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Applies to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15

3 Installation on Arm AArch64 Edit source

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.

3.1 Hardware Requirements Edit source

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/.


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 256. 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 1024 MB of memory is required for a minimal installation. On machines with more than two processors, add 512 MB per CPU. For remote installations via HTTP or FTP add another 150 MB. 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. Commonly, you need more space than the installation software itself needs to have a system that works properly. Minimum requirements for different selections are:

Installation Scope

Minimum Hard Disk Requirements

Text Mode

1.5 GB

Minimal System

2.5 GB

GNOME Desktop

3 GB

All patterns

4 GB

Recommended Minimum (no Btrfs snapshots): 10 GB

Required Minimum (with Btrfs snapshots): 16 GB

Recommended Minimum (with Btrfs snapshots): 32 GB

If your root partition is smaller than 10 GB, the installer will not make an automated partitioning proposal and you need to manually create partitions. Therefore the recommended minimum size for the root partition is 10 GB. If you want to enable Btrfs snapshots on the root volume to enable system rollbacks (see Chapter 7, System Recovery and Snapshot Management with Snapper) the minimum size for the root partition is 16 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.

3.2 Installation Considerations Edit source

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

3.2.1 Installation on Hardware or Virtual Machine Edit source

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is normally installed as an independent operating system. With 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.

3.2.2 Installation Target Edit source

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 can be useful when you need to start the same system in different locations or you plan to use virtualization features like domain migration.

3.3 Controlling the Installation Edit source

Control the installation in one of several ways. Boot the setup with one of the options listed in Section 2.4, “Booting the Installation System”. To enable the different control methods refer to Section 7.3.4, “Specifying Remote Access”. For information about how to use each remote control method, refer to Chapter 11, Remote Installation.

A brief overview of the different methods:

Local with Monitor and Keyboard

This is the method most frequently used to install SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. This also requires the smallest preparation effort but requires a lot of direct interaction.

Remote via SSH

You can control the installation via SSH either in text mode or use X-forwarding for a graphical installation. For details refer to Section 11.4, “Monitoring Installation via SSH”.

Remote via 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. The installation then proceeds in text mode. For details refer to Section 11.5, “Monitoring Installation via Serial Console”.

Remote via VNC

Use this method if you want a graphical installation without direct access to the target machine. For details refer to Section 11.3, “Monitoring Installation via VNC”.

Automatic via 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. For details refer to AutoYaST Guide.

3.4 Booting the Installation System Edit source

This section gives an overview of the steps required for the complete installation of SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server.

Unlike previous SLE products, the entire SLE 15 product line can be installed using the Unified Installer. For details about the changes since SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 and which media to download for installation, see: Section 1.5, “Changes in Installation from SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Version 15”.

For a full description of how to install and configure the system with YaST, refer to Part II, “Installation Procedure”.

Important: Hardware Support Updates

When using very recent hardware, it can be necessary to boot the installation with a newer kernel from a Kernel Update ISO image. For details, refer to Chapter 6, Installation on Hardware Not Supported at Release.

  1. Prepare the installation media.

    USB Flash Drive

    This is the simplest way to start the installation. To create a bootable flash disk, you need to copy a DVD image to the device using the dd command. The flash disk must not be mounted, and all data on the device will be erased.

    root # dd if=PATH_TO_ISO_IMAGE of=USB_STORAGE_DEVICE bs=4M

    DVD media are available from SUSE, or you can make your own. This method is useful if you have multiple machines to provision at the same time. It requires either a built-in or removable DVD drive. The process is straightforward for most computer users, but requires a lot of interaction for every installation process. If you did not receive a DVD, get the ISO image from the SUSE home page and burn it to a blank, writable DVD.

    Network Booting

    If the target computer's firmware supports it, you can boot the computer from the network and install from a server. 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. For details, read Chapter 17, Preparing Network Boot Environment.

    It is possible to install from many common network protocols, such as NFS, HTTP, FTP, or SMB. For more information on how to perform such an installation, refer to Chapter 11, Remote Installation.

  2. Configure the target system firmware to boot the medium you chose. Refer to the documentation of your hardware vendor about how to configure the correct boot order.

  3. Set the boot parameters required for your installation method. An overview of the different methods is provided in Section 3.3, “Controlling the Installation”. A list of boot parameters is available in Chapter 7, Boot Parameters.

  4. Perform the installation as described in Chapter 8, Installation Steps. The system needs to restart after the installation is finished.

  5. Optional: Change the boot order of the system to directly boot from the medium to which SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has been installed. If the system boots from the installation medium, the first boot parameter will be to boot the installed system.

  6. Perform the initial system configuration as described in Part V, “Initial System Configuration”.

3.5 Dealing with Boot and Installation Problems Edit source

Although SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server undergoes an extensive test program, problems may occasionally occur during boot or installation.

3.5.1 Problems Booting Edit source

Boot problems may prevent the YaST installer from starting on your system. Another symptom is failure to 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 few lines of output. 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 2.3, “Controlling the Installation”.

Boot Disk

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

3.5.2 Problems Installing Edit source

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.

3.5.3 Redirecting the Boot Source to the Boot DVD Edit source

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.

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