Project:Infrastructure/Developer Machines/s390

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s390 Admin Notes

These are various notes mainly targeted at people administrating Gentoo dev machines, although most things are probably generally useful. These are not general "how do I administrate a Gentoo box" notes.


These are the current systems we have available. See machine specific notes at bottom for more details.

Machine Name IP DNS Hostnames Console Server Console Account
lgentoo03 LGENTOO3
lgentoo04 LGENTOO4

Console Access

In order to access the s390 console, install the net-misc/suite3270 terminal emulator. This provides multiple UIs for connecting to a remote system. Use whichever version you prefer. We'll focus on two here:

  • x3270: Graphical X interface
  • c3270: Console ncurses interface
  1. Use the open command to connect to the console server (see hostnames above).
  2. The USERID field should be selected by default -- enter the account name for the host (see hostnames above).
  3. If the USERID is fully filled, the cursor moves automatically to the password, otherwise hit tab to move to the field.
  4. Type in the password. Note: while the cursor will move, nothing will be displayed -- no actual characters or the common * marker.

Note: When you are done, do not use #cp logoff as that kills the VM. Only use #cp disconnect.

Common CP/CMS Commands

See the S390/z/VM tips and tricks page for details.

Kernel Management

s390 systems use the zipl tool from the sys-apps/s390-tools package to manage booting of kernels. Things to remember:

  • Make updates to /etc/zipl.conf.
  • Run zipl whenever zipl.conf is changed or kernels referred to by the config file are updated (failure to do so will break booting).
  • The bootable linux kernel is created at arch/s390/boot/image (e.g. under /usr/src/linux/).
  • The make install shortcut usually does not do the right thing under s390.


You cannot format the "full" device as a filesystem. e.g. mke2fs /dev/dasdb will fail. The s390 VM system requires the header of the device have some metadata so the hypervisor can process things correctly.

Make sure you run dasdfmt on the device before you do anything else. This creates the proper metadata structure.

Do not use fdisk to try and format block devices. Use fdasd instead. You can use standard mkfs tools on the partitions after that.

Sample Config Files


defaultmenu = menu

    image = /boot/image
    target = /boot/zipl
    parameters = "no_removal_warning dasd=0150,0151,0160,0191,0200 root=/dev/dasdb1 rootfstype=ext4 panic=3 TERM=dumb init=/bin/busybox setarch linux32 /ginit"

    image = /boot/image.ok
    target = /boot/zipl
    parameters = "no_removal_warning dasd=0150,0151,0160,0191,0200 root=/dev/dasdb1 rootfstype=ext4 panic=3 TERM=dumb init=/ginit"

    image = /boot/image.ok
    target = /boot/zipl
    parameters = "no_removal_warning dasd=0150,0151,0160,0191,0200 root=/dev/dasdb1 rootfstype=ext4 panic=3 TERM=dumb init=/bin/bb rw"

    default = 1
    prompt = 1
    target = /boot/zipl
    timeout = 10
    1 = Gentoo
    2 = Gentoo_OK
    3 = Rescue


config_eth0=" 2620:91:0:688:1::31/64"
routes_eth0="default via"
ccwgroup_eth0="0.0.0340 0.0.0341 0.0.0342"
ccwgroup_opts_eth0="layer2=1" #fake_ll=0

Manual Network Bringup

If the network device fails to come up properly, you can online it manually.

  • Load the kernels modules for ethernet.
root #modprobe ccwgroup
root #modprobe qeth
  • Bind the hardware ports to the ethernet driver -- the x.y.zzzz numbers will depend on your system.
root #cd /sys/bus/ccwgroup/drivers/qeth/
root #echo 0.0.0340,0.0.0341,0.0.0342 > group
  • Initialize the ethernet settings.
root #cd /sys/devices/qeth/0.0.0340/
root #echo 0 > layer2
root #echo 0 > fake_ll
root #echo 1 > online
  • Bring up the network directly -- obviously the network settings here depend on your box.
root #ifconfig ${iface} broadcast netmask
root #route add default gw

Machine-specific Notes


  • Contact: &
  • IPv4:; netmask; gateway
  • IPv6: 2620:91:0:688:1::31/64; gateway 2620:91:0:688::1/64
  • Memory: 2G
  • vCPU: 2 IFLs (virtual)
  • Disks:
   vaddr 150 and 151 are approx. 2.3G each, where SLES 11 currently resides (dasda and dasdb)
   vaddr 200 - large approx. 23G volume, dasde.  Can be used for whatever you want.
   vaddr 160 - a virtual disk used by SLES for swap (exists only in z/VM memory).
               Don't use it to store files as it will be recreated every time the server reboots.
   vaddr 190-19F, 8888 - utility disks for z/VM, they are read/only.
                         191 is the exception, that is for SLES to boot from.  Not
                         enough space to use for anything else.


  • IPv4:; netmask; gateway
  • IPv6: 2620:91:0:688:1::32/64; gateway 2620:91:0:688::1/64
  • Memory/CPU/Disk: same as lgentoo3