IBM PowerVM Lx86 expands the ability of IBM System p and BladeCenter servers to run x86 Linux applications

IBM United States Software Announcement 208-010
January 29, 2008


 ENUS208010.PDF (27KB)


Table of contents  Document options  
TOC link At a glance TOC link Publications
TOC link Overview TOC link Technical information
TOC link Key prerequisites TOC link Ordering information
TOC link Planned availability date TOC link Terms and conditions
TOC link Reference information TOC link Prices
TOC link Offering Information TOC link Order now
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At a glance

PowerVM Lx86, a standard feature of all PowerVM Editions, is available at no additional charge to support the installation and running of most 32-bit Linux on x86 applications1 on any System p model with IBM POWER5, POWER5+, or POWER6 technology. PowerVM Lx86:

  • Creates a Linux on x86 application environment running on Linux on System p servers by dynamically translating and mapping Linux on x86 instructions to POWER5, POWER5+, and POWER6 processors
  • Requires no native porting or application upgrade for supported applications

For ordering, contact:

Your IBM representative, an IBM Business Partner, or IBM Americas Call Centers at 800-IBM-CALL (Reference: RE001).
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IBM is offering new and expanded options for POWER5™, POWER5+™, and POWER6™ processor-based System p™ servers so that clients can run x86 Linux™ applications that are not available as a native port on an IBM POWER™ platform running Linux. This enables clients to take advantage of the feature-rich IBM PowerVM Virtualization (formerly called System p Virtualization), high performance, and superb Reliability, Availability, and Serviceability (RAS) features available with System p and BladeCenter® servers.

The PowerVM Lx86 feature expands the capabilities of POWER5, POWER5+, and POWER6 processor-based System p servers and PowerPC® and POWER6 processor-based blade servers to install and run most x86 Linux applications1. This new feature creates a virtual x86 Linux environment that will dynamically translate x86 instructions to POWER instructions and cache them to enhance performance, as well as map Linux on Intel® system calls to Linux on POWER system calls.

PowerVM Lx86 allows 32-bit x86 Linux applications1 to easily install and run on System p and BladeCenter JS21 or JS22 servers that are using a Linux operating system. Additionally, some of the key goals of this feature are to help ISVs expand their addressable market to Linux on POWER servers at minimal to no cost by allowing them to run their existing 32-bit x86 Linux applications in a POWER environment. It also helps IBM Business Partners and ISVs provide clients with a more comprehensive application environment.

PowerVM Lx86 (formerly available as an Open Beta by the name of System p Application Virtual Environment or System p AVE) is offered as a standard feature of all PowerVM Editions (a set of virtualization products formerly known as Advanced POWER Virtualization or APV), including the PowerVM Standard Edition, the recently announced PowerVM Enterprise Edition with Live Partition Mobility, and the new PowerVM Express Edition. PowerVM virtualization with the Lx86 feature enables clients to consolidate many x86 Linux applications along with applications written to Power Architecture™ servers running on the Linux or IBM AIX® operating systems, offering the potential to reduce energy costs, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and improve the flexibility of clients' IT. PowerVM Lx86 is also available for ISVs and developers from the IBM developerWorks™ portal. With this announcement, the Open Beta program will be discontinued.

PowerVM Lx86 runs most x86 Linux applications; however, PowerVM Lx86 cannot run certain applications. Refer to the Limitations section for further information.

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Key prerequisites

PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux requires:

  • A System p POWER5, POWER5+, or POWER6 processor-based server or PowerPC processor-based BladeCenter server
  • One of these operating systems:
    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4 for POWER
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9 for POWER
    • SLES 10 for POWER

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Planned availability date

February 8, 2008
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Reference information

Refer to 208-011 , dated January 29, 2008.

Refer to 205-250 , dated October 4, 2005, for Virtual I/O Server.

Business Partner information

If you are a Direct Reseller - System Reseller acquiring products from IBM, you may link directly to Business Partner information for this announcement. A PartnerWorld ID and password are required (use IBM ID).

BP Attachment for Announcement Letter 208-010


POWER5, POWER5+, POWER6, System p, POWER, Power Architecture, and developerWorks are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
BladeCenter, PowerPC, and AIX are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries or both.
Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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Offering Information

Product information is available via the Offering Information Web site

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Required publications are shipped with this program.

The IBM Systems Information Center provides you with a single information center where you can access product documentation for IBM systems hardware, operating systems, and server software. Through a consistent framework, you can efficiently find information and personalize your access. The IBM Systems Information Center is at

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Technical information

Hardware requirements

PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux™ requires one of these hardware platforms:

  • System p™ POWER5™, POWER5+™, or POWER6™ processor-based server
  • BladeCenter®

Software requirements

PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux requires one of these operating systems:

  • RHEL 4 for POWER™

    Note: RHEL 4.6 for POWER is not supported in this release of PowerVM Lx86.

  • SLES 9 for POWER
  • SLES 10 for POWER

Note: Components of the x86 versions of these operating systems will be required for PowerVM Lx86 and are available when ordering a Linux operating system distribution from IBM.

