Server Virtualization Policy for IBM Software

IBM software support


Executive overview

Virtualization technologies can help provide IBM clients with technical and economic opportunities to improve their IT effectiveness while reducing costs. IBM has been and continues to be a leader in virtualization by providing robust virtualization technologies on the System z and the Power Systems platforms and by supporting leading virtualization technologies for the System x platform. Further, IBM led the industry in providing additional support to clients looking for economic benefits from virtualization by introducing sub-capacity licensing on the System z platform in 2001 and on distributed systems in 2005.

In response to the significant increase in Cloud and PureSystem technologies now available to its clients, IBM has established a set of virtualization environments for servers that we will support across our multi-platform product portfolio for servers. These virtualization environments consist of the operating system and the hypervisor technology. This information is intended to help clients plan their strategic deployment environments for applications and achieve the economic benefits available through server consolidation.

Supported Virtualization Environments across the portfolio

As clients continue to virtualize more of their IT infrastructure, IBM is committed to supporting them in these efforts. Responding to client demand, IBM is taking steps to support the following server virtualization environments across our multi-platform product portfolio for servers. These environments include a set of operating systems and hypervisor technologies under each operating system. While IBM software products have dependencies on operating systems, most IBM software products are designed to be neutral to hypervisor technologies. IBM plans to support the following operating systems and hypervisors that these operating systems are hosted on. Exceptions may occur when a product is designed to run only in a particular operating environment, or when other special constraints exist:

  • IBM® Processor Resource/System Manager (PR/SM™) hypervisor with IBM z/OS® operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on IBM z Systems
  • IBM z/VM® hypervisor with IBM z/OS operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on IBM z Systems.
  • KVM for IBM z Systems hypervisor with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on IBM z Systems.
  • IBM PowerVM™ hypervisor with IBM AIX® operating system on IBM Power Systems.
  • VMware ESXi Server with Windows Server®  operating systems, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on x86-64 systems.
  • Red Hat KVM** with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) on x86-64 systems.
  • SUSE KVM*** with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on x86-64 systems.
  • Hyper-V with Windows Server® operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on x86-64 systems.

Supported Virtualization Environments by selected product portfolios

The following server virtualization environments, which include operating systems and hypervisors that host them as a guest, are supported by a group of IBM products uniquely selected for each of these markets. As other virtualization environments mature and as market demand changes, this list may change:

  • PowerVM hypervisor with IBM i operating system on IBM Power Systems.
  • PowerVM hypervisor with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) on IBM Power Systems.
  • Workload Partitions (WPARs) with AIX operating system on IBM Power Systems.

Other Virtualization environments

Virtualization environments not listed above may be supported on an IBM product-by-product basis, as market demand for the product changes.

Supporting a virtualized server environment

If an IBM software product supports a particular server virtualization environment, it is designed to:

  • Install successfully in that virtualization environment.
  • Run in that virtualization environment without losing function or significant performance.

For such a product, IBM also offers the following benefits:

  • Licensing support: Depending on the hypervisor technology used in an environment, the product may be licensed under the IBM sub-capacity license for Processor Value Unit (PVU) based offerings.
  • Technical Support: IBM Remote Technical Support can be obtained under the usual IBM support terms and conditions. If during problem investigation, IBM determines that the issue is the result of an IBM software defect that has not been reported before, we will accept defect requests.If a problem is identified with the virtualization technology, IBM will work with the technology vendor where clients have agreements for vendor support.
  • Performance Support: The product's performance in virtualization environments will be considered during the development process.

For information about products running in virtualization environments, refer to the Software Product Compatibility Report. This information will be updated regularly to reflect combinations that are currently supported and those that will be added over time.

How to determine policy implications by product or virtualization environment

While the high level policy description above is helpful, we believe many clients will want to know which virtualization environments (hypervisors and guest operating systems) are supported for specific IBM software products, or which IBM software products support specific virtualization environments.  We have enabled a query tool that uses the latest data from our product development teams to help you answer these questions.  Generally these reports provide the information at a version/release level for both the product and the virtualization environment. 

To obtain information:

  1. Use the "Hypervisor reports" available on the Software Product Compatibility Report page to determine one of the following:
    • the hypervisors that are supported by a  specific product
    • the products support a specific hypervisor
    • the hypervisor(s) that are supported by a specific set of products
  2. Select the most appropriate report type and fill in the information starting at the top of the resulting page.  When you have completed your selections click the submit button to view the report for your selection(s). 

If you have additional questions concerning the resulting information please contact your IBM software sales representative.


  1. Q: Which IBM software products are affected by this virtualization policy?
    A: All IBM software products for servers will adopt this virtualization policy. Virtualization-specific products such as appliances (Lotus Foundations, for example) are not affected by this policy. Refer to the Software Product Compatibility Report for current IBM product and virtualization environment information.
  2. Q: Does this announcement mean that if an IBM product does not currently run on all the operating systems (that is, on z/OS, AIX, Windows, and Linux), it will be ported to the other operating systems of supported virtualization environments in this group?
    A: No. This announcement is not expanding IBM product support to all these operating systems. IBM products that run on only one or a subset of these operating systems will not be ported to the other operating systems of supported virtualization environments. What the announcement does say is that all the IBM products that have announced support for one of these operating systems will now also run when that operating system is deployed on virtualization technology that hosts the operating system.
  3. Q: What version or release of an IBM software product runs in a supported virtualization environment?
    A: Effective with this announcement, the current latest release of an IBM software product will run in the latest release of the supported virtualization environments (for example, as of July 13, 2012, IBM WebSphere® Application Server 8.5 is the current latest release).
  4. Q: If a specific virtualization environment is supported across the entire IBM software portfolio or in a targeted market, does this mean that future versions of that virtualization environment will always be supported in the future?
    A: IBM has established the set of virtualization environments that we intend our software products to support. IBM will add virtualization environments to, or remove virtualization environments from, the list according to market demand and other factors.
  5. Q: Where is information for service requests documented?
    A: Service requests within scope for Passport Advantage support are documented in the "Software Support Handbook".
  6. Q: Will IBM correct all defects for IBM software products that are running in a supported virtualization environment?
    A: Not necessarily. As with other operating environments, IBM does not warrant that all code defects will be corrected. IBM will issue defect correction information, a restriction, or a bypass to IBM products if the defect is applicable to a supported virtualized environment or to a native physical machine environment (that is, without the virtualization software).
  7. Q: How does this announcement affect any existing virtualization statements made in IBM software product announcements?
    A: The support covered by previously published statements remains in effect. This announcement is intended to provide clarity and enhancements to the previously published statements.
  8. Q: Does this announcement affect the IBM Software Support Lifecycle policy?
    A: No. This announcement does not affect the IBM Software Support Lifecycle policy for IBM software products. For additional information, view the IBM Software Support lifecycle policy.

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