Hardware Virtualization Scenario Set to Play Out Soon

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-04-23 Print this article Print

Virtualization, both on the software and hardware side, took center stage at the Linux/Open Source on Wall Street conference.

NEW YORK–Virtualization, both on the software and hardware side, took center stage at the Linux/Open Source on Wall Street conference here April 23.

In a panel discussion titled "Linux on the Leading Edge," moderator Scott Handy, vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy for the System p at IBM, said virtualization was currently leading the innovation pack, both on the proprietary and open-source fronts.
IBM supports the mixed-source model, where users have both proprietary and open-source technologies, as this facilitates the acceleration of open standards.
"This model will sustain itself for pure economic reasons alongside proprietary and open plays. You are not even competitive if you are not leveraging the open side of this model; you can put a little in and get a lot out. There are a lot of benefits to this model," Handy said. Handy used the panel to announce the open beta version of System p AVE (Application Virtual Environment), a virtual Linux environment that lets x86 Linux applications run without modification on IBMs Power processor-based System p servers. "With nearly 2,800 applications already running natively on Linux on System p servers, System p AVE will allow most x86 Linux binaries to run unmodified. Initial testing shows that it should be easy for clients to install and run a wide range of x86 Linux applications on System p and BladeCenter JS20 and JS21 servers that are using a Linux operating system," Handy said. Click here to read more about how Linux vendors are playing a Windows tune. "These applications should run, without any change to the application and without having to predefine that application to the Linux on Power operating system with p AVE installed," Handy said. Bob Wiederhold, chairman, president and CEO of Transitive, said that while server virtualization was getting the most attention, there were other scenarios that would play out over the next few years. Read more here about how an Itanium consortium wants to ease SPARC/Solaris migration. Hardware virtualization was one of those scenarios and allowed technology compiled for one processor and operating system to run on another processor/operating system without any source code or binary changes, Wiederhold said. This eliminated the porting requirements for both ISV and internally developed software, allowing an immediate expansion of the software ecosystem while dramatically lowering the barriers to server migration. "It also extends the benefits of server consolidation and portioning. The applications just work, there is full functionality [and] high performance, and it is completely transparent and highly reliable," Wiederhold said. There were already 6 million users of this technology, not in the enterprise space but rather on the PC. Benefits of hardware virtualization for the enterprise included the fact that users would now be able to run Sun Microsystems Solaris/SPARC applications on Linux and x86, he said, referring to a European telephone company customer who had moved 150 of his Solaris/SPARC applications across and intended to do the same for the remaining 1,350. Is VMware resting on its laurels? Click here to read more. Robert Woeckener, the System z Linux and Unix systems engineering and administration manager at Nationwide, said the company had been running out of data center space, using too much power and experiencing a staff and skills shortage, which was one of the reasons why it started looking at virtualization. Next Page: Lessons learned from move to virtualization.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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