Bring Distinctive Competence to the Surface
The transformation thats taken place in the market for development
environments is also gaining momentum in operating environments. In
much the same way that Borland
elected earlier this year to move its distinctive life-cycle
strengths to the playing
field defined by Eclipse, virtualization technology provider Virtual
Iron announces this week its Version 3 platform with the
hypervisor at its core -- and Microsoft is making sure that it
doesnt become perceived as the high-priced alternative, making a
parallel announcement that Microsofts
own virtualization technology will likewise now be free.
I spoke late last week with Virtual Iron chief technology officer
and founder Alex Vasilevsky, who emphasized the companys offering of "native
virtualization" -- which he called "a very different concept" from
the virtualization options that have previously been available. "Around
the Xen base, we take advantage of new hardware from Intel and AMD to
virtualize offending instructions with hardware assist: we completely
support unmodified operating systems. The user does not need to roll
out new operating systems to take advantage of virtualization, they can
retain their existing stack and the investments there. Its very simple
to maintain and manage this," Vasilevsky said.
For developers, the key message here is that applications need not
be optimized around the need to live with a one-size-fits-all server
environment, nor do they need to justify the cost of a dedicated server
setup that runs a critical but low-duty-cycle task. Nor do applications
need to be ported to untested and possibly immature or quirky platforms
as the price of enjoying virtualizations benefits. The cost of
virtualization in the data center will also likely fall, facilitating
more aggressive testing of applications in more varied, more complex
and more realistic conditions.
When security issues raise questions about the possible tainting of
a server installation,
regenerating a clean and fully patched setup
will become a much less daunting task -- and remember, as far as some
types of attack are concerned, we really dont care whether the number
of attacks goes to zero or the cost of recovery from the attack goes to
zero: either makes the cost go away.
Attackers will always be with us, but virtualization can reduce them
in some respects to a trivial problem -- letting us focus on the
vulnerabilities, such as database exposure, that do require effective
In the meantime, said Virtual Irons Vasilevsky, theres more to
virtualization than mere partitioning and CPU sharing. "We can offer
disaster recovery by virtualizing, not just the servers, but also the
disks and the networks. You can migrate around the world with full
functionality." If potential buyers dont ask about the bigger picture
around CPU virtualization, they wont get answers -- and that would be
a real, not just virtual, shame.
Ill share further comments by Vasilevsky and by Virtual Irons
chief marketing officer, Mike Grandinetti, in this weeks InfraSpectrum
podcast on April 6.
Tell me how youre using virtualization now, or how your interest is affected by the maturing of its technology and its marketplace, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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