New Year, New Header

Time to update the picture header in my blog, finally got round to some customisation. The picture if one of many we took of the Roman ruins in Budapest from our long weekend there in October 2005.

The ruins were not something we expected to find when we went to Budapest but were well worth the bus trip out to see and just reminded us what a large empire the Roman empire was at one point.

What will happen to virtualization?

Following on from my previous entry and these two items:-

This has really made me think as to where virtualization will lead us. It either has to become the OS, and VMware already state that ESX server has millions of lines of code (not dissimilar to many OSes) so at some point the virtualization product becomes the OS and the OS becomes a function library. Or maybe not!

Intel, AMD and other hardware vendors are adding virtualization support like crazy to their hardware so maybe the next step is the virtualization layer to really move into the hardware and BIOS. With multi-core processors coming thick and fast (Intel forsee 80 cores in a few years) the ability to carve up your box into multiple virtual boxes becomes much more relevant. And with all the virtualization handled in the hardware we will have much less overhead on the next layer from virtualization. Really this is just the next step on from the blade arhitecture we have now, instead of slots in a rack we could end up with scokets on a motherboard. Add a few more cores and viola you have added a huge amount of capacity to the system. As with everything at some point the hardware moves down to the chip level, AMD will start the ball rolling as they add GPUs into their chips following their ATI purchase.

This is why VMware needs to move into the system management space as that is where the real value is, operating systems are becoming commodity items, virtualization will just be another trick for the hardware vendors, so the real value is in managing this whole infrastructure and making sure that the workloads that needs the resource and QoS get it.

What is an OS?

Gee nearly 2 months since my last post (note to self: post more!)

This article by Diane Green of VMware made me think again about how you actually define what constitutes an operating system. (This also goes back to a question I asked Mendel Rosenblum at TSX in Orlando).

Looking at Wikipedia an operating system is defined thus “An operating system (OS) is a computer program that manages the hardware and software resources of a computer. At the foundation of all system software, the OS performs basic tasks such as controlling and allocating memory, prioritizing system requests, controlling input and output devices, facilitating networking, and managing files. It also may provide a graphical user interface for higher level functions.”. Well when you bring ESX server into the equation that pretty much defines the fucntions of ESX server so no matter what marketing wants us to believe all we do with virtualization is introduce a different operating system. Now, don’t get me wrong in the right circumstances virtualization is a fantastic tool, but we have to make sure it is the right circumstances. You can’t get away from the fact that somewhere you are going to have an OS that hides the hardware issues from the application be that ESX server, Linux, or Windows.

All that is happening is that ESX server is going to have to pick up the problems of presenting a common interface to the machine hardware, so if appliances take off in a big way VMware have to pick up the problem of supporting all those hardware variants. In this case the underlying ‘operating system’ used by the appliance vendor just becomes a big function library for the vendor to use in creating their appliance.

So when you hear that the operating system doesn’t matter anymore, it depends on which operating system you are talking about.

Now why would they want that?

Great new feature in iTunes 7 = Album Art. BUT you have to have an Apple iTunes music store account and you can’t have one of those without giving out you credit card details. Now why would I want to do that when all I want is to have album art!

 Apple again tries to up the lockin, you’ve got an account – oops you’ve just bought that song! Here at least Microsoft lead as you can have album art in Media Player without any accounts anywhere, it just goes out and gets it.

Apple come on, time to wake up and smell the roses. Don’t try to tie me in and I might, just might, buy into an iPod. Starting to like iTunes, love looking at iPods and almost lust after one but games like this just make me reluctant to buy in. So posts like this start breaking down the resistance and then this!

Enough Already !

Stop this nonsense labelling everything with 2.0! Ever someone coined the phrase Web 2.0 nothing is cool unless you label it with a 2.0, the lates of which is lunch 2.0. Come on this is just getting ridiculous. Just cause you label it 2.0 it does not make it a success, or new, or intresting.

Rory gets it with his post Hello v2.0, time to hold back on that 2.0 moniker and make sure it really makes sense. Just adding 2.0 does not make it interesting, good, worthwhile.

Negative Positives or is that Positive Negatives

Sorry it has to stop!  Recently I have noted a trend in myself and others towards using the phrase ‘not too bad‘ in response to the question ‘How are you?‘. What on earth does ‘not too bad’ mean, what is ‘too bad’, are you feeling good, close to death, who knows. Huh! It is time to make a stand and start using positive reponses not positive negatives (or is that negative positives?) to these simple daily questions.

I have taken now to stopping and deliberately replying with a positive response to the question, it only has to be a one word response either ‘good’, ‘excellent’, or ‘bad’, whatever is appropriate. Not only do you feel more positive and decisive overall, but it is more economical!

It strikes me that it is imperative that with every question we should seek to provide a postive answer which actually provides some value to the questioner, since when did we all become politicians afraid to answer even the simplest question. Time to take back the initiative and strike a blow for positiveness.

It Lives!

Yesterday saw the public launch of something we have been working on for some time. SmartPeak (http://www.smartpeak.com) is the start of a new direction for our parent company as we seek to show the wider enterprise market the benefits of using workload management software on their Windows systems. Up till know we have been working quietly away in the terminal server market delivering huge benefits in system utilisation. With this new venture we are taking our technology into the remaining Windows market to enable (1) consolidation of products unsuitable for current virualisation technologies (such as SQL server) and (2) improved QoS guarentees across all Windows systems.

When it comes down to it the Windows scheduler is just not really that intelligent and no matter how fast your machine you still end up looking at the hour glass cursor far too often as it spins its wheels doing something while you wait. What if you could make sure that the important programs for you got priority, or even that no matter what anything you run will be given a fair share of the CPU. Well workload management gives you just that. And yesterday is just the start as we seek to bring those benefits to a wider audience. In my role of setting the technology direction for SmartPeak I am really excited about what we have to offer. Stay tuned for the ride, it is going to be huge!