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Virtual media, including virtual tape volumes and virtual optical volumes, are IBM i objects that reside in system storage. Nevertheless, they behave exactly like their physical counterparts, tape cartridges and CD/DVD platters. This course begins by explaining virtual media concepts and discussing common applications for virtual tape and virtual optical volumes.

The course then covers the commands used to set up virtual media. As you will see, this involves creating virtual tape devices, virtual optical devices, and image catalogs. You will see how to copy data from a physical volume to a virtual volume and how to create and initialize blank virtual tapes. You will also see how to load a virtual image catalog into a virtual device for use.

Catalog shadowing is covered next. This is a method for sharing virtual images among more that one virtual device. As a result, multiple programs can use the same image catalog or virtual volume at the same time.

The course then describes the remaining commands for working with image catalogs and virtual volumes. The course ends with a discussion of errors that are commonly encountered when using virtual media, how to avoid them, and how to respond when avoidance is not possible.

Approximate Study Time: 1.5 hours


After completing this topic, you should be able to use System i Navigator to perform the following tasks:

  • Define virtual media terms
  • Describe the procedures for creating and using virtual media
  • Identify applications for virtual tape and optical volumes
  • Create virtual tape and optical devices
  • Display the status of virtual devices
  • Create an image catalog
  • Add a virtual tape or virtual optical volume to an image catalog
  • Load or unload an image catalog in a virtual device
  • Mount, load, or unload a specified virtual volume
  • Identify the advantages and limitations of using dependent image catalogs
  • Create a dependent catalog
  • Display a menu of all image catalog commands
  • Match image catalog commands with their functions
  • Write-protect a virtual volume
  • Release unused space from virtual tape volumes
  • Delete a virtual volume or a complete image catalog
  • Verify that an optical image catalog contains valid upgrade or PTF images
  • List all image catalogs or the volumes in a particular catalog
  • Identify the causes of common virtual media and device errors, the best way to respond to them, and steps you can take to avoid them

Topic Outline

Virtual Media Concepts and Applications

Creating Virtual Devices

Creating Image Catalogs

Catalog Shadowing

Working with Image Catalogs

Handling Errors


This course should be taken by the person responsible for the physical operation of the computer system. This person may be a senior operator or a system administrator.


This course assumes that you can perform basic IBM i operations. You can satisfy this prerequisite by successfully completing the courses from the following series:

This course also assumes that you are familiar with basic IBM i system management, including device management, taking backups, and applying PTFs. You can satisfy this prerequisite by successfully completing previous courses of this series.

An understanding of logical partitioning is also recommended, but not absolutely required. You can satisfy this prerequisite by successfully completing the Manta PowerVM Concepts course.