IBM has announced expanded scalability enhancements to the industry's most powerful virtualisation technology z/VM.


With this new release, z/VM version 5.3 can now host the industry's largest number of virtual images on a single hypervisor – virtualization technology that makes one computer look like multiple computers – allowing customers to further optimize and consolidate their infrastructures.

Internal testing conducted by IBM reveals that the new virtualization product release can host more than 1 000 virtual images on a single copy of z/VM. The new software, which can be used to replace many physical servers with "virtual" ones running in a single mainframe, helps customers lower energy consumption and other costs associated with data centers that have large numbers of single-application servers.

The announcement follows a year of remarkable growth and interest in the mainframe at IBM, as System z has chalked three consecutive quarters of growth, thanks in part to its advanced virtualisation capabilities.

The latest z/VM release helps clients prepare for data center growth by offering support for larger memory configurations which are designed to help clients eliminate the need to spread large virtual-machine based workloads across multiple copies of z/VM.

In addition to enhancing memory utilization, the new software plans to deliver increased CPU capacity with support for up to 32 processor units – raising the limit from 24 to 32 processors – a 33% increase over the previous release of z/VM. Combined with Linux on System z, the software makes more informed choices about how memory is managed allowing z/VM to run more virtual servers in the same amount of memory.

Customers worldwide are already testing this technology. Marist College sees the benefit of having increased scalability as they look to grow their data center. The college currently has a research project where each student is provided with their own virtual Linux server through the use of z/VM.

"IBM recognises that clients are challenged with growing amounts of data, at the same time that costs related to energy consumption, floor space and maintenance are making them wary of server sprawl," says Mark Anzani, vice-president: System z Products, IBM Systems and Technology. "With this latest breakthrough, IBM continues to make substantial investments to grow its industry-leading virtualisation technology so that clients can accommodate larger workloads while minimising IT costs."

With the introduction of a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) server and associated client services, z/VM provides a more comprehensive security solution with new user authentication, authorization and auditing capabilities. Security capabilities are also enhanced through the use of password phrases.

Additional data protection capabilities are provided by exploitation of drive-based data encryption provided by the IBM System Storage TS1120, IBM's tape encryption solution.

When used in conjunction with z/VM, IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE helps identify, isolate and correct problems across the mainframe virtualization software providing views and monitoring workloads for virtual machines, groups, response times and LPAR reporting. Tivoli software solutions such as OMEGAMON XE provide the basis for a service management platform that enables process automation and integration to achieve the operational efficiencies and effectiveness that our customers demand for their IT environments.

z/VM virtualization technology is designed to give clients the capability to run thousands of Linux servers on a single mainframe running either with other System z operating systems, such as z/OS, or as a large-scale Linux-only enterprise server solution.

z/VM V5.3 can also help to improve productivity by hosting non-Linux workloads such as z/OS, z/VSE and z/TPF. z/VM V5.3 runs on IBM System z9 (z9 EC and z9 BC) and IBM eServer zSeries (z800, z900, z890, z990) servers