In his AIXchange blog, Rob McNelly speaks about VIO backups and explains how he uses the Virtual Media library to build a new Power system in a completely new environment. It may be helpful to run through Rob's procedure and provide some background and documentation on the steps which he uses.
One VIO, then NIM
The system is straight out of the box, and there is no NIM server, so here are the basic steps which Rob suggests. (I've added a couple of steps of my own along the way).
- Boot first VIO server from the DVD drive
- Create Virtual Media library using mkrep
- Copy other physical media (AIX and VIO CDs) using mkvopt (for examples, see this post from Rob)
- Use VIO VM Library to build first AIX client
- Make it a NIM server
Coffee break (my idea, not Rob's)
Step back and admire your good work so far.
At this point, you should have a VIO server with a VM Library, and an AIX LPAR which is a NIM server. That NIM server can be used for all other builds. Here are the steps:
- Map the AIX .iso image to the NIM server using mkvdev
- Load any other required VIO servers from NIM
- Use NIM to build other AIX client LPARs.
Multiple methods of cat-skinning
Rob's post was really about a new option for backing up the VIO server, but his summary of how he installs a system from bare metal is very helpful.
Of course, there are several alternatives to many of these steps. As Nigel Griffiths explained on the AIXpert blog, you can now download all your licensed IBM software instead of using physical media. This makes it more attractive to build your AIX LPARs using the VM Library, although NIM is always an option.
And as we have seen before on AIX Down Under, you could create an AIX SOE LPAR and clone that using NIM or the VM Library.
Just the beginning
Summarising a complete installation strategy in a few paragraphs is only a broad brush outline. There are lots more considerations ... and there's plenty more configuration work (storage, network, redundancy, backups, DR, security, monitoring - not to mention installing applications and migrating data). Still, it's helpful to have a road map for a complete build of a new AIX environment. It can also be useful explaining the system layout to clients and colleagues, or bouncing around some ideas with others before you jump right in.
The aim is to end up with an environment that is as simple as you can make it, takes advantage of the technology and, above all, does the job it was meant to do.