Power VM configurability, Virtual Service Partitions and I/O virtualization

I must admit I’ve been a bit pre-occupied lately to post much in the way of meaningful content. For a frame of reference, I’m off looking at I/O Virtualization, NIC, FBA, Switch integration and optimization, as well as next generation data center fabrics. It’s a fascinating area, ripe for some invention and there are some great ideas out there. Hopefully more on this later.

I’ve also been looking at why we’d want to create a set of extensible interfaces that would allow virtual partitions to be used to extend the Power platform function, I have to say, the more I think about this the more interesting it is. I’d be interested in your feedback on the idea of creating a set of published interfaces to Power VM to allow you to add function running in a logical partition, or a virtual service partition to add or replace function that we provide. So, for example, maybe you want to add a monitor or accounting agent to function where we do not provide source code. We’d document the interface, provide a standard calling mechanism, a shared memory interface and so on. Then, you’d implement your function in an LPAR, probably using Linux on Power, or any other way you want.

Then, based on an event in an OS, Middleware, business application running in an LPAR under AIX, IBM i or Linux on Power generates a call to the OS, Hypervisor, or VIOS, instead of us providing the function, the hypervisor or VIOS would check to see if a Virtual Service Partition had been registered for that function, if so the call and event handling would be directed there instead of to the normal destination.

In this way we could also provide a structured way to extend the platform, where we currently would like to provide function, or customers have asked for it, but it hasn’t made our development list. Any comments? Good idea, bad idea, something else ?

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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I'm an information technology optimist.


I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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