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A virtuous pairing

I ran across the following comments on an El Reg article about virtualization: Comments about “Virtualization: Nothing New”.

He’s right, isn’t he? Having the same company offer both virtualization and grid solutions is a truly virtuous pairing. First you tell people they need a grid solution to make a huge pool of computers look like a single one, then after it’s all set up you sell them virtualization software. It’s beautiful. It’s like if, for example, Nestle and Jenny Craig got together to simultaneously offer chocolate products and dieting solutions. Oh wait, they did: Nestle to buy Jenny Craig.

Still, cynicism aside, both trends make sense if you think about it. Commodity x86 hardware offers the cheapest computing cycles per dollar right now. For truly large scale computing that fact can’t be ignored, which means grid computing technologies are needed to harness and coordinate that power.

But software development is increasingly decentralized, as the cost of software and hardware decreases. At investment firms traders don’t want to wait for centralized IT organizations to get around to implementing their requirements – they want dedicated, local teams serving them quickly, and they can afford it. SOA provides a set of protocols and practices that allows decentralized development teams to work more efficiently and connect their software components together. This is creating demand for quickly being able to provision new hosts, databases, application servers, etc. that each team can manage independently. Virtualization makes it possible for a single system administration team to manage all the compute power, while other distributed development teams feel like they have the boxes to themselves.

So offering blade computing hardware, grid computing software, and virtualization solutions all at once isn’t an exercise in cynically extracting money from confused customers, but actually makes a kind of sense. I’m less sure about the Jenny Craig / Nestle thing, but I’ll think about it as I snack on my low-cal Anytime Bar.

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