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documentation.suse.com / SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Documentation / Deployment Guide / Installation Preparation / Installation on Arm AArch64
Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP5

5 Installation on Arm AArch64

This chapter describes the steps necessary to prepare for the installation of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Arm AArch64 computers. It introduces the steps required to prepare for various installation methods. The list of hardware requirements provides an overview of systems supported by SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Find information about available installation methods and several common known problems. Also learn how to control the installation, provide installation media, and boot with regular methods.

5.1 System Requirements for Operating Linux

The SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server operating system can be deployed on a wide range of hardware. It is impossible to list all the different combinations of hardware SUSE Linux Enterprise Server supports. However, to provide you with a guide to help you during the planning phase, the minimum requirements are presented here.

If you want to be sure that a given computer configuration will work, find out which platforms have been certified by SUSE. Find a list at https://www.suse.com/yessearch/.

5.1.1 Hardware for Arm AArch64


The minimum requirement is a CPU that supports the Armv8-A instruction set architecture (ISA), for example, Arm Cortex-A53 or Cortex-A57. Refer to https://www.arm.com/products/processors/cortex-a/ for a list of available Armv8-A processors.

CPUs with the Armv8-R (realtime) and Armv8-M (microcontroller) ISA are currently not supported.

Maximum Number of CPUs

The maximum number of CPUs supported by software design is 128. If you plan to use such a large system, check our hardware system certification Web page for supported devices, see https://www.suse.com/yessearch/.

Memory Requirements

A minimum of 1 GB of memory is required for a minimal installation. However, the minimum recommended is 1024 MB or 512 MB per CPU on multiprocessor computers. Add 150 MB for a remote installation via HTTP or FTP. Note that these values are only valid for the installation of the operating system—the actual memory requirement in production depends on the system's workload.

Hard Disk Requirements

The disk requirements depend largely on the installation selected and how you use your machine. Minimum requirements for different selections are:


Hard Disk Requirements

Minimal System

800 MB - 1GB

Minimal X Window System

1.4 GB

GNOME Desktop

3.5 GB

All patterns

8.5 GB

Using snapshots for virtualization

min. 8 GB

Boot Methods

The computer can be booted from a CD or a network. A special boot server is required to boot over the network. This can be set up with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

5.2 Installation Considerations

This section encompasses many factors that need to be considered before installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on Arm AArch64 hardware.

5.2.1 Installation Type

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is normally installed as an independent operating system. With the introduction of Virtualization, it is also possible to run multiple instances of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on the same hardware. However, the installation of the VM Host Server is performed like a typical installation with some additional packages. The installation of virtual guests is described in Chapter 9, Guest Installation.

5.2.2 Boot Methods

Depending on the hardware used, the following boot methods are available for the first boot procedure (prior to the installation of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server).

Table 5.1: Boot Options

Boot Option


CD or DVD drive

The simplest booting method. The system requires a locally-available CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive for this.

Flash disks

Find the images required for creating boot disks on the first CD or DVD in the /boot directory. See also the README in the same directory. Booting from a USB memory stick is only possible if the BIOS of the machine supports this method.

PXE or bootp

Must be supported by the firmware of the system used. This option requires a boot server in the network. This task can be handled by a separate SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Hard disk

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server can also be booted from hard disk. For this, copy the kernel (linux) and the installation system (initrd) from the /boot/loader directory of the first CD or DVD onto the hard disk and add an appropriate entry to the boot loader.

5.2.3 Installation Source

When installing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, the actual installation data must be available on the network, a hard disk partition, or a local DVD. To install from the network, you need an installation server. To make the installation data available, set up any computer in a Unix or Linux environment as an NFS, HTTP, SMB, or FTP server. To make the installation data available from a Windows computer, release the data with SMB.

The installation source is particularly easy to select if you configure an SLP server in the local network. For more information, see Chapter 8, Setting Up the Server Holding the Installation Sources.

5.2.4 Installation Target

Most installations are to a local hard disk. Therefore, it is necessary for the hard disk controllers to be available to the installation system. If a special controller (like a RAID controller) needs an extra kernel module, provide a kernel module update disk to the installation system.

