Linux distributions and virtualization options for POWER8 and POWER9 Linux on Power systems

Use this topic to find the Linux® distributions and virtualization options that are optimized for POWER8® servers and POWER9™ servers running Linux.

Note: Big endian (BE) operating systems support 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Little endian (LE) operating systems exclusively support 64-bit applications
Note: The code names in the table below will NOT be published in external documentation. They are noted for review only, and will be stripped out in build before publishing.
Table 1. Linux distributions for POWER9 processor-based servers
IBM POWER9 processor-based servers PowerVM® LPARs KVM 4 Non-virtualized OS (Baremetal)
ZZ
  • 9223-22S (IBM Power System H922S)
  • 9223-42S (IBM Power System H924S)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat® Enterprise Linux 9.0, any subsequent RHEL 9.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift® Container Platform 4.3, or later
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP5
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 22.04, or later5
N/A N/A

ZZ with PCIe Gen4 switches

  • 9009-22G (IBM Power System S922)
  • 9009-41G (IBM Power System S914)
  • 9009-42G (IBM Power System S924)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.0, any subsequent RHEL 9.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.8, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.3, or later
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP5
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 22.04, or later5
N/A N/A

Mihawk

  • 9183-22X (IBM Power System IC922)
N/A N/A Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.6 for POWER92
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier

Witherspoon

  • 8335-GTG (IBM Power System AC922)
N/A N/A Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4 for POWER9, any subsequent RHEL 7.x for POWER9 releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases3
Installation guides

May update Witherspoon/Newell

  • 8335-GTH (IBM Power System AC922)
  • 8335-GTX (IBM Power System AC922)
N/A
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 for POWER9, any subsequent RHEL 7.x for POWER9 releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 for POWER9, any subsequent RHEL 7.x for POWER9 releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases3
Installation guides

Boston

  • 9006-12P (IBM Power System LC921)
  • 9006-22P (IBM Power System LC922)
N/A Red Hat virtualization1
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5 for POWER9, any subsequent RHEL 7.x for POWER9 releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
Ubuntu KVM
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases6
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux7.5 for POWER9, any subsequent RHEL 7.x for POWER9 releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Installation guides

ZZ

  • 9008-22L (IBM Power System L922)
  • 9009-22A (IBM Power System S922)
  • 9009-41A (IBM Power System S914)
  • 9009-42A (IBM Power System S924)
  • 9223-22H (IBM Power System H922)
  • 9223-42H (IBM Power System H924)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.0, any subsequent RHEL 9.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.4, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases (POWER8 Compatibility mode only)
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.3, or later
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • Ubuntu 22.04, or later5
Big Endian:
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 (POWER8 Compatibility mode only, SAP HANA workloads only), any subsequent SLES 11 updates
N/A N/A

Fleetwood and Zeppelin

  • 9080-M9S (IBM Power System E980)
  • 9040-MR9 (IBM Power System E950)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9.0, any subsequent RHEL 9.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.3, or later
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 22.04, or later5
Big Endian:
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4 (POWER8 Compatibility mode only, SAP HANA workloads only), any subsequent SLES 11 updates
N/A N/A
Notes:
  1. Red Hat offers KVM on Power in two different streams: 1) Integrated into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and 2) as part of RHV and derivative products (for example, Red Hat OpenStack). Both of these are supported on POWER9 and POWER8 systems that support Red Hat virtualization. See Red Hat Virtualization for more details.
  2. If you are using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.x for POWER9, you must upgrade to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.x no later than May 31, 2021.
  3. If you are using graphics processing unit (GPU) on IBM Power® System AC922, you must not upgrade from Ubuntu 18.04 to Ubuntu 20.04. CUDA is not supported for Ubuntu 20.04 on IBM Power Systems.
  4. For more information on KVM guests, see Certified guest operating systems for Red Hat Enterprise Linux with KVM.
  5. Ubuntu on Power support is available directly from Canonical.
  6. If you are using Red Hat Enterprise Linux on AC922, IC922, LC922, or LC921, you must not upgrade from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 9 is not supported on these systems.
  7. CoreOS is supported as a part of OpenShift Container Platform (OCP). For more information, you can see Getting started with Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud® and Service architecture and dependencies.
Table 2. Linux distributions for POWER8 processor-based servers
IBM POWER8 processor-based servers PowerVM LPARs1 KVM Non-virtualized OS (Baremetal)

Minsky (Garrison)

  • 8335-GTB (IBM Power System S822LC)
N/A N/A Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases2
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases

Briggs (for big data) Stratton

  • 8001-12C (IBM Power System S821LC)
  • 8001-22C (IBM Power System S822LC for Big Data)
N/A N/A Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Installation guides

