Maritz: Security improves and the role of the OS changes with virtualization

VMWare CEO Paul Maritz talks about the changing forces caused by virtualization, including the potential to improve security and the shift away from the OS as the center of innovation.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

Is the operating system as we know it dead? And can this new multi-layered stack that VMWare CEO Paul Maritz spoke of this morning really enhance security?

Maritz, during a Q&A press conference after his keynote speech at VMWorld, addressed these issues and more. The bottom line is that times are changing. Technology is changing. Business models are changing. And, as Maritz said, those can be "very difficult waters to navigate." VMWare itself is a company that's also changed, adapted to technological innovations, economic forces and demands in business.

"One thing I have learned is that money can't buy you time," Maritz said as he spoke about the fast-moving pace of technological innovations - everything from a broad variety of mobile devices to new tablet platforms. "We no longer make our money from hypervisors. We make our money from data center automation."

During the session, Maritz was asked how this new approach would affect moving parts such as government compliance. He said there isn't a "single silver bullet" to address compliance but that VMWare is playing a role in working with the industry to allows them to "take the capabilities that have been built up and aid in government compliance, to apply it in a highly dynamic virtualized world."

Firewalls, for example, could become pieces of software that are associated with the various layers of the new stack, he said. The intent is to shift the security boundaries, to put them in logical places, instead of physical places. Does the security force need to be at the OS level or can it be in various parts of the virtual infrastructure level or other levels?

In answering that question, Maritz went out on a limb to say that security could actually be enhanced under this model, that "we can completely reverse" the security issue and "turn it into a positive moving forward."

As for his thoughts on the future of the operating system, Maritz clarified a statement he made during his keynote about the operating system. It's not that the operating system will disappear, he said. The bigger issue is where the innovation is occurring. It used to be that the innovation occurred at the OS level. The innovation now, he said, is in the virtualization later.

And increasingly, that means the OS becomes just another piece of the puzzle - no longer the driving force behind the power of computing.

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