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The VM Workshop Celebrates VM’s 50th Anniversary

This year’s VM Workshop was special in several ways. First, this is the first face-to-face workshop since the world went virtual due to COVID-19 in 2020. And second, we were able to celebrate VM’s 50th anniversary in Binghamton, New York—the home of IBM’s VM development team, and where I had the pleasure of working with the IBM team from 1989 through 1994.

What Is VM?

For those of you who may be new to IBM zSystems—or if you’re currently a mainframer unfamiliar with z/VM—Virtual Machine (VM) is a highly reliable, flexible, and secure OS which supports hundreds to thousands of virtual machines that share hardware resources. Each VM can support one or all of IBM’s mainframe OSes including z/OS, z/TPF, Linux on IBM z, as well as 21st Century Software’s VSEn. For more information on z/VM, you can visit IBM’s website here.

My history with VM started in 1983 and though I retired in 2012 from IBM, I still have the pleasure of being on the planning committee for the VM Workshop, and as described in my other articles, I engage students to raise their awareness of the mainframe, help them understand the importance of the mainframe in the world of business, and see the opportunities that lie ahead if they pursue a career around IBM zSystems.

The 2022 VM Workshop 

But enough about me—back to the workshop. To further celebrate this VM milestone, we had several of VM’s “legends” participate in sessions including Jim Elliott who presented on the history of virtualization on the mainframe. We also held a panel discussion with some historic VM community members (legends) including Mark Cathcart, Romney White, Gabe Goldberg and Chuck Morse, which was recorded and is available here.

On Friday evening, IBM sponsored an anniversary celebration where the 160+ conference attendees were joined by current and retired IBM VM development team members to share in the festivities—which included the announcement of some new members to the Order of the Knights of VM. Born in 1978, the Order of the Knights of VM is a high honor usually presented to members of the community who have contributed to the advancement of VM, or to the community that has supported VM.

Every five years, on the anniversary of the first VM product announcement, a new group of Knights are inducted into this distinguished group. In 2007, contributors to Linux on zSystems were also included. This honor is normally awarded at the SHARE conference, but the committee decided to make some of the awards at the VM Workshop as some of the recipients were at the 50th celebration and would not be at SHARE in Columbus in August of 2022. I was humbled and honored to be included in the June induction to the Order. For more info on the Order of the Knights of VM, please visit their website.

Looking Ahead

Planning for the 2023 VM Workshop has already begun. The next workshop will be at The Ohio State University on June 22-24. If you would like to join the VM Workshop email list, visit their website.

Marc I. Smith
Sir Marc the Community Builder