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Citrix To Rock 'Bare Metal' Hypervisor

We'd like to thank Citrix and Intel for revealing this week that they've been working on what they're calling a "bare metal" hypervisor that'll be optimized for Intel technology.

Oh, we're sure it'll be a fine product, but the tag "bare metal," aside from sounding like name of a nudist hard rock band, gave us a great excuse to troll YouTube for old heavy metal videos and call it work. So, before we go on, let's set some background music.

Anyway, Citrix and Intel are working on a hypervisor -- part of what they call "Project Independence" -- that'll be available in the second half of 2009. In a chat with RCPU last week, Calvin Hsu, director of product marketing for the desktop delivery group at Citrix, explained why the "bare metal" hypervisor will rock harder than the other hypervisors out there:

"What's commonly available today is a type 2 hypervisor, or hosted virtualization. Boot up machine, and it brings up base OS, then you load virtualization on top of that. Then inside that container, you bring up another OS. The virtualized operating system is a few layers away from the hardware. It does raise some concerns because you have this exposure to the underlying operating system.

"This [new] hypervisor is the first thing that loads -- it sits directly on the hardware, and then above that, you have your operating systems. The hypervisor is talking directly to the hardware. The two desktop environments sit beside each other. They're not on top of each other."

Hsu and Citrix envision a day when companies will stop buying laptops for their employees. (No, seriously.) Workers will use their personal computers both at home and at work and switch back and forth between environments on one device. And they'll do it all with a single log-on for each user that'll provide access to everything that user needs.

"It's liberating for the users," Hsu said. "It's a way to enable this BYOC [bring your own computer] world. The CIO gets to get this amortization and all the other things that go along with that off their books."

Bring your own computer? It could happen, we suppose; your editor has written many an edition of RCPU on his personal laptop while working at home. In any case, we'll see whether the "bare metal" hypervisor turns out to be a rock star or a one-hit wonder.

What are you doing with desktop virtualization? And what heavy metal tune would you choose for the "bare metal" hypervisor? Let us know at lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 01/21/2009 at 1:22 PM


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