Other installation targets may be various types of block devices that provide sufficient disk space and speed to run an operating system. This includes network block devices like iSCSI or SAN. It is also possible to install on network file systems that offer the standard Unix permissions. However, it may be problematic to boot these, because they must be supported by the initramfs before the actual system can start. Such installations are useful if there is a need to start the same system in different locations.

5.2.5 Different Installation Methods

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server offers several methods for controlling installation:

  • Installation on the graphical console

  • Installation via serial console

  • Installation with AutoYaST

  • Installation with KIWI images

  • Installation via SSH

  • Installation with VNC

By default, the graphical console is used. If you have many similar computers to install, it is advisable to create an AutoYaST configuration file or a KIWI preload image and make this available to the installation process. See also the documentation for AutoYaST at AutoYaST and KIWI at http://doc.opensuse.org/projects/kiwi/doc/.

5.3 Boot and Installation Media

When installing the system, the media for booting and for installing the system may be different. All combinations of supported media for booting and installing may be used.

5.3.1 Boot Media

Booting a computer depends on the capabilities of the hardware used and the availability of media for the respective boot option.

Booting from DVD

This is the most common possibility of booting a system. It is straightforward for most computer users, but requires a lot of interaction for every installation process.

Booting from a USB Flash Drive

Depending on the hardware used, it is possible to boot from a USB hard disk. The respective media must be created as described in Section 6.2.2, “PC (AMD64/Intel 64/Arm AArch64): System Start-up”.

Booting from the Network

You can only boot a computer directly from the network if this is supported by the computer's firmware. This booting method requires a boot server that provides the needed boot images over the network. The exact protocol depends on your hardware. Commonly you need several services, such as TFTP and DHCP or PXE boot. If you need a boot server, also read Section 11.1.3, “Remote Installation via VNC—PXE Boot and Wake on LAN”.

5.3.2 Installation Media

The installation media contain all the necessary packages and meta information that is necessary to install a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. These must be available to the installation system after booting for installation. Several possibilities for providing the installation media to the system are available with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Installation from DVD

All necessary data is delivered on the boot media. Depending on the selected installation, a network connection or add-on media may be necessary.

Networked Installation

If you plan to install several systems, providing the installation media over the network makes things a lot easier. It is possible to install from many common protocols, such as NFS, HTTP, FTP, or SMB. For more information on how to run such an installation, refer to Chapter 11, Remote Installation.

5.4 Installation Procedure

This section offers an overview of the steps required for the complete installation of SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server in the required mode. Part II, “The Installation Workflow” contains a full description of how to install and configure the system with YaST.

5.4.1 Booting from a Local Interchangeable Drive

DVD-ROM and USB storage devices can be used for installation purposes. Adjust your computer to your needs:

  1. Make sure that the drive is entered as a bootable drive in the firmware.

  2. Insert the boot medium in the drive and start the boot procedure.

  3. The installation boot menu of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server allows transferring different parameters to the installation system. See also Section 11.2.2, “Using Custom Boot Options”. If the installation should be performed over the network, specify the installation source here.

  4. If unexpected problems arise during installation, use safe settings to boot.

5.4.2 Installing over the Network

An installation server is required to perform the installation by using a network source. The procedure for installing this server is outlined in Chapter 8, Setting Up the Server Holding the Installation Sources.

If you have an SLP server, select SLP as the installation source in the first boot screen. During the boot procedure, select which of the available installation sources to use.

If the DVD is available on the network, use it as an installation source. In this case, specify the parameter install=<URL> with suitable values at the boot prompt. Find a more detailed description of this parameter in Section 11.2.2, “Using Custom Boot Options”.

5.5 Controlling the Installation

Control the installation in one of several ways. The method most frequently used is to install SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server from the computer console. Other options are available for different situations.

5.5.1 Installation on the Computer Console

The simplest way to install SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is using the computer console. With this method, a graphical installation program guides you through the installation. This installation method is discussed in detail in Chapter 6, Installation with YaST.

You can still perform the installation on the console without a working graphics mode. The text-based installation program offers the same functionality as the graphical version. Find some hints about navigation in this mode in Section 5.1, “Navigation in Modules”.

5.5.2 Installation Using a Serial Console

For this installation method, you need a second computer connected by a null modem cable to the computer on which to install SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Hardware and firmware of both machines need to support the serial console. Some firmware implementations are already configured to send the boot console output to a serial console (by providing a device tree with /chosen/stdout-path set appropriately). In this case no additional configuration is required.

