I missed the other thread last week, HMC as a Power lpar.
I read through all the posts, everything making more sense.
So what's the recommendation going forward for a small shop with one Power system, a few LPARS, one HMC, and no HA/DR?
From: MIDRANGE-L [mailto:midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Rob Berendt
Sent: Monday, August 14, 2017 10:15 AM
To: Midrange Systems Technical Discussion
Subject: Re: IBM Moves HMC Management To Native Power Server, LPARs
When Mr. Morgan gets vexed at something he really doesn't hold back does he?
Yes, when the HMC first came out I felt it was extremely unreliable and had to reboot it multiple times per day. But that was a LONG time ago.
Now, in general, I'm pretty happy with it. It's still way cheaper than the list price of any 5250 terminal from 35 years ago.
I think we've already discussed the options available for your HMC configuration on this list and his post is kind of old news.
And, as we've said, running HMC as a virtual lpar on your Power 8 almost requires redundant Power 8's because of the chicken or the egg issue.
And I think more and more shops running multiple Power 8's have some sort of device that falls into this category:
... virtual appliance format that ran atop either Red Hat's KVM hypervisor or VMware's ESXi hypervisor and that could be deployed on any X86 server that customers chose. The server had to have an X86 processor that support Intel VT-x or AMD-V hardware virtualization extensions and required at least four cores, 8 GB of memory, and 160 GB of disk capacity to run. ...
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From: "Steinmetz, Paul" <PSteinmetz@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: "'Midrange Systems Technical Discussion'"
Date: 08/14/2017 09:55 AM
Subject: IBM Moves HMC Management To Native Power Server, LPARs
Sent by: "MIDRANGE-L" <midrange-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
IBM Moves HMC Management To Native Power Server, LPARs
August 14, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan<
Out of band management is not a new thing in the IT sector, and many of
the best and most sophisticated pieces of software in the world have a
distinct management console of some sort that gathers up the state of a
machine or collection of machines and uses it to initially configure those
devices and to coerce them to behave themselves despite their nature for
The Hardware Management Console, or HMC, has been around for so long in
the AS/400, iSeries, System i, and IBM i line for so long we can't
remember when people were not complaining about it. (Or its partner in
crime, the Virtual I/O Server, which as the name suggests, provides a
layer of system software to abstract and virtualize access to peripheral
devices on Power-based systems.) Some have called it the Hardware Mangler
Console, and others have called it some things that we can't print here.
Everyone has called the HMC too damned expensive, and they were always
right about that. But it is the nature of providers of any kind of system
or framework to charge big bucks for the management console, and all
things considered, given the integrated form of the IBM i platform, paying
two or three times the value of a server that is equipped with the HMC
firmware so it can manage one or more IBM i boxes is not as bad as it
seems. vCenter Server is no walk in the park, either, and it
sure ain't cheap.
One gripe that companies had about the HMC is that its functionality
should have been included with the OS/400 and IBM i stack itself,
especially since the whole point of IBM i is that it is an integrated
platform, with all of the bells and whistles included and merged together
in an easy-to-use, easier-to-buy fashion. We have also complained that in
a world where IBM is trying to promote the Power architecture, it seemed
counter-productive as well as counter-intuitive to have the HMC management
stack for Power iron running on X86 servers. This is particularly true
given that IBM has had single-socket Power iron capable of running the HMC
stack for a long time, and even more odd given that OS/400 had logical
partitioning back in 1998 and Linux was supported on Power logical
partitions, or LPARs, since 2000.
