Friday, February 01, 2008


I sat through a Virtualization session by some good folks from the Big Blue the other day. I must add, that it was quite fascinating.

I have read up a lot on virtualization, but never did quite get a hang of it. Did my first virtual run on the iBook with XP with the virtualPC. Pretty funky. So with that experience in mind, went ahead for this.

However, the good thing that came out, a) this myth of virtualization i had was shattered. and b) i became smarter.

I was nice enough to sit next to some good folks from my team, who were patient enough to explain all my little doubts.
The first session was torture, it was like in the first 15minutes of a 2 hour lecture that you start feeling sleepy, and you go ... wwwwoooooowwww... i am so screwed!
there were some chaps, who were determined to prove that cacti actually grow out of their butts, because they just went on and on and on... if only they were the enrgizer bunny - would have squashed the living daylights out of them. after I moved my place, I had company, and was less sleepy (yes, i also had 2 cups of industrial strength coffee which i think actually did the trick)

Anywyas- a lowdown on virtualization:
What is virtulization- its when several virtual environments run on a single hardware platform. Now, this helps because if you have just one system and OS running on on hardware platform, there is a LOT of underutlized hardware lying around.
§Virtualization is the process of presenting a logical grouping or (sub)set of computing resources so that they can be accessed in ways that give benefits over the original configuration. This is not restricted by the implementation, geographic location or the physical configuration of the underlying resources.

Now: in order to virtualize - you need a sort of mediator - which is the job for a program called the Hypervisor. The hypervisor essentially is the link between the hardwre layer and the OS layer. However, the best part is EACH OS believes it's got its own hardware.

Advanced versions of the hypervisor can actually break down the processor and provision an x% of the prc for one OS and y% for another. Which essentially works till you turn off one system, then 100% goes to the OS that is on.
This as brilliant applications in companies that have development and production servers in the same box. If they believe the load for the production box is going to peak, then they simply shut off the development box, and send the resources to the production box till the peak has passed.

You now have several virtualization tools like Xen, VMware etc all vying for what I would term the next big step in computing.
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