In a move to go deeper into the cloud Relevant Products/Services, IBM is acquiring a company that provides virtualization management technology to its zEnterprise system. Big Blue is buying privately held CSL International for an undisclosed amount.

As IBM sees it, the strategic investment deepens zEnterprise's consolidation and cloud capabilities by simplifying the management of the virtualization environment. CSL's CSL-WAVE software Relevant Products/Services offers drag-and-drop functions for creating, discovering, visualizing, and connecting virtual servers to resources. The idea is to allow clients to free up more skilled staff to address other business Relevant Products/Services challenges.

"As clients create smarter computing environments, they are looking for ways to manage IT costs and complexity without sacrificing security Relevant Products/Services or the ability to scale," said Greg Lotko, IBM business line executive for System z. "The response by clients to the advantages of Linux on System z have been tremendous, with the shipped capacity Relevant Products/Services nearly doubling in the first quarter year to year."

Fundamental Virtualization

With the rise in adoption of Linux on System Z, it seems to make sense to push it to the next level. The CSL software, Lotko noted, will help IBM expand its cloud virtualization capabilities to make it easier for IT to leverage Linux on System z.

As it stands, the zEnterprise System lets clients host the workloads of thousands of commodity servers on a single system. By adding CSL International technologies to the mix, the solution will help clients manage all aspects of z/VM and Linux on System z virtualization, including CPU, memory Relevant Products/Services, storage Relevant Products/Services and network Relevant Products/Services resources.

IBM points out that virtualization, a foundation of cloud computing, has been designed into the fabric of the System z architecture since its inception nearly 50 years ago.

We caught up with Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to get his take on the acquisition. He told us it's difficult to think of a computing-related technology that's driven more fundamental business value than virtualization.

Good for IBM Customers

"In the case of IBM's zEnterprise and Linux on System z solutions, that translates into hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines (VMs) running the company's z/OS, SUSE Enterprise Linux Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux, plus attendant applications," King said. "Plus, fully leveraging System z virtualization technologies allows those same systems to run at or near 100 percent utilization -- which is where CSL International and IBM come in."

King explained it this way: If you think provisioning, monitoring, managing and maintaining the VMs and other virtualized resources on IBM mainframes can be complex, you'd be entirely correct. Yet, he continued, simplifying those processes across IBM System z solutions and increasing the productivity of mainframe Relevant Products/Services system administrators via its CSL-WAVE solutions have been among CSL's primary goals since the company's founding in 2004. In fact, the company describes itself as a provider of a vast spectrum of services in the System z and Enterprise IT world.

"As a result, CSL should be a perfect fit for IBM, and we consider the acquisition plan good news for both companies and their mutual customers. But the deal should also bolster IBM's ongoing mainframe modernization and simplification efforts," King said.

"Those have certainly played key roles in the ongoing success of System z in traditional enterprise Relevant Products/Services markets. But they are likely to be even more critical as IBM continues to promote zEnterprise and Linux on System z as ideal platforms for demanding cloud computing infrastructures and services."