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Leaner virtualization coming to Windows, Linux

Quoting from CNET News:

Just as the computing industry warms to one form of virtualization, Microsoft and others are working to bring a new variety to market.

...

Now, a newer variety of virtualization is emerging that employs a lighter-weight approach so that a single operating system can be sliced into independent sections.

While details of the concept are just beginning to emerge, it's likely only a matter of time before it shows up in Windows and Linux. "It's something any operating system vendor has to have," said Serguei Beloussov, chief executive of software maker SWsoft, whose products enable the lightweight approach.

The overall goals of the two approaches are the same: Make a single computer more efficient, divide work among separate non-interfering partitions, and eventually move to a fluid world where software tasks move among computers in response to shifting computing priorities.

The new approach, virtualizing above the operating system, requires less computer memory, permitting dozens of partitions on the same machine in some Linux cases, but sacrifices some flexibility and partition independence.

...

Microsoft is following in the footsteps of SWsoft, a much smaller company whose Virtuozzo product is available for Windows and Linux. And Beloussov says programmers are moving swiftly to build container technology into Linux through a project called OpenVZ, the foundation of Virtuozzo.

Beloussov believes the kernel at the heart of the open-source operating system will soon--likely this year--get some important portions of container technology. It will be "something you can actually use," he said, adding that the company is getting help from Linux sellers Red Hat and Novell.

Increasing the efficiency of computer utilization is the main draw for the technique, Gabriel Consulting Group analyst Dan Olds said. "Tens or even hundreds of low-demand user workspaces can be layered on a few systems," he said. But there's a significant concern in moving critical tasks to containers. "A single operating system kernel is a potential vulnerability. If it goes down, everyone goes down. I think the VMware approach is the better solution for x86-based systems right now," he said.

But SWsoft is making progress. OpenVZ project manager Kirill Korotaev proposed adding some container foundations to the kernel in late March, and received a favorable reply from others including Herbert Poetzl, lead programmer of an OpenVZ alternative called VServer. Korotaev then submitted patches.


Read the entire article, here.
Published Thursday, April 13, 2006 6:39 AM by David Marshall
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