Multiple Linux Consoles in z/VM

The standard method to access z/VM is using a 3215 terminal with a terminal emulator. With linux, the x3270 package provides a free emulator for these terminals.

One of the features of z/VM is, that you can define several consoles for a guest. This is very helpful if there are problems with a guest that affect the network connectivity. With z/VM you can even define multiple consoles that allow direct logon to the running guest.

By default, only one terminal is defined for z/VM guests. To define three additional 3270 consoles on a guest at the addresses 0020-0022, use the following commands:

cp define graf 20
cp define graf 21
cp define graf 22

These consoles can also be created online from linux, provided that you got sufficient privileges on the guest. To issue cp commands from linux, use the command vmcp instead of cp.

With SLES 12, several additional steps are needed to activate these consoles.

First, the devices must be made available to the system. This a twofold process:

  1. Remove the devices from the cio ignore list with the command
  2. cio_ignore -r 0.0.0020-0.0.0022
  3. Add the devices to /boot/zipl/active_devices.txt to make this change persistent.
    # cat /boot/zipl/active_devices.txt

The system automatically detects those devices. The corresponding serial devices are found below /dev/3270/tty[123]. Next, tell systemd to run a getty on these devices:

systemctl enable serial-getty@3270-tty1.service
systemctl enable serial-getty@3270-tty2.service
systemctl enable serial-getty@3270-tty3.service
systemctl start serial-getty@3270-tty1.service
systemctl start serial-getty@3270-tty2.service
systemctl start serial-getty@3270-tty3.service

To use the new consoles on a machine called LINUX065, direct the 3270 terminal emulator at z/VM. Instead of logging on as regular user, move the cursor to the COMMAND line and enter the following command:

dial linux065

To redisplay the logon prompt, you might want to press enter once.

When trying to logon to this console as root, you will find that it won’t let you. The reason for this is, that root logon is only allowed on previously defined consoles. The configuration file for this is /etc/securetty. Add the following lines to the end of this file:


After this, you can directly logon to the linux guest without the need for z/VM credentials.

If you want to avoid the need to redefine the consoles after a logoff of the guest, add the definition to PROFILE EXEC A of the guest.


This entry was posted in 3270, Mainframe, SLES12, z Linux, zVM and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Multiple Linux Consoles in z/VM

  1. Neale Ferguson says:

    Or add SPECIAL statements to the guest’s CP directory entry.

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