Overview of the Linux kernel flavors

  • 7004443
  • 15-Sep-2009
  • 30-Apr-2012

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 1
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 2
Novell Open Enterprise Server 2 (OES 2) Linux

Situation

This document explains the different kernel flavors and their use cases.

Resolution

kernel-default

The standard kernel.

Use case: x86_64 (64bit) Physical Server

kernel-smp

On x86 systems, this kernel supports up to 4GB of main memory. On x86_64 systems (AMD64, EM64T), this kernel supports NUMA systems.

Use case: No special use case.

kernel-bigsmp

This kernel supports up to 64GB of main memory. It requires Physical Addressing Extensions (PAE), which were introduced with the Pentium Pro processor.

Use case:x86 (32bit) Physical Server with PAE, NX

kernel-vmi

The Linux Kernel designed to run on top of a virtual machine interface layer (VMI).

Use case:x86 (32bit) VMWare

kernel-vmipae

The Linux Kernel designed to run on top of a virtual machine interface layer (VMI), with Physical Addressing Extensions (PAE) support.  PAE is a mechanism to access more than 4 GiB of memory on 32-bit Intel processors.

Use case: x86 (32bit) VMWare for memory > 4GB

kernel-xen

The Linux kernel for Xen paravirtualization.  This kernel can be used both as the domain0 ("xen0") and as an unprivileged ("xenU") kernel.

Use case:Xen DomU, Dom0

kernel-xenpae

The Linux kernel for Xen paravirtualization with Physical Addressing Extensions (PAE).  PAE is a mechanism to access more than 4 GiB of memory on 32-bit Intel processors. This kernel can beused both as the domain0 ("xen0") and as an unprivileged ("xenU") kernel.

Use case: Xen DomU, Dom0 for memory > 4GB (32bit)

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