Installing Ubuntu on IBM Power System LC servers using network boot

Quick Start Guide for installing Ubuntu on IBM Power System LC servers

Version 1.0.6

This guide helps you install Ubuntu on a Linux on Power Systems server.


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About this task


Use this information to install Ubuntu on a non-virtualized or bare metal IBM Power System LC server by using the network boot servers that are provided by Canonical. This procedure follows these general steps:

  • Connect to the BMC firmware to set up network connection
  • Connect to the BMC firmware with IPMI
  • Configure Petitboot for a network installation
  • Install Ubuntu from the network connection


  1. Completing the prerequisites and booting your firmware

    Before you power on the system, ensure that you have the following items:

    • Ethernet cable
    • VGA monitor. The VGA resolution must be set to 1024x768-60Hz.
    • USB Keyboard
    • Power cords and outlet for your system.

    If you are using the Ubuntu netboot server, the URLs are currently at the following locations:

    Look for the vmlinux and initrd.gz files. If they are not available at the URLs given, then go to and select your release > ppc64el > ubuntu-installer > ppc6el. Locate the vmlinux and initrd.gz files. If this URL is different from the paths that are given previously, record them for future use.

    For a list of supported distributions, see Supported Linux distributions and virtualization options for POWER8 and POWER9 Linux on Power systems.

    Complete these steps:

    • If your system belongs in a rack, install your system into that rack. For instructions, see IBM Power Systems information at
    • Connect an Ethernet cable to the embedded Ethernet port next to the serial port on the back of your system. Connect the other end to your network.
    • Connect your VGA monitor to the VGA port on back of system.
    • Connect your USB keyboard to an available USB port
    • Connect the power cords to the system and plug them into the outlets.

    At this point, your firmware is booting. Wait for the green LED on the power button to start flashing, indicating that it is ready to use. If your system does not have a green LED indicator light, then wait 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Configuring the firmware IP address

    To set up or enable your network connection to the BMC firmware, use the Petitboot bootloader interface. Follow these steps:

    1. Power on your server using the power button on the front of your system. Your system will power on to the Petitboot bootloader menu. This process takes about 1 - 2 minutes to complete. Do not walk away from your system! When Petitboot loads, your monitor will become active and you will need to push any key in order to interrupt the boot process. Note that no boot steps are displayed until Petitboot loads.
    2. At the Petitboot bootloader main menu, select Exit to Shell.
    3. Run ipmitool lan print 1. If this command returns an IP address, verify that is correct and continue to step 4. If no IP addresses are returned, follow these steps:
      1. Set the mode to static by running this command: ipmitool lan set 1 ipsrc static
      2. Set your IP address by running this command: ipmitool lan set 1 ipaddr ip_address where ip_address is the static IP address that you are assigning to this system.
      3. Set your netmask by running this command: ipmitool lan set 1 netmask netmask_address where netmask_address is the netmask for the system.
      4. Set your gateway server by running this command: ipmitool lan set 1 defgw ipaddr gateway_server where gateway_server is the gateway for this system.
      5. Confirm the IP address by running the command ipmitool lan print 1 again.
        Note: This interface is not active until after you perform the following steps.
    4. To reset your firmware, run the following command: ipmitool mc reset cold.

      This command must complete before continuing the process; however, it does not return any information. To verify that this command has completed, ping your system BMC address (the same IP address used in your IPMItool command). When the ping returns successfully, continue to the next step.

      Note: If your ping does not return successfully within a reasonable amount of time (2 - 3 minutes), try these additional steps:
      1. Power your system off with this command: ipmitool power off.
      2. Unplug the power cords from the back of the system. Wait 30 seconds and then apply power to boot BMC.
  3. Powering on your server with IPMI

    Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) is the default console to use when connecting to the OPAL firmware.

    Use the default values for IPMI:

    • Default user: ADMIN
    • Default password: admin
    Note: After your system powers on, the Petitboot interface loads. If you do not interrupt the boot process by pressing any key within 10 seconds, Petitboot automatically boots the first option.

    To use a PC or notebook that is running Windows to power on your server, see the tip at the end of this guide.

    To power on your server from a PC or notebook that is running Linux, follow these steps:

    1. Open a terminal program on your PC or notebook.
    2. To power on your server, run the following command:
      ipmitool -I lanplus -H server_ip_address -P ipmi_password chassis power on
      where server_ip_ipaddress is the IP address of the Power system and ipmi_password is the password set up for IPMI.
      Note: If your system is already powered on, continue to active your IPMI console.
    3. Activate your IPMI console by running this command:
      ipmitool -I lanplus -H server_ip_address -P ipmi_password sol activate
      Note: Use your keyboard up arrow to display the previous ipmitool command. You can edit previous commands to avoid typing the entire command again. If you need to power off or reboot your system, deactivate the console by running this command:
      ipmitool -I lanplus -H server_ip_address -P ipmi_password sol deactivate
      To reboot the system, run this command:
      ipmitool -I lanplus -H server_ip_address -P ipmi_password chassis power reset
  4. Configuring Petitboot
    After the system powers on, the Petitboot bootloader scans local boot devices and network interfaces to find boot options that are available to the system.

    Provide the network boot detail to Petitboot by following these steps:

    1. On the Petitboot main screen, select n to create new options.
    2. Choose your boot device or select to Specify paths/URLs manually and then enter your boot options:
      1. In the Kernel field, enter the path to the kernel. This field is mandatory. Enter a URL similar to this one for a network: images/vivid-netboot/ubuntu-installer/ppc64el/vmlinux

      2. In the Initrd field, enter the path to the init ramdisk. Enter a URL similar to this one for a network: images/vivid-netboot/ubuntu-installer/ppc64el/initrd.gz

        You can accept the defaults for the rest of the fields.

    3. After you set your netboot options, select OK and press Enter.
    4. On the Petitboot main window, select User Item 1 as your boot option and press Enter.
  5. Installing Ubuntu
    After you select to boot the Ubuntu installer, the installer wizard walks you through the steps.
    1. Follow the installation wizard for Ubuntu to set up disk options, your user name and password, time zones, and so on. The last step is to restart your system.
      Note: The Ubuntu installation process uses DHCP by default during installation. If you are not using DHCP, you need to configure the network manually. Follow these steps:
      1. On the Configuring the network with DHCP screen, click Cancel.
      2. Click Continue.
      3. Select Configure your network manually
      4. Enter your IP address and select Continue.
      5. Enter your Netmask and select Continue.
      6. Enter or confirm the gateway for your IP address and select Continue.
      7. (Optional) Enter the Name server address and select Continue.
      8. Enter a hostname for your system and select Continue.
      9. Select a mirror of the Ubuntu archive.
      10. Confirm the Ubuntu archive mirror.
      11. (Optional) Enter HTTP proxy information and select Continue.
    2. After the system restarts, Petitboot displays the option to boot the Ubuntu with Linux® release number. Select this option and press Enter.
    • Ubuntu 14.04.3 may not contain the latest version of IPMItool. To install the latest version, run the following commands:
      apt-get update 
      apt-get install ipmitool
    • In Ubuntu, the opal-prd (Processor Runtime Diagnostics) package that is required for runtime detection and handling of Power processor errors on systems that are running OpenPower firmware is not installed by default. Run the following command to install this package:
      apt-get install opal-prd 

What to do next

More information

For more information, see the following resources: