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SDK 1.10: using the IBM POWER9 Functional Simulator

Technical Blog Post


SDK 1.10: using the IBM POWER9 Functional Simulator


The new IBM SDK for Linux on Power 1.10 provides integration with the IBM POWER Functional Simulator, a POWER8 and POWER9 simulator that can be installed in any x86_64/amd64

system. The simulator instantiates a Power virtual machine to which the x86_64/amd64 version of SDK can connect. Once connected, you can compile and run ppc64le programs, all in the x86_64/amd64 machine.

In this version of the SDK you can either run the simulator from within the SDK or run stand alone. 

The Features of the POWER9 Version of the Simulator

  • POWER9 hardware reference model
  • Full instruction set simulator for Power ISA as implemented in POWER9
  • Models complex SMP effects
  • Architectural modeled areas:
    • Functional behavior of all units (Load/Store, FXU, FPU, VMX, VSX, etc.)
    • Exceptions and Interrupt handling
    • Address translation, both Paravirtualized HPT and two level Radix Tree
    • Memory and basic translation cache modeling (SLBs, TLBs, ERATs)
  • Linux and Hypervisor development and debug platform
  • TCL command-line interface provides:
    • Custom user initialization scripts
    • Processor state control for debug: Step, Run, Cycle run-to, Stop, etc.
    • Register and Memory R/W interaction

Running the POWER Functional Simulator From the Command Line

  1. Download the installation files from here.
  2. Extract the .zip: unzip ./
  3. Go to the sdk-systemsim and execute setupsimulator -i. This will download and install all necessary packages.
  4. Once the aforementioned steps are completed. Go to ~/systemsim_execution and execute startsimulator -[p8 or p9]. You will be prompted to enter your user password so the network rules necessary to allow the communication with the simulator can be set. In addiction an xterm will be started and you can follow the boot process. The default user for the simulator is root and its password is mambo. The default IP to access the simulator via SSH is

Running the POWER Functional Simulator From within the SDK

  1. Install the SDK on your x86_64 machine. Ensure that you are in one of the supported Linux distributions: Ubuntu 14.04 or 16.04, RHEL 7.2 and later, SLES 12 SP1, CentOS7 or Fedora 22. The instructions to install the SDK are available here.
  2. Once the SDK is installed, open it and find in the main toolbar the Power Simulator option. The select Start.
  3. If all necessary packages aren't installed it will download the installation scripts and will ask you to run setupsimulator -i, like the step 2 of the above section. You can use the console that will be open in the SDK to complete this step.
  4. Assuming you have everything installed, you can now run the simulator. In the SDK's UI select Power Simulator > Start. If this is the first time your are performing this action, you will be prompted to enter you system user password. This is necessary to setup the necessary network configurations to make the communication with the simulator work. The password is securely stored.
  5. Once the steps above are successfully executed, the simulator will start booting. You can follow the progress in the SDK console. When the boot is completed a connection to the simulator with be automatically created and open. You can now use your simulator. 



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