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Virtualization Tricks

Four steps to implement and support virtualization on the System p platform.

Illustration by Bob Scott

Today's competitive corporate environment requires nimble IT departments with the capability to respond quickly to changes in capacity and the use of innovative methods to reduce time to market for new applications and systems. Escalating costs for power, raised floor capacity and administrative requirements also drive the need to utilize technology in new ways to maximize a company's IT investment.


Virtualization is an excellent vehicle to address business needs while controlling costs. The IBM* System p* Advanced Power Virtualization (APV) offers advanced technology to facilitate server consolidation, reduce costs, increase utilization and adapt capacity to quickly meet demand. APV, standard on the p5* 590 and 595 servers, can be used to reduce the need for static adapters and respond to increasing capacity demands.


Increasing Utilization

A common implementation benefit of server consolidation is curing the malady of underutilized servers. Most companies without virtualization and server consolidation report UNIX* utilization under 25 percent, indicating underutilized servers.


APV facilitates server consolidation by allowing rapid response to changes in memory or CPU as well as removing the need to physically move I/O or network adapters. System p customers typically drive 60- to 80-percent utilization using virtual CPUs, Micropartitioning* and capped/uncapped capacity techniques. Capacity Upgrade On Demand is designed to provide rapid deployment of spare CPUs. The unparalleled granularity for CPU virtualization that System p virtualization may provide places APV in a category of its own in increasing flexibility and driving better utilization of IT resources.

Cost savings can be realized not only in reducing the number of servers and network and I/O adapters, but also in reducing floor space, power and cooling. Some companies see significant reductions in their overall capacity spending, making cost reduction a significant benefit of virtualization.

The capability to quickly change course and put up a new, isolated partition provides businesses with significant competitive advantage over less flexible methods. The degree of isolation provided by the IBM POWER5* hypervisor translates into reduced risk for new applications and increased opportunities to test changes. Although virtualization may be a newer concept to the UNIX world and many users hesitate to implement test partitions within the same footprint as production, this technology was fine tuned on the IBM mainframe; 40 years of knowledge and lessons learned provide the System p platform with an edge with respect to delivering stability and reliability.

Because deciding how best to utilize virtualization may be daunting at first, we're outlining an easy, four-step approach to implementing and supporting virtualization on System p servers.


Jerry Petru has more than 20 years of experience in the technical industry and holds various certifications in UNIX/AIX. Jerry can be reached at

Susan Schreitmueller is an IBM-certified senior consultant. Susan can be reached at

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