While much of the internet and many datacenters run on virtualized Linux servers, many people don't realize that the physical environment for thousands of those VMs lives on IBM mainframe hardware. IBM System z servers are capable of virtualizing thousands of Linux VMs on a single box and are, in fact, designed to do just that (among other things).
EMC has decided to take advantage of that fact and add the System z virtualization hypervisor z/VM, to its list of supported environments for its Symmetrix VMAX storage platform, which is designed to integrate virtualized server environments and supports over 2 petabytes of disk storage.
More than just storage for virtualized systems, the VMAX systems and software also provide business continuity support with the EMC Geographically Dispersed Disaster Restart AutoSwap software which allows two geographically separated z/VM systems switch VMAX storage systems to allow applications that need the data to continue running in the event of an equipment or connection failure.
With datacenter virtualization and consolidation being such driving forces in IT, EMC decision to partner with IBM makes a huge amount of business sense. While the old mental picture of a datacenter as a room full of server racks still meets the actual environment, the future is far more likely to be a couple of IBM zEnterprise servers and a pile of storage, replacing the thousands of servers that formerly performed the same work and are capable of continued growth,