View Only

PowerVM 2.2.5 Preview

By Chet Mehta posted Fri June 05, 2020 04:10 PM

PowerVM 2.2.5 Logo


PowerVM 2.2.5, announced today October 11th, 2016, delivers the next generation of capabilities to address our customers IT needs. Key functionality includes the following,

  • Support for a new system model E850C
  • Support for DDR4 memory technology for POWER8-based servers
  • Technology preview of Software Defined Networking
  • Increased scaling (SSP, memory/partition & SR-IOV adapters) support
  • Reduced Hypervisor memory usage to support Enlarged I/O Capacity adapters
  • Improved performance for Dynamic LPAR of memory
  • Large Send Offload to significantly boost network performance when transferring large packets
  • LPM Improvements
  • RAS enhancements

This blog provides a preview of some of the key functions included in PowerVM 2.2.5. Future blogs will delve further into major functionality included in PowerVM 2.2.5.

Support for new System Model: Power E850 MTM 8408-44E

PowerVM 2.2.5 adds support the new Power E850 (MTM 8408-44E) which differs from its predecessor Power E850 (MTM 8408-E8E) in the following key areas,

  • Faster 8 core, 10 core & 12 core processors cards
  • Support for DDR4 memory that was key to double the maximum DIMM capacity (to 128 GB)

Support for DDR4 memory technology for POWER8-based servers

DDR4 DRAM is an abbreviation for double data rate fourth-generation dynamic random-access memory (DRAM). DDR4 delivers higher performance, higher DIMM capacities, improved data integrity and lower power consumption. POWER8 processors were designed to support both DDR3 & DDR4 memory. With the industry memory volumes transitioning to DDR4 soon, PowerVM 2.2.5 support of this new technology will enable customers to benefit from increased memory capacity at projected lower costs.

Software Defined Networking Preview

Software-defined networking (SDN) is aimed at making the network as agile and flexible as the virtualized server and storage. SDN allows network administrators to respond quickly to changing business requirements. In a software-defined network, a network administrator can shape traffic from a centralized control console without having to touch individual switches, and can deliver services to wherever they are needed in the network, without regard to what specific devices a server is connected to. The technology, included in PowerVM 2.2.5, enables functional separation of network virtualization while providing programmable automation. A sample use case of SDN includes Live Partition Mobility (LPM) of partitions across systems that are located on separate subnets.

Scaling Improvements

Increase Shared Storage Pool (SSP) Scaling to support more nodes and VMs

With PowerVM 2.2.5 Shared Storage pools can scale up to 24 SSP Nodes and support up to 2000 LPARs.

Support for up to 32TB of memory per LPAR

The exponential growth of data has enabled businesses to recognize the value of differentiation provided through real time analysis. The resultant cognitive systems require data to be located in memory for fast access. To support the increasing growth of such in-memory databases, PowerVM 2.2.5 has been enhanced to support up to 32 TB of memory per partition!

Increase maximum number of SR-IOV Adapters supported in a system

PowerVM 2.2.5 doubles the number of SR-IOV adapters to match the maximum number of SR-IOV capable slots in the largest POWER8 system. This increases the number of logical ports (Virtual Functions) per system from 2048 to 4096, assuming 64 per adapter and allows up to 4 networks per partition for a system with 1000 partitions.

Reduced Hypervisor memory usage to support Enlarged I/O Capacity (EIOC) Adapters

Huge Direct Memory Access (DMA) is a PCIe slot capability on IBM Power Systems servers that enables a DMA window to be wider, possibly allowing all partition memory to be mapped for DMA. This feature avoids increased system usage when DMA mappings are requested by the driver enabling more efficient data transfer at lower latency. The capability, referred to as I/O Adapter Enlarged Capacity, is currently leveraged by Linux only. PowerVM 2.2.5 significantly reduces the memory used by the hypervisor to support this feature by using 64K page mapping versus the previous 4K page mappings.

