PowerVM Driver Integration - Phase 2


The PowerVM driver has been developed out-of-tree, but with the intention to provide an in-tree implementation. Before it could be integrated in-tree, the Nova core teams provided several requirements that have since been met. This blueprint is the second in a series that will work toward PowerVM driver integration in-tree.

Problem description

The PowerVM driver, which provides OpenStack enablement for AIX, IBM i and Linux virtual machines running on a PowerVM hypervisor, has been proposed for integration into the main Nova tree. However, as the out-of-tree driver has grown to contain a significant amount of function and maturity over the past few OpenStack releases, the intention is to bring this driver in-tree. The work to drive towards full integration is expected to be driven over multiple OpenStack releases. The first blueprint provided integration of the PowerVMLiveMigrateData object into Nova for the Ocata release, and laid out plans to incorporate minimal compute driver functionality incrementally. This blueprint continues that work.

The PowerVM driver team has met the following requirements from the Nova core team.

  • CI running and publishing results against Nova and nova-powervm driver: Results are publicly available, as well as the configuration of the CI. Per guidance from the Nova core team, the CI runs against all Nova change sets but is not currently voting on patches as it is not an in-tree driver. The configuration for the CI is also publicly available.

  • External users beyond PowerVC: Companies are actively using the PowerVM driver to integrate into OpenStack clouds with Kolla and RDO. The PowerVM driver team also has added PowerVM to the OpenStack-Ansible project and PowerVM is now a target platform for OSA.

  • Show commitment to the driver: Our first supported release was Liberty and we continue to maintain, grow and extend the driver with each subsequent release, following the stable branch support model. We are committed to developing the driver following the OpenStack way, with open source code, open design/development, and an open community (IRC @ #openstack-powervm, etc). The PowerVM driver fits the Nova compute driver design, and follows the community development direction. We also ensure that the development team is actively participating in upstream development - attending IRC meetings, mid-cycles, and summits.

The out-of-tree driver will be maintained, supported and extended as the in-tree driver is being integrated. For this phase, it is expected new code will first be proposed to the out-of-tree driver and then proposed in-tree. As the integration of the driver progresses further, that process shifts to all code being proposed in-tree. However, for any contribution (either in-tree or out-of-tree), the primary contributors of this blueprint will ensure the change is proposed to the other driver during this transition period.

Use Cases

  • A user should be able to deploy a glance-based image with basic networking on a system with the PowerVM hypervisor. That image may be Linux (RHEL, SLES, Ubuntu, etc…), AIX or IBM i.

Proposed change

The change proposed is to submit a series of patches building out enough basic function to support deployment of a glance-based virtual machine on PowerVM. This subset of the driver code (and associated unit tests) would support features such as:

  • Basic VM lifecycle tasks (spawn, shutdown, reboot, snapshot, etc)

  • Instance status

  • VNC console

  • Flat/VLAN networking using the Open vSwitch Neutron agent

  • Config drive

  • Boot disk via host localdisk or Shared Storage Pool Logical Unit (PowerVM clustered file system).

This phase of the driver is meant to get the net minimum of mandatory and choice options from the support matrix.

We see this as a long-term journey. We will continue to work to bring further function into the Nova tree over subsequent releases.

Some of the specific functions that would come as part of future blueprints that are not part of this one:

  • Resize

  • Live Migrate

  • Cold Migrate

  • Cinder Volume Support

  • Shared Ethernet Support (PowerVM network technology)

  • SR-IOV Support

There are additional functions (that are currently integrated in the out-of-tree driver), but they will be proposed as part of subsequent blueprints.


  1. Integrate the entire driver. That would be too unwieldy to do in one release and would require too much core reviewer time.

  2. Do not integrate the driver. As there are users of the driver, and the Nova direction is to have drivers in-tree, this is not an option.

Data model impact


REST API impact


Security impact


Notifications impact


Other end user impact


Performance Impact

None. Integration has no performance effect on existing code paths.

Other deployer impact

Deployers who wish to use the PowerVM driver will need to change the compute_driver in their conf to powervm.PowerVMDriver. The in-tree PowerVM driver will initially have a very limited set of functionality. As noted above, they can install the nova-powervm out-of-tree driver to gain the additional functionality while the team works over multiple releases to integrate the driver.

For this first integration, there will be no required configuration from the deployer beyond setting the compute_driver type. The driver will be documented in the hypervisor support matrix (along with its capabilities in-tree).

