One of the Big Boys Reminds Us They’re Still Here

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It’s true that many of us consider VMware and Microsoft and Citrix to be the parents of virtualization technology, but those of us who have been in the digital world for some time know that they’re standing on the shoulders of giants.

This week IBM announced that they would begin supporting Windows applications and instances within the zSeries mainframe platform.

Now, there isn’t a lot of information contained in the press release as to how they will do it, but if IBM follows form as they have in the past, it will be a Windows-capable card in a zSeries chassis. That means that they zSeries (which runs Z/OS) will be able to manage and at least partially control Windows servers that use system resources housed within the zSeries itself.

The mid-tier platform from IBM – the iSeries AS/400 systems – can already do this, using a hybrid virtualization approach. The physical hardware that the Windows OS installs to is a card that sits within an iSeries chassis, but all other resources are contained within and managed by the AS/400 platform itself in much the same was a physical network interfaces, volumes and other resources are presented to a hypervisor-based VM instance.

Since the release refers to the zSeries Windows capabilities as “hybrid,” it may very well mean we’ll see the same approach to OS virtualization on that platform as well.

It may not be the hypervisor systems we’re used to calling “virtual” these days, but IBM has been doing it for longer, and doing it with a greater degree of stability, than modern approaches.

Just goes to show that as soon as standards are developed, someone will come in an prove that one definition cannot cover an entire topic.

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