Saturday, 31 January 2009

VMware - retro edition

Strange but true, but you look back to the period before I was a twinkle in my old mans eyes, and even he was a wee nipper and Virtualisation today is when revealed and looked into at its software engineering routes very similar, if not the same to Mainframe.

A few tweets on twitter has realigned that what i'm doing and preaching about on mediums like this blog in today is nothing new and at its roots nothing fancy, its nothing revolutionary like say the IBM era of SystemZ and virtualisation was, its nothing new in the respect of say going from punch cards to magnetic tape so why is it so big and mainstream today? When you look at this negatively its just got smaller and more easier to do/procure!

I guess the fact is were human and however clever our brains can calculate and design things it has a limitation and continuously looks to the past to see what worked and how it worked to give us an insurance that it will work. Boy did we go through a boom in the era of valve computing and into binary computing and going from using rolls of magnetic tape to spinning magnetic disks today, I guess VMware are doing this today with adding additional technology to benefit the running workloads with Memory overcommit and shadow page tables and CPU resource scheduling.

On the state of x86 Virtualisation and VMware is today in this it really is reiterating what was done on the large mainframes of yesterday and what is still scarily being done today to run payroll systems, airline reservation systems and systems that we rely on for critical parts of our day to day lives like the emergency services. Other comparisons could be to look at IBM GDPS and its doing what VMware Fault Tolerance will do across WAN sites in ESX 4....

The next step and leap in computing will be tough for x86 virtualisation organisations, they will need to accelerate past the basic fundamentals that System Z has laid as the baseline. I think they are doing this as far as I can see in some context, don't get me wrong I know sweet FA about mainframe but you certainly have the portability and the flexibility that probably isn't available on big Iron within ESX, its also alot smaller and more flexible to deploy with less operational cost than a big monolith of a mainframe.

It will be very interesting to see where Mainframe computing is place within the computing in say 10-20 years time, I expect a form of even smaller microcomputing will arise that will jump and shift the model slightly further to make x86 computing look exactly the same as it does today when compared to Mainframe. Lets sincerely hope not, and lets hope the boffins come up with something more original and different that will revolutionise like the jump did in computing in the early adaptations!

Anyway rambling over and hopefully I can start to see yet more fun innovative stuff arise in the Virtualisation space in years to come :)


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