Virtualization Technology News and Information
Remembering Alex Vasilevsky: Gone but not Forgotten

On Sunday, August 8th, the virtualization community lost one of its own and one of its finest.  Alex Vasilevsky, a pioneer in the industry, and a truly remarkable human being, lost his battle with cancer. 

Alex was a recognized expert in parallel processing, grid run-time systems, and advanced optimizing compilers.  He held senior engineering and management roles in ground-breaking technology companies.  At Avid Technology he worked on the award-winning MediaComposer and headed the innovative CamCutter technology.  While at Thinking Machines, Alex created the world's first distributed grid run-time system for the highly acclaimed parallel supercomputer - The Connection Machine.  And he holds five U.S. patents for his innovative work in parallel processing. 

Many of you in the virtualization community probably remember Alex best as the founder of Virtual Iron, a company and technology now owned by Oracle and part of the Oracle VM solution.  When Virtual Iron first started, they had some extremely innovative virtualization technology but seemed to be too early and too far ahead for the times.  So instead of continuing down that road, the company decided to switch from its proprietary technology and become a contributor and advocate for the open source Xen hypervisor.  And he became a big part of the Xen community. 

Once Virtual Iron was sold to Oracle, Alex continued to channel his vision and innovation around Xen and went after the end-point or client side with desktop virtualization by founding a company now called Virtual Computer where he also served as the company's CTO.

I was fortunate to have met and known the man behind the vision, behind the technology, and behind the energetic drive.  He was a truly remarkable man, as nice as they come, with a great personality.  I first met him many years ago at the first InfoWorld Virtualization Executive Forum.  He was on a panel discussion with Simon Crosby, then with XenSource, Jack Lo from VMware and Mike Neal from Microsoft.  This panel discussion truly left an imprint in my mind.  It was here that I became friends with Alex, and I quite enjoyed the back and forth discussion (read as polite fighting) between these four individuals.  I can't say that I've seen a panel discussion like this since... all four guys really spoke their minds that day about which technology was best and they left nothing behind.  After witnessing that tense moment on stage, I spoke with each of these guys after the session and couldn't believe how friendly and jovial they were.  Quite a transformation from the panel.  Each a gentleman, and it really was nothing personal.

Alex was extremely passionate when he spoke about his technology and beliefs.  He was an innovator, a scientist, an entrepreneur, a family man and a friend.  He moved the ball forward for all of us in the virtualization community, and we all owe him a great deal of debt. 

Alex Vasilevsky, you will be missed and you will be remembered.

Your friend, David Marshall

Published Tuesday, August 10, 2010 6:18 AM by David Marshall
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