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Old 09-03-2009, 08:50 AM   #1
SuperMishe
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Default Tech-y, computer-y persons needed!

Can you help me make sense of this article?

http://www.crn.com/mobile/219501087;...PSKH4ATMY32JVN

I need to understand it so i can write about it (stupid net-writing!) but I am so LOST! Can you explain it in PLAIN 1st grade english? LOL!

Your help is appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2009, 11:09 AM   #2
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Hello Mishe,

rendering this article in layman language would take a didactically and technically skilled person several days, I guess. Also, we don't know how computer savy you are, i.e. as to what depth the explanations must go.

But maybe we can take turns in walking you through the article and you give us feedback what exactly it is you don't understand. I play with VMware now and then, so I might be able to explain a few things. Let's start:

"VMware, which already has the largest share of the server virtualization market, is building on its technology base to bring desktop virtualization to any end-user device, including iPhones or other mobile devices."

VMware is a company and software for virtualizing computers. That means you can have a computer within a computer - only the latter computer is not installed on "real" hardware, but inside a very powerful programme (=vmware) that pretends to be hardware to whatever operating system you want to install on the host system. E.g. you can have a computer running Windows XP. You install vmware on this computer. Then you start the vmware programme and tell it to create a virtual computer with such and such CPU and memory and hard drive, etc. When you have created the virtual PC you can install e.g. a linux or Mac or any other operating system on the virtual PC. This way you can run multiple instances of virtual PCs (they only exist in software) on one physical PC, which runs the host operating system.

Virtualization is up to now mainly used with servers, not with desktop (i.e. clinet PCs). As server hardware is expensive companies benefit from server consolidation by virtualizaiton. Example: instead of running a file server, a database server and a web server on individual hardware, you get ony one physical piece of server hardware and install your fileserver, database-server and webserver as virtual servers. Now you have reduced cost of hardware. Also you need only one UPS (uninterupted power supply) unit and you can back up your "3-in-1" Server in one go ... well, almost ... but you get the gist?

Now, the neat thing is, that these virtual computers can be accessed across a network much like a terminal server. I.e. all you need is some very basic hardware, like a monitor, a mouse and keyboard and a very inexpensive pc that is connected to the network and all it does is displaying the video output of the virtual computer that lives on the main server. So, in our above example, you could have 3 people sitting anywhere on the site (or in fact on the internet) with their terminal-client-pc and operating the respective servers just as if they had the box underneath their desk. Much like remote desktop in WIndows XP (professional), if you've ever used it.

Now, to make a long story short: IT-strategists think, why only use this technology for servers. There are also possibilities to be more cost-effective and simplify administration if companies would expand this principle to their client-PCs, i.e. desktops. This would mean, instead of having your fully equipped PC hardware with operatings system and application software installed and maintained on it, you have an "emtpy" so called thin-client as hardware and when it boots it gets everything from the main server over the network. Or more precisely, you get the visual output on your screen and you can operate it using your mouse and keyboard, but all the computing operations are done one the server - which in this case can be a traditional server, or a virtualized server, which runs on a "real" server.

And even to go one step futher, you could apply this principle also to any hardware or gadget that can establish a network connection, like mobile phones, PDAs, etc. The principle is the same. What you see on the screen does not reside permanently on the gadget, but is downloaded from the server upon starting it.

Did this help you understanding what the main subject of this article is?
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Old 09-03-2009, 02:52 PM   #3
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OK, here's an example of what vmware looks like at a very basic level. In the screenshot below I have a PC running XP as host operating system. The vmware server application runs in the Firefox window in the background. The window in front is the virtual machine: it has a linux operating system in which the Dimensions webpage is opened in Firefox:




And voila! I can also have the window of the virtual linux machine on my laptop and work with it, although there's no linux installed on my laptop:




In a more professional setup, I would not even have a full-blown operating-system such as XP on my laptop, but rather a tiny piece of software just enough to basically boot the laptop, activate the network interface and look for a virtual machine to download from the vmware server (in this case my PC).

VMware (the company) believes that virtualization is an important feature to realise a novel way of managing computer ressources (mostly server ressources), which is called "cloud computing". They brand their product vSphere as a "cloud-operating-system", i.e. an operating system that is not confined to a single computer but teams together multiple computers in order to manager their joint ressources.

"The cloud" can simply mean "the internet", but also I think it is important to understand what "cloud-computing" does. However, it's a bit of a toughie for tonight and I can't think of an easy explanation without a good night's rest.
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