I’ve written a few blogs based on questions I receive via email, and most of them are on the “advanced” side, but recently I have received some questions which demonstrate that some people could really use a refresher on the basics. So, if you’ve been closely following the platform for the past couple of years, today’s blog might not contain anything new to you, but perhaps some people who are just re-engaging will find it helpful.
Here’s an excerpted version of the email:
I have grown up with System 34/38, AS/400 and IBM i. I have a question on the POWER7 hardware (model 720 and higher). Are these systems capable of hosting multiple operating systems (AIX, IBM i and Linux) using PowerVM? I would be grateful for your answer, so that we can take advantage of this hardware feature and carry out consolidation to reduce the cost of hardware for disaster recovery setup, etc.
Basic answer: Yes, all three Power operating systems can run on the current POWER7-based systems. They can run separately, but most importantly, they can also run on the same system concurrently.
Longtime customers find this hard to accept, at first. They remember the days when AS/400 and RS/6000 were completely separate. These days, though, a single system platform with common pricing exists which can run today’s IBM i operating system, as well as today’s AIX and the Linux for POWER.
The ability to run multiple operating systems on a single hardware platform actually predates the Power Systems unification in 2008. For a period of time before the unification, a customer could buy a System i and run AIX on it, or they could buy a System p and run i5/OS on it. But there were strange pricing and licensing issues, so this was not a common situation.
POWER has changed that. We have many customers using multiple POWER operating systems in their environments, and consolidation-based cost and management improvements are the biggest drivers. PowerVM – which grew from the AS/400 and RS/6000 hypervisors – is the enabling virtualization technology. Today’s operating systems work cooperatively with this advanced hypervisor, just as their predecessors did.
A good example of a customer taking advantage of this is GHY International, which uses all three operating systems in its business. In fact, Nigel Fortlage, their VP of IT, just wrote a nice blog about LinuxCon 2011 North America, but they have also given excellent case study information, and their cost reductions inspired Nigel to say this:
"With PowerVM, we went from 95 percent to only 5 percent of our time managing or reacting to our environment. And saved the business hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing and application fees."
So, while it’s always important to check the details, the general answer is that most of the Power Systems sold these days easily support each of the operating systems, including, of course, the Integrated POWER Operating System – IBM i.
Twitter: #ibmi @Steve_Will_IBMi, #IBMiUser