LINUXWORLD - VMware virtual appliance a threat to the OS

A cofounder of VMware said Thursday that virtual appliances that let software run independent of an operating system could be taken as a threat to OS vendors.

The virtual appliance model could be a major threat to operating systems from major vendors such as Microsoft, says a cofounder of VMWare.

Mendel Rosenblum told an audience at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco Thursday that a virtual appliance, which bundles a software application with only the operating system code needed to make it run, can then be deployed on a virtualized server regardless of the host operating system. Rosenblum is also chief scientist of virtualization at VMware.

Asked if he thinks the virtual appliance model is a threat to OS vendors, principally Microsoft, Rosenblum said, "If I were in their shoes ... I think the answer is yes."

The virtual appliance bundle is similar to the software appliance, but is specifically designed to run on a virtualized server.

A virtualization "hypervisor," like VMware's, separates the server hardware from the OS and the rest of the software stack. The hypervisor creates multiple logical servers within one physical server, allowing it to run multiple applications, thus using more of the server's capacity.

Rosenblum sees the virtual appliance as an alternative to making applications fit ever larger and more complex operating systems, simplifying the software writing process by taking out parts of the OS not needed to run that application, or even creating a customized OS.

"What I consider predictive [of the threat] is their complexity," he said. "They've built this OS to the point that they basically have no choice but to actually go and put in a hypervisor. All the OS vendors want to own the hardware connection, but I see there is going to be a big battle over who gets control over the hardware."

The open-source Linux OS is "well positioned to be the OS of choice" for a virtual appliance, said Rosenblum, because its licensing model is very friendly to this type of use. A software developer can bundle the software with parts of Linux easily, while commercial OS vendors like Microsoft would "look askance" at something like that.

"VMware feels at home in the Linux community," said Rosenblum in his keynote address, a remark that one listener described later as "gratuitous."

Mike Grandinetti, chief marketing officer for Virtual Iron, a small virtualization software vendor, says 90 percent of VMware's virtualization runs on Microsoft Windows machines, not Linux. He described Rosenblum's address honoring Linux as "a revisionist view of history."

Virtual Iron's software products are based partly on the open-source Xen kernel for virtualization, which makes them far less expensive than VMware's products, Grandinetti said. XenSource is another Xen-based virtualization vendor.

Although VMware is the dominant player in the virtualization space, there is still a lot of market to pursue. Only about 2 percent to 3 percent of servers industry-wide are virtualized, less than the 5 percent to 7 percent range forecast by major industry analysts, he said.

"We're just getting started," Grandinetti said.

Rosenblum was a last-minute substitute for VMware president Diane Green, who is currently visiting with investment analysts discussing VMware's pending initial public offering (IPO) of stock. The stock is expected to begin selling on Aug. 14, though Rosenblum has to keep quiet about it.

"We're excited and hopeful," was all he could say.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert Mullins

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?