[AI] Could Virtual Systems Replace Windows?
dl.vikas at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 09:56:01 EDT 2007
Could Virtual Systems Replace Windows?
A VMWare cofounder says virtual appliances that run apps alone could threaten operating systems.
Robert Mullins, IDG News Service
Saturday, August 11, 2007 10:00 AM PDT
stems from major vendors such as Microsoft Corp., says a cofounder of VMWare Inc.
Mendel Rosenblum told an audience at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco last week that a virtual appliance, which bundles a software application
with only the operating system code needed to make it run, can then be deployed on a virtualized server regardless of the host operating system. Rosenblum
is also chief scientist of virtualization at VMware.
Asked if he thinks the virtual appliance model is a threat to OS vendors, principally Microsoft, Rosenblum said, "If I were in their shoes ... I think the
answer is yes."
The virtual appliance bundle is similar to the software appliance, but is specifically designed to run on a virtualized server.
A virtualization "hypervisor," like VMware's, separates the server hardware from the OS and the rest of the software stack. The hypervisor creates multiple
logical servers within one physical server, allowing it to run multiple applications, thus using more of the server's capacity.
Rosenblum sees the virtual appliance as an alternative to making applications fit ever larger and more complex operating systems, simplifying the software
writing process by taking out parts of the OS not needed to run that application, or even creating a customized OS.
"What I consider predictive [of the threat] is their complexity," he said. "They've built this OS to the point that they basically have no choice but to
actually go and put in a hypervisor. All the OS vendors want to own the hardware connection, but I see there is going to be a big battle over who gets
control over the hardware."
The open-source Linux OS is "well positioned to be the OS of choice" for a virtual appliance, said Rosenblum, because its licensing model is very friendly
to this type of use. A software developer can bundle the software with parts of Linux easily, while commercial OS vendors like Microsoft would "look askance"
at something like that.
"VMware feels at home in the Linux community," said Rosenblum in his keynote address, a remark that one listener described later as "gratuitous."
Mike Grandinetti, chief marketing officer for Virtual Iron Inc., a small virtualization software vendor, says 90 percent of VMware's virtualization runs
on Microsoft Windows machines, not Linux. He described Rosenblum's address honoring Linux as "a revisionist view of history."
Virtual Iron's software products are based partly on the open-source Xen kernel for virtualization, which makes them far less expensive than VMware's products,
Grandinetti said. XenSource Inc. is another Xen-based virtualization vendor.
Although VMware is the dominant player in the virtualization space, there is still a lot of market to pursue. Only about 2 percent to 3 percent of servers
industry-wide are virtualized, less than the 5 percent to 7 percent range forecast by major industry analysts, he said.
"Wae're just getting started," Grandinetti said.
Rosenblum was a last-minute substitute for VMware president Diane Green, who is currently visiting with investment analysts discussing VMware's pending
initial public offering (IPO) of stock. The stock is expected to begin selling on Aug. 14, though Rosenblum has to keep quiet about it.
"We're excited and hopeful," was all he could say.
MSN Id:dl_vikas at hotmail.com, Yahoo+Skype Id: dl_vikas,
Mobile: (+91) 9891098137.
More information about the AccessIndia