A new dependency on pypowervm was introduced in Ocata. This is a third-party, open-source library that allows its consumers to drive PowerVM virtualization. In pike, the pypowervm version requirement will be updated as necessary to accomodate driver function.

Developer impact

There are no changes to the driver API. The PowerVM driver will conform to the existing Nova API.



Primary assignees:

efried esberglu thorst

Other contributors:

wangqinw adreznec

Work Items

  • Add support for basic life cycle tasks (Create, Power On/Off, Delete)

  • Add support for OVS-based networks

  • Add console support via VNC

  • Increase the scope of the existing PowerVM CI to include the PowerVM driver in-tree. Two jobs will need to be kicked off for each Nova change (one for out-of-tree, one for in-tree) during this transition period.


  • pypowervm - third-party, open-source library that allows for control of the PowerVM platform.

  • PowerVM with NovaLink - PowerVM is the hypervisor, and the NovaLink is a Linux based Virtualization Management VM. The Novalink virtualization management VM is what allows the nova-compute process to run on the system itself.


All code paths run through the standard Tempest tests as part of our CI. The code will also include significant unit test. This code will come from the out-of-tree nova-powervm driver. The CI infrastructure will also continue to support the automated testing of the out-of-tree nova-powervm driver.

Voting will be enabled for the CI for the in-tree driver only. Per our discussions with the Nova core team, we will not enable voting for the out-of-tree driver. However, logs for both runs are publicly available, and we have dedicated team members monitoring and supporting the CI.

No new tests are required. The PowerVM driver is meant to conform to the Nova model.

Outside testing will be done to validate performance and scale. This has already been done on the out-of-tree driver. RefStack compliance will also be validated, but we do not expect this first phase to pass as it does not have all of the required support out of the box.

Documentation Impact

We will work with the ID team to create new documents on the PowerVM driver. A proposed update to the hypervisor driver matrix will be made as well.



Historically speaking, there have been a couple of other Power drivers. The first PowerVM driver was built on PowerVM and only worked with a component called IVM. The challenge with this was that it required the nova-compute to run on a separate server and SSH in to issue commands. It also did not integrate well with other OpenStack components.

There was also the PowerVC OpenStack driver. This sat on top of PowerVC and was a clustered management model. Due to the push away from clustered management, this was not the approved management model for OpenStack Nova Compute. It was never pulled in-tree.

This model is different, with core changes to the PowerVM hypervisor. It has been shipping in the field for a long period of time, and has products built on top of it. It also matches the development model of OpenStack Nova and has dedicated developers who have been working on it for multiple years.

Lastly, Power systems also natively run Linux. For those wishing to use KVM on Power, the standard libvirt driver is also available. However, that support is limited to Linux based client virtual machines.

A rough timeline is provided below.

  • November 2013: PowerVM IVM driver removed due to lack of CI and development. Also did not fit the direction of Nova core team to have the Nova compute process running on the system itself.

  • October 2014: First commit for new PowerVM driver built on NovaLink.

  • May 2015: Socialized the NovaLink based PowerVM driver at the summit. NovaLink changes the hypervisor itself to match the OpenStack model. All OpenStack code was developed from the start as open source.

  • October 2015: Liberty based out-of-tree nova-powervm driver released.

    All developed openly. Support for:
    • Lifecycle operations

    • Spawn from glance

    • Cinder FC support

    • Nova with networking-powervm agent

    • Live Migration

    • AIX and Linux VMs

    • DevStack

    • TaskFlow in its core to support graceful rollbacks of failed operations

  • January 2016: Continuous Integration environment live.

  • April 2016: nova-powervm driver updated for Mitaka release.

    All nova-powervm development done openly during the release. Initial third-party contributions made.

    Added new capabilities:
    • Cold Migration / Rebuild / Resize

    • Scalability testing

    • Basic VNC Console

    • IBM i VMs

    • Scale & Resiliency testing

  • July 2016: CI running against all Nova patch sets. Not voting (due to Nova core team guidance) but logs still published to log server.

  • October 2016: nova-powervm driver updated for Newton release. Updated for:
    • SR-IOV via PowerVM vNIC

    • Linux Bridge / OVS

    • Enhancements to VNC console

    • Integration with OpenStack Ansible (outside nova-powervm)

  • October 2016: First in-tree change set proposed for compute driver spawn/destroy.

  • November 2016: PowerVMLiveMigrateData object introduced in-tree (Ocata).

  • January 2017: pypowervm dependency introduced in requirements project (Ocata).


Release Name