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Mainframe virtualization: Old friends are often best

Quoting from TechTarget

For four decades or more, the mainframe has been the premier place to implement virtualization -- but in that period, the definition of virtualization has shifted, and its importance has increased, dramatically. Now, virtualization is primarily about disconnecting the application (and infrastructure software) from the hardware platform -- and, paradoxically, this has made the mainframe a more valuable and more applicable platform than ever.

From its inception, "virtual" computing has had two distinct meanings. At the hardware level, virtual memory or virtual disk allows systems to deliver the speed of a faster, higher level of storage and the capacity of a lower level of storage. Above the hardware level, a virtual machine (VM) allows one system to split into multiple "machines," each with its own operating system (OS). Thus, for example, a System z9 can contain a z/OS VM and a Linux VM, each operating as if it was a separate system. When vendors talk about virtualization today, most of the time they are talking about the second definition.

Virtual machines can deliver greater utilization of hardware than, say, x86 servers, and therefore mainframes and high-end Unix servers with greater apparent hardware license costs can still deliver roughly equivalent license costs compared to a server farm running 20 applications. However, the key cost benefit of virtual machines is lower people costs.

In the mainframe's case, the reason for lower (system) administrative costs is the relative simplicity of the mainframe environment:

  • It can run many applications on many virtual machines.
  • The same administrative tool applies to all applications within a single mainframe, and
  • No network management or systems management costs apply.
  • To read the entire article, go here.

     

    Published Wednesday, June 14, 2006 12:37 PM by David Marshall
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