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PowerVM features in the new Power10 Servers

By Pete Heyrman posted Mon September 27, 2021 08:00 AM


In September 2021 IBM introduced the new E1080 server which uses our next generation for IBM Power processor, Power10.  The E1080 is designed to scale core operational workloads and AI applications securely and efficiently across hybrid cloud.

Power10 E1080

See Key Features of Power10 for an overview of many of the new hardware features.  In addition of Power10 hardware improvements, updates have also been made to the PowerVM components such as VIOS, HMC and Server firmware.

VIOS Enhancements

The following enhancements and new features are available in VIOS 3.1.3:

  • Power10 Power Server
    • Support for the E1080 Power10 Server
  • LPM enhancements
    • See LPM Enhancement section for details
  • SSP enhancements
    • LU thickening, resiliency and performance improvements
  • VIOS Request For Enhancement (RFE)
    • Including an AIX alternative to kdb for viewing VIOS identifying info shared with client LPAR’s
  • VIOS Maintenance Tool (HMC)
    • See HMC Enhancement section for details
  • VIOS Upgrade Tool enhancements
    • Preservation of device names and ordering, and of other customizations and tunables


HMC Enhancements

The following enhancements and new features are available in HMC Version 10 Release 1 Maintenance 1010:

  • Support for Power10 processor-based high end systems and IO adapters
  • VIOS Management Enhancements
    • Prepare for VIOS maintenance
    • Command line & scheduled operations support for VIOS backup/restore
    • Option to fail over all virtual NICs from one VIOS to another
  • Support only 128 / 256 MB memory region sizes for Power10 servers
  • Automatically choose fastest network for LPM memory transfer (supported with VIOS 3.1.3 or later)
  • HMC User Experience Enhancements
    • Usability, performance improvements
    • Enhancements to help content global search
    • Quick view of Serviceable events
    • Additional progress information for UI wizards
  • Allow LPM/Remote Restart when virtual optical device is assigned to partition (supported with VIOS 3.1.3 or later)
  • Support for AIX Update Access Key
  • Ability to configure login retries and suspended time and support for inactivity expiration in password policy
  • Ability to specify HMC location, data replication for groups, and option to send email notifications only when scheduled operations fail.
  • OS Secure boot support for HMC hardware appliance 7063-CR2.
  • Replaced objectionable terminology across the HMC, including the GUI, REST API, command line, and messages. Changes in the following functions were made:
    • Power Enterprise Pools: master is replaced by controller
    • Data Replication: master is replaced by primary, and slave is replaced by secondary
    • PowerVM NovaLink Co-management: master is replaced by controller

LPM Enhancements

Optical Device

In previous versions of PowerVM, if an optical device was assigned to a logical partition, the customer needed to remove the device from the partition prior to performing LPM or Remote Restart.  Starting with VIOS 3.1.3 and HMC V10 R1 M1010, if there is no media loaded in the optical device, the LPM or Remote Restart operation will be allowed and a new optical device will be created for the partition on the destination server.

Automatic selection of network device in Mover/Server partition

In previous versions when an LPM operation was performed and the request did not explicitly specify a network device that should be used by the Mover/Server partition, PowerVM would just select a device that could transmit the data.  With the latest version of PowerVM starting with VIOS 3.1.3 and HMC V10 R1 M1010, the device selection is based on the performance characteristics of the device.

Linux Enhancements

When mapping from logical memory address to physical real addresses in a virtualized environment, there is a structure that is used by the OS, firmware and hardware that provides this mapping.  This structure is referred to as the hardware page table (HPT).  Linux on Power was originally designed on other platforms where the HPT was organized in a radix tree format.  Power System’s support a hashed organization of this hardware page table so the Linux kernel when running on Power system added hashed page table support.  Starting with Power10, the hardware was enhanced to support both a radix and the existing hashed page tables.  Changes have been made in newer versions of Linux to support the radix page table architecture on Power10.

AIX Update Access Keys (UAK)

When a customer buys a software product like AIX, frequently they purchase a software maintenance agreement (SWMA) that allows customers to contact support for problems, install fixes and install new versions of the product.  Enhancement have been made in PowerVM and AIX to report the expiration date of this agreement for a given server.  This helps to ensure that if the need exists to install new features for AIX or contact support, that there is an agreement in place for support.  More information on this enhancement can be found at AIX Update Access Keys.

Discontinued features

At the introduction of new version of PowerVM, IBM reviews the currently offered features and determines the adoption of these features by our customers.  Call Home data, user groups and other methods are used to determine the usage of these features.  Because of the low adoption and ongoing testing/development needed to continue to maintain the following features, IBM has decided to drop support for these features in Power10. HMC, since it can manage previous generation of systems  and VIOS ,since they run on older hardware models, still have support for these features on supported systems.

Deprecated features:

  • Active Memory Sharing (AMS) – This was added as a way to allow customers to deploy more partitions per server by sharing a pool of memory across multiple partitions. POWER9 and Power10 support up to 64TB of memory so customers that previously used this feature will need to switch to dedicated memory partitions on Power10.
  • Logical Memory Block Sizes (16MB, 32MB and 64MB) – A logical memory block (LMB) is the smallest granularity of memory that can be assigned to a partition. Power10 does not support the smaller sizes and only supports 128MB and 256MB.  If you utilize LPM between older generations of POWER servers and Power10, you will need to ensure that you are using 128MB or 256MB sizes to migrate to Power10.
  • Workload Management Groups – These groups were part of the support for the Enterprise Workload Management (eWLM) product and support was dropped by IBM in 2006. If you happened to specify a value for the HMC workload management group attribute other than None, you should change the group to None prior to migrating to Power10.

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