Saturday 30 September 2017

The Evolution (Big Bang)

The Big Bang

In the last century, IBM and Microsoft ruled the world of infrastructure with “physical servers” ranging from huge mainframes to desktop PCs. During that era, each physical server was dedicated to a single workload (except mainframes and few proprietary systems). This lead to unprecedented level of server sprawl (a dedicated server per workload); shooting up the infrastructure costs to unsustainable levels. Time and cost for such servers was huge and the most painful part was that these servers had hardly 15% of CPU utilization – a total wastage of the computing power!

As the saying goes – Necessity is the mother of invention! 

To address this very problem of physical servers, emerged a disruptive technology called Virtualization. Although the concept of virtualization has been into existence since early 1970s when research papers started getting published and IBM invented CP-40/CP-67, its true strength wasn’t felt until around 2000. At the dawn of the millennium there came a wave of revolution when VMWare launched ESX and “Virtual Machines (VM)” became the trend.

This disruptive technology had a phenomenal effect on infrastructure industry. Each physical server was able to host multiple virtual machines which in turn handled any number of virtual workloads. It had a huge impact on businesses – the CPU utilization of physical servers boosted from 15% to more than 80%; leading to a sharp decline in the infrastructure costs; faster and automated spawning of VMs; ease of moving VMs from one server to another; hence more productivity.

Soon this spread into other technologies like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), Session Virtualization, Application Virtualization, Network Virtualization, Storage Virtualization, Application layering etc.

Year 2013 witnessed another great disruptive idea when a small company like “DotCloud” shocked the industry with their vision of “Containers” and soon Docker became the de facto standard. Containers share same OS, so there can be many containers running on a single VM. They are so light weight that even virtual machines look bulky in comparison to them. Containers were originally invented to enhance security on Linux platforms LinuX Containers (LXC). Later with the Docker boom, all vendors (including Microsoft) got into the race to adapt Docker Containers for their own platforms.

Before one could deep dive into any of these techniques, new keywords start engulfing the net and we find ourselves on a completely new page with a totally fresh concept. So, what are all these? Why is this niche technology creating waves everywhere? What made it one of the most profitable ideas ever? And the Million-Dollar question, what is the future of virtualization?

Let’s take a step back and drill down a little into each of these technologies starting with Virtual Machines in next blog. And yes, I’ll remember my promise of not diving too much into technical details; we will just scratch the surface.

I am signing off for now. Stay tuned as we continue our journey in this world of illusion – “The Science of Illusion".
The Science of Illusion (Part 2) : The Building Blocks
Coming up : The Science of Illusion (Part 3) – The World of Virtualization

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