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October 07, 2011

How to install AIX from a Virtual Optical Device



  1. Introduction
  2. Getting the ISO Image
  3. Creating a DVD Repository
  4. Creating the Virtual Optical Device
  5. Installing an LPAR from the Virtual DVD
  6. Cleaning up
  7. Related Information


1. Introduction

IOS version 1.5 introduced virtual optical drives. This small article shows how to make use of this feature when installing an LPAR. This might be handy if you want to upgrade a NIM server without the need to spend a day in the datacenter or when there is no CD drive available to assign to an LPAR.


2. Getting the ISO Image

Before we can start creating our virtual optical device we need an ISO image.

Sometimes ISO images can be found on the web - in this case you can simply download the image and copy it to some space on your VIO server. But we want to install from an AIX installation DVD - the AIX 6.1 installation ISO of course cannot be found on the web - so we have to create an ISO image from our physical AIX installation CD or DVD.

There are multiple ways to create ISO images. The easiest way to create an ISO image from the AIX Installation CD or DVD is to insert it in the DVD drive of a Linux box and just dump the CD/DVD to a file:

 linux# cat /dev/cdrom > aix61inst.iso

This creates a file that can be used for the virtual optical device on the VIO server. The below examples assume that this is copied to /tmp on the VIO server.


3. Creating a DVD Repository

With the command lsrep we check if there is already a repository on our VIO server:

 padmin$ lsrep
 The DVD repository has not been created yet.

As we see, this is not the case. Let's check available storage pools then:

 padmin$ lssp
 Pool              Size(mb)   Free(mb)  Alloc Size(mb)    BDs Type
 rootvg              139776      86016             128      0 LVPOOL

The above output shows about 85 GB free space in the default storage pool - that should be sufficient. So we can go on creating a repository. The below command creates a repository of 8GB - enough for two DVDs:

 padmin$ mkrep -sp rootvg -size 8G
 Virtual Media Repository Created
 Repository created within "VMLibrary_LV" logical volume
 padmin$ lsrep
 Size(mb) Free(mb) Parent Pool         Parent Size      Parent Free
     8158     8158 rootvg                   139776            77824


4. Creating the Virtual Optical Device

Now we are ready to load our AIX 6.1 ISO image into the repository:

 padmin$ mkvopt -name aix_61 -file /tmp/aix61inst.iso

We check with lsrep:

 padmin$ lsrep
 Size(mb) Free(mb) Parent Pool         Parent Size      Parent Free
     8159      951 rootvg                   139776            77824

 Name                                    File Size Optical         Access
 aix_61                                       3679 None            rw

At this point we don't need the original ISO image in /tmp anymore...

 padmin$ rm -f /tmp/aix61inst.iso

To use the AIX CD for installing an LPAR we need to connect a virtual optical device to the virtual SCSI hostadapter (vhost3 here) of the LPAR:

 padmin$ mkvdev -fbo -vadapter vhost3
 vtopt0 Available

Now we are ready to load the AIX 6.1 DVD into the virtual drive ...

 padmin$ loadopt -disk aix_61 -vtd vtopt0

Checking ...

 padmin$ lsmap -vadapter vhost3

 SVSA            Physloc                                      Client Partition ID
 --------------- -------------------------------------------- ------------------
 vhost3          U9117.MMA.F54DD01-V3-C103                    0x00000000

 VTD                   vtopt0
 Status                Available
 LUN                   0x8300000000000000
 Backing device        /var/vio/VMLibrary/aix_61

 VTD                   vtscsi4
 Status                Available
 LUN                   0x8100000000000000
 Backing device        hdisk8
 Physloc               U7314.G30.110FFBA-P1-C2-T1-L59

 VTD                   vtscsi5
 Status                Available
 LUN                   0x8200000000000000
 Backing device        hdisk9
 Physloc               U7314.G30.110FFBA-P1-C2-T1-L60


5. Installing an LPAR from the Virtual DVD

Starting up the LPAR and entering the SMS menu we see our virtual device as a regular SCSI CD-ROM:

 Version EM320_076
 SMS 1.7   Copyright IBM Corp. 2000,2008 All rights reserved.
 Select Device
 Device  Current  Device
 Number  Position  Name
 1.        3      Interpartition Logical LAN
                  ( loc=U9117.MMA.F54DD01-V13-C20-T1 )
 2.        -      Interpartition Logical LAN
                  ( loc=U9117.MMA.F54DD01-V13-C25-T1 )
 3.        -      Interpartition Logical LAN
                  ( loc=U9117.MMA.F54DD01-V13-C30-T1 )
 4.        -      Interpartition Logical LAN
                  ( loc=U9117.MMA.F54DD01-V13-C35-T1 )
 5.        -      SCSI CD-ROM
                  ( loc=U9117.MMA.F54DD01-V13-C103-T1-W8300000000000000-L0 )

 Navigation keys:
 M = return to Main Menu
 ESC key = return to previous screen         X = eXit System Management Services

We select the SCSI CD-ROM and start up the installation as usual.


6. Cleaning up

After AIX is installed we can unload the AIX DVD from the virtual drive:

 padmin$ unloadopt -release -vtd vtopt0

.. and if we don't need the image anymore at all we can remove it from the repository:

 padmin$ rmvopt -name aix_61


7. Related Information