Here’s What to do If You Want to Virtualize Linux on Power Systems with KVM

March 15th, 2017

Ron Gordon
Director – Power Systems

Linux on Power is for sure gaining usage. With Power Systems’ performance and capacity, it is logical that in many instances the systems should be virtualized. There are two choices, PowerVM and KVM. I will only discuss KVM here, but do realize that PowerVM is supported on the L, Scale-out, and Enterprise Power Systems servers only, not on the LC servers, as the LC servers contain OPAL only; PowerVM requires pHYP.

So, you want to use a low-cost virtualization “engine” and stay with “open source?” The choice, therefore, is KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine… not keyboard, video, mouse). IBM has recently withdrawn PowerKVM, so you are now directed to use the KVM of the distribution you are using. So, if you are using Red Hat, then RHEV (Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, a Red Hat distribution of KVM included in the RHEL distribution) is the KVM implementation you want to use. If you are using Ubuntu, then the KVM in the Ubuntu distribution should be used. SUSE does not ship a supported version of KVM for Power Systems. It is possible that SUSE can run as a guest in the RHEV and Ubuntu versions, but that may not be a supported environment. These scenarios pertain to the LC and L servers since the KVM versions will require OPAL as the hypervisor.

A couple more points: The KVM versions are part of the distributions. As such, they are supported either by the distributor support structure or by IBM TSS Linux Support options. Lastly, PowerVC currently does not support RHEV, nor the Ubuntu KVM, for provisioning.

If you’re interested in having Mainline assist you in evaluating this or any other technology, please contact your Mainline Account Executive, or contact Mainline directly.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *