Wednesday, October 28, 2009

IBM Announcement z/VM 6.1

z/VM 6.1 already had a preview announcement in July. Now, here's the official announcement : 'IBM z/VM V6.1 - Foundation for future virtualization growth (ZP09-0459)'. Usually we need significant changes (pricing mechanism, technology) to trigger a new version. Here the trigger is definitely the fact that z/VM 6.1 implements a new Architecture Level Set (ALS) available only on the IBM System z10 EC and System z10 BC and future generations of System z servers. There are indeed some functionalities making use of System z10 only functionalities. Here's a short review of the new functions :
  • Exploitation of the System z10 server cache management instructions to help improve the performance of z/VM virtual networking for guest-to-guest streaming workloads
  • Better integration with IBM Systems Director by providing the z/VM Manageability Access Point (zMAP) agent (including the Platform Agent for Linux) with z/VM V6.1 for easier agent installation
  • Support for FICON Express8 – designed to provide faster access to data (link data rate of 8 Gbps)
  • Support for Crypto Express3 – the next generation cryptographic feature for System z (z/VM support is planned to be available in November 2009)
  • Support for IBM System Storage DS8000 Extended Address Volumes (planned availability: 12/2009)
  • Inclusion of several functional enhancements previously delivered in the z/VM V5.4 service stream
As I already indicated with the preview announcement the real interesting part lies in the Statements of Direction. As it seems that these will not be realized in 6.1 but in later releases, it's not sure that many customers will really want to upgrade to z/VM 6.1. As I've already read in the IBMVM Listserv List people will tend to wait for releases that do include the statements of direction. Surely as the support for z/VM 5.4 has been extended to September 2013 for people still running on System z9 or older systems.

Now what's so exciting about these SODs ? Well, they will certainly mean a step forward in Disaster/Recovery, manageability and Continuous availability for z/VM and zLinux. I'll just repeat them from my previous post :
  • z/VM Single System Image
    IBM intends to provide capabilities that permit multiple z/VM systems to collaborate in order to provide a single system image. This is planned to allow all z/VM member systems to be managed, serviced, and administered as one system across which workloads can be deployed. The single system image is intended to share resources among all member systems.
  • z/VM Live Guest Relocation
    IBM intends to further strengthen single system image support by providing live guest relocation. This is planned to provide the capability to move a running Linux virtual machine from one single system image member system to another. This is intended to further enhance workload management across a set of z/VM systems and to help clients avoid planned outages for virtual servers.
Here's a picture illustrating the Single System Image implementation.

Click on image for larger version in new window

Planned availability for z/VM 6.1 : October 23, 2009 except for some features as indicated above.

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