Installation on z/VM

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The following terms are used in this document.

RHEL - Red Hat Enterprise Linux

SLES - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

Disclosure - This document is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 Installation Guide, the SLES Prep Zseries (SLES10 SP4) Document, and z/VM Getting Started with Linux on System z (Version 5.3)

Installation of Linux on IBM System z under z/VM

1. Before Installation

1.1 Pre-Installation

The installation process assumes that you are familiar with the IBM System z and can set up logical partitions (LPARs) and z/VM guest virtual machines. For additional information on System z, refer to This document also assumes that you know basic CP and CMS commands.

1.2. Overview of the System z Installation Procedure

You can install Linux on System z interactively or in unattended mode. Installation on System z differs from installation on other architectures, since it is typically performed over a network and not from a local DVD. This document describes interactive network installation on z/VM.

1.3 Prerequisites

1.You will need a 3270 terminal emulator to connect to a z/VM virtual machine. For Linux, you can use x3270. For Windows, you can use IBM Personal Communications, qs3270, or any other available emulator.

2.An SSH client. If you use Linux on your workstation, ssh is available. For Windows, you can use SSH client 'Putty'.

3.A VNC client. You can use the VNC Viewer or a similar program for Windows, and Vinagre for Linux.

4.An installation repository which is accessible to the installer Linux on a z/VM guest by nfs, HTTP, or FTP.

5.Linux installation on System z needs at least two devices: a DASD (Direct Attached Storage Device = a disk) and a network connection device.

2. Installation details

Refer to your distribution's documentation to install the Linux on z/VM guest. Installation of Linux on System z includes following stages.

1. IPL (Initial Program Load = booting) the installer

To get the installation and configuration process started, Linux distributions follow this pattern:

Stage 1. Transferring the Linux Boot Files to the Virtual Machine

FTP the Linux boot files to a target virtual machine. Linux distributions often require you to FTP the files to your virtual machine. Examples: SLES uses the following boot files: VMRDR.IKR The Linux kernel built for use with a ram disk. INITRD The initial ram disk image. PARMFILE The generic parm file for use with the ram disk system.

RHEL uses the following boot files:

KERNEL.IMG. The Linux kernel. 
INITRD.IMG. The initial ram disk image. 
GENERIC.PRM  The generic parm file for use with the ram disk system.

Note: Use the z/VM FTP command to transfer the files. The parmfile or generic.prm are text files and can be fetched in ASCII mode. However, you must transfer the Linux kernel and ram disk image files to the virtual machine by specifying them as binary files with a VM record format of fixed length 80. Use the commands “bin” and “locsite fix 80” before you make the transfer.

Stage 2. Punch the Linux boot files to the virtual machine reader

To punch Linux boot files into reader, issue the following CMS commands:







Stage 3. Boot (IPL) Linux from the virtual machine reader

To boot the installation Linux from reader, issue the following CMS command: IPL 00C Clear Where 00C is virtual device number of z/VM virtual machine's virtual reader. You will see that Linux starts booting.


2. Installation Phase 1 - Initial Network Setup

Since installation will be done over the network, one of the first steps will be to set up an initial network device. A question and answer script will ask for the network details like IP address, netmask, or gateway server. This network device is then used to connect to the installation server through SSH or VNC. This gets you a full-screen mode terminal or graphical display to continue installation as on other architectures.


3. Installation Phase 2 - Connect to the installation source

Once the network connection has been established it will be used to access the install server containing the installation server. To establish the connection to the installation server, specify the IP address of the installation server, access data, and the corresponding directory.


4. Installation Phase 3 - Starting the distribution specific installer

Different Linux distributions use different installer programs. For RHEL use anaconda (the main part of the Red Hat installation program) to perform the rest of the installation. For SLES use Yast. Typically defining partitioning scheme and software package selection is done in this stage.


3. References

You can refer to the installation guides provided by the Linux distributions for more details. You can also refer to z/VM Getting Started with Linux on System z (Version 5.3).