LinuxWorld Expo 2006 wrap-up: from mainframe to embedded systems, and back
by Andy Oram
without the claim being thrust in your face that virtualization is the
most important technology in the field. That should bother people who
are interested in operating systems. I say this because, from what I
hear, the value of virtualization is directly proportional to failures
on the part of operating systems.
Virtualization is said to ensure security by walling off applications.
It's being promoted to improve performance with large server
applications. And it multiplies the range of available applications
by letting a user run different operating systems.
Therefore, I conclude, virtualization would be almost unnecessary if
operating systems were sufficiently secure, if they could efficiently
support several large applications at once, and if they offered all
the features and applications people wanted.
As an IBM VP told me, the original impetus behind virtualization was
to let mainframe programmers run test and production versions of their
software on a single system for cost savings. I can understand why
developers want to isolate test systems, and why a hosting service
might want to provide the illusion of a fully dedicated system to
different clients. But virtualization is going way beyond such uses,
and being touted for benefits that a good operating system should
Having vented all this, I'll move on to discussing two of the many
virtualization companies that came to LinuxWorld Expo in San
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