Firestone (8335) Habanero (8348)

  • 8335-GCA (IBM Power System S822LC)
  • 8335-GTA (IBM Power System S822LC)
  • 8348-21C (IBM Power System S812LC)
N/A
Little Endian:
Red Hat virtualization
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
Ubuntu KVM
  • Ubuntu 14.04.5, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Ubuntu 14.04.3, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Installation guides
Tuleta PL 1S2U
  • 8247-21L (IBM Power System S812L)

Tuleta PL 2S2U

  • 8247-22L (IBM Power System S822L)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases2
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, any subsequent SLES 12 updates 3
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 14.03, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:1
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases2
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3, any subsequent SLES 11 updates
Red Hat virtualization
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
Ubuntu KVM
  • Ubuntu 14.04.5, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Ubuntu 14.04.2, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases

Tuleta 25 4U L

  • 8247-42L (IBM Power System S824L)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, any subsequent fix packs
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 14.04.3, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3, any subsequent SLES 11 updates
Red Hat virtualization
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
Ubuntu KVM
  • Ubuntu 14.04.5, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Ubuntu 14.04.2, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 18.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Tuleta 2S2U
  • 8284-22A (IBM Power System S822) 4

Tuleta 1S4U

  • 8286-41A (IBM Power System S814)

Tuleta 2S4U

  • 8286-42A (IBM Power System S824)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, any subsequent fix packs
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 14.04.3, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3, any subsequent SLES 11 updates
N/A N/A

Alpine

  • 8408-E8E (IBM Power System E850)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 14.04.3, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3, any subsequent SLES 11 updates
N/A N/A

Alpine C

  • 8408-44E (IBM Power System E850C)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP1, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4
N/A N/A

Brazos

  • 9119-MME (IBM Power System E870)
  • 9119-MHE (IBM Power System E880)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP2, any subsequent SLES 15 updates
  • Ubuntu 14.04.3, and subsequent updates and releases
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3, any subsequent SLES 11 updates
N/A N/A

Brazos C

  • 9080-MME (IBM Power System E870C)
  • 9080-MHE (IBM Power System E880C)
Little Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, any subsequent RHEL 8.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.12, or earlier
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP1, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • Ubuntu 16.04.1, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8, any subsequent RHEL 6.x releases
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2, any subsequent RHEL 7.x releases
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4
N/A N/A
Note:
  • 1 Little endian (LE) support requires firmware level FW830 or later. For systems that are running firmware level FW830 or later, partitions can be a combination of big endian and little endian.
  • 2 Starting with Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1, Red Hat provides separate builds and licenses for big endian and little endian versions for Power.
  • 3 Beginning with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Linux distribution supports little endian mode only. In prior versions, only big endian mode was supported. Because of this change in Power architecture, there is no direct migration path from prior versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12. Contact SUSE for more information.
  • 4 Starting with firmware 840.10, PowerVM is the only option for new customers on the S822. Existing customers for the S822 at 840.10 and later can switch between OPAL and PowerVM modes as needed.
  • CoreOS is supported as a part of OpenShift Container Platform (OCP). You can refer to Getting started with Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud and Service architecture and dependencies for more information.
Table 3. Linux distributions for POWER8 IBM Hyperconverged Systems powered by Nutanix
POWER8 IBM Hyperconverged Systems powered by Nutanix PowerVM LPARs KVM guests1 Non-virtualized OS (Baremetal)
  • 8005-12N (IBM CS821)
  • 8005-22N (IBM CS822)
N/A Nutanix AHV hypervisor
Little Endian:
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3, any subsequent SLES 12 updates
  • Ubuntu 16.04, and subsequent updates and releases
Big Endian:
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP42
N/A
Note:
  1. Community supported Linux distributions such as CentOS 7.x, Fedora® 20 and subsequent releases, and Debian 8 and subsequent releases are also available.
  2. Before installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP4, you need to first install a special installation kit, available from SUSE. See Installation Kit: LILO Update for IBM Power Systems for more details.

For more information about Nutanix and Hyperconverged systems, see IBM Hyperconverged Systems powered by Nutanix topic in IBM Docs and Software Documents in the Nutanix portal.

See the following distribution web sites for detailed information about the distributions:
The recommended Linux distribution for a particular server is always the latest level distribution that is optimized for the server. The listed distributions are the operating system versions that are supported for the specific hardware. For information about the product lifecycles for the Linux distributions, refer to the distribution's support site:

If you are interested in migrating Linux on Power applications from big endian to little endian mode, try using the IBM Software Development Kit for Linux on Power tools. Other information about packages and migration assistance can be found in the Find packages built for POWER® in the IBM Linux on Power developer portal.