For clients using SUSE:

For all initial orders placed on or after January 29, 2008, the appropriate supply feature for SLES 9 or SLES 10 x86 media kit must be selected. For clients that have existing SLES subscriptions, the required x86 components can be downloaded at

For clients using RHEL: Existing POWER clients


  1. Client has existing, active RHEL for POWER subscription.
  2. Client orders one of the PowerVM Editions that comes with the Lx86 feature.
  3. Through the Admin and install guide, IBM instructs the client how to download and install the x86 ISOs.
  4. Client downloads the ISOs from Red Hat using the POWER registration. The Admin Guide provides instructions on how to accomplish the download.
  5. The installation script will gather information needed by Red Hat and requests PowerVM Lx86 upgrade by providing information pertaining to the client's existing RHEL for POWER subscription.
  6. Client proceeds with PowerVM Lx86 installation. The installation will handle installing from CDs or from a directory.
  7. Red Hat upgrades client's RHEL for POWER subscription to RHEL for POWER + RHEL for x86 (approximately 24-hour turnaround time) and has RHEL for x86 subscription co-terminate with RHEL for POWER subscription.
  8. Client can now use the update tools.

Clients purchasing new POWER subscriptions directly from Red Hat


  1. Client purchases and registers RHEL for POWER subscription from Red Hat.
  2. Client installs RHEL for POWER.
  3. Follow same steps as from step 2 above.

Clients purchasing new POWER subscriptions from IBM


  1. Client orders RHEL for POWER subscription from IBM at time of hardware order.
  2. Client can request PowerVM Lx86 physical media by selecting the appropriate supply feature number.
  3. IBM will ship RHEL for POWER physical media, PowerVM Lx86 physical media, and RHEL for x86 physical media (appropriate supply feature codes must be selected).
  4. Client installs RHEL for POWER.
  5. Client proceeds with PowerVM Lx86 installation.
  6. Client will register their RHEL for POWER + PowerVM Lx86 subscriptions through Red Hat.

Note: A RHEL for POWER + PowerVM Lx86 subscription equals a single subscription and single registration with two entitlements, one entitlement for POWER and one entitlement for x86.

Limitations: PowerVM Lx86 runs most x86 Linux applications, but PowerVM Lx86 cannot run applications that:

  • Directly access hardware (for example, 3D graphics adapters).
  • Require nonstandard kernel module access or use kernel modules not provided by the Linux on POWER operating system distribution.
  • Do not use only the Intel® IA-32 instruction set architecture as defined by the 1997 Intel Architecture Software Developer's Manual consisting of Basic Architecture (order number 243190), Instruction Set Reference Manual (order number 243191), and the System Programming Guide (order number 243192) dated 1997.
  • Do not run correctly on RHEL 4 starting with version 4.3 or Novell SLES 9 starting with version SP3 or Novell SLES 10.
  • Require RHEL 5 to run, a Linux distribution currently unsupported by PowerVM Lx86.
  • Are Linux/x86 specific system administration or configuration tools.
  • Require x86 real-mode.

In addition, the performance of some x86 Linux applications running on PowerVM Lx86 may significantly vary from the performance obtained when these applications are run as a native port. There are various architectural differences between x86 and Power Architecture™ that can impact performance of translated applications. For example, translating dynamically generated code like Java™ byte codes is an ongoing translation process, which can be expected to impact the performance of x86 Java applications using an x86 Java virtual machine.

Floating-point applications running under x86 have a different default precision level from Power Architecture, so translating between these levels can have additional performance penalties. Also, translating and protecting multi-threaded applications can incur an additional performance overhead as the translator works to manage shared memory accesses. IBM suggests that clients carefully consider these performance characteristics when selecting the best method for enabling applications for their environment.

Performance considerations: PowerVM Lx86 is not recommended with applications that are highly computational in nature, highly performance sensitive, or make heavy use of Java.

Packaging: The PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux program will be available worldwide on a CD-ROM.

Security, auditability, and control

The customer is responsible for evaluation, selection, and implementation of security features, administrative procedures, and appropriate controls in application systems and communication facilities.

Software Services

IBM Software Services has the breadth, depth, and reach to manage your services needs. You can leverage the deep technical skills of our lab-based, software services team and the business consulting, project management, and infrastructure expertise of our IBM Global Services team. Also, we extend our IBM Software Services reach through IBM Business Partners to provide an unmatched portfolio of capabilities. Together, we provide the global reach, intellectual capital, industry insight, and technology leadership to support any critical business need.

To learn more about IBM Software Services or to contact a Software Services sales specialist, visit

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Ordering information

Charge metric

Program name                        PID number  Charge metric
IBM PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux      5765-AVE    Per server

SWMA for PowerVM Lx86 is included as a part of your order for PowerVM.

SWMA program numbers have been previously announced. Refer to the Reference information section.


