We're getting started with IBM's Full-System Flash Copy product, which clones a partition in our V7000 that we can use for backups, "what-if" games, or other projects.
A controlling LPAR talks to the HMC, V7000, and the live partition and tells them what to do to clone the live partition into a (thinly provisioned) Consistency Group. The Consistency Group looks like the live partition, but is totally separate from the original.
When the process starts, the live partition is Quiesced (forcing all data to disk), a "table" is created to track which pieces of the live environment have been copied to the clone partition, and an IPL of the cloned copy partition is started.
We want to automate the whole process-- start the clone of the production LPAR, IPL the clone, run an Option 21 backup, and issue the command to shut down the clone.
A single command gets us through the start of the IPL of the clone. Since we can talk LPAR-to-LPAR to the controlling LPAR, I think we'll be able to automate that part of the process.
There are 2 parts of the process that we need to automate:
a) Deallocating memory from one LPAR and allocating it to the clone LPAR (once it's awake enough to talk to). We've found enough information that I think will let this happen.
b) What appears to be a sticking point is the operations on the cloned partition. This is an IPL after an abnormal termination. Any terminated jobs are ended during the IPL, each of which generates a QSYSOPR message. At that point in the IPL process, there has been no chance to chance to change QSYSOPR to *NOTIFY mode, so we get messages for several hundred spool writers that ended abnormally. Each of which requires a press of the ENTER key. There are also 3 screens in the IPL process (select IPL; IPL Options; Access Paths to Rebuild) that require some key presses as well. There's also a signon screen somewhere in there.
Then there are the commands to issue to run an option 21 backup. I think we can copy IBM's program; we'd 'only' need to start that program to run the backup (hopefully without any messages to deal with!).
We're looking for a method that will let an external process monitor the LPAR being IPLd, and respond to the messages. This all happens before we're even in restricted state. Since this is controlled by the HMC, there's no PC-based console to run a program on. Yes, the HMC is a PC... running LINUX... so any solution I conceive of would have to run on the HMC under LINUX. Maybe commands from a CL program in one LPAR talking to the HMC to monitor a green-screen session of the cloned LPAR and respond to messages there...
I hope we're not the first to the party!
Any hints or nudges in the right direction will be cheerfully accepted!
--Paul E Musselman
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