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Update VIOS using HMC

By MANJUNATH SHANBHAG posted Fri July 07, 2023 12:54 AM


HMC 10.2.1030.0 introduces function to update VIOS using HMC, as part of our continued focus on PowerVM management simplification, which provides an option for users to update system’s VIOS using HMC interface. VIOS update images can be imported from remote NFS/SFTP server, attached USB device or from IBM Website. In this blog, we will talk through the details of the feature and its capabilities.

Update VIOS:

Select the Virtual I/O Server and click Operations > Update VIOS task as in below image to launch the VIOS update panel.


This action is enabled only for a VIOS that is in a running state with an active Resource Monitoring and Control (RMC) connection. Update VIOS Panel would look like the following image.


To update the VIOS, you need to select a location from where the VIOS update image file will be copied. You can get the image file from the HMC, Remote server, IBM website or from attached USB drive.

When you select HMC, it will show the VIOS Update images stored in HMC’s file system as in above screen. 

When you select Remote server, the update image files can be downloaded from a Remote NFS/SFTP server. For remote NFS server option, you must enter the Remote NFS server hostname or IP Address and specify the mount location. You can also specify details about the remote directory and define other mount options along, VIOS Updates Image file names.

When you select SFTP server as the Remote server type, you can select Password or Key as the Authentication type. You can also specify details about the Remote directory with VIOS Update Image file names.

  • Password- If you select Password as the Authentication type, you must enter a valid User ID and Password.
  • Keyfile - If you select Keyfile as the Authentication type, you must enter a valid User ID and Keyfile name. You can also specify the passphrase values along with other inputs if required.

When you specify remote directory and no file names are specified, then all the files in that directory will be imported for the VIOS Update. Remote directory can have only one ISO file, else operation will fail. HMC allows to import .bff files contained in the remote directory for the VIOS Update.

Sample image for NFS server as the VIOS Update location is as below.


Sample image for SFTP server as VIOS Update location is as below

IBM website option allows the HMC to contact the IBM Service website and to directly select and download the update image files to complete the VIOS update operation. The HMC pulls the list of available update image files for the current VIOS level. The available update image files are displayed in the package selection table. You must ensure that the HMC has outbound connectivity to reach the IBM Service website. Sample image for IBM Website as VIOS Update location is as below.


When you select USB as option to update VIOS update location then HMC lists the attached USB devices. Select the USB device from the dropdown list. Ensure the VIOS Update image file is flashed on the USB device you selected. Sample image for USB as VIOS Update location is as below.


After selecting the source of update image, click on “Update” button to update the VIOS. The update status panel would look something like the following image.


On successful update of the VIOS, status will be show green in the panel. Terminal message also will be shown in the status panel as below.

Any failure on the VIOS update also will be shown along with the terminal message as shown in below image.


Important Notes : 

  • Update VIOS process can take up to 2 hours to complete. Also, the VIOS may require to be restarted after the update. If you select “Restart the VIOS if required”, then HMC restarts the VIOS automatically after the update operation completes.
  • For VIOS's which are part of a Shared Storage Pool Cluster, you need to stop the Cluster service before update.
  • HMC will commit all previous uncommitted updates prior to installing selected update.
  • When you select Update Image File Location as Remote Server, IBM website or USB, you can save the update image files to the HMC file system by selecting Save update image file to HMC. You must specify a valid update name to save the image file onto the HMC. If you select this option, the update image file is saved in the HMC and it can be used for future VIOS update operations.
  • When you select IBM Website as image location, HMC will import the VIOS Update image in ISO file format.
  • If there is insufficient disk space in HMC, import of the VIOS image might fail.
  • The HMC file system can save up to 3 VIOS update image files. Remove older image files from the HMC to free space for saving new image files.
  • If there is insufficient disk space in VIOS (requires at-least 5GB free space), VIOS update will fail.
  • HMC does not allow multiple updates on the same VIOS at same time. But user can always perform multiple VIOS update simultaneously.

    Manage VIOS Update Images

HMC provides an option for the user to import VIOS Update images from remote server or from attached USB drive to HMC. Later these images can be used for updating the VIOSs managed by this HMC. This interface also provides an option for user to manage these VIOS Update images in HMC.

To perform this task, you must have access to “Manage VIOS images files” task. To launch the task click on System resources -> Templates and OS images -> Manage Virtual I/O Server Updates window as in below image.

The panel lists the VIOS update images stored in this HMC along with it size as in below image.


You can rename the existing update image. To do that, select the VIOS Update image that is saved in the HMC and select Action > Rename and enter the new name and click OK. Provide the proper name as new update image name. The task log also will have entry of operation being performed.



In HMC you can store max of 3 VIOS update images. You can remove the old update images to free up the HMC’s disk space or remove stale backup files. Select one or more update images that are saved in the Hardware Management Console (HMC) and select Action > Remove and click OK. The task log also will have entry of operation being performed.




There is an option “Import” provided to import the update image files from external storage or attached USB drive to the HMC. HMC supports NFS and SFTP as external storage servers.

To import VIOS update files from the NFS server click on “Import” button as in below screen

Enter comma separated list of VIOS Update image files to be imported in “Files” section. And for Remote Server enter details of the Remote NFS Server, Mount Location, Remote Directory, and Other Mount Options details and click Apply to import the update image files from the specified remote system. If no files are specified, all the files from the remote directory will be copied. There can be only one ISO file can be imported, or set of .bff files can be imported. Import can take longer time and progress of import can be seen in the Task Log as shown in below images.  If there is insufficient space in HMC disk, then import operation might fail. 



Similarly, you can import the VIOS update images from remote SFTP server. Provide required details as shown in the image below and click on apply button to import the VIOS update image. User can use Password or Keyfile authentication method to connect to the remote SFTP server. Import can take longer time and update of copy can be seen in the Task Log as in below images.


You can also import the VIOS update image from the attached USB drive. Please ensure that the VIOS update image is flashed on the drive that you select from the dropdown list.


HMC CLI options to manage VIOS update and update VIOS.

All the operation on the VIOS Update and managing VIOS Update images can be performed using CLI.

    lsviosupd :

        List various VIOS update images in the Management Console.

        List updates available from IBM Website

    chviosupd :

        Rename VIOS update image in HMC.

    cpviosupd :

        Import VIOS update image files from external NFS/SFTP server or USB device

    rmviosupd : 

        Remove VIOS update image from HMC

        Remove one or more images at a time

    updvios : 

        Update VIOS from the image from HMC, external NFS/SFTP server or USB device


Below REST API Jobs can also be used for performing all the tasks on VIOS update and manage VIOS Updates in HMC.


    /rest/api/uom/ManagementConsole/{UUID}/do/ ManageVIOSUpdates




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