Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So what the heck is a Hypervisor?

Wikipedia's description of a Hypervisor as " ... a virtualization platform that allows multiple operating systems to run on a host computer at the same time" is a pretty good answer. Putting it at its most basic level, you can minimise your maximum exposure to Windows Server failures without losing any Windows functionality. Here's an example:

  1. You run up a Lotus Foundations Server which can create VMWare sessions as required.

  2. You want to run Active Directory on a Windows Server? No problem - kick off a VMWare session, load Windows Server and start Active Directory.

  3. You want your Lotus Foundations server to be a member of that Active Directory Domain? No problem - register your Lotus Foundations Server on the Active Directory running on the Windows server which only exists in the VMWare session running on the Lotus Foundations Server which you are joining to the Domain.

    (Yeah, my head is starting to hurt too)

So now we are running an encapsulated MS Server with Active Directory where it can't hurt anybody. If that Windows server pulls a BSOD then you can close that VMWare session and restart your Windows server with Active Directory in a new session. Lotus Foundations won't mind and your users probably won't even notice. You can run other MS server tasks in their own VMWare session - even MS Exchange Server if you are so inclined. Suddenly you have the option to pick and choose which Windows servers you let out of the sandbox. Maybe after a few months you'll notice that the Emperor Has No Clothes and you don't actually need Windows server at all.

My completely unauthorized uninformed SWAG (Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) is that we'll see the Hypervisor slipstreamed into Foundations in Q1/2009. If you are an existing Foundations customer or Lotus Business Partner then you can request to sign up for the beta code.

I'd say the addition of VMWare to Lotus Foundations Server is potentially one of the most significant threats to face the Microsoft Windows Server quasi-monopoly since Linux first started poking its nose into the corporate market. Be afraid Microsoft... be very afraid.


Bob Baehr said...

But... you're still running 'Windows'

Bilal Jaffery said...

Thanks Graham, quite an insightful post.

Graham Dodge said...

Yes... we're still running Windows and in some cases there is no alternative to running a Windows server for a particular task simply because the required corporate application is only available for Windows server (Exchange, SQL Server etc).

The important thing is that we can run those Windows servers as isolated VMWare sessions. We can access an instance of a Windows server without having to dedicate specific hardware to run that server.