Register Fibre Channel tape drives

While PowerVC integrates with and manages most SAN storage providers, organizations often also need Fibre Channel tape drives to store backups and archives. As an admin user, you can register Fibre Channel tape drives in PowerVC, allowing PowerVC workloads to use tape drive volumes to perform backups. Attaching a tape volume in PowerVC enables virtual machines to automatically discover the drive. PowerVC does not create any volumes on the tape. Instead, it sets up zoning with the tape drive’s target port WWPNs so the tape volumes can be accessed. This topic details the procedure about how to register a Fibre Channel tape drive in PowerVC.

PowerVC comes with a utility powervc-tape-reg, which is used for Fibre Channel tape registration. The utility is found in /opt/ibm/powervc/bin/. Only the PowerVC administrator and OS root users have permissions to execute this utility.

To register Fibre Channel tape drive run the powervc-tape-reg command and specify the following options.
  • -u: PowerVC user for authentication. If this argument is not specified, user credentials are obtained from environment variables namely OS_USERNAME and OS_PASSWORD or assumed from whoami. The project used for registration is ibm-default.
  • -n: Displays the tape drive’s name.
  • -p: One or more target ports for the tape drive. Separate multiple ports with commas. Target ports must be in a valid WWPN format of 16 hexadecimal digits grouped as 8 pairs separated by colons. PowerVC does not validate whether the specified ports are connected or logged in. Make sure that you provide valid WWPN target ports. If the ports are not logged in, Fibre Channel tape drive volume discovery will fail later.
  • -c: Specify the total capacity of the tape storage device. This is only used to display the capacity information in the PowerVC console.
Example: During execution, you will be prompted for the OS user password.
[root@vm-934 bin]# /opt/ibm/powervc/bin/powervc-tape-reg -n jagFCTape -p 50:05:07:63:12:4c:46:47
Enter password for the current user:
Registering... Tape driver to PowerVC.
After successful registration, the Fibre Channel tape drive is listed on the Storage page of PowerVC GUI. You can start using the tape volumes for virtual machine deployment and attachments.

FC tape drive volumes

Once the tape drive is registered to PowerVC, a user can zone Fibre Channel tape volumes. To clarify, even though the user interface allows tape volumes to be created, they are only placeholders that are used to enable NPIV VM zoning to FC tape target port WWPNs. They are not actual tape volumes on the back end. Once the zoning is done, virtual machines can discover the tape drives, which can then be used to boot a virtual machine. These volumes can then be used in deploy, attach, detach, migrate, and delete operations.

For each virtual machine, attaching a Fibre Channel tape volume creates a zone on the PowerVC registered fabric. If the virtual machine is deleted, the zone is also deleted. Virtual machines with attached tape volumes can discover the tape drives.

View the attached tape drives using the below commands:
[root@test-jag ˜]# lsscsi -g
[0:0:1:0]    cd/dvd  AIX      VOPTA                  /dev/sr0   /dev/sg0
[1:0:0:0]    disk    IBM      2145             0000  /dev/sda   /dev/sg1
[1:0:1:0]    disk    IBM      2145             0000  /dev/sdb   /dev/sg2
[1:0:2:0]    tape    IBM      ULT3580-HH6      E6R7  /dev/st0   /dev/sg5
[2:0:0:0]    disk    IBM      2145             0000  /dev/sdc   /dev/sg3
[2:0:1:0]    disk    IBM      2145             0000  /dev/sdd   /dev/sg4
[2:0:2:0]    tape    IBM      ULT3580-HH6      E6R7  /dev/st1   /dev/sg6
[root@test-jag ˜]# cat /proc/scsi/scsi
Attached devices:
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 01 Lun: 00
 Vendor: AIX      Model: VOPTA            Rev:
 Type:   CD-ROM                           ANSI  SCSI revision: 04
 Host: scsi2 Channel: 00 Id: 01 Lun: 00
 Vendor: IBM      Model: 2145             Rev: 0000
 Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI  SCSI revision: 06
Host: scsi1 Channel: 00 Id: 02 Lun: 00  
 Vendor: IBM      Model: ULT3580-HH6      Rev: E6R7
 Type:   Sequential-Access                ANSI  SCSI revision: 06
Host: scsi2 Channel: 00 Id: 02 Lun: 00
 Vendor: IBM      Model: ULT3580-HH6      Rev: E6R7
 Type:   Sequential-Access                ANSI  SCSI revision: 06


You cannot create a new storage template for FC Tape driver. You can create a copy using the existing storage template; however, you cannot update any information.

Unregister the FC tape driver

If a virtual machine with a tape volume that was attached by using PowerVC is unmanaged and re-managed, the zoning will be lost. Therefore it is not recommended to unmanage and re-manage a virtual machine that uses tape drives. To remove a Fibre Channel tape drive, you can use the PowerVC user interface or you can use the powervc-register command:powervc-register -o remove -r storage -n.