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Virtualization, old and new

Quoting from ZDNet Blog:

There are two very different kinds of virtualization making headlines these days. The second one, resource virtualization for management purposes, seems wholly laudable. Whether used to manage storage, processing, or networking a virtual system constructed as kind of unified console for two or more pieces of real hardware can reduce administrative errors, provide unified logging for accountability, and make it easier to shift resources where they're needed as user applications needs change.

The earlier, and more common, kind of virtualization does the opposite: splitting one piece of real hardware into numerous virtual ones, each of which is then then managed separately and each of which is more resource constrained than the original machine.

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So what's the bottom line here? Originally machine time was expensive and disconnected from user productivity. Now machine time is cheap, and closely tied to user productivity. Thus tools and ideas, like virtualization and capacity management, that evolved to fit that earlier world, simply don't apply in ours.

But, there's another side to this story too - and it's the better solution side. Having a computer, no matter how cheap, burning power while merely on standby seems wasteful, and this apparent waste powers the argument for consolidation - and therefore for the older kind of virtualization.

The underlying question for consolidation, however, shouldn't be whether the target machine is under utilized, but whether users can be better served through consolidation. In general the answer to that depends on the service request arrival and response patterns - the more random the request arrival rate and the more CPUs that can be usefully applied to response generation, the better consolidation looks.

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Read the entire article, here.

Published Tuesday, May 23, 2006 6:41 AM by David Marshall
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