Mental Ward

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Excitement Builds for Client Hypervisors

I've been doing a lot of reseach, reporting and writing for an upcoming cover story on bare-metal client hypervisors, and the more I dig into this topic, the more I'm becoming convinced that they could well be the key to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

A number of major vendors are developing them, including VMware, Citrix and Red Hat. There are already several on the market, from Virtual Computer (although in a "controlled release" program that requires an invitation) and, interestingly, from Phoenix Technologies -- yes, that Phoenix, the BIOS guys.

The advantages these client hypervisors give to admins are substantial, starting with security. I talked to one admin in the Virtual Computer pilot program who listed the NxTop hypervisor's ability to encrypt a disk as the No. 1 reason he went with it. That's something I hadn't much considered before.

When you add into that the ability to run multiple OSes side-by-side, including running two different versions of the same OS, one locked down for corporate use and one for personal use, the advantages of the client hypervisor get more obvious.

It's also true that the ability to run a desktop on any device, including smartphones, is intriguing. But most of my research so far doesn't indicate that functionality as being a top reason for using a client hypervisor, despite VMware's touting of that use of the technology.

In any event, I'm becoming more convinced that bare-metal client hypervisors are one of the "coming things" in virtualization. Are you? Tell me or comment below.

Posted by Keith Ward on 05/19/2009 at 12:48 PM


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