What Is A Logical Partition? - ITU Online

What Is a Logical Partition?

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A logical partition, often abbreviated as LPAR, is a subset of a computer’s hardware resources, virtualized as a separate computer. In contexts where multiple operating systems must run concurrently on a single physical machine, logical partitions are extremely useful.

Definition: Logical Partition

A logical partition (LPAR) is a division of a computer’s hardware resources that allows multiple servers to run on a single physical machine. Each LPAR can be managed independently, run its own operating system, and restart without affecting other partitions.

Detailed Exploration of Logical Partitions

Logical partitions are a feature of certain high-end servers that facilitate the efficient utilization of their substantial processing power. By dividing a physical server into multiple smaller, isolated virtual servers, each partition can function as a completely independent system, which can be beneficial in a variety of IT environments.

How Logical Partitions Work

  1. Resource Allocation: The physical resources of a server such as CPU cores, memory, storage, and I/O devices are divided into separate partitions.
  2. Independence: Each logical partition operates independently and can run different operating systems or different versions of the same operating system.
  3. Management: Administrators can dynamically change the resources allocated to each LPAR, optimizing their hardware utilization based on current needs.

Key Features of Logical Partitions

  • Isolation: Each LPAR is isolated from others, ensuring that the processes in one partition do not affect others.
  • Flexibility: Resources can be reallocated between partitions without physical changes to the hardware.
  • Efficiency: Allows for better utilization of server capacity, reducing idle times and improving performance.
  • Scalability: New logical partitions can be created as needed without the need for additional physical servers.

Benefits of Using Logical Partitions

  • Cost Savings: Reduces the need for multiple physical machines, lowering hardware costs and maintenance.
  • Improved Disaster Recovery: Each partition can be backed up independently, improving disaster recovery processes.
  • Enhanced Security: Isolation between partitions can help contain security breaches to a single partition.
  • Resource Control: Fine-grained control over the allocation and reallocation of resources among different partitions.

Practical Uses of Logical Partitions

  1. Multiple Environment Support: Running development, testing, and production environments on the same physical server without interference.
  2. Server Consolidation: Reducing physical server count by consolidating multiple server functions onto fewer machines.
  3. Application Isolation: Isolating applications that require different operating system environments or configurations.
  4. Load Balancing: Distributing workloads across multiple partitions to optimize performance.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Logical Partition

What is the difference between a logical partition and a virtual machine?

A logical partition is a division of actual physical hardware resources, whereas a virtual machine is a software emulation of a computer system. LPARs often offer better performance due to direct access to physical resources.

How many logical partitions can a single server have?

The number of logical partitions a server can support depends on its hardware capabilities and the partitioning technology used. High-end servers can support dozens of partitions.

Can logical partitions share resources?

Yes, logical partitions can be configured to share resources like network adapters and storage devices, which can be dynamically allocated and reallocated as needed.

Are there specific hardware requirements for setting up logical partitions?

Logical partitioning typically requires server hardware that supports partitioning technology, such as IBM Power Systems and certain high-end x86 servers.

What are the security benefits of using logical partitions?

Logical partitions enhance security by isolating different workloads, which prevents issues in one partition from affecting others and helps in maintaining distinct security policies for different applications or environments.

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