Virtualization has become the equivalent of "pixie dust, something you sprinkle on the data center, and suddenly everything runs better," said Mendel Rosenblum, co-founder and chief scientist of VMware, speaking tongue-in-cheek as he began a keynote address Thursday at the closing day of VMworld in San Francisco.
But by the time he was finished, some attendees may have forgotten he was joking. "A huge part of VMware's engineering is devoted to, how do I move these virtual machines around and manage them," he told the third-day attendees. "We've only scratched the surface of the value that can be added through the virtualization layer," he said.
Rosenblum demonstrated how virtualization allows a cheap form of mirrored systems that can guard against hardware failure. ESX Server virtual machines can now generate a log or record of their activity, and that log can be replayed in another virtual machine to show what happened.
A possible use of the capability is implementing it to guarantee the high availability of systems.
Rosenblum started a server on stage that was running the equivalent of 50 users pounding on Microsoft Outlook. The server's ongoing activity was being mirrored on a second server, which was receiving a live stream of events as they were entered into the log of the virtual machine on the first server.