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z/VM overview

VM (Virtual Machine) has long been recognized as a robust computing platform, spanning the family of IBM mainframe servers.

z/VM offers a base for customers who want to exploit IBM virtualization technology on one of the industry's best-of- breed server environments, the IBM System z family. With virtualization technology, customers can easily create many virtual machines consisting of virtualized processor, communications, storage, networking, and I/O resources.

The z/VM hypervisor is designed to help clients extend the business value of mainframe technology across the enterprise by integrating applications and data while providing exceptional levels of availability, security, and operational ease. z/VM virtualization technology is designed to allow the capability for clients to run hundreds to thousands of Linux servers on a single mainframe running with other System z operating systems, such as z/OS, or as a large-scale Linux-only enterprise server solution. z/VM can also help to improve productivity by hosting non-Linux workloads such as z/OS, z/VSE, and z/TPF.

New enhancements to z/VM 6.3 now support 1 TB of real memory to help clients keep pace with increasing business demands while continuing to allow for the highest levels of shared resource utilization. This support may increase server consolidation ratios. z/VM 6.3 is the premier virtualization platform, supporting more virtual servers than any other in a single footprint. It provides industry leading capabilities to efficiently scale both horizontally and vertically, enabling clients to support growing business demands while lowering the cost of service delivery.

In addition to more memory we have also addressed the increasing workload demands for processor cycles and for quicker access to memory. z/VM HiperDispatch does that by strengthening the affinity between where work is dispatched and where the data used by that work exists, thereby avoiding delays to retrieve that data. z/VM HiperDispatch is expected to provide improved throughput depending on workload characteristics, with memory-intensive workloads running on large numbers (16 to 32) of physical processors most likely to achieve the highest performance gains.


Past Release Enhancements

z/VM V6.2 is designed to offer:
  • z/VM delivers on the promise of smarter computing with the next step in the evolution of mainframe virtualization.
  • Multi-system virtualization clustering technology allowing up to four z/VM instances to be clustered in a single system image (SSI) which offers clients:
    • Relief from the challenges associated with virtual machine sprawl on competitive systems.
    • A more manageable infrastructure for cloud computing by providing a set of shared resources that can be managed as a single resource pool.
    • Live Guest Relocation to move Linux virtual servers without disruption to the business, helping to avoid planned outages.
    • Enhanced workload balancing with the added ability to move work to available system resources.
  • Improved systems management to help manage the life cycle of the z/VM hypervisors and the virtual servers.
  • IPv6 support for enhanced networking security, especially useful for doing business with the US Federal Government.

z/VM V6.1 is designed to offer:

  • Exploitation of System z10 cache prefetch capabilities to help improve the performance of virtual networking especially in environments running heavy guest-to-guest streaming workloads
  • Exploitation of FICON Express8 to help provide faster access to data with significantly increased performance and may also allow for the consolidation of existing FICON channels onto fewer FICON Express8 channels
  • Simplified installation of IBM Systems Director by providing the z/VM Manageability Access Point (zMAP) Agent that includes the Platform Agent
  • Enhancements planned for delivery in the IBM service stream by year-end 2009:
    • Guest support for Crypto Express3, the newest in a line of state-of-the-art, tamper-sensing and tamper responding, programmable cryptographic features of the System z10 servers
    • Guest support for IBM System Storage DS8000 Extended Address Volumes (EAV), which can be as large as 223 GB, help relieve storage constraints as well as simplify storage management by providing the ability to manage fewer, large volumes as opposed to many small volumes
  • Inclusion of z/VM V5.4 enhancements delivered in the IBM service stream providing a CMS-based z/VM SSL server and support for:
    • Linux guests using dynamic storage reconfiguration
    • IBM FlashCopy SE
    • o Worldwide port name (WWPN) prediction tool
    • OSA-Express QDIO data connection isolation
    • Additional tape encryption
    • Multiple file dumps
  • Enhancements for IBM zEnterprise System Virtualization
    (Announced July 22, 2010)
    Planned availability - September 2010
    • Support for the IBM zEnterprise 196
    • Scalability enhancements
    • FIPS SSL support
    Planned availability - November 2010
    • Support for the IBM zEnterprise Unified Resource Manager
    • Support for the zEnterprise 196 INMN and IEDN
    Planned availability - December 2010
    • XRC time stamping support

z/VM V5.4 is designed to offer:

