Virtualization: The emerging hardware vs. OS bundle debate

Virtualization: The emerging hardware vs. OS bundle debate

Summary: Sun Microsystems rolled out its latest version of Solaris and the operating system is optimized for virtualization among other items. The update is supposed to make it easier to migrate for new customers to migrate to Solaris.

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Sun Microsystems rolled out its latest version of Solaris and the operating system is optimized for virtualization among other items.

The update is supposed to make it easier to migrate for new customers to migrate to Solaris. Dana Blankenhorn has more on Solaris (statement) but one of the more interesting themes is that virtualization is plugged into Solaris.

Solaris has Sun's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software 1.0 bundled in. Sun's effort is just the latest in a trend to lump virtualization into the operating system. And if you owned an operating system why wouldn't you lump in virtualization?

However, this move could pose an interesting conundrum for VMware. VMware works with all operating systems, but these partners will increasingly become competitors.

VMware obviously sees the same threat and has turf to defend. On Monday it rolled out plans to embed its virtualization software on servers. Simply put, no operating system is required.

For now, plans on both sides of the virtualization divide will continue. But going forward these differing approaches will be interesting to watch.

Separately, VMware acquired Dunes Technologies. Dunes makes "IT process orchestration software for virtual environments." In a nutshell that means Dunes synchronizes all the applications in large deployments. It tracks the moving parts and automates deployments.

Topics: VMware, Hardware, Operating Systems, Oracle, Virtualization

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6 comments
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  • Don't buy VMWare stock right now. They are doing virtualization the wrong

    way, and they have competition from Xen and soon Microsoft. But, the real competition is doing virtualization the right way in the OS kernel so that you only have one image of the kernel and applications.
    DonnieBoy
    • You do understand the concept of a Virtual Machine

      "But, the real competition is doing virtualization the right way in the OS kernel so
      that you only have one image of the kernel and applications."

      The power of the VM is that we can have different kernel (or OSes) running on the
      one physical machine. The VM instances will most likely be running different
      applications.

      If you want "virtualization" done your way get any copy of *nix and you can go today.
      Richard Flude
      • Right, but still, there are a lot of common applications like MySQL, Apache

        etc. With the VM approach, each instance has to have memory allocated for the kernel image, MySQL, Apache, JBoss, . . .

        That also affects cache performance.

        If you let the OS handle all of that you use a ton less memory, though you could argue it is a little less secure.

        But, there is almost no need to run multiple OSes on the same box. That is only useful for small shops or developers that want to test multiple OSes.
        DonnieBoy
      • Also see these links for "Operating system-level virtualization"

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operating_system-level_virtualization
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenVZ
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBSD_Jail
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solaris_Containers
        DonnieBoy
      • Heavy VMWare-style virtualization is only required for Windows

        It depends what you mean by "operating system", or more precisely the part where you want the VMs to differ. If you want to allow different system DLLs but you requirements do not preclude running the same kernel and device drivers, OS-level virtualization works much better,

        Virtualization was spearheaded by Windows Server users, where you do not want to run more than one app per server lest you fall into the bowels of DLL hell. Of course, dedicating a server per app is wasteful, hence the gains from virtualization.

        OS-level virtualization is much more efficient and scalable, by two orders of magnitude. John Clingan from Sun demonstrated 190 virtual machines ("zones" in Solaris parlance) on a wimpy Ultra 10 with 1GB of RAM. A zone does not have much more overhead than a process. You wouldn't even be able to run one VMWare VM on that kind of config. Solaris zones allow you to have completely different environments in terms of DLLs, while sharing the same kernel to mediate hardware resources. It can even run Linux apps with Linux shared libraries and loader, while still using the Solaris kernel and drivers.
        fazalmajid
  • RE: Virtualization: The emerging hardware vs. OS bundle debate

    I don???t think it's a bad attitude. Microsoft presented its System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/scvmm/default.mspx and I don't feel EMC will encounter any kind of problems. All research and trends show that virtualization is gaining in popularity and we're making great strides towards the technology shift. I don't think that any newly emerged product can lead to a negative effect for the industry. As Dan Kusnetzky said http://blogs.zdnet.com/virtualization/?p=139 once "Virtualization is abstracting functions or complete stacks of software away from the underlying infrastructure to increase scalability, reliability, performance, utilization, agility, manageability or just to reduce overall costs in some fashion." One of the key words here I guess is scalability. And the variety of products available on market serves for improving this parameter. Virtualization is about how effectively you manage your business. CPU vendors seem to understand it clearly as say Intel places high emphasis on virtualization by making virtualization improvements to the microarchitecture of its upcoming Penryn processors. But talking about effectiveness, I would not that it is important to implement virtualization technologies along with standard technologies that imply using the basics physical environments. The shift to the virtualization will come, as soon as the industry understands that it needs it. The question is how smooth will that transition be for the existing environments. The process is far more complex than the basic migration process we all are familiar with today. In the world of virtual desktop management I can recall a couple of serious players such as Microsoft and Scriptlogic, and probably some others that I've missed. I haven't had an opportunity to see the Microsoft SCVMM in action, as it's relatively new product but heard a lot about Scriptlogic's Desktop Authority. A friend of mine has just returned from the VMWorld 2007- he told me a lot about all that he saw there, and about Scriptlogic in particular. He said they were demoing their product there and all that I heard from him was impressive. For anyone interested, he shared some info about how their Desktop Authority product can help with desktop virtualization. All the info is in a whitepaper http://www.scriptlogic.com/whitepapers that Scriptlogic is giving away on their site free of charge.
    frank.grohman@...