Dynamic Partition Manager on z Systems

May 26th, 2016

Andy Hartman
Sr. Systems Engineer

With the new z13s and the second generation of the z13, IBM announced a new feature to manage the partitioning and setup of z Systems known as Dynamic Partition Manager (DPM). This new feature is aimed at allowing non-mainframe centric system administrators to easily manage a LinuxOne system or z13 systems running Linux-only workloads, without having to learn about defining Logical Partitions (LPAR), using the traditional methods. For example, this eliminates the need to use z/OS to configure the Input Output Control Data Sets or to set up profiles on the Hardware Management Console (HMC).

DPM is graphically based, and the workflow is very similar to what you would see on other platforms for defining logical partitions, disk, memory, CPUs, and communication devices. With this new feature, you can define native Linux LPARs or LPARs that run IBM KVM for z Systems. DPM cannot be used with other traditional mainframe operating systems like z/OS, z/VSE or z/VM, although I believe IBM will probably make z/VM available with a future release. The system can be loaded in either DPM mode or traditional mode, but not both at the same time.

DPM is a full management system that allows you to create, change and monitor LPARs, as well as all of their resources, from the Hardware Management Console or from your desktop, if you have remote access to the HMC. DPM also provides application programming interfaces (API) to allow you or a third party vendor to build additional capabilities to manage or monitor your z System.

With DPM, a system administrator can manage the z System in much the same way that they manage other hardware platforms today. They can deploy various LPARs with resources based on what these LPARs are going to be used for, such as running a native Linux operating system utilizing Docker or LXD or perhaps IBM KVM for z Systems. DPM makes it easy to handle changes to these LPARs by combining management and monitoring into one interface. DPM allows for various methods of loading the partition with an operating system, such as from ISO image, FTP Server, a SAN device, etc.

After the partition or partitions have been created, DPM can be used to monitor these partitions for both real-time performance and problems, as well as to keep track of resource limits set for these partitions. There are tutorials, guides and other help provided on the HMC for DPM, as well as how to work with this new environment. The workflow is very straight forward, and anyone familiar with setting up partitions or servers on other platforms should have no trouble setting up LPARs on z Systems. This is because you are defining resources in the same way you would on other platforms, through a graphical user interface that is straightforward and easy to use.

IBM will continue to enhance and add functionality to DPM in order to help customers create and maintain more complex, dynamic and larger Linux environments on z Systems. DPM is a new environment and planning for this new feature will need to be done.  Mainline is here to help you take advantage of these new capabilities on z Systems. Please contact your Mainline Account Executive to answer any questions you may have, or to set up a more in-depth discussion about what you can do with Dynamic Partition Manager.

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