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Will Apple Miss The Virtualization Boom?

Virtualization is the hot tech topic right now. However, some enterprise Mac watchers are worried that Apple’s policy of keeping Mac OS X tied to Apple hardware is keeping OS X not just in left field but totally out of the game.

Of course, this discussion isn’t new to Apple. Depending on the decade, a related set of questions have circled around core business models: Is Apple a hardware company or a software company; should Apple license the Mac OS; can the Mac succeed in the business market?

With the recent VMworld 2007 conference and expo now fading into memory, author John Rizzo today posted a commentary on his MacWindows site.

According to Rizzo, in the past, Mac users were used to sitting back and watching enterprise technology trends pass them by. But then came the hardware platform’s move to Intel, which provides an opportunity for greater enterprise adoption. He worries that he couldn’t find much of a trace of the Mac or OS X while walking the floor of VMware.

It’s not a technical issue. There are hacks all over the Internet to describe how to install Mac OS X in a Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion VM. (See this how-to, for instance). You can even Google to find pre-patched OS X virtual machines available as bit torrents. But illicit hacks are not the material of enterprise toolboxes.

One startup company, Moka5, has already virtualized Mac OS X to run on non-Apple hardware. (See MacWindows’ coverage Beta app virtualizes Mac OS X in Windows; first VM to support DirectX 9). But Moka5 does not mention OS X at its web site. They don’t want to get on Apple’s bad side. Parallels and VMware have said they could easily enable Desktop and Fusion to run Mac OS X in a virtual machine. Representatives from both companies said they won’t virtualize Mac OS X until Apple gives them the go ahead. Which won’t be anytime soon.

Rizzo says that Apple’s protection of its Mac and Xserve hardware platforms is limiting its chances in the enterprise. Apple insists on customers taking the bundle, when the data center wants to virtualize everything on its own, existing hardware.

Read the rest of the article at ZDNet, here.

Published Sunday, September 23, 2007 9:31 AM by David Marshall
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