Good news, everyone!

Yesterday i received the SAS disks and started setting up IBM i on the
JS12 blade. The OS is running now, and i'm currently installing my
companies software package on it to do some performance measurements.

I wrote a blog entry about the whole setup process here:

There are some screenshots in there, but you can also read the whole
post comfortably using mail below.

This is a test machine only. So if you have any inquiries, want some
screenshots, or want me to test something for you, feel free to
contact me (on or off list depending on whether other people might
find the information interesting or not).

-- Blog Post --

Just two hours ago, i've received a shipment of four 3.5″ 147GB 15kRPM
SAS Disks. I installed them into the BladeCenter S immediately.

I used SCM to assign the disks in the DSM to the JS12, and then booted
the blade.

VIOS was already installed. So all i had to do was to create a new partition.

After creating the partition, i didn't IPL it just yet. I needed
System i Access in order to provide a console. The Operations Console
part of System i Access is not supported on Server versions of
Windows, so i couldn't install it on one of the other blades running
Windows Server 2008. At least not directly. So i installed the Hyper-V
Role on one of the blades, and installed Windows XP and System i
Access on it.

I then IPLed the partition and a minute later i was standing there
with a lit attention light. I forgot about the CD drive. Bummer. I
assigned the media tray to the JS12 blade, but it couldn't see the CD
drive. This must've worked before, because i installed VIOS using a
CD. I restarted the JS12, but that wasn't helping. Still no CD drive
that i could assign to a partition. Didn't find much on the web about
this problem either, so i decided to use virtual media to install the
operating system.

IBM i install screen
I logged into VIOS using SSH, downloaded the I_BASE_01 CD Image from
our production system using FTP, and imported it into VIOS's media
library. I activated the I_BASE_01 CD Image, and booted. I also
enabled the operations console connection (which is fairly
straightforward, with just in this case the first IBM i instance
having the partition ID 2).

After 10 minutes, the signon screen for the operations console finally
appeared. That was kind of a Heureka! moment for me, altough i didn't
really do that much stuff yet.

Load Source select screenI chose to install the LIC, and i was
presented with a screen that i haven't seen before - i was able to
select the which disk i want to be the load source.

After that, the system started to initialize the hard drive. This was
really slow on my system, taking around 5 hours for a single 147GB
15kRPM drive. I hope this isn't indicative of the IO speed we will see
when the IBM i OS is running.

While waiting for the formatting to complete, i tried to find a way on
how to turn off the attention light that was lit because of my earlier
mistake when trying to boot the partition. There is a detailed IBM
document about turning off the attention light using IVM/VIOS. It's a
simple command: chled -r sa -t virtualsys -o off

As you can see from the screenshot (took during the middle of the
run), it took quite long. In fact, it even exceeded the three hours it
estimated and took 4.5 hours. I have an issue with that - the Intel
blades do not need that much for initiating a RAID1 set, or NTFS
formatting the disks. Even though they're using slower 500GB SATA
disks. It's just leaving a bad impression for no reason. And it's also
an issue with disaster recovery.

Installing the LIC had a more reasonable speed, took 2 minutes. After
the system IPLd again, i was able to add the three other disks. Adding
the disks proceeded at a much more reasonable speed, but then it hung
at 99%. After two hours, the system was still stuck at 99%. At that
time, I went to bed, hoping the system would be finished in the

Virtual Disk Mirroring Warning i on BladeAnd it really was finished in
the morning. The next step was to start mirrored protection. It even
complained that i was running virtual disks, and a failure of VIOS
would lead to the system crashing anyway. I proceeded. As always. the
first part was pretty quick, and i proceeded with the OS installation.

As the LIC started, initialization of mirroring began. The first time
estimate was fifteen minutes. The next one was 6 hours, 10 minutes,
then 8 hours. But then i jumped back to 5 hours. I left for a
customer, and looked at the status occasionally. I took somewhere
between 3 and 4 hours to complete.

Next, i had to change the virtual media in order to allow the OS
installation to proceed further. It's important to know that this has
to be done in the partition configuration, not in the virtual media
tab. And that you'll need to acknowledge the partition change in order
to make the media change active (the AJAXy web interface doesn't make
this entirely clear).

After that, the IBM i installation started and proceeded at an
acceptable speed. In around an hour, the basic operating system was

After that, installation of the licensed programs started. It halted
after just half an hour and telling me i had a screen error (MSG
CPF3D92). I suspected a problem with the operations console, restarted
the XP machine running OpsCon, and retried the installation (with just
the base system). The problem happened again. This seemed odd.

Having no idea on how to proceed further, i retried again. This time
it worked(?). I figured it was an OpsConsole problem, probably related
to the fact that the machine running OpsCon was virtualized. I quickly
installed the TCP/IP utilities, IPLd the system and installed the
remaining programs using a 5250/Telnet connection.

While the installation happened, i used an additional session to
explore the system. The disks where shown to the system as virtual
disks, similar to SAN attached disks. But one of the more interesting
parts was looking at the Hardware Service Manager in SST/DST - it was
completely empty, and didn't contain any hardware. For me, this was a
moment that was quite indicative of the whole experience - i on Blade
is not "AS/400 in Blade Form". It's a completely new environment that
you'll need to learn to deal with. You got another layer of
indirection (VIOS) with it's own platform (AIX), plus you have the
blade management in itself.

The whole setup took me roughly 24 hours (i started a day ago at
16:00). Of course, the system wasn't always busy because i didn't give
him any work, but it's worth to note that setting up a JS12 blade
takes considerably longer than setting up a model 515 or M15.

I will now continue setting up our ERP application and make further
tests with the hardware. If you have any requests for screenshots or
want me to test something out, tell me!

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