The hidden agenda of Virtualisation
I´ve stated my position to virtualisation on many ocassions in the past, that the way virtualisation is used at the moment (as a pure consildation tool) isn´t really a good story. At least not such a good story that explains this absurd stock price for VMware, but thats a different story.
But virtualisation is not without use, it´s more than a buzzword, but the advantages are in a different field. Ben Rockwood writes in Virtualization is more than just consolidation about the real benefit of virtualisation. Virtualisation enables you to seperate the installation of a service from the hardware, thus it is vastly easier to move around a service, easier to duplicate it. The concluding paragraph of Ben´s article summarize this very well:
True virtualization is about turning “servers” into “application environments” and treating those environments as building blocks that are easily duplicated, dynamically sized, and totally portable
But such a virtualisation is less like VMware or XEN, it´s more like Solaris Container, as these are designed to give you multiple application environments with the smallest possible performance overhead. Virtualisation of an complete hardware is at least one step to far, virtualisation of an operating system is the more efficient way, when you only want a multitude of instances of the same operating system. And this closes the circle to my article referenced in the beginning of my article: VMware-like virtualisation is a useful technology for the Microsoft world, but with Unix you can do better.