Thursday Sep 18, 2008

The Physical .vs Virtual World

We all live in both the physical and virtual worlds today even if we do not understand.  The realities of the financial market and the brutal corrections of sub-prime paper is here.  It's as if we can hear the sound of (you need new car brakes) bare metal screeching on metal trying to halt the stock market pullback.  We also have many flavors of operating systems running physically on bare metal (a given microporocessor).  When it comes to native code running on hardware it's like a common mundane book... we all can do it.  Speaking of books if you enjoy a non fiction or bare metal read, "The Dark Side" By Jane Mayer may suit you.  The book has made the New York Times bestseller list.  Reading it made me think about integrity and courage.

The virtual world is upon us.  In the technology space the industry has fully functional tools that allow us to compress, manage and migrate virtual machines (instances of computers) into a single physcial computer.   This week at VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada virtualization products and services are front and center.  Do you realize that the virtual machine has become THE application?  Forget about all those applications running on the virtual machine.  Applications have merely been abstracted to mere subroutines of the virtual machine.  Abstracted to insignificance in the virtual world.  Do you like a good read on virtualization- that is mind provoking, but hardly mentions high technology at all?  If you do the "The Black Hole War" By Leonard Susskind will work.  Timely appropriate given the Large Hadron Collider @ CERN switched on last week! It took 20 years to build.  While we constantly live our busy daily lives here in the physical world, there are a lot of theoretical physicists that are constantly trying to discover the mysteries of our universe.  A universe so vast, complex and unknown that we as humans may never fully understand all of its secrets.  Trying to unify Quantum Mechanics with the General Theory of Relativity is the big mystery.  Why do atoms (little ones) have differnt rules than planets (big ones)?

String theory and black holes are all discussed in the book without much math but in layman terms using thought experiments.  Definitely puts virtualization products into perspective.  Let the theoretical physicists solve the hard stuff!  I'll focus on hypervisors and emulation rather than space time and quarks.

Wednesday Dec 19, 2007

FOSS = Low Exit Barrier as well as Low Entry Hurdle

FOSS is a check box item for new startup companies as well as enterprise corporations who are consolidating, upgrading or issuing new application deployments.  The high tech industry will continue to have companies acquire other's technology as part of alignment and pure business economics.  Some companies acquire open source software and their intent is to continue to FOSter the community with this software, while being able to monetize the asset.   Counter to this strategy some proprietary companies may be inclined to purchase an open source software stack simply to eliminate its growing popularity by customers.  The software industry should embrace, as have universities, that more and more new deployments require solutions based on open source software code bases.  The following table shows very large deployments of storage assets based on proprietary and open source models. Open source software does create a low exit barrier for unhappy customers, but it does enable a low hurdle for a company that wants to take advantage of the opportunity to engage.  If you have built your business model around open source software you have probably listened to your customers and have realized strategically where the software industry is headed.  On the other side of the coin if your business model is to stay proprietary you may be inclined to believe that open source software is a trend and you will be able to continue to differentiate in a commodity market.  The debate continues but customers vote with their purchases.  It is my opinion that os virtualization solutions both proprietay and open sourced will shed some light on the momentum or trend of open source software.  A robust, stable, enterprise OS that can virtualize other OSes as guests has an opportunity.  The market will embrace multiple choices for OS virtualization rather than have a single choice.  With the amount of vendors who have announced OS virtualization solutions that are both proprietary and open sourced the end results are still open for debate.  Who has the momentum?  I remember the VHS and Betamax debate and who tried to dictate rather than listen to customers.


The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.


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