Virtualization Goes Mobile


There has been a lot of commentary on VMware's acquisition of Trango Virtual Processors -- precisely when this happened is a bit unclear, but it was very recently -- and the subsequent announcement of a product. As noted in this Ars Technica piece, the product integration and rollout was accomplished quickly.


Ars Technica looks at the VMware game plan. The sense is that the Trango-based hypervisor called the Mobile Virtualization Platform, or MVP will simplify life for manufacturers by enabling them to deal with a single abstraction layer instead of wrestling with a variety of chipsets, drivers and other elements.


For users, the big advantage is that it may be possible to transfer the VM image the digital snapshot of the applications and personal data running on one phone to another. The Ars Technica piece, however, suggests that accomplishing this may be more difficult in the real world than VMware is portraying it.


VMware is the big kahuna of virtualization, but not the only player and not the only one thinking about mobility. According to GigaOm, Numobiq changed its name to HipLogic (a good move), and promises to use virtualization to drive mobile phone personalization. There is interest: The company raised $4.5 million from Benchmark Capital in January. The company's virtual machine, which is based on Java, has been ported to Windows, Linux, S60 and UIQ. BREW and RIM are next, the story says, and a consumer download is coming in January. The piece says that developers writing applications to HipLogic will run on any of the operating systems on which the firm's VM is loaded.


VirtualLogix is another entrant in the mobile virtualization sweepstakes. The firm said last month that VirtualLogix VLX is supporting the Symbian OS. The company said that VLX separates hardware and application management, which enables applications on Symbian to use peripherals run by other operating systems.


There was a good deal of commentary on the deal, including this piece at VM/ETC. The writer provides insights into two ways in which mobile virtualization and MVP can be used. He echoes the idea that a virtualization layer can enable people to seamlessly switch between devices without performing rote tasks such as reentering address book entries. A stored version of the virtual layer also serves as a backup and saves a lot of aggravation -- and worse -- when machines are lost or broken. Finally, virtualization can enable mobile devices to more widely utilize applications sent from cloud computing environments.