The Linux Key is Virtualization?

BOSTON — Dell’s Chief Technology Office Kevin Kettler presented Dell’s vision
for virtualization at this morning’s keynote here. It’s a powerful vision that
extends virtualization beyond its traditional uses and into the mainstream.

Kettler began his presentation by reminding the crowd of a comment his
boss Dell founder Michael Dell said during a LinuxWorld 2000 keynote. Dell said
that he didn’t believe that Solaris on Intel is the answer but that Dell
believes the answer is Linux on Intel.

As a proof point for Dell’s Linux commitment, Kettler explained to the
audience that Dell runs its $56 billion high growth business on scale out of
architecture based on Linux. Dell’s supply chain management system runs on
Linux and so it has put Linux front and center.

Virtualization expands the opportunities for Linux in a real way.

“Linux is bound by traditional platforms; virtualization sets it free,”
Kettler said. “Virtualization can really open a lot of opportunities for
unique software applications and environments to run on a single platform.”

Kettler explained that the key to Dell’s virtualization vision is the
ability to easily move applications across different physical pieces of

“In a virtualized environment, it becomes much cleaner around how we wrap and
package things, and redeployment and reuse becomes phenomenal.”

The traditional use of virtualization has been server and storage
consolidation helping enterprises deal with underutilized servers.

“Enterprises today have low server utilization, and we’re trying to help
customers to a point where they can utilize near 100 percent capacity.”

“Historically, virtualization has been driven by enterprise need at Dell. We
believe that’s about to change.”

Kettler demoed a number of possibilities of running virtualized, purpose-built applications, such as a secure browsing experience or a dedicated
gaming stack.

“It allows you to separate and isolate different aspects of what you might
be doing on your machine,” Kettler said. “A single machine with unique
personalities that you can plug in and out.”

The opportunity for Linux is for Linux developers to develop unique
personalities to plug into the virtualized environments. The use of virtual
machines was also noted as a way to deal with legacy operating systems
issues. So instead of being forced to migrate, users will now have a choice.

“With virtualization, the opportunity is to drive Linux adoption even deeper
on the client,” Kettler said.

“There are still a few things that need to happen to make virtualization
pervasive. Users need to embrace virtualization, and developers need to
understand the opportunity. They need to support standards, and vendors need
to revisit licensing concerns.

“We believe virtualization is key, Linux is key and both together can play a
strong role both within the enterprise and the client.”

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