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 Install Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 LTS on Power9 Machines

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 set OpenPOWER server to boot from any device

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:



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.


How to Install Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 on PPC64LE / OpenPOWER