IBM recently released a draft Redbook covering the upcoming HMC Version 8 Release 8.8.1.
I've read through the Redbook, and here are the no nonsense highlights I noticed:
POWER5 servers won't be supported in HMC Version 8
POWER6/POWER7/POWER8 servers will be supported. This one caught me by surprise and I am hoping that IBM will change this and end up supporting POWER5 on HMC Version 8 at some point in the future. If you have POWER5 servers still in your environment make sure you let IBM know that you want POWER5 support on HMC Version 8.
Your old HMC's might not be compatible with HMC Version 8
You need to have a Rack Mounted CR5 or later HMC or a Desktop C08 or later HMC with at least 2 GB of memory to run HMC Version 8. So this means people with 7042-CR4 HMC's or older will not be able to upgrade to HMC Version 8.
Running HMC Version 8 as a Virtual Machine still not supported
Totally absent from the Redbook draft is any mention of running HMC Version 8 as a Virtual Machine (under VMware for example). This is disappointing because with the short lived SDMC IBM supported running it in a virtual environment. Hopefully this will change and IBM will one day support running the HMC as a virtual machine.
New Performance and Capacity Monitor
A very cool new feature in HMC Version 8 is a integrated performance and capacity monitor. This will graph information about CPU usage, memory usage, network throughput, and storage throughput. It will support POWER6 and later servers. In previous HMC versions we had to use 3rd party software like LPAR2RRD for this kind of functionality. This is a very cool feature and I'm looking forward to trying it out.
Further SR-IOV Support
HMC Version 8 will add further support for virtualizing adapters with SR-IOV. This is similar in concept to the old IVE (Integrated Virtualized Ethernet) adapters in that it lets you take a single physical port and assign logical ports to multiple LPAR's. SR-IOV works independent from the VIO server and doesn't require a VIO server at all. You can create up to 48 logical ports per physical adapter. It is very fast, high performing and also supports QoS (quality of service). However the big drawback to SR-IOV is that it doesn't support Live Partition Mobility (LPM), suspend/resume, or remote restart. One possible way to get around this limitation is to assign a SR-IOV logical port to a VIO and create a SEA adapter out of it. But I'm not sure of a practical scenario in which someone would do that.
You might have a multiple step upgrade process to get to HMC 8
You can only upgrade to HMC Version 8 from 7.7.8 (with MH01402) or from 7.7.9. So if you are running a version older than this you'll need to do a multi-step upgrade and upgrade to one of these levels first, and then to HMC Version 8. Not a big deal, but something people need to be aware of so that they can get all the correct media needed for the upgrade and allocate enough time to do a multi-step upgrade.
Partition Remote Restart enhancement
Remote Restart is a very cool feature that allows LPAR's to automatically come back up on another frame in the event of an outage on the frame they were originally running on. This is super handy since you can't use LPM if the source server is down. Previously you could only enable Remote Restart on a LPAR at the time the LPAR was created. With HMC Version 8 this limitation has been removed and it can now be enabled without having to re-create the LPAR. Awesome!
Other Miscellaneous Improvements
Here are some other improvements
- Faster LPM when using VSCSI
- HMC Command Line interface has been enhanced to support setting Processor / Memory / AMS DLPAR values to absolute values. Before you could only specify something like "add 2 GB of memory". Now you can specify a absolute value like "set memory to 8 GB" (regardless of what it currently is). This will make scripting DLPAR changes easier.
- You can now schedule DPO from the HMC GUI. Previously this was only runable from the HMC command line interface.
- NIST SP800-131A support - this is related to TLS 1.2 (the encryption used when accessing the HMC Web GUI).
Post a comment if I missed any other big new features in HMC Version 8.