The IBMi25 celebration continues today with the topic Virtualization. Read the vignette on Facebook at bit.ly/ibmi25 after you’ve read today’s post from our guest blogger, Dave Wiseman, Director of IT Infrastructure at Connectria. Dave leads the team that is responsible for engineering and operations of their IBM i systems.
As a managed service provider, we continually push the limits of technology and implement solutions as they become available. One of Connectria's core competencies is our hosting and managing of OS/400, i5/OS and IBM i systems. I have always kind of taken virtualization for granted because so much of it was there from the beginning with IBM i and, honestly, the buzzword virtualization did not even exist. It was just the way we did things. Then as other operating environments started to develop this new fancy virtualization stuff, I was thinking, “Well, glad to see you’re finally catching up to us!”
Today, we are using a mix of virtualization technologies for supporting IBM i solutions. The most common is to configure a logical partition where the I/O, processor and memory allocated to the partition are dedicated to it. We have also deployed virtualized solutions with IBM i hosting other IBM i partitions, where the host partition serves up disk storage to client partitions. And lastly, we are using VIOS (Virtual I/O Server) to host IBM i client partitions, where VIOS owns the I/O.
VIOS is a core building block for Power Systems hardware and PowerVM virtualization software. With it, we are positioned to utilize new virtualization technology as IBM delivers it. One of those key technologies is rapid deployment of logical partitions, or virtual machines as many would call them. By capturing a golden image, client partitions can be deployed in minutes rather than hours or days. The images that are deployed are consistent from a configuration perspective and are ready to run customer workloads instantly without manual intervention. This same technology is available in the new IBM PureSystems product line for the Power compute nodes.
One of the challenges that we face on any platform we support is multi-tenancy. If maintenance requiring downtime has to be performed on any piece of hardware that is supporting multiple customer workloads, scheduling that maintenance window is a challenge. When IBM announced support for Live Partition Mobility on IBM i, it paved the way for us to venture into the world of multi-tenant cloud environments. We now have the capability to migrate running customer workloads to other Power Systems hardware in our data center, making it easy to perform maintenance activities without disrupting our customers. Prior to this, the majority of our solutions needed to be on hardware that was dedicated to individual customers. This has led to lower cost, better asset utilization and greater flexibility in deploying new customer workloads.
With 25 years of delivering excellent technology solutions centered around virtualization, I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years brings!