All About Innovation and Choice - Virtualization with KVM for IBM z Systems and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server | SUSE Communities

All About Innovation and Choice – Virtualization with KVM for IBM z Systems and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server


You might experience it every day in your organization: your business is growing, your IT department must deal with new market requirements to support your key business, your administrators face an explosion of the distributed servers running a wide variety of mission-critical and lightweight applications. For your company, this results in ever-increasing hardware, software, data center, systems management and business support costs and complexity, and the need to secure the required skills to manage these environments.

Although cost considerations are important, you might additionally be looking at other benefits to gain from your IT infrastructure, benefits such as flexibility, interoperability and standardization, to leverage existing skills and access the underlying code in your systems to be able to address your biggest challenges. Linux running on z Systems combines the advantages of the IBM mainframe with the flexibility and open standards of an open source operating system. Linux can play a major role in simplifying and modernizing your IT infrastructure—not only because it helps simplify business integration through the use of open and industry standards, but also because it supports quicker new solution deployments and accelerates time to market.

By leveraging SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on the historically most reliable and efficient hardware platform, IBM z Systems, you can control total cost of ownership and at the same time address the most pressing challenges. Because z Systems offers the most effective platform for virtualization, dramatically higher employment of the hardware investment – in terms of CPU utilization – is possible. This allows more cost-efficient software licensing and the use of subscription models offered by the industry. Enterprises have turned to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z for more than 15 years to run mission-critical applications on IBM z Systems. And SUSE has been working with IBM on Linux for z Systems more closely—and much longer—than any other company.


It was back in 1999, when SUSE, IBM and Marist College begun collaborating to port the Linux operating system to the mainframe. From day one, our goal has been making sure our mutual customers get the most out of their z Systems environment. By collaborating with IBM engineering and our customers, SUSE is typically first to take advantage of the new hardware capabilities of z Systems and at the forefront of introducing new features for z Systems into the mainstream Linux kernel and to the market. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z operating system includes features developed specifically for the mainframe to take advantage of, and fully exploit, z Systems-specific hardware capabilities and IBM virtualization technologies. This allows you to create virtual environments that lower total cost of ownership, reduce data center complexity, increase flexibility and decrease downtime.

Innovation is a key driver for SUSE, and the goal of SUSE is to provide you with more choice and flexibility. SUSE steadily invests in virtualization as a critical area of innovation: since the release of version 11 Service Pack 3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z has included KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) in addition to the support of IBM’s virtualization technology z/VM. If you have focused on different technologies than z Systems and the z/VM virtualization technology in the past but if you are a skilled x86 Linux administrator today, running Linux on KVM on z Systems allows you to easily explore the potential of Linux on the mainframe and virtualization separate from other workload environments on the same system. You can create and manage virtual machines by yourself, assign resources and use workload isolation and protection capabilities, so you can get all the flexibility of KVM-based virtual machines with the same tools and commands you know from your x86-based environment, backed by the z System hardware.

To make sure our mutual customers get the best integrated Linux-based virtualization solution for IBM z Systems, SUSE is fading out the KVM Technical Preview included with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z with future releases, and is closely collaborating with IBM on its KVM for IBM z Systems technology. With KVM for IBM z Systems, IT organizations can unleash the power of KVM technology to improve productivity, and simplify administration and management for a quick start on their journey to a highly virtualized environment on IBM z Systems. KVM for IBM z Systems is optimized to exploit the z Systems architecture for scalability, performance, security and resiliency and provides standard Linux and KVM interfaces for simplified operational control of the environment.

As SUSE goes forward, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z will continue to be equally supported on LPAR (PR/SM), z/VM and KVM for IBM z Systems, offering true choice for optimized workload deployment. Currently SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z is the only operating system to provide support for KVM for IBM z Systems. At the date of general availability, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z 12 supports KVM for IBM z Systems in non-production environments. With the next service pack release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z, full support for KVM for IBM z Systems will be provided. Read more here 

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Meike ChabowskiMeike Chabowski works as Documentation Strategist at SUSE. Before joining the SUSE Documentation team, she was Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Servers at SUSE, with a focus on Linux for Mainframes, Linux in Retail, and High Performance Computing. Prior to joining SUSE more than 20 years ago, Meike held marketing positions with several IT companies like defacto and Siemens, and was working as Assistant Professor for Mass Media. Meike holds a Master of Arts in Science of Mass Media and Theatre, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/ Germany, and in Italian Literature and Language from University of Parma/Italy.