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PowerVC Co-management of Systems with Both HMC and PowerVM NovaLink for existing users

By Becky Dimock posted Mon March 21, 2016 12:00 AM


By Suma Allipuram

IBM PowerVC Software Engineer

Most PowerVM administrators are used to managing their systems with HMCs. With the introduction of PowerVM NovaLink, the way that the virtualization is managed is fundamentally changed - making provisioning significantly faster and scalable. With PowerVC, you will have the ability to use NovaLink for virtualization management while you continue using your HMC on the same system for hardware and systems management. This capability is called ‘co-management'.

When using PowerVC to manage through the HMC REST API interfaces, all operations for all hosts have to be routed through the HMC that is controlling those servers, which may limit total scaling. With the introduction of NovaLink, OpenStack services run on each host, which distributes the workload. This allows enterprise users to scale to much higher levels for virtualization and cloud management. While NovaLink clearly allows improved scalability for larger cloud deployments, the HMC is still valuable to provide hardware and service management.

The ability to control co-management with PowerVC gives you some great bonus benefits:


The ability to have NovaLink manage the PowerVM Virtualization and the HMC managing the firmware/hardware of the same host at once.


The ability to migrate virtual machines management between HMC-only managed host and NovaLink-managed systems.

Requirements for enabling co-management:

The latest updates to V8R8.4.0 SP1, firmware version 840.11 comes with a new management mode called PowerVM co-management that allows users to have a live management (HMC and PowerVM NovaLink) connection to the system. You need the following in order to enable co-management;

  • At least one Virtual I/O Server installed along with the NovaLink partition.

  • Power 8 with firmware version 840.11 or later

  • PowerVC

  • NovaLink (release must be installed on each NovaLink managed system.


Setting up co-management : Registering a host in a co-managed environment:

Setting up co-management is easy. Just install NovaLink onto your existing system and the HMC will be placed into co-management mode immediately. One effect of this is that a new attribute is visible called ‘master mode’. The NovaLink should generally always be set as the ‘master’ and PowerVC can only operate against the system if the NovaLink is the master.

Two Scenarios:

  • Start from scratch and installs NovaLink then add an HMC.

  • Start managing via HMC and then create a NovaLink virtual machine and use it to manage as well.  In this case, you would run the "pvmctl sys request-master" command on the NovaLink partition to make it the master.

When adding NovaLink host in PowerVC, you need to provide the IP address and credentials of the NovaLink virtual machine.


Co-management and the HMC:

Users now have three options for managing PowerVM based systems.

  • Using HMC – which is required for Pre-P8 systems and systems that are not on FW840 and higher

  • Using NovaLink – which is available on P8 systems and systems that are on FW840 and higher. 

  • Using both! Co-management allows you to take advantage of the scalability benefits of NovaLink  while still utilizing your HMC for systems monitoring, maintenance and updates.

The ability to use co-management of systems between the HMC and NovaLink give you the best of both worlds, cloud scalability with PowerVM NovaLink and mature hardware and service management. This co-management facility has been built to allow all you to test this capability a server at a time with built-in go forward and fall back capabilities between the two configurations. These facilities will allow you to test and move to production with PowerVM NovaLink with minimal risk.

For details about NovaLink installation on a system that is managed by a Hardware Management Console refer to this Knowledge Center topic:

Installing the PowerVM NovaLink software on a system that is managed by a Hardware Management Console (HMC)

For more details about co-management and NovaLink in general, read this blog post: Introducing PowerVM NovaLink

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