Virtualization is turning competition among server vendors even more cutthroat than it has been so far, even as it increases the ability of enterprises to deliver diverse sets of applications and operating systems to suit specific needs.
This newfound flexibility is coming in the form of advanced migration tools that allow users to power up OSs and applications across multiple platforms. IBM recently upped its stake in this market by including Transitive Corp.'s PowerVM Lx86 system (formerly known as the System p Application Virtual Environment, or PAVE) with every new copy of the PowerVM Edition aboard System p servers. With it, you can run just about any x86 Linux application on the System p without modifying binary code or recompiling the server.
But while this kind of cross-platform virtualization certainly does improve data center functionality, for IBM it has the side benefit of acting as a wedge into Linux, and ultimately UNIX, environments held by rivals like HP and Sun.
Of course, turnabout is fair play, and it certainly won't be long before rivals start to offer native IBM code across their platforms as well.