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 set OpenPOWER server to boot from any device

OpenPOWER servers have Petitboot bootloader to manage the bootup options / preferences.

Since petitboot is relatively new I am putting together this guide to help walk through on how to set up devices to boot from any device (network or disk).

Step 1. 

Power on the server and wait for Petitboot to come up via the VGA console (or OOB)

Step 2:

Select and click “system configuration” using the key-board arrows and enter key.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.14.06 AM

Setup 3:

You will find below menu to customize the boot up options. In order to boot from any device, select and press enter on ” Clear and boot Any” option as below

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.29.28 AM

Setup 4:

Once you finish step 3, you will see that Boot Order in the first line of the screen short below changes to “(0) Any Device”

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.29.57 AM

Step 5:

Now let’s save this boot config. For saving the boot order we have to go all the way down to the boot menu with down arrow key and select and press enter on “OK”

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.30.27 AM

Step 6:

At this point you will be returned to petitboot menu and you have successfully set to boot from any device. From your next power on your server will automatically boot into an image that it finds first.

Power-off, Unrack and rack your server (or hard reboot) to test that “boot from any device” preference is working. When you un-rack and re-rack your server, you will have to wait few minutes (for BMC orange light to go off) before you press the host power on button.

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 11.31.40 AM

How to Install Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 on PPC64LE / OpenPOWER

Here’s how to install Ubuntu 16.04 on PPC64LE server. In my case Barreleye, our openPOWER server is running OPAL as BIOS firmware with Petitboot bootloader:

Here are steps through install:

1) Login to Out of band management and get into host console

  • Logging into host OOB console  is important since Ubuntu 16.04 PPC64EL installer doesn’t have  ASPEED VGA / Graphics drivers. So you cannot see the install progress through the VGA console.
  • In your case this might be a ipmi based command to get to host console
  • In my case since we are running a openBMC firmware for our out of band needs :
    • a) SSH into BMC
    • b) Typed the command:       obmc-console-client

2) Power on the server and get to Petitboot bootloader. Which should look like below:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 1.37.12 PM

2) Now type “n” to have add a new boot option.

We are netboot installing 16.04. So let’s grab and add the kernel and initrd url’s for Xenial (16.04 code name) respectively:

Kernel (Link for Power9 with newer kernel in a new blog post ):

Initrd: (Link for Power9 with newer initrd in a new blog post ):

Your screen should look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 1.38.58 PM

3) Press OK and you should return to Petitboot main screen. The boot option you just added should come up as “User Item 1”:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 1.39.25 PM

4) Select and enter “User Item 1” for starting the install. Following which you will go through standard Ubuntu Install process, that you should be familiar with.


Thanks I hope this post helps you Install not just Ubuntu 16.04 but any OS of your choice using Petitboot.