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IBM Revs Virtualization Engine

IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) has an arguable claim to have invented virtualization on the mainframe some 40 years ago. Today, it's trying to beat its competitors in the race to bring it to open SANs.

Today, IBM previewed for analysts what it calls its Virtualization Engine technology on its storage and servers (see IBM Previews Virtualization Engine). Jeff Barnett, IBMs director of storage software strategies, says the technology will expand virtualization capabilities IBM has had on its mainframe systems for decades.

Specifically, Barnett says IBM will incorporate mainframe virtualization capabilities into its servers and its FastT and Shark storage systems. Virtualization services include a technique called micro-partitioning that is used on mainframe systems to allow users of Unix and other operating systems to run up to 10 servers per microprocessor.

Barnett says support of the new virtualization capabilities will be extended into IBM Tivoli software and SAN Volume Controller, Total Storage Productivity Center device management software, and the Shark SAN File System. Provisioning services will work across storage systems and servers from other vendors as well as IBM gear.

One thing: IBM's grand virtualization scheme is going to take a while to materialize. The company plans a slow rollout, with the first features showing up in IBM’s iSeries servers in May.

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