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Virtualizing Resources on the Mainframe

How to virtually get the most from your System z platform.

How to virtually get the most from your System z platform.

Other Virtualized Server Platforms

Emerging VM technologies and their hypervisors, which support commodity servers are typically deployed on smaller two-, four- or eight-way processor servers. This is true of Windows*, UNIX* and Linux OSs that support x86-based servers. The scale and consolidation these servers can provide, even when virtualized, is yet to match that of large enterprise-class System z servers.

Because virtualization is relatively new for commodity servers and is provided by different hardware and software vendors, no one vendor controls the entire virtualized server footprint. By contrast, the IBM System z platform provides the entire server stack; the collective architecture, hardware and software technologies are designed by one company with virtualization as a fundamental requirement. System z virtualization logic is always active and operating within the system even when only a single LPAR is deployed. Its virtualization technologies are mature, robust, efficient and scalable.

Integrated and Virtualized

The extent to which server resources can be efficiently virtualized depends, to a large degree, on how integrated they are. Because the typical distributed server environment is constructed from a variety of hardware and software sources, the capability to provide an integrated, scalable virtualization solution is limited. To compensate, these servers often rely on virtualization within a server cluster using the process of deploying work to the machine best able to handle it.

While this can improve distributed deployments, it's not nearly as efficient as a fully virtualized machine that allows server resources to be dynamically redirected to work that needs it most. This deep virtualization can best be provided by centralized, highly scalable, SMP servers that combine the hardware, OS and middleware into a single, seamless, virtualized solution.

The System z platform will continue to focus on the creation and deployment of new virtualized technologies to further exploit the platform's ever evolving hardware and software capabilities. Collectively, these technologies will ultimately yield a totally integrated and virtualized IT network encapsulated within the System z footprint that will be ever more automatically configured, managed and adjusted to meet the ever-increasing changes of the enterprises it serves.

Les Wyman has held numerous technical and technical-leadership positions in programming, channel engineering and mainframe architecture during his IBM career. Les can be reached at lwyman@us.ibm.com.


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Virtualizing Resources on the Mainframe

How to virtually get the most from your System z platform.

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