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PowerVM Celebrates 15 Years of Virtualization Leadership

The enterprise IT industry continues to evolve and PowerVM has and will continue to adapt with it.

Multicolored 15 on a black background.

This year marks a milestone year for PowerVM. In 2004, IBM Power Systems introduced the industry-leading PowerVM virtualization solution, combining the best features and technologies from the previous iSeries and pSeries virtualization solutions into a single product. Over the past 15 years, IBM has continued to grow and modernize PowerVM with each generation of POWER hardware to take advantage of the advancements in POWER processor and software technologies, leading us to where we are today with our POWER9 generation of enterprise class servers. As we look back, we’d like to touch on just a few of the areas where PowerVM has expanded its feature set and continues to evolve to meet that changing needs of the industry.

Virtualization Technologies

PowerVM has always provided leading processor and IO virtualization, beginning with shared processors and virtualized network and disk I/O through the Virtual IO Server since its introduction 15 years ago. IBM has continued to improve and re-invent those technologies over the years, with the introduction of advanced capabilities like N_Port ID Virtualization (NPIV) for storage with POWER6 and the virtual Network Interface Controller (vNIC) with POWER8 for networking. POWER9 continued the advancements in this area with vNIC & vNIC failover support for Linux partitions.

Live Partition Mobility (LPM), introduced with POWER6, has been one of the more popular features of PowerVM.It offers clients the flexibility to deploy completely virtualized environments and freely move partitions between servers without incurring an outage for server maintenance and upgrades, as well as load balancing. The latest enhancement to LPM came with POWER9, adding transparent encryption and compression of LPM data between servers. This simple-to-use enhancement encrypts LPM data by default when transferring it between servers, offering additional security. It also compresses the data, allowing for faster LPM times when network bandwidth is restricting the performance.

Capacity on Demand

The Capacity on Demand (CoD) capabilities built into PowerVM have been there since the very beginning, but they have evolved over the years as industry pricing models have changed. The latest CoD offering for POWER9, Power Enterprise Pools 2.0, offers down-to-the-minute, consumption-based pricing for our largest and most powerful POWER enterprise servers. This new consumption-based CoD offering is enabled by the IBM Cloud Management Console (CMC), which monitors the CPU and memory consumption of partitions across a pool of E980 systems.

Industry Leading Security

Security is on the minds of everyone who works in the IT industry. The PowerVM and POWER development teams have always focused on secure engineering principels, and that dedication to security is demonstrated by the superior vulnerability track record of PowerVM compared to other hypervisors. As the ever-shifting threat landscape brings about new and previously unforeseen challenges in the IT industry, POWER9 continues to build on the excellent security track record with the introduction of Secure Boot. Secure Boot verifies that host firmware has not been tampered with by only allowing securely signed firmware images to run on the host processors.

Looking Forward

There are dozens of other innovative virtualization technologies that PowerVM has introduced over the past 15 years, including Active Memory Mirroring, the Dynamic Platform Optimizer and advanced RAS features. The enterprise IT industry continues to evolve and PowerVM has and will continue to adapt with it. As the PowerVM development teams celebrate their 15-year anniversary this year, they look forward to a bright and promising future of continuing to introduce more virtualization leadership innovations throughout the coming years.

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