IBM i Virtualization Enhancements

Pete Massiello, iTech Solutions

It’s been my favorite enhancement of this latest round of Technology Refreshes (TR) for 7.3 and 7.4.  Partially because it was my request to IBM for this enhancement.  So, let me tell you something about that. A while ago we needed an enhancement to IBM i for virtualizing tape libraries.  I put in a Request For Enhancement (RFE) into IBM stating I wanted to share a tape library between IBM i partitions while using IBM i hosting IBM i.  Currently, we can share a tape drive between partitions without moving the adapter from the hosting partition, however, we couldn’t share a tape library.  IBM accepted the RFE and this is part of the latest TR announced last week.  Any customer can put an RFE in, and I encourage you to put your requests in. I will tell you IBM listens to our community’s needs and delivers them with new TRs and OS release features.  I was part of the beta team testing this out and I can attest it works.

Let’s make sure everyone knows the difference between a tape library and a tape device.  If the library is in random mode, it functions as a library.  Put the same tape library into sequential mode, and it functions as a tape device.  When it is a device, you will see names like TAP01, when it is a library, you see TAPMLB01.    Many people use a tape library, especially if they are using BRMS.  The problem is to share a tape library you needed VIOS and Fibre Channel adapters that support NPIV.  Now, we can share a tape library using IBM i hosting IBM i.  IBM actually over-delivered this (that is a good thing, no complaints here) by allowing tape libraries to be shared whether they are attached with Fibre Channel using NPIV, or with SAS.  Many IBM i shops are using SAS so this is a great enhancement for so many shops.

You will need to put the Technology Refresh on both your hosting partition, as well as the client partitions.  Once this is complete, you are all set.  I will show you how you can see this.  In the first screen, you will see the Tape Library physically attached to a SAS EJ10 Tape adapter, listed as a 57B4.

Now, I will vary on the Tape Library (TAPMLB02) on this hosting partition, and then show the tapes within the tape library.

Now, here is a listing of the actual tapes:

Now, I am going to vary off the tape library on the Host (HostP9) and vary it on, on the client partition (called iTech09).   You can see the tape drive now on this partition, but notice it is coming in via the Virtual SCSI & Network Server Description. That is why the resource has the 290A.

Notice below that the same tapes are in the library, which is what we would expect.

It’s that easy.  One thing to note, on the Hosting partition, make sure the tape library is set to Vary on at IPL *YES, so that the library is seen by the NWSD before the NWSD is varied on.  It’s that simple, and now you can share and use your tape library across IBM i partitions easily with BRMS, without ever having to move the adapter.

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