window, you can choose to manage all VMs or specific ones, and then click Manage.

Figure 6. Manage virtual machines
Figure 6. Manage virtual machines
Figure 6. Manage virtual machines

On the new page, select the VM(s) you want to add to PowerVC, and click Manage.

Step 2. Deploy a new VM

To create a VM in PowerVC, you must deploy an image. There are multiple ways to obtain an image, but here, we do it by manually adding an existing VM to your PowerVC environment (described in Step 1) and capturing its image.

Capture a VM

You can capture a VM that you've created, but you have to prepare the VM before you capture it.

You can use either an activation engine or cloud-init to enable the VM for capture. Activation engine and cloud-init are technologies that take user input and configure the operating system and software on deployed VMs.

Here's how to capture a VM if you are using the activation engine to prepare your VM:

  1. Perform any pre-capture preparation that you want to do on the VM, such as deleting log files, installing fix packs, etc.
  2. Install the activation engine on the VM that you want to capture. You should perform this step only the first time that you capture a VM; you do not have to install the activation engine again when you capture VMs.

    To install the activation engine, transfer the activation engine file, vmc.vsae.tar, from the PowerVC management server on /opt/ibm/powervc/activation-engine to the VM that you are going to capture, and extract the contents of the .tar file. For AIX, ensure that the JAVA_HOME environment variable is set and points at a Java runtime environment (JRE), for example:
    # export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java5/jre

    Then run the following command, which is included in the .tar file:
    <location of extracted package>/
  3. Enable the activation engine on the VM that you want to capture. Perform this step each time you want to capture a VM. You must enable the activation engine even if you are capturing a VM that was captured before, or if you rebooted a VM that was previously enabled.

    If you previously captured the VM and want to capture it again, run the following commands:
    rm /opt/ibm/ae/AP/*
    cp /opt/ibm/ae/AS/vmc-network-restore/resetenv /opt/ibm/ae/AP/ovf-env.xml

    Perform the step below to enable the activation engine. On an AIX VM, the path to the Java executable files must be in the PATH environment variable for the following command to succeed. The path to the Java executable files must also be in the PATH environment variable in the /etc/environment file on the system.
    /opt/ibm/ae/ -R
    Note: This command finishes preparing the VM for capture and then powers off the virtual server.
  4. In the Virtual Machine view, select the VM that you prepared for capture and click Capture. In the new window, click Continue, and in the next window click Capture and confirm it again.

Deploy the captured image

You can deploy images that are created in the above step. The deploy target can be a specific host or a host group. Before you deploy an image, review the requirements and considerations.

  1. Select the image on the Images page and select Deploy.
  2. Specify the properties of the new VM, such as name, number of VM instances, target system, or system group. You can use PowerVC resources, such as a storage template, compute template, or storage connectivity group, to specify custom settings.
  3. Optional: You can also add existing volumes or new (blank) volumes in any order, or remove the volumes as needed.
  4. Enter the network details.
  5. Click Deploy.
Figure 7. Deploy AIX-7134 image
Deploy AIX-7134 image
Deploy AIX-7134 image


This tutorial has shown how to install PowerVC, register various resources, configure it, add existing VMs, and deploy new ones. After you have completed these steps, you can start using other features like resizing and attaching volumes to VMs, monitoring the utilization of resources, migrating VMs while they are running (a second host is required), deploying images quickly to create more VMs that meet new demands, and applying automated policies to determine which servers to deploy VMs on based on CPU capacity, memory capacity, and CPU utilization.

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Zone=Cloud computing, Linux, AIX and UNIX, IBM i
ArticleTitle=Get started with IBM Power Virtualization Center (PowerVC)