How to Install VIOS from network through Linux Server

This technote will help you install the VIOS server on IBM power systems where you want to do a network install of VIOS. These instructions allow you to do a network install from a Linux server instead of using NIM on AIX. This function is critical for Linux environments on POWER where AIX machines do not co-exist.

Set up the Linux server for VIOS installation

This section describes how to set up the Linux server for a VIOS / IVM network installation. The following description is based on Red Hat Linux Enterprise Server 6.4.

General notes

The following names and values are examples and need to be changed for your environment:

Subnet Mask:

Host name IP address MAC address
Client: client1 00:11:25:c9:30:b7
Server: reminstallsrv

NOTE: The server must be able to resolve the client’s host name, by either DNS, /etc/hosts, or another method. Depending on the setup, it may be necessary to use the fully qualified domain name (FQDN).

Install RPM packages

The version numbers of the RPM packages are from Red Hat Linux Enterprise Server Version 6.4. The following packages need to be installed first using rpm –Uvh, if they are not already there:


Prepare directories, copy VIOS from DVD, unpack the SPOT, and prepare the boot image

1) The network installation needs some resources on the server that we will create now. We will make the directories that we need. Run the following commands:

mkdir -p /export/vios

2) Mount the VIOS DVD and copy the resources,, ispot.tar.Z, and mksysb from the directory /nimol/ioserver_res on the DVD to the local directory /export/vios. Run the following command:
cp /mnt/nimol/ioserver_res/* /export/vios 

3) If you do not want an unattended installation later, you need to edit and change the following. This will later open the installation dialog and offer you the possibility to select, for example, the target hard disk:

PROMPT = yes

4) Now you need to unpack the so-called SPOT from the compressed image. This creates the directory SPOT under the current directory /export/vios, run:
tar -xzf ispot.tar.Z

5) Uncompress the boot image from the DVD so that you can use it for the network installation. This boot image MUST exist in the directory where TFTP looks for files. Run the following commands:
cd /var/lib/tftpboot
gunzip < /export/vios/ > client1

6) Create a file named /var/lib/tftpboot/ with the content shown below:

vi /var/lib/tftpboot/

#------------------ Network Install Manager ---------------
export NIM_SERVER_TYPE=linux
export NIM_SYSLOG_PORT=514
export NIM_NAME=client1
export NIM_HOSTNAME=client1
export NIM_CONFIGURATION=standalone
export NIM_MASTER_HOSTNAME=reminstallsrv
export RC_CONFIG=rc.bos_inst
export NIM_BOSINST_ENV="/../SPOT/usr/lpp/bos.sysmgt/nim/methods/c_bosinst_env"
export NIM_BOSINST_RECOVER="/../SPOT/usr/lpp/bos.sysmgt/nim/methods/c_bosinst_env -a hostname=client1"
export SPOT=reminstallsrv:/export/vios/SPOT/usr
export NIM_BOS_FORMAT=mksysb
export NIM_HOSTS=" "
export NIM_MOUNTS=" reminstallsrv:/export/vios/ reminstallsrv:/export/vios/mksysb:/NIM_BOS_IMAGE:file "
export ROUTES=" default:0: " 


NFS exports and server daemons

7) Add following entries to /etc/exports:

/export/vios/mksysb *(ro,insecure,no_root_squash)
/export/vios/SPOT/usr *(ro,insecure,no_root_squash)
/export/vios/ *(ro,insecure,no_root_squash)

8) Start the NFS server:
service nfs start 

Prepare tftp service

9) Change disable to no in /etc/xinetd.d/tftp, as shown below:

service tftp
socket_type = dgram
protocol = udp
wait = yes
user = root
server = /usr/sbin/in.tftpd
server_args = -s /tftpboot
disable = no

and restart the xinited daemon:
service xinetd restart 

DHCP setup

10) Edit the file /etc/dhcpd.conf and add the lines shown below:

always-reply-rfc1048 true;
allow bootp;
deny unknown-clients;
not authoritative;
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;
ddns-update-style none;

subnet netmask {
host client {
hardware ethernet 00:11:25:c9:30:b7;
filename "client1";

Note: The value for filename does not necessarily have to be identical to the host name, but it must match with the file name of the boot file we put in /var/lib/tftpboot.

12) Make the changes below in /etc/sysconfig/dhcpd:

13) Restart dhcpd:
service dhcpd restart 

Installation on the client

Note: Depending on the setup on the Linux server, you may have to restart the services xinetd, dhcp and NFS server manually after a reboot.

Start a Serial over LAN (SoL) session to the client and power on the p701. Enter the SMS menu and start the network installation.
Important: Directed bootp does not work with the bootp function provided by DHCP. Therefore, the client’s and server’s IP address must be in the IP parameters and the client’s MAC address must be specified in the server’s /etc/dhcpd.conf file to use broadcast bootp. Broadcast bootp, however, works only if the client and server are in the same subnet. Directed bootp may work with the bootpd implementation on Linux, but we did not test it here.
PowerPC Firmware
Version MB240_470_014
SMS 1.6 (c) Copyright IBM Corp. 2000,2005 All rights reserved.
IP Parameters
Port 2-IBM 2 PORT 1000 Base-SX PCI-X Adapter: U788D.001.99DWL3F-P1-T8
1. Client IP Address []
2. Server IP Address []
3. Gateway IP Address []
4. Subnet Mask [] 
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