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Embedded Virtualization


© Anthony Lawrence, aplawrence.com

2007/09/13

VMware and XenSource are moving to hardware near you: news.com.com/Virtualization+A+feature+of+the+hardware,+not+the+OS/2100-7339_3-6206867.html (link dead, sorry) Virtualization: A feature of the hardware, not the OS?. It's not clear to me how much cost this will add - VMware ESX runs from $1,000.00 on up, but assuming a reasonable cost, why wouldn't you want hardware with built in virtualization?

Apparently VMware already has partnerships with IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Network Appliance. I wish Apple were smart enough to see the value of this approach, but apparently they are still stuck in Boot Camp - though I see they are now selling VMware Fusion at their online store, so maybe there is some hope.

If Apple ignores virtualization they will sink back to relative obscurity yet again. If they grasp that brass ring, they are incredibly well positioned to keep climbing higher and higher. They are the only ones who can offer it all on one piece of hardware: OS X, Windows, Linux, BSD and everything else. I keep hoping that they really do understand this and are going to drop the Big Bomb any minute now.. but maybe they just can't see it.

VMware might be facing some trouble from Linux. The details of this are confusing (see www.venturecake.com/the-vmware-house-of-cards/ (link dead, sorry) The VMware house of cards), but if true, this could put a damper on VMware's otherwise super nova class star.





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Anthony Lawrence







Fri Sep 14 22:18:11 2007: 3124   drag


The Linux licensing problem is mostly BS.

The problem is that there is a contingent of Linux users that beleive that linking software in anyway to GPL'd software automaticly makes that software GPL'd also. This is because the FSF is a bit misleading in how they talk about derived works. It's just a result of one misguided 'internet journalist' capitalising on this to give himself attention. All that is going on is that Vmware is using Linux to bootstrap it's own ESX kernel. Linux-as-a-bootloader type situation. It's the same as having a Linux bios to initialize the hardware and boot Windows or whatnot. ESX is all based on earlier academic kernels anyways. They existing before Linux was on the scene.

Look at it this way:
Vmware has long worked with Linux developers to develop their own virtualization hooks and whatnot for their other products. They now are trying to work with Xen/Linux and create standardized interfaces for all sorts of different virtualization efforts.

If the Linux devs thought that Vmware was violating the GPL license this would of come up a LONG LONG time ago.


As far as virtualization goes.. IBM proved decades ago that it's a very desirable thing. It's basicly the only reason people still buy mainframes. At work we have 1980's software running on 2000 era hardware. Last year we got rid of the last of the vertical tape reel loaders.. They had parts that were stamped with dates from the late 1970's.

They don't use C, they don't use anything portable. Mainframe software is all a jumble of different languages with tightly optimized assembly that people have developed and maintained over the past 30 years or so. They do everything through virtualization. IBM has godlike-powers in this regard. Most of their big iron business is almost completely based around it. Outside of IBM's own hardware it's taken Unix and PC-land to catch up to were they were 20 years ago.

As PC software ages it's going to be increasingly difficult to maintain backward compatibility. Microsoft is going to find this out the hard way.. they can't move forward technology-wise because they are still stuck in Win32-land and they can't figure out how to get away from it. If they try they are going to compete on equal ground with Linux and OS X and they can't have that. So instead they are still coding in application-specific hacks and work arounds into their core system libraries in a vain effort to keep compatible with the last 10 years of quick-n-dirty application development that has surrounded them.



Tue Feb 26 18:06:19 2008: 3710   TonyLawrence

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