Advertised as the cheapest means for an IT organization to gather computing resources, the combination of IBM Z and z86VM may be just the enabler to achieve that goal.
Alternative Cloud Infrastructure
With x86 servers, there may be dozens or hundreds of system images and servers necessary to provide the base infrastructure for a cloud deployment. Businesses can decide if they want to acquire Cloud computing resource from a third party for a fee or decide if they wish to host it themselves within their own IT infrastructure. When using third party Cloud services, a business must determine how the security, resilience and performance fit in with their existing IT infrastructure and manage it appropriately.
z86VM Cloud Infrastructure
A single IBM Z server is capable of running thousands of virtual system images. With z86VM, it becomes possible to host 32 bit x86 operating system images within those virtual guests. These can be desktop images or server images. Within these operating system images, a wide range of applications can be operating. A business can begin with Platform as a Service, hosting the operating systems on behalf of users. With additional management tools, these platforms can host applications or middleware and enable Software as a Service.
Differences between z86VM and traditional x86 virtualization
Power: a single IBM Z uses less than or equal to a single x86 rack. When compared to multiple racks (for scale), it is a fraction of the cost.
Floor space: a single IBM Z may be the same or slightly larger than one x86 rack. When compared to multiple racks (for scale), it is smaller in amount used.
Cooling: a single IBM Z requires the same cooling or less than an x86 rack. When compared to multiple racks (for scale), less cooling is required, which will should on electricity as well.
System Utilization: IBM Z can run at 100% utilization for sustained periods of time without fear of failover. x86 virtualization typically runs at 40-60% utilization, which in turn, requires additional server cores to meet scaling requirements.
Software licensing: Typically, x86 software is charged on a per core basis. With fewer system cores required to meet workload demands, IBM Z can present a dramatic reduction in software license charges.
Business Resilience: x86 hardware typically needs to be replicated equivalently which in turn doubles environmental and software licensing charges. IBM Z also requires duplicate hardware, but Capacity Backup hardware is sold at a fraction of the price of production hardware. In addition, there are no software license charges for the backup server as the fee transfers when the workload transfers.
Software availability: Prior to z86VM, only a fraction of x86 software was available on System zEnterprise and it required a separate license and migration strategy. Since most x86 software is supported in both 32 and 64 bit modes, z86VM enables a much larger set of software to run on zEnterprise. and it is binary compatible now.
End to end integration: This may be the biggest difference between x86 and z86VM software deployments. In an x86 environment, a single application or level of middleware may standalone in a single server or cluster of servers. Each other piece of software it connects to, such as transaction processing, database serving, web hosting or web services, may reside in its own “cloud image”, adding complexity and latency to the end to end workflow. With the combination of z86VM and traditional IBM Z workloads, a single physical server, using hardware integrated networking, can host an end to end workload to further improve end to end performance and simplify security and resilience for the end to end workflow. This is to the benefit of end users, IT operations and ultimately, the bottom line of a business.