Virtualization: Old Idea, New Buzz

Kachina Shaw

Virtualization is nothing new; it's just got a fancy new name (don't say partitioning).


But very real cost savings, easier system management, and much improved system utilization, among a long list of benefits, make the current wave of virtualization hype almost irresistible for smaller shops -- many of whom are in server replacement cycles -- and larger enterprises, where data centers can have as many as 85 percent of CPUs sitting there, just waiting to be fired up.


The virtualization headlines this week center around plans at Novell and Red Hat, both of which have gone the Xen route, to speed up development and get containers into Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. Containers allow even higher performance by using one instance of the operating system to support multiple virtual machines, according to a ZDNet piece. (Sun Solaris and a couple of other smaller firms are way ahead of the two Linux giants here.)


Or you can go the hardware emulation route, with the likes of VMware and Microsoft Virtual Server (hey, it's free -- yes, free).


You can avoid it if you like -- and there are good reasons for doing so, including the fact that one server failure can be catastrophic. But looks like pretty much every OS game in town includes built-in virtualization software of one kind or another.


And you know what that means. Commoditization.

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