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Youtube movie title:
PowerVC 1.4 Software Defined Infrastructure and IBM Spectrum Scale 5.0.0

Youtube description:
A demo for creating a Software Defined Infrastructure (SDI) using Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Software Defined Storage (SDS) with IBM Spectrum Scale 5.0.0 (formerly called GPFS).

Video Transcript:
Hello, today we’re going to look at Software Defined Infrastructure, or SDI, functions available in PowerVC 1.4.0. SDI was first introduced in PowerVC during the 1.3.3 release in June of 2017 as a “tech preview”. Starting with PowerVC 1.4.0, the SDI function has been fully incorporated into the product.

Let’s start by defining what we me mean when we say SDI.

The PowerVC Software Defined Infrastructure is a combination of Software Defined Networking and Software Defined Storage. Note that it is possible to use PowerVC’s Software Defined Networking solution alone, but when using PowerVC’s Software Defined Storage solution we must also use Software Defined Networking.

Let’s look at a few typologies for PowerVC’s Software Defined Infrastructure solution.

Let’s say that you have a few servers laying around and you want to build a cloud quickly. You do not have a SAN, just Ethernet connections and servers. However the servers have local disks. Here we can take 6 POWER servers and link them together with 10gig, or faster, Ethernet and PowerVC will create a virtual SAN using Spectrum Scale on top of the Ethernet connection. Spectrum Scale provides the redundancy against failure of any server or disk.

Now for a more complex topology where the storage and data network are on separate physical networks. Here we have the storage and management network shared, and the data network separated. The storage network must be a minimum of 10gig, and 25gig is recommended.

The benefit for this type of topology is that your storage traffic is not in contention with your data network traffic. This is the preferred topology and still maintains an Ethernet only solution.

This type of solution can dramatically simplify your infrastructure. The SDI features within PowerVC enable you to build SAN-less clouds either using the local disks within the servers or backed by iSCSI disks from external storage devices.

The SDI capabilities also support both PowerVM with Novalink and KVM on Power. On top of that, a single PowerVC server can support a mix of all of these topologies – traditional PowerVM clouds, SDI PowerVM and SDI KVM on Power. This provides a single point of management across different, fit for purpose infrastructures.

Let’s look at how we would create and use this topology using PowerVC.

View demo here. Transcript continues below video:


This is a PowerVC server running version 1.4 that was released in December of 2017. We can see this PowerVC server is managing 4 Power servers that were installed in SDI mode.


When the first SDI Power server was registered with PowerVC, PowerVC automatically installed the IBM Spectrum Scale code on both the Power host and the PowerVC server. A pre-requisite to having PowerVC install IBM Spectrum Scale is to place the IBM Spectrum Scale binaries in the PowerVC images directory, seen here:

PowerVC does not ship the IBM Spectrum Scale binaries, the customer must obtain the IBM Spectrum Scale binaries separately and place them in this directory. Then PowerVC will do the rest of the work to create and manage the cluster.

There is a new IBM Cloud PowerVC Manager for SDI bundle which includes entitlement for both Cloud PowerVC Manager and Spectrum Scale. This bundle makes it easy to ensure you have the right licenses for this solution.

The Power SDI servers show up just like any other host in the PowerVC hosts view. They can exist alongside non-SDI hosts including HMC managed hosts, although only PowerVM NovaLink or KVM hosts can use the SDI function.

To deploy a VM, we first need to create an image to deploy. Let’s start by creating a volume using PowerVC.

We’ll create a volume in the IBM Spectrum Scale storage pool and give it a name and size that matches the VM we’re going to deploy, say AIX. Note that Linux is also supported as an SDI guest operating system, and IBM i is in technical preview.

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Notice here that the PowerVC server itself has the Spectrum Scale file system mounted to it. It is actually a member of the Spectrum Scale file system; however it does not provide any physical disks. The disks all come from the compute servers.

Once the image we want to deploy is copied into the volume, we can create an image using that volume.

We’ll use the volume we created and set the type to bootable, and then Hypervisor type, Operating system type, and the endianness.

With the image created, we can now deploy it, just as we would with any other PowerVC image.

Under the hood, PowerVC is creating another volume to use with our virtual machine, and using our Software Defined Storage and Networking to configure the connectivity for the VM.

Here we can see the completed VM deployed. .

Notice now that I can click into the console and see the VM boot. The VM is able to ping out to the network. We can go back to the PowerVC server and see that the boot volume is hosted out of the shared Spectrum Scale file system, but to the AIX VM it is just a block device.

This concludes the demo. For more information on PowerVC’s Software Defined Networking, please see our earlier video covering SDN. We hope you find this new Software Defined Infrastructure function useful in your environment, and we look forward to hearing any of your feedback and requests.

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