10 May 2007

I Can Barely Contain Myself

Virtualizing my computer.  So very sweet.  Slow, but incredibly cool.


Jackie said...

Could you explain this?

BMG said...

Not really, no. It's still a little mysterious to me as to the details. But the concept is something like this: look at that computer in front of you. Now imagine that it is only an idea -- and idea that functions in the real world just like it were real. That's it, roughly speaking.

So the computer on my desk, that has actual physical memory, an actual physical hard drive, an actual physical network card, and so forth, is being copied as an idea -- on another physical computer. This means that I can have multiple "computers" running simultaneously on one physical computer as though they were each physically separate machines. The hard drive, memory, and network card are all virtual, and VMWare, running on the actual physical computer, translates the virtual hardware onto the physical hardware.

And it gets a lot more complex than that.

The benefits? I'm not sure yet for AMBS, but many places are able to reduce the number of physical machines they have by 50% or more -- this means savings galore (less hardware expense, less cooling expense, less environmental stress). Additionally, depending on the virtualization software used, two physical machines can share the duties of running the virtual machines so if one virtual machine needs more resources from time to time it can be relocated to a different physical machine with no downtime. Beyond that, virtualization lets a person make a copy of an existing machine before applying the newest patch from Microsoft -- or a person could copy an existing machine specifically to try the latest patch to see what devastation it may wreak, without affecting the real stuff.

As I say, pretty cool.