This is the epic of the upgrade for the Virtual I/O server (VIOS) from version 1.4 to version 2.2. It's not a pleasant read, so if you're of a weak stomach, just skip the whole blog post, but note two things when it comes to VIOS and firmware upgrades:
- Always read the README
- Consider a fresh install of the VIOS
Much as we'd like all our systems to be running the newest and latest of everything, most of us are not so lucky. There are still some very old environments out there, running on old hardware. I suppose it's a testimony to the systems that after 8 or 10 years, they can still run a business on them. There's nothing like complete neglect to keep a reliable system running on inertia. Just hope nobody needs to change anything.
I recently was asked to look at a system which was running dual Virtual I/O Servers (VIOS), both at version 126.96.36.199, which dates back at least five years. The aim was to get them running a recent VIOS version (188.8.131.52) so we could connect to new V7000 storage and a new Fibre Channel switch. The ability to use Shared Storage Pools on the VIOS was also an attraction.
The site had been running stably for some years, but the firmware, VIOS and AIX were all seriously out of date. A plan had to be worked out to upgrade.
The VIOS ties in so closely with the hypervisor, that it's really critical to ensure your system firmware is up to date before you consider any upgrades to your VIOS. If you're using a Hardware Management Console (HMC), then that should be at a compatible level. The upgrade order is:
- System Firmware
I might point out that in most documentation "Firmware" refers only to the System firmware. Device firmware, such as for Fibre Channel adapters, doesn't rate a mention. So my plan was to include that, since it undoubtedly would not have been updated since the system was first installed.
HMC managed systems
Non-HMC managed systems
The firmware update requested can not be installed concurrently because the update path contains a disruptive service pack.
VIOS RequirementsIf the adapter is in a partition running VIOS, it is required that VIOS v184.108.40.206 or later be installed. If VIOS is not at this level, install Fix Pack 11.1 prior to installing the new microcode. Failure to do so may result in damaging the adapter. Installing Fix Pack 11.1 will ensure that the required AIX APARs are installed.
VIOS version 2.2 requires 4 GB of RAM and at least 30 GB of disk for rootvg. (If you're using software mirroring for rootvg, you need at least 60 GB).
When you log into the VIOS restricted shell as the user padmin, you have a simplified command set. The commands are very easy to learn, and once you get used to them, you can almost guess your way through.
Now there's a great command for running updates called updateios. The syntax is very easy. For example, if you have your updates in a directory called /home/padmin/update, then the command you need is:
updateios -dev /home/padmin/update
Now you might think that moving from VIOS 1.4 to VIOS 2.2 only requires these steps:
- Download the latest VIOS updates from the IBM Support Portal
- Copy them to a directory on my VIOS
- Run updateios
Not So Fast!
Migration to VIOS 2.X
First Stop: IBM Support Portal
Of course, the first port of call was the IBM Support Portal. You can just go to www.ibm.com and then select Support & Downloads or take the shortcut to IBM Fix Central. You'll need an IBM ID to log in. Registration is free and it only takes a minute to do.
When you select the product, in the Product Group, click on the drop down box and go to Software > Virtualization software. Here's a screenshot:
in the box Select from Virtualization software, use the drop down to go to PowerVM Virtual I/O Server:
From there you can choose the Installed Version. You can find that out by logging onto the Virtual I/O Server as the user padmin and then running the command ioslevel.
I went to the readme and found that (alas):
- Use updateios to get from 220.127.116.11 to 18.104.22.168-FP11.1
- updateios again from 22.214.171.124-FP11.1 to 126.96.36.199-FP 11.1 SP-02
- Boot off Migration DVD 188.8.131.52 and continue migration
- updateios to get to the latest available VIOS (184.108.40.206-FP24 at the time of writing this blog)
- Boot off Migration DVD 220.127.116.11 and continue migration
- updateios to bring me to the latest available VIOS
I went to the IBM Support Portal, selected Downloads and then downloaded the latest VIOS packs. At last, my plan was complete, and I should be able to run updateios, which is all I ever wanted to run in the first place.