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Sep 11, 2009


Undoubtedly virtualization is coming to change the software industry. The question is how soon and how deep it will penetrate our lives.

The main hypervisor customers at the moment are web hosting companies. What they offer to their customers is virtual machines. As a user of such a virtual machine, you can utilize the “machine” resources as much as you want. The host couldn’t care less because they have already limited the available capacity based on how much you’ve paid. Additionally, as a “machine” administrator you can create additional user accounts. Again, the host doesn’t care, because all those accounts can access is the virtual hard drive which is technically just a file. That latter fact also makes it easier for the host to save “snapshots” of the virtual machine, so when you screw up, they can restore your virtual machine in no time.

The next area hypervisors will penetrate is software development. Software developers typically maintain at least two machines – one “office” machine for office work – mail, web, documents, etc., and a “lab” machine where intermediate builds are installed. The latter one gets reimaged quite often because it gets into an irreparable state so often. In addition to that if a developer wants to try a third-party’s beta release, they would need yet another “lab” machine. You get the point - a hypervisor can allow a developer to have all that luxury on a single physical machine and even save time managing the virtual machines compared to managing physical machines. Should I mention how much cheaper it will be for the corporate IT department not to buy N machines for each developer?

Let’s take Hyper-V even further. Your home computer. You’ve created a separate user account for your wife so that she can’t mess up your desktop settings. So far so good. Until one day you discover that something is not right on that computer. She admits something popped and required to be installed to which she agreed. Now you have to reinstall the OS. (Add your kids to this scenario too to get the real picture.) When you reinstall the OS, consider setting up Hyper-V, will you. You really need everyone in your household to have their own virtual machine.

So my bet is this:

Hyper-V will become an essential part of every desktop OS and the full set of hardware devices will be available through virtual machines so the virtual machine experience will be virtually identical to physical machine.

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