We all know that a VIOS level is only fully supported for 2 years ... right! If you have problems with an older VIOS, you may be asked to upgrade to a supported level before a fix can be issued. Most teams run a dual VIOS configuration to allow painless and live upgrades for just this reason. The other reason is to survive a VIOS crash but I have never had a VIOS failure but that would be because I don't go fiddling with them nor adding unsupported software.
I quickly upgraded my POWER7 VIOS from 2.1 to the latest VIOS level and made a ghastly mistake somewhere. I ended up with no padmin commands working just "command not found" and the VIOS basically a total right off! Even shutdown would not work! Fortunately, it was my crash and burn machine, so I could reinstall from scratch and starting with a VIOS 2.2 install DVD and reconnect my client LPARs. Admittedly, I was trying to do 5 things at the same time and did not do my home work in preparation. So here are a few links and tips, so you don't suffer my mistakes:
- The VIOS Home Website for all the information you need - worth keeping this one in your Bookmarks.
- Oops: Next note I am told that Virtual I/O Server Version 184.108.40.206-FP-24 was "republished" after the initial images was made available. If you downloaded prior to Oct 18, 2010, IBM recommends that you
download the latest version and run 'updateios' to ensure missing
updates are installed. Unfortunately, the ioslevel command output is unchanged so its tricky to know if you need to do this if you don't know when you downloaded your copy.
- Upgrading to 2.2: Then note there is lots of good information in the Readme and release notes for VIOS 2.2 FixPack 24 - please read this one. I note that there is a new minimum rootvg size of 30 GB for this VIOS level. It include update instructions "command by command" and takes you through all the possible update options like FTP to local disk or NFS mount point etc. Note the swrole command - it might have been the one I missed as I was coming from VIOS 2.1.3.
- Starting at VIOS 1.x: If you are upgrading from VIOS 1.x levels (no one should be still on those levels now!!). You first need to boot the VIOS from the Migration DVD or NIM image of it. This then migrates your VIOS up to 2.1 - note this took me 2 hours (after the backup of the VIOS, of course). Only then can you update to VIOS 2.2.
- The latest Service Pack: Only when you are on Virtual I/O Server Version 220.127.116.11-FP-24 (also called simply Fix Pack 24), can you add the latest service pack called VIOS 18.104.22.168-FP-24 SP-01 - what a mouth full! If I were in charge then I would have called it 2.2.2 and the other numbers are simply marketing fluff :-) There is a link from the VIOS home page but you can find the update deatils here VIOS FP24 Service Pack 1 Readme
- No short cuts: I have a fellow techie that tried to merge FixPack 24 and the Service Pack1 and update it in one go to save time - "oh dear it was a disaster with things like: license -accept giving him "Access to run command is not valid". Please don't try to cut corners just because its AIX under the covers. There is a note about this on the VIOS home page for SDDPCM and a work around.
- New Function: It is this last service pack that brings phase 1 of VIOS Shared Storage Pool (was previously called VIOS NextGen) - see the Service Pack 1 Read and the VIOS Shared Storage Pool requirements for details .. and this blog as more on this on the next blog entry.
- Bugs: These has also been a problem with the Shared Ethernet adapter at the Service Pack 1. If using the SEA with EtherChannels in 802.3ad mode then check out APAR IZ91190 LACP fails on EtherChannel within SEA and there is a efix available on request from AIX/VIOS Support. Get a copy before your upgrade.
I hope this helps other techies avoid problems with there VIOS. Just because we have upgraded VIOS many times before there is still a real need to RTFM - that would be Read The Flaming Manual! Thanks Nigel Griffiths