iCan Blog Archive

On October 20, IBM announced that an IBM i 6.1 environment on a POWER6 processor-based system can be upgraded to IBM i 6.1.1 with an image on the network file server. Prior to this enhancement, you’d have to install with physical media or with virtual media located locally on the system being upgraded. This required a manual FTP the virtual images across the network to the individual partitions to be installed.


Now the image file can be shared over the network.


The concept of a virtual optical device using image files shared over a network was implemented in IBM i 6.1. This new function was limited to Licensed Program install, PTF install and data restore operations. Now with the recent enhancements, users can also upgrade Licensed Internal Code and IBM i operating system using this same shared image file support.

Advantages of Network Install

  • Normal full function install screens (virtual media install did a copy of LIC under the covers)
  • Quick, easy and efficient
  • Install multiple partitions at the same time from the same image server
  • No manual change to the panel functions in the partition properties on the HMC
  • Great for users who have large hardware configurations with multiple partitions that share physical DVD devices
  • Simple setup and configuration

System Requirements

To prepare and share virtual optical images with the Network File System (NFS) network, you need to ensure that the client system and source system meet specific requirements.

Image File Server Requirements. To share virtual optical images through a network, the source system serves as the image server and must meet the following requirements:

  • System must be at IBM i 6.1 or greater
  • PTFs SI35186 and SI35189
  • NFS server *RPC, *SVR, and *MNT must be started
  • The server must be able to share virtual optical images using version 3 or later of the NFS
  • The images to be served must exist in an image catalog, which must have an image catalog path name that is limited to 127 characters. Path name characters are limited to A-Z, a-z, 0-9 and / (slash). Each image file name is limited to 127 characters.
  • A volume list (VOLUME_LIST) file containing the list of images to be loaded in the virtual optical device must exist in the image catalog directory. The VFYIMGCLG command is used to create the volume list file from the image catalog containing the images you want to share. A volume list has the following characteristics:
    • Must be called VOLUME_LIST
    • Each line is either a image file name or a comment
    • ASCII format
    • All entries are ended by the end of a line
    • All characters following the pound sign ’#’ are considered comments until the end of the line
    • Comments can be added after # and must be followed by an EOL character
    • Provides the order that the image files will be processed on the client system
    • File names are limited to 127 characters
    • Can be created with the Verify Image Catalog Entry (VFYIMGCLG) with the NFSSHR(*YES) parameter or manually by using a ASCII editor
    • No tabs or line feeds can be used in the path name

Note: Changes to VOLUME_LIST file aren’t active until the next time the client device is varied off/on.

Client System Requirements. The client system or system to be installed needs to access virtual optical images through a network and must meet the following requirements:

  • System must be at IBM i 6.1 or greater
  • POWER6 or later
  • The install media must be IBM i 6.1.1 or later
  • The following i 6.1 PTFs are required: SI35201 (lead PTF – this will cause the other PTFs to be ordered and installed), SI35186, SI35189, SI35747, MF47284, MF47285
  • An 632B-003 optical device is created by using the Create Device Description Optical (CRTDEVOPT) command. The client must also have either a service tools server or a LAN console connection configured and version 4 of the Internet Protocol (IP).

For complete instructions on using the latest network install support, see the documentation “IBM i Network Install using Network File System.” 

I’d like to thank Al Smith for writing this blog article. Al is the team leader of the IBM i install and virtual media team in the Rochester development lab.

This blog post was originally published on IBMSystemsMag.com and is reproduced here by permission of IBM Systems Media.