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IBM POWER5™ systems combine enhancements in the IBM PowerPC™ processor architecture with greatly enhanced firmware to significantly increase the virtualization capabilities of IBM POWER™ servers. The POWER hypervisor, the basis of the IBM Virtualization Engine™ technologies on POWER5 systems, delivers leading-edge mainframe virtualization technologies to the UNIX® marketplace. In addition to being able to create computing-intensive partitions with dedicated resources (processors, memory, and I/O adapters), customers can harness idle processor capacity to configure micropartitions with virtualized resources in order to consolidate many AIX™, i5/OS™, and Linux® servers onto a single platform. The POWER hypervisor provides support for virtualized processors, an IEEE virtual local area network (VLAN)-compatible virtual Ethernet switch, virtual small computer system interface (VSCSI) adapters, and virtual consoles. Many of these features are dependent upon, or take advantage of, the new facilities provided in the POWER5 processor, including the hypervisor decrementer, a fast page mover, and simultaneous multithreading support. The technology behind the virtualization capabilities that are available on the POWER5 servers, enabling customers to better utilize the industry-leading computing capacity of the POWER5 processor, is discussed in this paper.
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