VMware helps users make the most of their PCs
In the old days, mainframes were physical behemoths that supported thousands of users and were controlled by a select few geeks. Even programmers had to get in line to obtain their share of mainframe-based resources.
The introduction of the PC led to all types of innovation. Everyone could get their own technology and control it themselves. Small units within large organizations didn't have to wait for the battleship to turn; they could be nimble and implement solutions unfettered. Small businesses didn't have to buy processing time from service bureaus.
Based around personal computing technology, countless software applications were developed that truly revolutionized industries.
But this came with a price. As new applications were developed, new servers were implemented. It wasn't unusual for even small organizations to run literally dozens of servers. This resulted in increased maintenance costs. Some poor soul had to take care of all these machines, backing them up and making sure the latest versions of software were installed.
This also got expensive. Costs for the machines themselves added up. And as in the old mainframe days, space, power, and cooling became concerns.
The solution? Virtual machines, or VM in geek-speak.
VM was first implemented on mainframes decades ago. Basically, it partitions a single machine into what appears to be several separate, distinct systems. Not only does VM address concerns with security, it also maximized system usage.
At the server level, VMware (www.vmware.com) was introduced around the turn of the millennium. VMware was greeted with skepticism by the technology community, as most techies believed that such a solution was too technically daunting to serve in critical situations. Since that time, however, it has proved its mettle.
Basically, VMware allows you to run several completely separate and distinct operating systems (Windows or Linux) on a single computer. Such a setup reduces environmental requirements, such as space, power, and cooling. It also reduces maintenance requirements.
For example, it's not unusual for an organization to have dedicated servers for e-mail and accounting-, along with a file server. These three machines can be consolidated onto one VMware-based server, with very little effort. It will still look like three machines to anyone who uses them. In fact, each virtual machine will think it's still running on its own dedicated server.
Currently the market leader, VMware effectively has no competition, though potential competitors include Microsoft, Novell, and Sun.
is president of ISDI Technologies Inc., a Honolulu-based IT consultancy. Call him at 944-8742 or e-mail email@example.com