How to Netboot install RHEL 7.4 on POWER9 / Barreleye G2

RHEL 7.4 as I’m aware is the only GA’ed enterprise OS on POWER9 and hence Barreleye G2. I’ve seen couple of folks have issues picking the right image / boot arguments while attempting this install , and fail, so wanted to clearly put the steps down here:

If you instead want to install Ubuntu 16.04 LTS on POWER9 I’ve already written instructions for that in previous post: 

  1. First grab the DVD (2.9 GB) from RHEL website. For the purposes of this post we’ll use evaluation version:

> Go to RHEL downloads page:—7/7.4/ppc64le/product-software

> Login and Get Download Link “Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Power 9”


NOTE1: DO-NOT get link for generic “RHEL big-endian for ppc64” and “RHEL little-endian ppc64”) rather get specific version of download provided for POWER9

NOTE:2 : Download the expansive DVD ( 2.9GB binary as RHEL calls it ) , just the basic ISO file is NOT enough for netboot, since there is no public mirror for repo / package data, that I’m aware of.

See picture below, get the second file. In my case file name was “rhel-alt-server-7.4-ppc64le-dvd.iso”. If you are missing the alt, you are getting the wrong file:

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 4.28.54 PM

2.  Once you get the download link for this image, wget it to local (apache) http server (obviously, this is different than the POWER machine you are doing the install) and mount that iso to a folder on the http server path

Log into

ssh root@<http-server>

cd /var/www/html/

mkdir rhel9

cd rhel9

wget <hyperlink to rhel-alt-server-7.4-ppc64le-boot.iso>

mount -o loop rhel-alt-server-7.4-ppc64le-dvd.iso\?_auth_\=1516572534_bc1326574be188a5e87bb59dfcd70b8e rhel9

See picture below for help:

Screenshot from 2018-01-21 20-45-36

3. Now get to main petitboot menu and add a new boot option by  “n” button. Fill in the new boot option menu with following mock links as example :

Kernel:  http://10.127.xx.xx/rhel/ppc/ppc64/vmlinuz

Inirdrd: http://10.127.xx.xx/rhel/ppc/ppc64/initrd.img

boot-arguments:    root=live:http://10.127.xx.xx/rhel/LiveOS/squashfs.img

4. Click save and execute the new boot option you just created “User item 1”:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 1.39.25 PM

5. That will boot to RHEL 7.4 Install menu in about 2 minutes or so. Select “Text mode” as I ran into some issues getting VNC install working:

6. You will be greeted with the following text menu screen. The only tricky item here is number 3, “Installation Source”.

Select http mirror and enter the mount location of your iso as the selection:

Screenshot from 2018-01-21 20-28-26

7. After completing all the necessary options 1 through 9 , press “b” to begin the installation begin the installation.

POWER9 RHEL 7.4 Barreleye Installation Done

8.Installation should be done in under 7-8 minutes as we are choosing to install from local mirror:

Screenshot from 2018-01-21 20-42-42

Don’t hesitate to comment below for any questions.


How to Install Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 LTS on Power9 Machines

If you want to install Original LTS Ubuntu 16.04 (with initial LTS Kernel 4.4) on Power9, you were / are out of luck. This is because full kernel support for Power9 got in from 4.10 on wards.

But to some jubilation, 16.04.3 LTS got released today (08/03/17) with support for 17.04 Kernel (4.10). So work around to install Ubuntu LTS on Power9 is to use 16.04.03 LTS HWE kernel / initrd instead of ones I indicated in my previous blog post:



Again, Follow the same procedure in previous blog post  BUT with NEW kernel / initrd links.

Enjoy the first LTS port on Power9


How to build openBMC binary for Barreleye

Barreleye is the openPOWER server that Rackspace helped build.  It runs openBMC for it’s management.

In my work at Rackspace, I often build custom openBMC builds for the sake of testing stability / new features.

Here’s how you can build your own openBMC binary for Barreleye.

If you are building on Ubuntu you need to install following packages before you build openBMC:

sudo apt-get install -y git build-essential libsdl1.2-dev texinfo gawk chrpath diffstat

If you are building on Fedora 23 you need to install the following packages before you build openBMC

sudo dnf install -y git patch diffstat texinfo chrpath SDL-devel bitbake
sudo dnf groupinstall "C Development Tools and Libraries"


Build Process:

First, clone the openBMC repository. If you are cloning form master this is how you’d do it:

git clone

Then run the following commands:

cd openbmc
TEMPLATECONF=meta-openbmc-machines/meta-openpower/meta-rackspace/meta-barreleye/conf . oe-init-build-env
bitbake obmc-phosphor-image


If you run it a laptop with decent power, it takes about 2-3 hours. If you run it on a Barreleye (this is where I make you jealous) it takes about 35 minutes to build the binary.

The built binaries are in openbmc/build/tmp/deploy/images/barreleye location

In my case I use the barreleye-20160818194255.all.tar image and untar it to get an file named ‘image-bmc’ about 32MB in size .

You can  use a flash programmer to flash your BMC chip with this new version or use the openBMC online upgrade process.

If you wanna rebuild your binary, then you will have to first clear your config before you run above 3 commands again.

This is the command to clear the config:

rm -rf build/conf

Comment here for any issues you run into, while building the binary or if you want a link to a latest binary.


OS support for Linux on Power (Little Endian)

OpenPOWER movement is gaining pace. Linux community has been overwhelmingly supportive of Little Indian port of Power (PPC64LE).  As a result, most of the leading Linux server distributions have built server images in the past couple of years.

Through this post I want to aggregate the installer links to server install images for PPC64LE. Where available I also listed cloud images used to boot up VM’s / (OpenStack guests).

OS Hypervisor Install image Guest Installer Image
Fedora 23 Refer to Link Link
Fedora 22 Refer to Link Link
Fedora 24 Refer to Link Link
Ubuntu 15.10 Refer to Link Link
Ubuntu 15.04 Refer to Link Link
Ubuntu  14.04 LTS Refer to Link Link
Centos 7.2 Refer to Link NA (But you can use init from RHEL)
OpenSUSE 13.2 Refer to Link Link
Debian 8 Refer to Link NA
PowerKVM 3.1 Refer to Link NA
Ubuntu 16.04 Refer to Link Link
RHEL 7.2 Refer to Link (Needs Login) Link
SLES 12 Refer to Link (Needs Login) Link

Hopefully this table helps the audience who are just getting started on power servers, to finish a quick install.