Tuesday, September 05, 2006

When boundaries fade

I see an interesting trend in computer technology. With Apple's migration to Intel chips, many users are installing the Windows OS in Apple computers. That was unimaginable a few years ago. It gives Microsoft an interesting opportunity to expand into a market it once thought closed. However, the picture gets even more interesting when you introduce virtualization. Now, we can have several operating systems running side by side in the same computer. It gives OS X, should Apple wake up and realize this huge opportunity, an opening into the previously-closed PC world. But which OS will be the "host" system of choice? Will Linux finally make it through? It certainly can do a great job at managing resources and providing stability and security. Those are critical factors of any virtual host OS. It seems obvious that major players are counting on significant growth in the virtualization technology; why would Microsoft and VMWare give away their virtualization products otherwise? I believe they are setting up the industry to finally come to realize the many benefits of virtualization. And as the previously well-defined boundaries of what OS runs in what platform melt away, I also predict that hardware vendors will benefit greatly by the increased demands virtualization will put on equipment (more RAM, faster CPUs, etc.). Indeed, it is an exciting time to be in the computer field. More importantly, all of us need to set aside preconceived notions and be receptive to new concepts. Change is the only constant in the world of computers.

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