IBM announced yesterday that z/VM 6.1, the newest version of its mainframe virtualization operating system, will be out by year’s end.
The z/VM operating system has become more and more relevant over the past few years as companies have taken advantage of the virtualization appeal of the mainframe to run hundreds, or even thousands, of virtual Linux servers on big iron. There have been estimates that more than half of new mainframe MIPS are on zLinux.
The last version of z/VM, version 5.4, was released in June 2007, so this new version has been a while coming compared to the operating system’s previous release schedule.
The new version, 6.1, will be the first built on a new architectural level set (ALS), which is a fancy way of saying it will only run on the System z10 mainframes and future models. The expected end-of-life IBM support date for z/VM 5.4 is September 2013, so those running z9 mainframes and earlier have a few years to upgrade, find support from a third party, or go without support.
Some highlights from the new release:
- Guest LAN and Virtual Switch (VSWITCH) exploitation of the Prefetch Data instruction to use new IBM System z10 server cache prefetch capabilities to help improve the performance of guest-to-guest streaming network workloads
- Closer integration with IBM Systems Director by shipping the Manageability Access Point Agent for z/VM to help simplify installation of the agent
- Inclusion of post-z/VM V5.4 enhancements delivered in the IBM service stream.
Perhaps just as importantly, IBM says that z/VM 6.1 provides a formation for future z/VM enhancements, including the ability to allow multiple z/VM systems to act as one server image, and to allow live guest relocation from one system to another.