Bob Weiderhold, CEO of Transitive, and I fought off intermittent telephone problems to discuss a technology that is often overlooked when analysts put together their taxonomy of virtual processing software. Transitive calls this "Hardware Virtualization" and offers a product family, "QuickTransit" that implements this concept in a number of ways. Here's how the company would define hardware virtualization.
Transitive provides hardware virtualization software that enables software applications to run on any hardware platform without any source or binary changes.
What does this really mean?
QuickTransit makes it possible for an organization to quickly move applications from one hardware/operating system platform to another without also having to change the application itself. Here's how the company would present that concept.
QuickTransit hardware virtualization technology allows applications that have been compiled for one operating system and processor to run on servers that use a different processor and operating system, without requiring any source code or binary changes. Virtually any processor and operating system can be supported...
Haven't I seen something like this before?
If you've been around the industry for any length of time, you'll have seen technology that seems strikingly similar to that being offered by Transitive. If my memory serves me well, Digital Equipment Corporation created technology called FX32 to help people move applications from VAX hardware to Alpha hardware, HP created technology that helped people move from its Precision architecture to Intel's Itanium and IBM created technology that helped people move from 16-bit System 34s to 64-bit AS/400 systems.
What's new and different is that this technology is more general purpose, it has a rich patent frosting (74 patents granted or pending) and the important fact that QuickTransit isn't a vendor solving a problem of its own creation, it's a vendor offering technology designed to help organizations liberate themselves.
Transitive uses the following bullets to describe how their technolgy functions:
- All of the products in the QuickTransit product line share an ability to run translated applications on a systems platform with the following characteristics.
- Full Functionality.
- Near Native Computational Performance.
- Complete End-User Transparency.
- Transparent Graphics and Interactive Performance.
- Easy Application Management by System Administrators.
Some recent QuickTransit Implementations
As if to emphasize the multi-vendor nature of QuickTransit, Bob mentioned several very successful implementations of his company's technology including the following.
- PCs - Apple used QuickTransit to help people move applications from Mac OS X/PowerPC to Mac OS X/Intel
- Workstations - SGI used QuickTransit to help people move applications from Irix/MIPS Linux/Intel Itanium
- Servers - lots of activity here including:
- Many vendors are using QuickTransit to help customers move from Solaris/SPARC to Linux/Xeon or from Solaris/SPARC to Linux/Itanium
- IBM is using QuickTransit in a number of ways including Linux/Power to Linux/X86 and Linux/X86 to Linux/Power
When my telephone system failed, Bob and I were unable to continue our interesting conversation. Even though we didn't speak about this, I can see many other opportunities for this technology including the following:
- IBM could use this technology to obtain a whole portfolio of Linux applications for its Mainframe systems by transforming Linux/X86 applications
- Many smartphone vendors could take advantage of the large Palm OS application portfolio by transforming them to run under Windows Mobile 6, Linux or some other handset operating system
What transformations would help your organization be more successful?