New z/VM Guest

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a multi-post series on CSL-WAVE, a systems management GUI for z/VM analogous to VMWare’s VCenter or Microsoft’s System Center. This software promises to simplify the task of administering Linux guests running on z/VM.  To view part one of this series, click here.

Many customers who will be installing and implementing CSL-WAVE will no doubt have an existing z/VM and Linux for System z environment.  In this context the customer most likely will already have “gold master” Linux for System z images that are cloned to create new virtual machines to be used for applications and middleware that run the business.  CSL-WAVE easily integrates into an environment such as this by providing the capability to identify an existing virtual machine as a “prototype”.

How to convert a VM User to a "Golden Master" Prototype in CSL-Wave
Right Click on Guest and select “Convert VM User to Prototype”
Create Prototype from VM User Panel
Complete the “Create Prototype from VM User” Panel

Marking a virtual machine in this manner causes CSL-WAVE to ensure that the virtual machine will not be logged on to the system, and also to create a prototype directory entry to be used when creating clones of this virtual machine.

VM User is now Prototype
Your VM User is now a Prototype

Before designating a virtual machine in this manner, it is a good idea to execute the “init for wave” process so that all clones created from this base will already have that step completed.

Once this setup work is done, creating a clone from this base is as simple as right-clicking on the prototype icon and selecting “clone from this prototype”.

Select "Clone from this Prototype"
Select “Clone from this Prototype”

Before the clone process begins you will have an opportunity to specify the name for the new virtual machine, the z/VM password for the new virtual machine, and network connectivity for the new server.

Complete the "Clone from z/VM Prototype" Panel
Complete the “Clone from z/VM Prototype” Panel

The information provided will then be used by CSL-WAVE to create a series of background tasks to complete the clone process.  These tasks consist of creating the new virtual machine directory entry, and then copying the minidisks from the base image to the new image.  You can follow the progress of these tasks through the log viewer.

Work Unit Details
Work Unit Details for “Clone z/VM Guest” Task

When the clone process is completed, you will have a new server that can be activated and populated with applications and or middleware.  One step you might want to do at this point is to specify the group this new virtual machine should be part of.  The topic of projects and grouping is quite powerful and will be the subject of another blog on CSL-WAVE.

Assign Site Defined Group
Assign Site Defined Group

To activate the new virtual machine you simply right click on the icon and select Activate.   A window to confirm this and begin the process will be displayed.

Activate the new z/VM Guest
Activate the new z/VM Guest

With just a few clicks and a few minutes of time you have provisioned a new server all without knowing the many individual z/VM commands to execute the process.  When your new server is up and running it will already be ready for management by CSL-WAVE, so you will be able to gather performance data from it, as well as add resources when needed.

New z/VM Guest
New z/VM Guest

In August of this year IBM announced the acquisition of CSL International, a leading provider of virtualization management technology.  As part of the sales enablement strategy for this new IBM technology,  a team at the International Technical Support Organization (ITSO) in Poughkeepsie, NY, is beginning work to produce a Redbooks publication designed to help customers implement this new technology called CSL-WAVE. CSL-WAVE is a provisioning and productivity management solution for simplifying the control and usage of virtual Linux servers running on the IBM z/VM operating system.

A look at the CSL Wave GUI
Figure 1: A first glimpse at the CSL Wave GUI

This is the first week of the project, so the team has been spending time building a table of contents for the book, and becoming familiar with the technology.  Wednesday we installed CSL-WAVE in the first member of a four member z/VM 6.3 Single System Image cluster.

We began by executing the z/VM and Directory Maintenance Facility (DIRMAINT) commands necessary to prepare for the installation of CSL-WAVE.  Our environment had much of the preliminary setup already done, such as configuration of the z/VM System Management API (SMAPI), and configuration of the DIRMAINT EXTENT CONTROL file.  In addition, the Linux virtual machine to host the CSL-WAVE knowledge base, web server and background task scheduler was already created for us.  The Linux distribution was SUSE and the level was SLES 11 SP2.

Once all of the preliminary steps were completed we proceeded to install the CSL-WAVE rpm file.  This went very smoothly and lasted only a couple of minutes.  At the end of the rpm install we had the web server, knowledge base and background task scheduler up and running.

The next step was to point a browser at the IP address for the WAVESRV virtual machine (running the knowledge base, web server, and background task scheduler) to download the Java web start GUI client.  The web page displayed provides a link for the GUI client; however, it also provides a really convenient tool to test whether or not the z/VM SMAPI is properly configured.  This is a capability that many z/VM customers have requested for quite some time.  When configuring the z/VM SMAPI there isn’t any convenient method of checking that all is running properly.  The tool from CSL-WAVE provides just that capability.

API Testing for CSL WAVE
Figure 2: The z/VM API Connection Test Tool

As can be seen in Figure 2,  the tool will connect to the z/VM System Management API and test the network connectivity as well as the capability to execute API requests that use the DIRMAINT facility.

After running the test tool, we invoked the CSL-WAVE GUI.   The GUI prompts for the definition of a userid and password that will become a super user for further configuration.  From this point we needed to configure the license, and define the processor and systems for CSL-WAVE to manage.  Details of that process are best left for another installment.   Even with plenty of time to discuss what was happening we were completely installed in less than 3 hours.  Quite remarkable.