Improved performance for Dynamic LPAR (DLPAR) of memory

Dynamic LPAR allows resources to be added or removed from activated partitions.  In PowerVM 2.2.5 changes have been made in the PowerVM hypervisor to reduce the time required to add or remove memory. Removal of memory provides the largest improvement but memory adds times are also reduced. Since the performance improvements are contained in the PowerVM hypervisor, they apply to all partitions regardless of the operating system.

Large Send Offload to significantly boost network performance when transferring large packets

Large Send Offload is the means by which a virtual Ethernet device driver can send multiple packets in a send buffer that are larger than the Maximum Transfer Unit (MTU) size. This support, included in PowerVM 2.2.5, reduces the numbers of operations required to send packets between Large Send Offload enabled logical partitions. The feature primarily benefits Linux & IBM i.

Live Partition Mobility (LPM) Improvements

LPM Resiliency and Performance

Prior to PowerVM 2.2.5, if any abnormal issue is encountered during an LPM operation, LPM is aborted. The failures that can abort LPM can span a variety of severities from commands that take too long to respond to stuck migrations.  In some cases the recovery can be more severe depending on the LPM stage that detects the issue. PowerVM 2.2.5 adds support by leveraging redundant transfer paths for the partition from the source to the target system. This way if a one path fails, LPM operation continue and completes using any other operational paths.  Performance is also improved because the data is transmitted by dual data movers simultaneously.

Option to specify Logical Unit Number (LUN) versus disk level validation

VIOS 2.2.4 added the source & destination attributes at the VIOS level to control the level of validation that is done for NPIV attached storage for LPM and Remote Restart. Per request from customers, PowerVM 2.2.5 adds the ability to chose LUN versus disk level validation at the migrate LPAR (migrlpar) level instead of globally for the entire VIOS.

RAS Enhancements

PowerVM 2.2.5 includes the following enhancements to increase reliability, availability & serviceability of your Power Systems.

  • Failover capability for Virtualization Network Interface Card (vNIC) client adapters in the hypervisor rather than requiring the failover configuration to be done in the client operating system. 
  • Support to concurrently add the I/O Expansion card or the EMX0 PCIe Gen3 I/O expansion drawer on the E850 systems
  • Dynamic toggle of Simplified Remote Restart including when the partition is active
  • Support for partition restart in a Disaster Recovery (DR) environment
  • Ability to view Performance & Capacity Monitoring (PCM) data in a tabular format or export the data in csv format
  • HMC support to get and set the boot list of a partition
  • SSP Cluster-wide snap automation, Automated log analysis, Lease by clock tick, Expanded collection of network statistics

PowerVM 2.2.5 Components

PowerVM 2.2.5 is comprised of,

  • VIOS Version 2.2.5
  • System Firmware Release 860
  • HMC Release 8 Version 8.6.0
  • NovaLink Version

Official announcement letter: IBM PowerVM V2.2.5

Planned Availability of PowerVM 2.2.5 by System Model

  • November 2016: E870, E870C, E880, E880C, E850C & S822, S814, S824, S812L, S822L, S824L models
  • 1Q2017: Power E850

Request for Blogs

It's been a year since we launched our PowerVM Social initiative via developerWorks and the PowerVM LinkedIn group. The impetus for this endeavor was a long standing customer complaint - "IBM provides either too little (e.g. announce material) or too much information (e.g. Redbooks) about new features which makes it difficult to learn and adopt new PowerVM features". We also wanted to establish a direct channel between PowerVM customers and developers.

During the past year the PowerVM development team has created numerous blog posts that cover new or existing PowerVM capabilities or provide more insight into scenarios that may frequently impact customers. If you have an idea for a Blog topic that hasn't been covered and can benefit the broader PowerVM customer base, please let us know. You can enter your blog post request as comments to the LinkedIn "What would you like to read about in our group?" post. This way the group membership can see and add their support to your request.

We will be happy to follow-up on your suggestions!

Contacting the PowerVM Team

Have questions for the PowerVM team or want to learn more?  Follow our discussion group on LinkedIn IBM PowerVM or IBM Community Discussions