In a development that will soon find its way into a variety of offerings, IBM today announced that it has been awarded a patent for a new approach to provisioning virtual machines based on the amount of network bandwidth that is available.
According to Ed Suffern, lead IBM inventor of the Dynamically Provisioning Virtual Machines patent, this new capability will allow IT organizations to identify hot spots where too many virtual machines are congesting network bandwidth. Armed with that information, IT organizations will be able to dynamically provision a virtual machine on a server that has more available network bandwidth.
Part of IBM’s overall effort to develop software-defined networking (SDN) technologies, Suffern says the patent being awarded represents IBM’s latest effort to allow server, storage, network and virtual machine administrators to work together collaboratively. Suffern says this is critical because the average distributed computing environment is becoming more complex to manage thanks to the rise of virtual machines.
As cloud computing platforms scale out, Suffern says maintaining the delicate balance required across networking, server and storage technologies is becoming a significant challenge. One of IBM’s strengths, says Suffern, is that it has engineering resources allocated to each of those segments, which are working together to develop technologies such as dynamic provisioning.
IBM isn’t yet identifying where this technology will manifest itself in the cloud or whether it will license the technology to other vendors. The good news is that the patent itself suggests that IT research is starting to take a more horizontal approach in an era when an advance in one sector has frequently wound up creating an imbalance in another.