While I was installing a re-purposed POWER6 machine over the weekend, got round to installing my Dual Virtual I/O Servers, from DVD and then upgrading from there and I noticed a new service pack 2 for the latest VIOS version. It must have sneaked out without me noticing and there is a Interim fix too. The VIOS 126.96.36.199-FP24 SP2 Readme
highlights lots of fixes including some for the Shared Storage Pool feature. A feature that I have been using and talking about (see this blog for more information).
This got me thinking! I talk to lots of Power Systems Administrators at technical events and conferences and know that many are using old VIOS versions even though IBM (OK that means me) highly recommends keeping them up to date. Every one in the room looks a bit guilty as they know they are further behind than they can to admit. I have some old boxes that have not be used or updated too, so I will not "throw the first stone"! The whole point of the dual VIOS setup is that this upgrade can be done without interruption. New VIOS releases have more functions to
- save administrator time,
- increase flexibility,
- save money and
- remove problems found in the field.
So what can we recommend:VIOS 1.4
- Latest release VIOS 188.8.131.52-FP-9.2 - from June 2007
- Any other/old release of 1.4 would be very silly - IMHO
- European Advanced Technical Support comment "You must be bonkers! While this is old and so sort-of stable, it is also high risk. It is supported, only in the sense that during a problem, you will have to upgrade first to get bug fixes that have been out for many years."
VIOS base 184.108.40.206
- Latest release VIOS 220.127.116.11-FP11.1-SP-02 from October 2009
- Any other/old release of 1.5 would be very foolish - IMHO
- European Advanced Technical Support comment "Over 2 years old and based on technology levels from around 2007. We would be highly embarrassed to be found running this ancient level. It is missing many useful virtualisation functions, performance improvements and reliability features in VIOS 2."
- We recognise migrating from version 1.x to 2.1 is a large process.
- You risk having to upgrade to VIOS 2 during a critical situation to resolve a problem - upgrading during an emergency is not recommended.
- If you find VIOS 1.5 on your server - get to the last release quickly (it is good start point for the upgrade straight to VIOS 2.1.3) and plan to upgrade in the next of month!
- This is the base migration level from release 1 to release 2.
- It should only be run for the hour it takes you to upgrade further.
- See the Migration Instructions for details on how to prepare and perform this update.
Advanced Technical Support comment "Do not go live on this level - add one of the Fix Packs below".
- Latest release VIOS 18.104.22.168-FP23 from May 2010
- Don't forget to check the Interim fixes ... these are five at the moment.
Advanced Technical Support comment "This is a sane release and highly recommended"
- Slightly older 2.1 versions should have the service packs added to get to this release - this it relatively quick and simple.
- Latest release VIOS 22.214.171.124-FP24 SP02 from May 2011
- Don't forget to check the Interim fixes ... these is one at the moment.
Advanced Technical Support comment "We am impressed - the latest version."
- This version supports Shared Storage Pools phase 1.
- We recommend upgrading from SP01 to SP02 as there are fixes for the new functions.
- If you are at this release then you are ready for the next big jump in VIOS functionality of multiple VIOS shared Storage Pools.
Of course, there are dependencies on HMC levels and Systems Firmware for some of these upgrades. Many features of PowerVM are implemented in a mixture of the VIOS, the Hypervisor and controlled on the HMC - so there is no way to avoid these dependencies. Once you are on VIOS 2 - you can use Systems Director to perform the "donkey work" and save you considerable time with the mechanics of the upgrade process. You still have to perform software stack sanity checks, schedule VIOS upgrades and fail-over/reboots between VIOS.Get your VIOS updates from the IBM website FixCentral
These are not official statements from IBM.
They are my opinions, thanks Nigel Griffiths