VMware: Linux Is Ideal OS for Virtualization


SAN FRANCISCO — Linux is a key part of the success mix for
virtualization. That was the message of Mendel
Rosenblum, chief scientist and cofounder of VMware.


Rosenblum’s penguin love is not a new thing, either. He
recounted for the LinuxWorld audience here that the very first
version of VMware was launched on Linux in 1998.


“We secretly used them [Linux users] as our beta testers,”
Rosenblum said. “The Linux community helped us to build
things up.”


The VMware cofounder explained that the three key
properties of virtualization are partitioning, isolation
and encapsulation. It’s about the idea that software is
not tightly coupled to hardware and it can move around and be
easily distributed.


Moving beyond the traditional realm of basic application
virtualization capabilities, Rosenblum explained a new
recording and playback capability that VMware is starting
to roll out.

Called deterministic replay, it enables users
to record the execution that goes on in a virtual machine
in a compact manner. The user can then replay the
execution at a later time.


Rosenblum argued that operating systems and companies like
VMware are not competitors and, in fact, both can be
successful and add value to the end user. In the
traditional view of an operating system the operating
system is an extension of the hardware.


“The goal of the OS is to support as many applications
as possible,” Rosenblum said. “The OS itself does
nothing very useful; it is only the application on
top that does something for you.”


In his view the problem with the traditional OS model is
that it is too complex.

Virtualization offers the
opportunity to reduce complexity. Roseblum noted that in
the virtual appliance model it lets the OS model be
simplified so you can take out the application support
parts you don’t need and build an OS that is highly
optimized for the specific application.


Rosenblum said that at VMware, they have a name for what
they think would be the perfect OS for virtualization.


“It should be highly customizable and include only what
the application needs,” Rosenblum said. “We called it JeOS
(pronounced juice) – the just-enough operating system, as
opposed to the other model where the operating system
supports anything so you can drop any application on it.”


What operating system is close? Only Linux, according to
Rosenblum.


“Linux is the perfect fit for virtualization it is a
highly customizable operating system,” Rosenblum said. “I
see this as the place where Linux can dominate and
licensing is also more favorable.”

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