Partitioning tools, once only common on mainframes, have made their way to higher-end Unix servers, and now IBM and VMware are looking to add the same software to servers with 16 or fewer Intel processors, said Jay Bretzmann, director of xSeries server marketing at IBM. The companies have developed a version of the software for IBM's x360 server and plan an update to the software for the third quarter that will be aimed at the high end of the xSeries line.
With ESX Server, users can chop up a 16-processor server into 20 different partitions or virtual servers. Administrators can then run different applications in each partition, and allocate processing and memory resources for each application.
Putting more applications on one physical server can help lower the total number of servers a company needs to manage. In addition, a software bug or virus can be isolated in one partition without affecting other software on the server.
One analyst said the partnership with VMware makes sense in the long run for IBM, as the company rolls out servers with its Summit chipset.
"VMware is important for a very stable xSeries product built around Summit," said Gordon Haff, an analyst at Illuminata. "It's certainly not surprising that IBM would want to ensure VMware is a stable partner going forward, so they can leverage each others' expertise."
IBM's Summit chipset contains a number of memory enhancements and error-checking safeguards to bolster the performance of Intel-based servers.
Adding partitioning tools on these types of servers would help Intel-based hardware compete with Unix servers that currently offer similar features, Haff said.