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HP-UX System Administrator's Guide: Overview: HP-UX 11i Version 3 > Chapter 2 HP-UX Virtualization Technologies

Partitioning (Multiple Operating Systems, One Multi-processor Server)


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When you have multiple cores available, more virtualization possibilities become available as well. This area of virtualization technology is known as partitioning. There are several types of partitioning available on HP systems, but they fall into two major categories—hardware partitioning and software partitioning.

Hardware Partitioning

Hardware partitioning is accomplished at the cell board level, using an HP technology called nPartitions.

Implemented on servers (Integrity and PA-RISC) that support multiple cell boards, hardware partitioning isolates (both logically and electrically) multiple operating system instances. That is, cell boards, cores, I/O cards, and memory assigned to one hardware partition are available only to the operating system running in that partition.

Should problems occur with an operating system, software, or even hardware in one partition, operating systems and software running in other partitions are unaffected.

Key Features of Hardware Partitioning  Important features of hardware partitioning include:

  • Implemented at the cell board level.

  • Provides both functional and electrical isolation.

  • Partitions are referred to as nPartitions.

  • nPartitions can be further sub-divided using Software Partitioning.

  • On servers that support them, nPartitions can run HP-UX, Linux, Microsoft Windows, or all of these operating systems (in separate partitions).

Software Partitioning

Software partitioning provides for finer grained partitioning than nPartitions. HP offers two products to accomplish software partitioning:

  1. vPars - Virtual Partitions

  2. Integrity VM - Integrity Virtual Machines

Using either of these two products, you can partition your server at the processing core level. Integrity VM even allows sub-core-level partitioning.

Key Features of Software Partitioning  Important features of software partitioning include:

  • Implemented at the processing core level (for vPars), or by time slices (for Integrity VM)

  • Provides functional but not electrical isolation

  • Partitions are referred to as:

    • vPars (if implemented using the Virtual Partitions product)

    • guest operating systems (if implemented using the Integrity Virtual Machines product)

  • nPartitions can be further subdivided using software partitioning

  • vPars only supports instances of HP-UX

Comparing Partitioning Technologies

The following table compares the three partitioning technologies (nPartitions, vPars, and Integrity Virtual Machines):

Table 2-1 A Partitioning Technology Comparison


vParsIntegrity Virtual Machines


Operating System and ElectricalOperating System

Operating System

Partition boundaries

Cell Board GroupsCores and Memory ChunksTime Slices

Partitions configured using...


vPars Monitor (and its partition database)

The hpvmcreate command

Partitions are called...

nPartitions or hard partitions

Virtual Partitions

Guest Operating Systems


Combining Partitioning Technologies for Greater Flexibility

By themselves, the various server partitioning technologies give you a very flexible compute environment, but you can combine them for even greater flexibility and control.

The following illustration shows how nPartitions, vPars, and Integrity Virtual Machines can be combined on a single server to support a large amount of work.

Figure 2-2 The Virtualization Technology Stack

The Virtualization Technology Stack
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