  • Improved scalability and constraint relief
    • Virtual memory performance enhancements
    • Expanded shared memory addressability
    • Dynamic memory upgrade
  • Virtualization technology and Linux enablement
    • Increased flexibility with support for z/VM-mode partitions
    • Dynamic virtual processor management
    • Capability added to dump Linux guests to SCSI disks
  • Network virtualization
    • More efficient transmission of network data
    • Enhanced physical connectivity by exploiting all OSA-Express3 ports
    • Enhanced connectivity with TCP/IP Layer 2 support
    • Enhanced ease of use in network management
    • TELNET server and client IPv6 support
  • Security
    • Enhanced z/VM SSL server now CMS-based
    • LDAP upgrade and RACF password change logging
    • Common Criteria Certification (z/VM V5.3)
  • Systems management
    • Further systems management enhancements for Linux and other virtual images
    • Directory manager enhancements
    • Enhancements to the Performance Toolkit for VM
    • Enhancements to IBM Tivoli OMEGAMON XE on z/VM and Linux
  • Installation and service enhancements/packaging changes
    • Installation of Linux on System z from the HMC
    • Installation and service enhancements
  • Packaging and service support modifications
    • Electronic delivery of z/VM
    • z/VM V5.4 Information Center
    • Withdrawal of distribution medium - z/VM V5.4 will not be available on 3480 tape medium
    • Withdrawal of support for some TCP/IP for z/VM functions
  • Application enablement
    • Updated C/C++ for z/VM compiler
    Plus these enhancements announced October 21, 2008.
  • Support for the IBM System z10 BC
  • Additional systems management enhancements are provided by the HMC and Support Element (SE) 2.10.1 exploiting the z/VM V5.4 Systems Management APIs to allow selected virtual resources to be both defined and managed
  • Port isolation security that provides the ability to restrict guest-to-guest communications within a Virtual Switch (VSWITCH) by exploiting OSA-Express QDIO data connection isolation on V5.3 and later with the PTFs for APARs VM64463 and PK67610 (4Q2008)
    - Exclusive to OSA-Express2 and OSA-Express3 on the z10 and OSA-Express2 on z9
  • OSA-Express3 enhancements provide support for:
    • Four ports on the 1000BASE-T Ethernet feature
    • Two ports on the GbE and 1000BASE-T 2P features on the z10 BC
    • OSA-Integrated Console Controller (OSC) on the 1000BASE-T Ethernet feature
    • Open Systems Adapter for NCP (OSN)
  • Support for the IBM System Storage Enterprise 3592 Tape Controller Model C06 and 3592 Tape Drive Model E06 with the PTFs for APARs VM64458 and VM64459 for z/VM V5.2 and later, including DFSMS/VM.

z/VM V5.3 is designed to offer:

  • Improved scalability and constraint relief
    • Support for more than 128 GB real storage
    • Up to 32 real processors in a single z/VM image
    • Enhanced memory management for Linux guest
    • Enhanced memory utilization using VMRM between z/VM and Linux guests
    • HyperPAV support for IBM System Storage DS8000
    • Enhanced FlashCopy support
  • Virtualization technology and Linux enablement
    • Support for IBM System z specialty engines (processors)
    • Enhanced VSWITCH and guest LAN usability
    • Modified Indirect Data Address Words (MIDAWs) for guests
    • Guest ASCII console support
    • Enhanced SCSI support
  • Network virtualization
    • Improved virtual network management
    • Enhanced failover support for IPv4 and IPv6 devices
    • Virtual IP Address (VIPA) support for IPv6
  • Security
    • Delivery of LDAP server and client
    • Enhanced system security with longer passwords
    • Conformance with industry standards
    • SSL server enhancements
    • Tape data protection with support for encryption
  • Systems management
    • Enhanced management functions for Linux and other virtual images
    • New function level for DirMaint
    • Enhancements to the Performance Toolkit
    • Enhanced guest configuration
  • Installation, service, and packaging changes
    • Additional DVD installation options
    • Enhanced status information
    • RSCS repackaged as an optional feature
    • New RACF Security Server for z/VM
    • U.S. Daylight Saving Time effect on z/VM
    • z/Architecture CMS shipped as a sample program
    • Withdrawal of the ROUTED and BOOTP servers


z/VM V5.2 is designed to offer:
  • Virtualization enhancements for Linux and other guests
    • Enhanced exploitation of large real memory providing 2 GB real-storage constraint relief
    • Improved memory management for Linux guests
    • Improved performance of z/VM Control Program (CP) use of SCSI disk I/O
    • Definition and operation of Fibre Channel Protocol (FCP)-attached SCSI disks with capacities of nearly 1 TB with the PTFs for APAR VM63700 (DirMaint) and VM63664 (DFSMS/VM)
    • Secure Sockets Layer SSL server support for additional Linux distributions
    • Enhanced performance assists for cooperating z/VM guests using OSA-Express, FCP, and HiperSockets
    • Enhanced systems management APIs for improved management of Linux and other guests
  • Networking virtualization and security enhancements
    • Improved problem determination for guest LANs and virtual switches
    • Enhanced dynamic routing capabilities with new MPRoute server
  • Technology exploitation
    • “Exploitation of selected features of the IBM System z9” Enterprise Class (z9 EC), formerly the System z9 109 (z9-109) and the System z9 Business Class (z9 BC):
      • Support for new instructions 2
      • Support for FICON® Express4 (4 Gbps FICON)
      • TCP/IP and guest LAN Support for HiperSockets using IPv6 protocol
      • Simplified VLAN management with support for Generic Attribute Registration Protocol (GARP) Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) Registration Protocol (GVRP)
      • Crypto Express2 Accelerator for SSL acceleration
      • Support for OSA-Express2 OSA for NCP (OSN)
      • Improved FCP channel utilization and sharing among guests through N-Port ID virtualization (NPIV) support
      • Support for hardware capability to add and delete logical partition (LPAR) names
      • Support for hardware capability to provide up to 60 LPARs on the z9 EC and 30 on the z9 BC
      • Additional exploitation of IBM TotalStorage® DS6000 and IBM TotalStorage DS8000 series 2
      • Support for Parallel Access Volumes (PAVs) as minidisks 2
  • Systems management improvements
    • Improved management for Linux and other virtual images
    • Simplified user administration with the coordination of DirMaint and RACF changes
    • Improved DirMaint directory management performance
    • Enhanced Performance Toolkit for VM to support updated control blocks and new monitor data
    • Service and installation enhancements

See also ...
VM History and Heritage
VM V6.3 resources
VM V6.2 resources
VM V6.1 resources
VM V5.4 resources
VM V5.3 resources
VM and Linux resources
VM with z/OS
VM with VSE
VM and the EURO

IBM System z
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