Virtualization Technology News and Information
Is the Hypervisor the Most Disruptive Technology in Business Computing since the Internet? wonders about the hypervisor and asks - Is this the most disruptive technology in business computing since the internet?  They write:

HISTORY may not repeat itself, but it does sometimes rhyme. In 1980 when IBM asked Microsoft, then an unknown software firm, to provide the operating system for its personal computer (PC), it made the mistake of allowing its supplier to license the software, called DOS, to other hardware firms. DOS quickly became the dominant computing platform for the PC and the basis of Microsoft's might.

Two decades later Microsoft may have made a similarly seminal mistake. In 2002 it balked at paying a high asking price for VMware, then also an unknown start-up. VMware was later acquired by EMC, a big data-storage supplier, but the Silicon Valley firm remained largely independent. This allowed it to develop software that may yet emerge as a dominant platform in its own right—not for single computers, but for the vast warehouses full of machines, known as data centres, where much computing will be done in future.

VMware's claim to fame is a technology called virtualisation, originally developed for big computers such as mainframes. It allows computers to split themselves into several “virtual machines”, each of which can run its own operating system and applications, in effect separating software from hardware. To do this, VMware developed a small program called a hypervisor, which controls how access to a computer's processors and memory is shared.

Before VMware came along, virtualisation had lingered in obscurity. Rather than splitting up big machines, firms found it easier to use small ones for each new application. For a while, this was a rational strategy. Servers were cheap. Machines that ran more than one application were more likely to crash. Yet the approach led to “server sprawl”, turning data centres into complex warrens of understretched hardware that required ever more people, space and power to keep them going. So it is hardly surprising that virtualisation, which allows multiple servers to be consolidated into a single machine, is one of the fastest growing areas in the software industry (see chart). As the software industry matures and consolidates—this week Oracle said it would buy BEA Systems, and Sun said it would buy MySQL—the emphasis has shifted away from fancy new technology and towards tools that cut costs and allow firms to do more with less.

Read the rest, here.

Published Saturday, January 19, 2008 5:08 PM by David Marshall
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