SUSE, IBM, and KVM: Powering the Future of the Mainframe | SUSE Communities

SUSE, IBM, and KVM: Powering the Future of the Mainframe


NOTE: A huge “Thank You” to Mary Marks from the Alliance Marketing Team for her contributions to this blog post!


It´s available NOW! After the announcement at LinuxCon about a month ago, now you can get the advantage of mainframe computing with Linux using KVM.

The increasing complexity and resulting costs of managing distributed servers forces companies to juggle the cost of infrastructure and business support, and the skills to manage it all. SUSE is the first to bring Linux to the mainframe through a collaboration with IBM. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the perfect guest to combine the advantages of the IBM mainframe with the flexibility and open standards of a mission-critical open source operating system.

SUSE and IBM have partnered together again to bring greater access to Linux on the mainframe with LinuxONE – a Linux-only z Systems mainframe platform running SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z. With LinuxONE, IBM and SUSE now offer more virtualization choices by enabling the ability to provision virtual machines through the open standards-based KVM hypervisor, just like any Linux server.

Control Cost and Complexity

By leveraging SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on IBM z Systems hardware, you can meet the challenges of managing physical server sprawl and supporting a myriad of mission-critical applications spread across distributed servers. Because IBM z Systems offers an exceptional effective platform for virtualization, you can enhance the value of your existing hardware investment by consolidating workloads to your system, capturing unused capacity, and incrementally upgrading if needed. In addition, the z Systems hardware, in combination with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, delivers a highly reliable, available, and serviceable platform.

Optimize Resources and Effectively Manage Technology Infrastructure

Using KVM virtualization on IBM z Systems, you get the performance and flexibility to run various Linux workloads, including cloud and big data type solutions. KVM for IBM z Systems is an open source based virtualization solution offered for z Systems servers that enables you to share real compute, memory and I/O resources. The solution also offers:

  1. A familiar user interface for x86 Linux administrators to manage Linux on the mainframe. You can manage KVM for IBM z Systems like other platforms, with libvirt, OpenStack, or other open Linux tools.
  2. Simple, robust, and cost-effective open source server virtualization for Linux workloads. Move virtual servers and workloads using live migration without application downtime to help increase overall availability and flexibility to meet your clients’ demands.
  3. Standard KVM interfaces to help simplify and automate routine infrastructure maintenance tasks. The solution was designed to give a simplified, familiar experience for Linux users, who can use familiar Linux skills to reduce operational inefficiencies.

Gain a Competitive Edge

Today, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z is the top Linux choice for mainframe customers. SUSE ensures that you have access to the largest number of open source and commercial applications and receive the best support in the industry.

Ideally suited for Linux administrators, running Linux on KVM on z Systems lets you easily explore the potential of Linux on the mainframe and virtualization separate from other workload environments on the same system. Create and manage virtual machines by yourself, assign resources, and use workload isolation and protection capabilities—get all the flexibility of KVM-based virtual machines with the same tools and commands you know from your x86-based environment. And all of it is backed by IBM z Systems.

KVM for z Systems features include:

  • Linux capabilities on IBM z Systems
    • KVM on z Systems can coexist with z/VM
    • Standard KVM interfaces allow for simple startup and management
  • Benefits of open source KVM hypervisor for Linux
    • Provisioning, mobility, memory over-commit
    • Standard management and operational controls
    • Simplicity and familiarity for x86 Linux users
  • Optimization for IBM z Systems’ scalability, performance, security, and resiliency
  • Flexible integration with cloud offerings
    • Standard use of storage and networking
      drivers (including SCSI disk)
    • No proprietary management agent
    • Standard enterprise monitoring and automation

If you are curious now and want to read more, just check out the IBM KVM for z Systems webpage


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Meike Chabowski Meike 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.