IBM last week previewed a heterogeneous platform for virtualizing server and storage resources, which it claims will improve the operations and economics of IT.The Virtualization Engine technology will ship this year and include the capability to include non-IBM servers and storage. The company claims the virtualization engine is the result of 40 years of mainframe research.It will allow customers to focus less on disparate operating systems and more on the impact of processing on their businesses. Using the Virtualization Engine, customers will be able to more efficiently balance workloads. The Virtualization Engine will use provisioning and management capabilities from Tivoli and grid capabilities in WebSphere.The technology will let users partition servers in mainframe fashion. The iSeries servers that use the Power5 processor will have the capability. They are expected to ship next month.Servers could be partitioned to run both Windows and Unix.Virtualization is an essential part of utility computing. It pools resources and allows workloads to be dispersed among different servers or storage arrays. As the needs of the business change, virtualization software is able to dynamically adjust the workload of the computer to meet the current needs.The Virtualization Engine will appear first in iSeries servers. Later, the pSeries servers will incorporate the technology. As many as 10 partitions could be created per processor. The Virtualization Engine will run on AIX, OS\/400, Red Hat Linux and SuSE Enterprise Linux Server.Virtualization Engine will be accompanied by workload management software to provision server and application instances and monitor performance.