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Virtual Machine/Enterprise Systems Architecture™ (VM/ESA™) represents the next major milestone in the history of the VM family of operating systems. It is a single product that supports both centralized and distributed computing systems in a way that preserves data integrity and protects shared resources. Operating systems of this kind are essential to the use of computers today, as more and more computers are linked and are sharing resources and data across more and more networks of heterogeneous computers and systems. Centralized computing, distributed computing, and the resulting concerns about access, sharing, and recovery of data and resources have seen dramatic increases in recent history and are expected to continue unabated. VMIESA is designed to bring together the three main branches of the VM family in support of these requirements. This special issue has an essay and six papers on various aspects of this subject. We are indebted to E. A. Pruul and L. P. Augostini of the Endicott Programming Laboratory in Endicott, New York, for their valued support of this special issue.
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