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Explore the Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) on Power Systems

PowerVM for Linux

IBM Power Systems offer a great platform for running Linux workloads. Linux partitions can be run on any of the scale-out or scale-up Power Systems servers. IBM introduced the IFL feature for the scale-up servers (E850, E870, E880) as a method to provide cost competitive pricing for running Linux workloads when compared to Power System scale-out servers (S822, S824, and others).

What is an IFL?

An IFL is an orderable feature code that bundles core and memory activations along with no-charge PowerVM for Linux software for Power Systems scale-up, enterprise class servers. IFL activations can only be used for running Linux and VIOS partitions. The following items are included with each IFL feature code that is ordered:

  • Four processor core activations
  • 32 GB of memory activations
  • Four units of no-charge PowerVM for Linux licenses

PowerVM for Linux is functionally equivalent to PowerVM Enterprise Edition, which includes the Live Partition Mobility (LPM) and Active Memory Sharing (AMS) features. A one-year or three-year software maintenance agreement (SMWA) must be purchased for the PowerVM for Linux license that’s included with the IFL bundle. Multiple IFL features can be ordered per server. The IFL is only available for the enterprise class servers that feature Capacity on Demand (CoD). These include the:

  • POWER8 E850, E870, and E880
  • POWER7 770, 780, 795

Note that no hardware is shipped as part of the IFL feature. The IFL feature simply provides reduced price core and memory activations along with the PowerVM for Linux software.

Ordering the IFL Feature When configuring a server with IFLs, you’ll first need to add CoD capable processor and memory cards to the configuration. Then, for each IFL feature that is added, 4 core activations and 32 GB memory activations will be provided. These are called IFL-only activations. For AIX and IBM i partitions, additional general-purpose core and memory activations can be added to the server configuration.


The primary reason for implementing IFL is to reduce initial purchase and on-going SWMA costs for Linux workloads. The IFL feature offers a bundle price for IFL-only core & memory activations. In addition, PowerVM for Linux is provided at no-charge. The SWMA pricing for PowerVM for Linux software is also reduced as compared to PowerVM Enterprise Edition. The net cost savings for the IFL feature versus general-purpose core and memory activations along with PowerVM software falls in the following ranges (based on three-year SWMA):

  • E850 36%-48%
  • E870 64%-71%
  • E880 78%

Savings ranges reflect different processor speeds. For a particular server model, the IFL feature is priced the same for all processor speeds.

Charlie Cler supports customers in a solutions-architect role at Forsythe Technology Inc. He can be reached at

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