Power is a microprocessor architecture based on the RISC instruction set originally developed by IBM and used on many high end servers. You are may be more familiar with the x86 processors developed by Intel, because x86 processors can be found in many of todays consumer computers. Ubuntu Linux started support Power architecture as of version 14.04.
Since the Power architecture is different than x86 any compiled programs need to be recompiled to work with the different architecture. Other interpreted programs that are not architecture specific such as PHP and Java do not need to be recompiled on different architectures.
All the packages in the Ubuntu archive for 14.04 have been recompiled for Power architecture. So programs that you know and love (like Juju) already run with Ubuntu and Power.
The OpenPOWER initiative is a collaboration of different companies to bring Power CPU processors to different platforms. This gives the community the option to develop on the Power architecture. OpenPOWER hopes to increase the solutions available with Power hardware and software.
Most modern compilers can be configured to compile for different architectures such as Power. The harder part is testing these programs on the actual hardware. In the past Power hardware has been on high end servers that many developers have not had access to.
There is a free option where anyone can get free access Power hardware! Site Ox is a company that offers Power virtual machines to people for a free 2 week trial. At the time of this writing there was no credit card required to sign up.
Let me walk you through the process so you can get your Power on!
Go to the Site Ox web site – https://www.siteox.com
Linux on Power VMs
Select the button
CLICK HERE TO GET A FREE 2 WEEK TRIAL!
On the Order Summary page you can see that the Total Due Today is zero.
You will have to fill in your details such as name and address. THIS IS IMPORTANT the password you enter on this page will be sent back in plain text to your email account, so create a unique one just for Site Ox. The
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The process takes about 10 minutes and you will receive an email with your password (in plain text) and the connection details. The Power VM has Ubuntu 14.04 installed on Power hardware. You can verify this by running the following commands:
cat /proc/cpuinfo lsb_release -a uname -a
You can see that the kernel architecture is ppc64le. This stands for little endian. The architecture for the debian package is ppc64el which is still little endian Power. They both mean the same thing Power 64 bit little endian.
Since you did not use a credit card to sign up you can use the system for 2 weeks and evaluate Power hardware risk free!
Things like Juju and Linux Containers (lxc) work well on Power. You can easily spin up a whole "cloud" of Power lxc containers with Juju.
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:juju/stable sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install juju-local
More details can be found at the Juju docs.