In this podcast Rob Steward argues that virtualization is causing the software industry to reexamine many of the same issues that were faced 30 years ago. The podcast lasts for 3:12 and can be listened to here: http://blogs.datadirect.com/media/ImpactOfSoftwareOnVirtualization.mp3
I've always said that this industry, software, is very circular, so we go through these cycles where we get into certain technologies and then eventually we move on to another technology, but then we tend to always come back, right? We go through these cycles where we deal with technologies, we move beyond, we make them better, and then we decide they're not the best thing and we move on to the next thing, but eventually we always circle back.
(Image credit: Circular by Diongillard)
We circle back and we kind of start through the cycle again, and I could give examples of what I mean, but essentially where I'm going with virtualization is, you know, 30 years ago everybody was worried about you need to use less CPU, you need to write better algorithms, you need to use less memory, use less disk space, and then the hardware became cheap, and it became a lot cheaper to get better hardware than it did really realistically to get better programmers. So, you know, whenever we had resource constraints we would just, we would just throw more hardware at it. Well, we've kind of cycled through this now where many companies have thousands and thousands of servers within their data center, and now they're trying to virtualize and reduce the cost of all those machines. Turns out that'd be much greater than just the cost of buying some CPU and some disk and some memory.
As we virtualize and try to collapse these data centers into much fewer numbers of machines, now we're worried about the same things we were worried about 30 years ago. We need better written code, we need better algorithms, we need less CPU, less memory usage, less disk usage, less network usage, so this is why I say we kind of cycle, and this is one of those cycles. As we go to virtualization, better written software is going to make a big difference in terms of what kind of payback you can actually get out of your virtualization initiatives. In the past, we've talked about drivers and middleware that can give you 10, 15, 20% throughput, even 50, 100% better throughput, half the memory usage, half the network usage, half the CPU usage. Well, again, if I'm running on a machine that's got lots of spare CPU it won't matter so much, but again, when I go to that virtualization environment that data access middleware's going to make a huge difference.
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