[linux-elitists] Virtualization

Aaron Sherman ajs@ajs.com
Tue Feb 22 09:40:46 PST 2005


On Tue, 2005-02-22 at 11:51, Don Marti wrote:

Having been through similar discussions recently, let me try to address
your concerns....

> Virtualization was a big buzzword at LinuxWorld,
> and I'm starting to suspect it's a load of crap.
> 
> Why would you partition a big expensive server into
> the equivalent of several small cheap servers that
> add up to a fraction of the big server's price?
> 
> And why would you license a fancy virtualization
> layer when you could just buy blade servers?

There are many reasons to do this, and many reasons not to. It comes
down to a matter of who you have to support it, what kind of hardware
you have / are considering, what you're going to use it for and where
you're going to deploy it.

Reasons to consolidate:

      * Many power and heat issues are simplified even beyond blades
        and/or Rackable enclosures.
      * Administration is easier to centralize
      * Footprint can often be reduced, which can be a major win for
        leased space
      * Allocation of resources is more automatic (compare vs Mosix, et
        al.)

Reasons not to consolidate:

      * Larger points of failure
      * Price / performance (though this can vary widely depending on
        requirements)
      * Variations in operating system might lead to problems (e.g. some
        virtualization tactics to not allow for mixed OS... some do).

What I've always wanted to try is some kind of clustering software
running a virtualization layer. In this way, you could add or remove
machines as you please while presenting the "user" with a unique system
on which to work.

I don't know if someone has done virtualization on top of Mosix or one
of the other clustering systems, but I'd love a pointer if they have....

> Who cares about the percentage of utilization
> of a resource that's really cheap?  Would you
> virtualize all the staplers at the company because
> they have <1% utilization?  No, that would be dumb.
> They're staplers.  You can get more for less money
> and less hassle than trying to virtualize them.

Well... if I could buy a single "staple-server" which presented each
desk with a "virtual stapler", then I might consider it. It's a bit of a
stretch as an analogy, though.... ;-)

> isn't the virtualization
> frenzy just a smokescreen to try to put some profits
> back into the generic server/generic OS market?

I don't think so. I think that organizations with massive farms of
machines to support are starting to see that the minor hit in terms of
footprint, power and heat is starting to eat substantial profits.

-- 
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