If the firmware is not set up to use the serial console for the boot console output, you need to provide the following boot parameter at the boot prompt of the installation system (see Section 13.2.5, “Editing menu entries during the boot procedure” for details): console=TTY,BAUDRATE

BAUDRATE needs to be replaced by the baud rate for the interface. Valid values are 115200, 38400, or 9600. TTY needs to be replaced by the name of the interface. On most computers, there is one or more serial interfaces. Depending on the hardware, the names of the interfaces may vary:

  • ttyS0 for APM

  • ttyAMA0 for Server Base System Architecture (SBSA)

  • ttyPS0 for Xilinx

For the installation, you need a terminal program like minicom or screen. To initiate the serial connection, launch the screen program in a local console by entering the following command:

screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

This means that screen listens to the first serial port with a baud rate of 115200. From this point on, the installation proceeds similarly to the text-based installation over this terminal.

5.5.3 Installation with SSH

If you do not have direct access to the machine and the installation must be initiated from a management console, you can control the entire installation process over the network. To do this, enter the parameters ssh=1 and ssh.password=SECRET at the boot prompt. An SSH daemon is then launched in the system and you can log in as user root with the password SECRET.

To connect, use ssh -X. X-Forwarding over SSH is supported, if you have a local X server available. Otherwise, YaST provides a text interface over ncurses. YaST then guides you through the installation. This procedure is described in detail in Section 11.1.5, “Simple Remote Installation via SSH—Dynamic Network Configuration”.

If you do not have a DHCP server available in your local network, manually assign an IP address to the installation system. Do this by entering the option HostIP=IPADDR at the boot prompt.

5.5.4 Installation over VNC

If you do not have direct access to the system, but want a graphical installation, install SUSE Linux Enterprise Server over VNC. This method is described in detail in Section 11.3.1, “VNC Installation”.

As suitable VNC clients are also available for other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows and mac OS, the installation can also be controlled from computers running those operating systems.

5.5.5 Installation with AutoYaST

If you need to install SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on several computers with similar hardware, it is recommended you perform the installations with the aid of AutoYaST. In this case, start by installing one SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and use this to create the necessary AutoYaST configuration files.

AutoYaST is extensively documented in AutoYaST.

5.6 Dealing with Boot and Installation Problems

Prior to delivery, SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server is subjected to an extensive test program. Despite this, problems occasionally occur during boot or installation.

5.6.1 Problems Booting

Boot problems may prevent the YaST installer from starting on your system. Another symptom is when your system does not boot after the installation has been completed.

Installed System Boots, Not Media

Change your computer's firmware so that the boot sequence is correct. To do this, consult the manual for your hardware.

The Computer Hangs

Change the console on your computer so that the kernel outputs are visible. Be sure to check the last outputs. This is normally done by pressing CtrlAltF10. If you cannot resolve the problem, consult the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server support staff. To log all system messages at boot time, use a serial connection as described in Section 2.5, “Controlling the Installation”.

Boot Disk

The boot disk is a useful interim solution if you have difficulties setting the other configurations or if you want to postpone the decision regarding the final boot mechanism. For more details on creating boot disks, see grub2-mkrescue.

5.6.2 Problems Installing

If an unexpected problem occurs during installation, information is needed to determine the cause of the problem. Use the following directions to help with troubleshooting:

  • Check the outputs on the various consoles. You can switch consoles with the key combination CtrlAltFn. For example, obtain a shell in which to execute various commands by pressing CtrlAltF2.

  • Try launching the installation with Safe Settings (press F5 on the installation screen and choose Safe Settings). If the installation works without problems in this case, there is an incompatibility that causes either ACPI or APIC to fail. In some cases, a firmware update fixes this problem.

  • Check the system messages on a console in the installation system by entering the command dmesg -T.

5.6.3 Redirecting the Boot Source to the Boot DVD

To simplify the installation process and avoid accidental installations, the default setting on the installation DVD for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is that your system is booted from the first hard disk. At this point, an installed boot loader normally takes over control of the system. This means that the boot DVD can stay in the drive during an installation. To start the installation, choose one of the installation possibilities in the boot menu of the media.