IBM AIX 5.3 Enabled to Run Natively on IBM POWER8 Servers

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Many clients are still using an IBM® AIX® 5.3 application environment on their IBM Power Systems™ servers. AIX 5.3 reached end of life in April 2015. However, an extended service contract was offered for 12 months on all supported hardware. This contract will end on April 30, 2016.


Many clients have a subset of applications that are still dependent on a supported AIX 5.3 environment. IBM is enabling AIX 5.3 to run natively on POWER8® servers. The PTF U86665.bff will enable the AIX 5.3 image to run on POWER8 servers and will be available on March 11, 2016.


PTF U86665.bff provides POWER8 support on AIX 5.3 with the following limitations:

  • The LPAR must be at AIX 5.3 TL12 SP9 (latest 5.3 release).
  • The POWER8 LPAR will run in POWER6® compatibility mode and is limited to SMT2 mode. SMT2 mode results in some capacity loss compared to SMT4/SMT8 mode. IBM publishes SMT2 rPerf values that can be used to quantify POWER8 SMT2 capacity.
  • AIX 5.3 POWER8 LPARs only support Virtual I/O configurations vSCSI, NIPV, and VLAN.


Only 5.3 POWER8 technology-based system installation methods are supported:

  • mksysb: First, perform an in-place update to a supported (POWER5/ POWER6/ POWER7®) 5.3 TL12 SP9 LPAR with PTF U866665. Standard mksysb command can then be used to capture a POWER8 capable mksysb image. The mksysb image can then be used to install POWER8 LPARs.
  • NIM: A 5.3 TL12 SP9 NIM environment must be updated to support POWER8. A 5.3 TL12 SP9 NIM lppsource must be updated to include PTF U866665. A NIM SPOT must then be created or updated to utilize the updated lppsource.


All POWER8 systems are supported with the following restrictions:

  • POWER8 systems must be at the 840 firmware level.
  • POWER8 LPARs must be served by a or VIOS.

Service and Support Contract

The AIX 5.3 environment on POWER® is planned to be supported for a total of 15 months through June 30, 2017. Clients will have to first acquire a service and support contract, after which they will be entitled to download the PTF.


Contact the IBM Technical Support Services (GTS TSS) sales team in your country to purchase the AIX 5.3 on POWER8 Support Extension.


Find out more here.