There are a lot of HMCs out there in the world, and IBM's current support
page for the HMC<
still active with Version 3 of the stack, which was created to configure
and control Power4-based systems way back in 2001. HCM Version 8 is able
to manage machines using Power6, Power6+, Power7, Power7+, and Power8
processors and is the current version. In October 2015, in announcement
, IBM offered the HMC stack in a virtual appliance format that ran atop
either Red Hat's KVM hypervisor or VMware's ESXi hypervisor and that could
be deployed on any X86 server that customers chose. The server had to have
an X86 processor that support Intel VT-x or AMD-V hardware virtualization
extensions and required at least four cores, 8 GB of memory, and 160 GB of
disk capacity to run. This virtual H
MC has a license charge of $3,000, which included one year of Software
Maintenance (SWMA), and SWMA cost another $1,200 for three years beyond
that. The physical HMCs cost at least twice that.
This was a step in the right direction, of course. But there was still
that pesky X86 server in the mix. Now, customers are going to have some
Power iron choices for the HMC. Starting September 15, customers will be
able to run the HMC stack in a logical partition running Linux on their
IBM i systems, or they will be able to but a Power server running Linux to
host the HMC stack. No more X86 iron, virtual or physical, in the mix.
For those who like to have a distinct management console and a single
point of management for multiple machines, in announcement letter 117-033<
, IBM is offering a Power-based HMC, which is a server that comes in a 1U
rack mounted chassis that has a single six-core Power8 processor, 32 GB of
main memory, two 2 TB SATA disks, and four 10 Gb/sec Ethernet ports for
fanning out to systems under management. This is sold under the product
number 7063-CR1, and it requires a variant of Linux that supports little
endian data formats and has to run HMC code level 8.7.0 or higher. (FYI:
All Power8 chips support little ending data formats; no prior Power chips
do.) Customers won't even know they are not on an X86 variant of the HMC,
we suspect. This puppy costs $6,875, but we know from the pricing of the
virtual appliance that nearly half of that is coming from th
e software license fee.
If you want to go virtual and ditch the vHMC on X86 iron at the same time,
finally, you can do so as you can see in announcement letter 217-200<
. This vHMC runs atop the PowerVM hypervisor that also supports IBM i,
AIX, and Linux, and that stands to reason since the vHMC software was
ported to Linux back in 2015. The Power LPAR version of the vHMC appliance
is based on Version 8.8.7 of the HMC code, and it can manage machines
using Power6 through Power8 processors.
Customers can mix and match Power HMC and Power vHMC controllers within
their datacenter, but we presume only one console can control one machine
and its partitions and other functions at a time. Pricing for the Power
vHMC was not announced, but presumably this is no more expensive than the
X86 version of the vHMC.
So what does it all mean?
There are a bunch of different schools of thought about this. Some of the
techies that we talked to says that about a third of the IBM i boxes out
there in the world don't use any virtualization at all, and that
Operations Console is good enough for them. As far as they can tell, the
HMC is only good if you want to add more than four LPARs on a system and
manage their resources; otherwise customers should just use Integrated
Virtualization Manager and fire up a few partitions. That said, others
pointed out that the HMC does make linking to storage area networks easier
and it also interfaces nicely with VIOS and does a good job taming it a
An interesting possible scenario is evolving now, however. With the HMC
now native on Power iron in logical partitions, the task of creating a
redundant HMC - something that all big shops tend to do - could be a whole
lot easier, particularly for those customers using IBM's PowerHA or some
other replication techniques such as MIMIX from Vision Solutions.
Customers could fire up a vHMC on an LPAR on their Power system and have a
mirrored partition on their backup box, and if they lost their primary
machines, they would have it replicated remotely as well as the HMC that
runs it. Right now, cross-coupling two physical HMCs is a bit kludgey.
Yes, the HMC has built-in replication, but cross-connecting them through
ports is a bit tricky, and they have to be individually linked to each
Power System server under management. A replicated vHMC would be, in
essence, a perfect copy, and would link to each machine under management
While we are thinking about it, it probably makes sense to have PowerVC
cloud infrastructure management (IBM's implementation of OpenStack) and
PowerSC security management tools in the same partition as the vHMC,
although we do not know if IBM supports such a configuration. But maybe
all of the tools should be integrated and in partitions.
The i in IBM i does stand for integration, after all.
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