VirtualizationIBM PowerVM Features & Pricing

IBM PowerVM Features & Pricing

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In this product review, we’ll be covering IBM PowerVM server virtualization. We’ll discuss the virtualization tool’s features as well as its pros and cons.

What is PowerVM?

IBM PowerVM can virtualize AIX, IBM Linux and IBM i clients running on its Power server platform. It is one of the most full-featured virtualization programs on the market – no surprise, given IBM’s deep legacy in the data center. In fact, IBM invented virtualization in the 1960s, as a technology for mainframes; VMware brought the technology to the mainstream with its server virtualization.

Despite that legacy, PowerVM may not be the easiest platform to implement. It will require experts to deploy it. Consequently, mid-sized and large companies should do fine, but SMBs may do best to avoid it unless they can afford outside help. IBM PowerVM is geared specifically for today’s advanced data centers with demanding application workloads.

IBM PowerVM Review

IBM PowerVM can consolidate multiple workloads onto fewer systems, increasing server utilization and reducing cost. PowerVM provides a secure and scalable server virtualization environment for AIX, IBM i and Linux applications built upon the RAS features of the Power Systems platform. It can scale up to 1,000 VMs on a single server.

In short, its hypervisor is quite flexible. It can help provide services in the cloud faster by automating the deployment of VMs and storage. It can also help eliminate downtime via live mobility between servers.

PowerVM delivers enterprise-grade virtualization, providing the foundation for cloud computing on IBM Power Systems. It can efficiently share resources among applications, consolidate multiple workloads and provide application mobility in a multi-cloud infrastructure. It can increase resource utilization, reduce operating costs and provide a more agile environment for IBM AIX, IBM i and IBM Linux applications running on Power Systems.


You can migrate an active or inactive AIX, Linux or IBM i logical partition from one system to another by using Live Partition Mobility.


POWER systems provide a secured server platform. POWER9 hardware and firmware make it even more secure for cloud deployment with key features for PowerVM servers. Implementation includes:

  • A Secure IPL Process or Secure Boot that only allows platform manufacturer signed Hostboot and POWER Hypervisor (PHYP) related firmware up through and including Partition Firmware (PFW) to run on the system.
  • A framework to support Remote Attestation of the system firmware stack through a hardware Trusted Platform Module (TPM).

PowerVM Enterprise Edition vs Standard Edition

IBM tightly integrates PowerVM with the Power platform. Every POWER9 server comes with PowerVM Enterprise Edition. There is also a Standard Edition as well as an IBM PowerVM, Linux Edition. PowerVM Standard Edition includes the following components:

  • Micro-Partitioning technology
  • N-Port ID Virtualization (NPIV)
  • Partition suspend and resume are supported on POWER8 processor-based servers when the firmware is at level 8.4.0, or later
  • PowerVM NovaLink
  • Shared processor pools
  • Shared storage pools
  • Single Root I/O Virtualization (SR-IOV)
  • Thin provisioning
  • Virtual I/O Server (VIOS)
  • Virtual Network Interface Controller adapters

IBM PowerVM Virtualization Management and Monitoring

Management tools such as Hardware Management Console (HMC), Integrated Virtualization Manager (IVM) and PowerVC help to aggregate and manage resources by using a consolidated logical view. You can allocate processors to partitions in increments of 0.01, which allows multiple partitions to share the processing power of the system.

When the firmware is at level 7.6, or later, micro partitions can be defined as small as 0.05 of a processor and can be changed in increments as small as 0.01 of a processor. A maximum of 20 micro partitions can be created per core.

A running AIX, Linux or IBM i logical partition can be suspended along with its operating system and applications. You can share memory among partitions in a shared memory pool by using PowerVM Active Memory Sharing.

Power Virtualization Performance (PowerVP) is a performance monitoring solution that provides detailed and real-time information about virtualized workloads that are running on Power Systems. You can use PowerVP to understand how virtual workloads use resources, analyze performance bottlenecks and make informed choices about resource allocation and virtualized machine placement.

Notable IBM PowerVM Features

Shared storage pools

IBM PowerVM allows you to create shared storage pools to distribute storage access to all logical partitions in a cluster. This feature is available on the Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) Version, Fix Pack 24, Service Pack 1 and later.

Live Partition Mobility

With the PowerVM Enterprise Edition, you can migrate active or inactive AIX, IBM i and Linux logical partitions between systems using the Live Partition Mobility feature. This will transfer the processor state, memory, attached virtual device and connected users.

PowerVM Active Memory Sharing

The PowerVM Active Memory feature allows logical partitions to share memory from a single physical memory pool. 

Active Memory Deduplication

Active Memory Deduplication is a feature that optimizes memory use. This virtualization technology removes identical memory pages within physical memory to free other duplicate memory blocks.

PowerVM NovaLink

PowerVM NovaLink provides highly scalable virtualized cloud management and deployment of critical workloads. It can be used to quickly and affordably provision large numbers of VMs.

IBM PowerVM Pricing

Pricing for IBM PowerVM starts at $590 per core. The solution comes free with some other IBM products.







AIX, Linux and IBM i clients



1000 VMs on a single server

Overhead %


10 to 15



Virtualization for AIX, Linux and IBM i clients running IBM Power platforms



$590 per core



Move active or inactive VMs

Key Differentiator


Well suited for IBM environments


See the full list of best server virtualization software.

This article was updated in May 2021 by Kyle Guercio.

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