Update on Virtualization Manager’s i5/OS LPAR Capabilities
October 9, 2007 Alex Woodie
Several weeks ago, we ran a story, “IBM Preps Update to Virtualization Manager”, that was critical about the lack of support for the i5/OS operating system’s native virtualization technology, called Logical Partitioning, or LPAR, within the product. As it turns out, we were wrong on some of the technical details when it comes to Virtualization Manager’s support for i5/OS LPAR. You can, indeed, create LPARs with Virtualization Manager. You just can’t deploy them.
IBM launched Virtualization Manager about a year ago to give system administrators a single place where they can monitor and control the virtual machines and virtual servers running across their physical servers. As the use of virtualization skyrockets, the thinking goes, administrators need to leverage the power of automation and centralization to regain control.
In our September story on Virtualization Manager version 1.2, we said that Virtualization Manager supported all types of virtualization technologies, including VMware ESX Server, Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, and Xen‘s XenSource, and IBM’s own virtualization offerings for its POWER architecture. We said it supports all these environments out of the box–except i5/OS LPAR.
As it turns out, that was only partially true.
In a give-and-take with IBM that lasted the better part of three weeks, IT Jungle finally got to the bottom of the story behind Virtualization Manager’s support for i5/OS LPAR. In a nutshell, you can create, monitor, and edit i5/OS logical partitions with Virtualization Manager, but you can’t deploy them with Virtualization Manager, according to IBM. As an extension to the lack of deployment support, the product won’t help you redeploy, or relocate, your virtual assets–another critical product feature.
Deployment and redeployment of i5/OS LPAR must still be done manually. By comparison, with all other types of virtualization technologies, Virtualization Manager automates the deployment and relocation of virtual servers (as all virtualized assets are called in Virtualization Manager; LPAR, apparently, is lingua incognita in IBM’s software group).
While you can’t actually deploy i5/OS LPAR with Virtualization Manager, the product isn’t completely useless to System i customers, IBM points out. For example, once you set up a template for i5/OS virtual servers, you can quickly create multiple virtual servers with the same configuration, without repeatedly keying in the virtual server settings for each virtual server that needs to be created.
Of course, once these have been created, you still must manually deploy these LPA … er, virtual servers.
As a result of our inquiry, IBM has updated its Web site to contain information about Virtualization Manager’s i5/OS LPAR capabilities, or lack thereof (but you have to remember that IBM doesn’t call it LPAR–they’re virtual servers). You can view the updated Web page and i5/OS caveats at www-03.ibm.com/systems/management/director/extensions/vm.html.