KVM and IBM z Systems: No Need to Niggle Thanks to New SUSE Best Practices | SUSE Communities

KVM and IBM z Systems: No Need to Niggle Thanks to New SUSE Best Practices


Innovation is a key driver for SUSE, and our goal is to provide you with choice and flexibility. One technology where SUSE steadily invests – as a critical area of innovation – is virtualization. Over the past decade, SUSE has been a pioneer in helping to develop and commercialize enterprise virtualization technologies—especially the hypervisor. In 2006, SUSE was the first Linux provider to deliver an enterprise-class, open Xen hypervisor  implementation. With the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, SUSE was also the first enterprise Linux provider to include the open KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) hypervisor as a part of its distribution.

SUSE had also been a pioneering Linux development for the mainframe. Back in 1999, IBM, SUSE and Marist College began collaborating to port the existing Linux code to the mainframe. Since then, we have focused on optimizing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE to run seamlessly with z Systems hardware and the z/VM hypervisor. From Day One, our goal has been making sure you get the most out of all your System z resources. SUSE has worked with IBM on Linux for z Systems more closely—and much longer—than any other company. By collaborating closely with IBM engineering and our mutual customers, SUSE is typically at the forefront of introducing new technologies for z Systems.

In this spirit, SUSE was also first to introduce KVM to the IBM mainframe architecture. Since the release of version 11 Service Pack 3, the mainframe optimized version SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE includes KVM as a technical preview, in addition to the support of IBM’s virtualization technology z/VM. What’s more, to ensure our mutual customers got the best integrated Linux-based virtualization solution for IBM z Systems, SUSE was closely collaborating with IBM on their own KVM for IBM z Systems product.

If you don´t have much experience with z Systems and the z/VM virtualization technology but you are a skilled x86 Linux administrator, running Linux on KVM on an IBM z Systems or LinuxONE machine allows you to easily explore the potential of this operating system on the mainframe. It enables you to work with a virtualization technology you are familiar with to separate your environment 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—and get all of the flexibility of the KVM technology with the same tools and commands you know from your x86-based environment, backed by the z Systems hardware.

On March 7, 2017, IBM announced the end of support for their product KVM for IBM z Systems. But due to KVM’s strategic importance, which comes along with its growing adoption among Linux on z Systems and LinuxONE customers, SUSE has concurrently announced full support for KVM, making us once again unique—as the only Linux provider to offer support for KVM for IBM z Systems). The KVM support is part of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE 12 SP2 and newer versions, was effective on March 1st 2017, and applies to existing and new subscriptions with no additional charge for the supported technology.


Now, if you are already are testing KVM for IBM z Systems or if you have even deployed it, there is no reason to be worried. My colleague and Linux on z Systems expert Mike Friesenegger has prepared a SUSE Best Practices document which covers the most important details about how to migrate your virtual machine(s) from KVM for IBM z Systems to KVM delivered with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. As SUSE goes forward, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for z Systems and LinuxONE will continue to equally support deployments on LPAR (PR/SM), z/VM and KVM, offering true choice for optimized workload deployment.


Disclaimer: The text at hand has not been reviewed by a native speaker. If you find typos or language mistakes, please send them to me (meike.chabowski@suse.com) – or if you like them, just keep them and feed them. 😆

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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.