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IBM Power 9 for System Admins

This is an effort to record all the various guides,'' quirks'', and additional information for system administrators to install and run an IBM Power 9 system.

Setting up the BMC

Use the IBM provided guide to setup the BMC network address. The process uses "ipmitool" on the node but the system does not actually use IPMI for management functions. The system will not give any indication that the network configuration has changed until the final ipmitool raw command is executed (i.e. ipmitool lan print 1 will return the original information until the raw command is sent).

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7 for Power 9 (ppc64le)


  1. Ensure your Red Hat login has an activiation code specifically for a Power 9. Previous Red Hat licenses for Power systems will not grant access to the downloads necessary for Power 9.
  2. Obtain the DVD ISO Product Variant "Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power 9" ppc64le "Red Hat Enterprise Linux Alternate Architectures 7.4 Binary DVD". Note: The "Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power, little endian" product variant is not the correct variant for a Power 9 system.
Option 1: Installing via USB

The IBM guide for installing Linux on Power 9 via USB is fairly complete. You can prep the USB device as follows (this will overwrite data on the USB drive):

dd if=rhel-alt-server-7.4-ppc64le-dvd.iso of=

Note: You must use the "Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power 9"/"Alternate Architectures" variant of RHEL 7 for this method or the system will freeze when loading the installer.

Option 2: Installing via xCAT

This assumes you already have a working xCAT install. It may be helpful to review the xCAT OpenPower documentation. Power 9 uses OpenBMC and the tables/keys are slightly different than those for IPMI-based systems.

Review the CORAL information in the xCAT documentation for known issues, additional steps, and quirks!

Version information

Initial 7.4 kernel 4.11.0-44.el7a.ppc64le
Latest booting kernel 4.11.0-44.2.1.el7a.ppc64le


Current version

Driver version 387.36 BETA
Driver release Date 2017.12.21
CUDA Toolkit 9.1

IBM Spectrum Scale (GPFS)

No known GA build for Power 9. Current 4.2.3 ( GPL build fails:

/usr/lpp/mmfs/src/gpl-linux/tracelin.c: In function my_send_sig_info: /usr/lpp/mmfs/src/gpl-linux/tracelin.c:571:6: error: implicit declaration of function send_sig_info [-Werror=implicit-function- declaration] send_sig_info(mySig, sigData, tsP);


Review installation guide, particularly item specific to Power 9:

Firmware updates

Firmware updates can be performed remotely with openbmctool per IBM's instructions:

openbmctool -U-P-Hfirmware flash-f xxx.tar

where bmc or pnor is the type of image you wish to flash to the system.

Version information

BMC Firmware OP9_v1.19_1.111

See also

Last update: May 14, 2020