Barney's Rubble

VirtualizationReview.com

We're so passionate about virtualization, we're launching a magazine and a Web site all about it.

Over the last four years, Redmond magazine has probably written more about virtualization than any other subject. Our belief is that IT should simplify all aspects of their shops, and consolidating servers is one great approach -- it saves space and management costs, not to mention electricity.

We've been fans of PC virtualization for just as long. It turns one machine into several, and makes the Mac a reasonable alternative to Windows (because it can run Windows).

One of the latest discoveries is the use of PC virtualization to ward off viruses, malware and hackers. If you perform your online duties in a virtual machine, the bad stuff won't infect your documents and other critical files.

Even before these waves hit we've promoted desktop virtualization. There are so many forms of virtualization, sometimes we have to pause to define our terms. PC virtualization, in my view, turns one personal machine into several. Desktop virtualization is the old style of thin-client computing, where a server pretends to be a bunch of PCs and streams the desktop experience down to dumb terminals or low-end PCs acting as terminals. Thanks to Citrix and others, that model is still very much alive. The only thing holding it back from further growth is the rise of the laptop as the standard end-user machine. (Citrix tells me it's working on this, too.)

We haven't been as excited about storage virtualization -- yet. Vendors have been pitching me on this technology far longer than PC or server virtualization. It sounds great in practice. So many disks are barely filled, while others are packed to the gills. Virtualization makes all disks efficient, and you only have to add disks when the overall system reaches its threshold.

Storage virtualization stalled due to its complexity, huge technical challenges, a lack of interoperability and the shocking decreases in the prices of physical disks.

As server virtualization takes hold, the storage side is getting strong new legs-this will be a revolution big enough to change the entire future of storage.

All these issues, as well as data, network and I/O virtualization, are the purview of Virtualization Review magazine and VirtualizationReview.com (do me a favor and bookmark this Web site immediately).

Our new mag and Web site cover all things virtual, from the hypervisors of VMware, Microsoft, Citrix (which bought XenSource) and Parallels, to amazing third-party tools, to the strategies of major systems vendors such as IBM, HP and Dell.

What kind of virtualization information do you need? Let me know by writing to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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Reader Comments:

Mon, Mar 3, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous

Thanks Petski!
Storage virtualization is a key area for the new web site and magazine. I agree, it is far from ready for the masses!

Sat, Mar 1, 2008 Peteski CT

OS and app virtualization is and has been awesome, for a while now. I heartily agree with your points. It's true utility and efficiency, however, really hinges on affordable, reliable and manageable storage virtualization.

Storage virtualization (SANs mainly) stalled, IMO, because of cost and complexity, in that order. Asking management for $350k for a small to mid-level SAN to put a few $7k servers on is never an easy arguement. (the, "but hey, the disks are more efficient" catchphrase is laughably useless in anything but large datacenters) Then there's the whole "what if it breaks?" all-eggs-in-one-basket thing.

When some (startup) co gets it right and scales down a GoogleFS-like setup running on distributed near-commodity hardware and offers it with reasonable licensing costs, then storage virtualization will have come of age. (ETA 2010-2011).

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