A server is a computer system that executes requested procedures, commands, or applications to one or more user or client devices. A Proof of Entitlement (PoE) must be obtained for each server regardless of the number of processors and partitions in the server on which the program runs or for each server managed by the program. Where blade technology is employed, each blade is considered a separate server.

An order for the PowerVM Lx86 product will automatically be generated for each new PowerVM Standard, Enterprise, or Express order. The PowerVM Lx86 product can also be ordered for existing System p clients by placing an MES order for the PowerVM Standard, Enterprise, or Express offerings.

Orders for PowerVM Lx86 will contain two components, a billing component utilizing the product PID (5765-AVE) and associated billing features, and a supply component utilizing the 5692-LOP SPO and associated supply features. The appropriate supply feature must be selected from the following tables.

Effective now, supply for the PowerVM Lx86 products will be delivered via the 5692-LOP SPO. A 5692-LOP SPO is mandatory to ship the program media and publications. The individual licensed program orders for 5765-AVE are for billing purposes only. No shipment of either media or publications occurs under these orders.

Description                                        number
5765-AVE IBM PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux
Per server PowerVM Lx86                            0001

Supply features

5692-LOP  System Program Order (SPO) for Linux on POWER
Description                                        number
PowerVM Lx86 Media                                 1479
SLES 9 x86 Media for PowerVM Lx86                  1480
SLES 10 x86 Media for PowerVM Lx86                 1481
RHEL 4 x86 Media for PowerVM Lx86                  1494

Registration features

Program                                            Feature
number     Feature description                     number
5692-LOP   Electronic Delivery                     3450
5765-AVE   Expedite Fee charge to Branch office    3445

Software Maintenance

SWMA for PowerVM Lx86 is included in the SWMA offerings provided for PowerVM Standard, Enterprise, and Express offerings.
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Terms and conditions

The information provided in this announcement letter is for reference and convenience purposes only. The terms and conditions that govern any transaction with IBM are contained in the applicable contract documents such as the IBM International Program License Agreement, IBM International Passport Advantage® Agreement, and the IBM Agreement for Acquisition of Software Maintenance.

Agreement: IBM International Program License Agreement including the License Information (LI) document and PoE govern your use of the program. PoEs are required for all authorized use.

This software license includes Software Maintenance, previously referred to as Software Subscription and Technical Support.

Agreement for acquisition of software maintenance: The IBM Agreement for Acquisition of Software Maintenance (Z125-6011) agreement applies for maintenance and does not require customer signatures.

Limited warranty: Yes

Money-back guarantee: If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the program and you are the original licensee, you may obtain a refund of the amount you paid for it, if within 30 days of your invoice date you return the program and its PoE to the party from whom you obtained it. If you downloaded the program, you may contact the party from whom you acquired it for instructions on how to obtain the refund.

For clarification, note that for programs acquired under any of IBM's On/Off Capacity on Demand (On/Off CoD) software offerings, this term does not apply since these offerings apply to programs already acquired and in use by you.

Authorization for use on home/portable computer: You may not copy and use this program on another computer without paying additional license fees.

Other terms

Volume orders (IVO): Yes, contact your IBM representative.

Passport Advantage applies: No

Software Maintenance applies: Yes

While your Software Maintenance is in effect, IBM provides you assistance for your routine, short duration installation and usage (how-to) questions, and code-related questions. IBM provides assistance via telephone and, if available, electronic access, only to your information systems (IS) technical support personnel during the normal business hours (published prime shift hours) of your IBM support center. (This assistance is not available to your end users.) IBM provides Severity 1 assistance 24 hours a day, every day of the year. For additional details, consult your IBM Software Support Guide at

Software Maintenance does not include assistance for the design and development of applications, your use of programs in other than their specified operating environment, or failures caused by products for which IBM is not responsible under this agreement.

System i™ Software Maintenance applies: No

Variable charges apply: No

Educational allowance available: No
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The prices provided in this announcement are suggested retail prices for the U.S. only and are provided for your information only. Dealer prices may vary, and prices may also vary by country. Prices are subject to change without notice. For additional information and current prices, contact your local IBM representative.

                                                  charge   One-
                                                  feature  time
Description                                       number   charge
5765-AVE IBM PowerVM Lx86 for x86 Linux
Per server PowerVM Lx86                           0001     $0

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Order now

To order, contact the Americas Call Centers, your local IBM representative, or your IBM Business Partner.

To identify your local IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, call 800-IBM-4YOU (426-4968).

 Phone:      800-IBM-CALL (426-2255)
 Fax:        800-2IBM-FAX (242-6329)
 Mail:       IBM Teleweb Customer Support
    Sales Execution Center, Americas North
             3500 Steeles Ave. East, Tower 3/4
             Markham, Ontario
             L3R 2Z1
 Reference:  RE001

The Americas Call Centers, our national direct marketing organization, can add your name to the mailing list for catalogs of IBM products.

Note: Shipments will begin after the planned availability date.


POWER5, POWER5+, POWER6, System p, POWER, Power Architecture, and System i are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
BladeCenter and Passport Advantage are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation.
Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries or both.
Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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