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IBM Brings Virtualization To The Server

IBM on Wednesday previewed what it called its "Virtualization Engine," a combination of software and hardware technologies that will allow enterprises to run as many as ten "virtual" servers on a single microprocessor.

The result of a three-year research effort, Virtualization Engine (VE) will ship on some IBM eServer systems as early as next month, said Tim Dougherty, manager of the Armonk, N.Y.-based computer maker's eServer Blade Server division, and continue to roll out on new servers and storage devices throughout the end of the year.

The virtualization technology, which has existed on mainframes for years, is being brought into the server and storage market as part of an overall IBM effort to boost system utilization in heterogeneous environments, said Dougherty.

"Partitioning is only a small part of the overall picture," he said. "Customers have told us the their major pain point is a proliferation of equipment. Enterprises will always have a disparate environment, because specific servers do specific jobs very well. We'll provides the common construct, a layer to put on top so that a company can look at the whole IT structure as a single entity."

Although VE is sure to get the bulk of attention -- a four-way server can be sliced into as many as 40 separate partitions, each with its own operating system and applications, own memory and virtual networking -- IBM also debuted a suite of software that will help run the plethora of virtual servers and tie together IBM and non-IBM hardware into an environment that can be managed from one software console.

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