IBM pumps up Linux virtual machines on mainframe

Linux virtual machines will soon be able to handle more workloads

Organizations running Linux in virtual machines on the mainframe will soon be able to throw more workloads onto the system thanks to an update to the z/VM operating system that now scales across 32 processor units, compared to the previous version that scaled to 24.

The new release , z/VM version 5.3, is expected to begin shipping on June 29, but IBM detailed updates to the operating system on Tuesday.

IBM says that in internal tests z/VM 5.3 was able to host more than 1,000 virtual images on a single copy of the operating system. The enhanced scalability comes as a result of larger logical partitions [LPARs] that are supported within the new operating system.

A single partition within z/VM 5.3, for example, can be configured with more than 128GB of storage and run across as many as 32 processor units. In addition, combined with Linux, z/VM better manages memory allowing virtual workloads to use memory more efficiently.

By improving the scalability of z/VM, IBM is eliminating the need of System z customers to spread virtual workloads across multiple copies of z/VM. The operating system also hosts non-Linux workloads running in mainframe operating systems such as z/OS, z/VSE and z/TPF.

"IBM recognizes 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," Mark Anzani, vice president, System z products, IBM Systems and Technology, said in a press statement announcing the new version of z/VM. "With this latest breakthrough, IBM continues to make substantial investments to grow its ... virtualization technology so that clients can accommodate larger workloads while minimizing IT costs."

Other updates in z/VM 5.3 include improved security with the addition of a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol [LDAP] server and associated client services.

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