SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Tuned Up For Power8
October 13, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
SUSE Linux, the German-American distributor of commercial-grade Linux operating systems that will soon be part of Micro Focus, is getting up to launch its much-awaited SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 operating system. And the Power8 machines from IBM are the first boxes that are being talked about running the updated Linux.
In announcement letter 214-378, IBM said that it was tuning up SLES 12 to run on the Linux-only variants of the Power8 scale-out servers sporting the PowerKVM V2.1.1 hypervisor. At the moment, when SLES 12 ships for Power-based machines on October 27, IBM is only supporting it on the Power S812L and Power S822L machines and not on other models in the Power8 family or indeed on other earlier Power machines. Or more precisely, it looks like these entry Linux-only machines are going to get SLES 12 first and no doubt other compatible Power Systems servers will also get it eventually. And also presumably, IBM and SUSE Linux will allow the operating system to run in bare-metal mode on Power machines, as can be done with Ubuntu Server on Power8 machinery and on other members of the Power Systems lineup. It also stands to reason that SLES 12 will be supported inside of partitions atop the PowerVM hypervisor as well as on PowerKVM, IBM’s implementation of the KVM hypervisor that is championed by Red Hat and adopted by SUSE Linux and Canonical, the commercial entity behind Ubuntu Server.
IBM is not saying much yet about the tweaks to SLES 12 to make it run well on Power8, but does say in the announcement letter that the performance counters, transactional memory, static micro-threading, and simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) features of the Power8 chips are definitely exploited by SLES 12. IBM plans to charge $750 per socket for a support subscription for SLES 12 for one year and $2,030 per socket for a three-year subscription.