Wednesday, 26 September 2007

z/VM virtualization

I blogged about virualization a couple of weeks ago (see Virtualization – it’s really clever, 22 January), well a couple of days ago (6 February 2007) IBM came out with an interesting announcement about virtualization.

IBM said that with z/VM Version 5.3 they were able to set all sorts of new records for the number of virtualized machines. For those of you who tuned in late, virtualization is a way of allowing one set of physical hardware appear to be many sets of hardware. And just how many “sets” does the new version run to? IBM is claiming more than 1000 virtual images can be hosted on a single copy of z/VM V5.3 – which they claim (and who can doubt them?) is a record.

In addition, the new version of VM can support a larger number of processor units (that’s real hardware). It now supports 32, whereas previously the maximum was 24 – so that’s quite a big jump.

VM has had quite a chequered history because IBM has seemed to never know quite what to do with it. However, a strong and vocal user base has been responsible for getting it through the bad times in the 80s and again in the 90s. It has fought off the introduction of LPARs on processors and many other developments that seem to signify its death.

Currently, with z/VM, it’s possible to run z/OS images under it (which is how it has always worked) or as a very big Linux-only server. For people running Linux on other platforms, this gives you a single footprint, savings on just about everything like heating, cooling, lighting, electricity, staff. Plus, you should be able to run larger workloads, and it gives you better monitoring and management.

An interesting announcement – and one pointing the way forward. z/VM will be available on 29 June 2007.

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